By Paul Haynes
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.
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.