Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sorting out the depth chart

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

We get together every day and we evaluate our guys. We have told our guys that it’s not over. Even after this past Saturday’s scrimmage, we are going to continue to make sure we evaluate and find 30-to-35 guys we can go to war with.

We put a lot of time into the depth chart. We meet in between practices and then we meet again at night to go over that day’s and the personnel again. It’s a matter of making sure everyone is on the same page. Everyone has an opinion. It isn’t just the position coach. It’s the coordinator. It’s myself and it is the other coaches too, because those coaches are in charge of special units. And we are not talking about any guy unless they are on special units.

There are always healthy discussions. There are arguments, too, but those are healthy also. When you listen to Steve Jobs and people who have run major companies, all of them say that is healthy. If you are in an organization where you don’t have arguments, then you have a dictatorship where everyone is afraid to have an opinion.

As a position coach, it is like you are the dad of the players at your position. With every kid you have a super personal relationship. You want the best for that kid, and if other people don’t see things the way you do, you want to fight for that kid. That’s where some of the battles come from. And they are important. But at the end of the day, we all have to recognize what is best for the team. It comes down to how can that player help us. It’s the same at every level, from high school, to college to the pros. Who can help us win? Who can do the most for us? It all boils down to that.

The final depth chart should be set by Monday.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday's scrimmage and the last week of camp ahead

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

I liked the energy this morning during our scrimmage at Dix Stadium. We had quite a few playmakers on offense who did well, and we need that.

Whenever you hear people talk about us, they often bring up the loss of Dri Archer. But we still have guys out there who are capable of making plays, which is a good thing.

I thought James Brooks did a lot of good things out there this morning. He made some plays that were very good to see. I also liked what I saw from our freshman running back Miles Hibbler.

We held out Anthony Meray and Nick Holley at running back this morning just as a precaution. They are fine. But that gave guys like Hibbler and Tristin Boykin more chances, and I thought they did a very good job with it.

Now we go into our last week before we start our preparation for the opener. This week is still camp, so we'll continue to grind and keep things going. We'll continue to work on fundamentals and technique, but we'll also start to scale things down a little bit to get their legs ready for the opener.

That opener with Ohio University at Dix Stadium is Aug. 30 and we want to set an attendance record, so we are looking forward to seeing you all there.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

On Saturday's scrimmage and position battles

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

Saturday’s scrimmage at Dix Stadium will be more like a regular situational practice instead of the Jersey Scrimmage we had on the original schedule.

We will go live in some of the situations, but not all of them. We’ll do basic situations – third down, red zone, short yardage.

There is still a lot of competition at pretty much every position. You look at linebacker, you look at wideout, and running back is still not solidified, which is injury based. We are still trying to determine who will be the first four on the defensive line. We haven’t been in many live situations, so when the lights come on, we may see something different.

We have talked a lot from the first day of camp about being efficient with our time. That’s part of why we decided to switch from the Jersey Scrimmage to more of a situational practice. We are not out here very long, but we are moving pretty fast and the guys have worked hard. So, I don’t want to have them banging for two hours.

We are going to be smart about it and start winding camp down and getting healthy for Aug. 30 vs. Ohio University.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Practicing with intensity and getting rid of the "I'm not sure"

By Brian Rock
Offensive Coordinator

Tomorrow is the first day in full pads and I want to see guys compete and go hard. Football is an intense game and you need to make sure you are practicing that the intensity as much as you are the individual techniques of the game.

Today we went through a drill where I didn’t get a very good evaluation of where we are up front simply because our guys were fooled. We saw a lot of blitzes and our guys weren’t sure. We have to get that “I’m not sure” out of us in the protection game for us to be effective. 

It’s hard to evaluate is this guy or that guy going to be able to pass protect if they are not able to come out and actually try to do it knowing what they are supposed to do it. 

Every team is different, so every year we have to evaluate what our guys can do. We’ve been trying to determine what we can be very good at since day one on Monday. Every day we have learned something new. There is always a guy who catches your eye or makes you think you can do something interesting with him. 

And while you get intrigued every day, Coach Haynes talked about it today with the team, though. It all comes down to production. You need to have guys show up after you identify who your playmakers are and find ways to get the ball to them. We are in the identifying stage right now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The challenge of being the best

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

I read a section from our Winners Manual to our team today after practice. It talks about what it takes to be the best and the things the best do better than anyone else. 

