KENT, Ohio-Spencer Keith arrived at Kent State with plenty
of accolades, but he wasn't expected to win the job as the Golden Flashes
quarterback as quickly as he did.
Keith, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder from Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark.,
threw for 2,147 yards and 14 touchdowns, both school freshman records, in seven
starts in 2009. He entered the season as the backup to Giorgio Morgan
but took over under center when Morgan went down with an ankle injury.
Entering the 2010 season there's no question Keith is Kent State's
starting quarterback and he's much more confident as a sophomore than
he was as a wide-eyed freshman. Spending the off-season training with his teammates,
especially the wide receivers, has helped Keith to enter training camp with
a much better grasp of the offense and a good rapport with his passing targets.
"Last year I came in not knowing what's going on; I was out of
sync with everyone," Keith said. "With all that practice in the
off-season it didn't take a whole week to get used to them again. The
first time we were out here we were pretty in-sync. That's helped a lot
with getting our timing down and everything like that."
As the starting quarterback Keith knows all eyes will be on him during camp.
That's a lot of pressure to deal with as a sophomore but his performance
last fall helped him to earn the respect of his teammates.
"They look up to me now since I proved last year that I could play," he
said. "Being a sophomore now helps a whole lot with the experience I've
had. Really, it comes natural to me being a leader in the huddle and having
command of the offense."
As excited as Keith is to kick off his sophomore campaign, he's not
in a rush to get to the season opener against Murray State on Sept. 2. He knows
the team, especially the offense, needs plenty of work before it's game
His focus now is to continue to develop and improve.
"I've got a lot more experience, game experience obviously, and
I'm just focusing on each day, trying to get better each day and have
the next play be my best play," he said. "I'm trying to focus
on one day at a time instead of later on in the camp or the first game."
Making it easier on Keith is a stable of wide receivers not short on talent
Tyshon Goode, Keith's classmate and favorite target in 2009,
was Kent State's leading receiver last fall. He caught 53 passes for
755 yards and five scores, all school freshman records. Also returning are
juniors Kendrick Pressley, who caught 21 passes for 301 yards and
three scores, and Sam Kirkland, who caught 18 passes for 154 yards.
Several other Flashes turned in strong performances during spring drills and
the early days of training camp, leaving Keith optimistic for the 2010 season.
"We've got a lot of options out there. Tyshon and Sam, just pretty
much everyone. We've got a lot of depth at the wide receiver position,
two or three deep," he said. "That helps a whole lot because during
the game they're going to get tired. I think they've progressed
a lot throughout the off-season catching the ball and the crispness on their
routes. We're excited about this year."
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