There are 11 traits to being the best. Reading through it again, I wanted our guys to understand what the standard is. What do you want to be? How do you practice? How do you want to play the game?

A lot of this game is about attitude and effort, and I want our guys to play and practice to a certain standard.

I could see a little bit of a letdown today in terms of the intensity. There wasn’t the same excitement today that we had on Monday. That’s part of camp. But that’s also part of the challenge of camp. You can’t come out here like that. That’s the mental part of camp.

There are guys out here that you can count on for the same effort every day. Right off the rip, I think of Najee Murray. He is a guy who comes out here and plays with excitement every practice. Nate Vance is also that way. Casey Pierce is also that way. That’s three guys. There are more, but we are not going to get where we want until all 105 guys come out here with that same intensity. 

There are guys out there practicing hard, and there are also guys out there who are passing on their knowledge to their teammates. You see that with guys like Najee Murray. That’s the kind of culture we want here, but that’s also the kind of culture he came from, too. 

We’ll be coming back out this afternoon for our walkthroughs, and we have to be better. We need better focus and better energy today and then for the rest of camp. That’s the challenge. You either get better or you get worse. You don’t stay the same. We need to make sure we get better.


Read David Carducci's "The Press Box" Blog for notes, photos and highlights from the first two day's of Preseason Camp:


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Priorities heading into preseason camp

By Paul Haynes
Head Coach

Preseason camp starts next week at Dix Stadium and we will have several priorities in those first three weeks of August before we open up against Ohio University on Aug. 30.

We want to find out who are best 11 are on both sides of the ball. We want to set a tone for our attitude for the year. We want to come out of camp as a very fundamentally sound football team. 

This will be my second camp as head coach at Kent State and we will tweak some of the things that we did in year one. One of the things we tweaked is our message. We want everyone saying the same things and having the same message whenever we are in front of the team. That could mean the message from our leader committee that we have amongst our players and it also means our coaches.

We have also restructured our practices a little bit. We’ll make some changes in how we practice, how long we practice and what we will practice. 

Some coaches may think they have it all figured out. I’m the opposite. I was an assistant coach longer than I have been a head coach, and I know that nobody has all of the answers. I’m fortunate to have a good, experienced staff of coaches who have worked at a lot of different places. We like to kick around our ideas and come up with what is the best thing for the 2014 Kent State football team. That’s how we operate. It’s how we operate in practice. It is how we operate with our gameplan. 

It is extremely important to look back and examine the things you did right and you did wrong from the previous season. And then you have to be man enough to say these are the things we didn’t do well. We have been doing that since January.

Our players have also been working hard in the offseason. The thing I love about our team right now is our attitude. It should be that way after you are humbled, and we were humbled last year. Our attitude is awesome right now. Our guys are chomping at the bit to get out there next week, and that’s always a great thing when they have that attitude going into camp.

We’ll have several things we need to figure out between now and November to get to where we want to go. We need to be consistent with everything we do, with how we practice and how we prepare. I truly believe that you get what your work deserves. When we go back to last year, there are a lot of areas where you can place blame, but the reality is we didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t prepare hard enough at certain times. Those are the things we need to be consistent with. 

There are other things that are basic to football. You have to be able to run the football and you have to be able to stop the run. Those are things we didn’t do very well last year. We have to correct that to have a good season next year.

We also have to do a better job with turnovers. We didn’t get many last year, and at the same time we turned the ball over too often.

The game hasn’t changed over the years. Those are the things you have to do consistently to do well. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Josh Kline featured in story on ESPN.com

In case you missed it, ESPN has a great story on Kent State alum Josh Kline and the impact he is making with the New England Patriots.

It was on the network's website on April 21.

Here's the link: Josh Kline made impression on teammates

If you are a Kent State fan, the New England Patriots could be a good team to adopt in the NFL considering former Golden Flashes quarterback Julian Edelman is also there.

Fans can still get a chance to meet Edelman up close and personal on Friday if they attend the Third Annual Athletic Scholarship Auction at the M.A.C. Center. Edelman will serve as a celebrity co-host for the evening.,

Here's a link to more information on the auction.