April 19, 2008

Defense nearly flawless in spring finale

Last fall, Kent State's defense had trouble stopping opposing offenses in the red zone. During Saturday's scrimmage at Dix Stadium the Golden Flashes' defense was perfect in that category.

Twice Kent State's offense moved the ball from its own 35 to inside the defense's 20 and both times the defense held. The first drive was set up by a 56-yard bomb from quarterback Jon Brown to tight end Jon Simpson that set the offense up at the nine. Four plays later Brown couldn't get his pass to Rocco Colaveccia and the offense settled for a Nate Reed 40-yard field goal.

Sophomore Giorgio Morgan then led the offense on a 13-play drive that ended with a Ricco Murray interception in the end zone. With a first and goal from the five, the offense picked up four yards on a pass from Morgan to Leneric Muldrow but was stuffed on two tries from the one before Murray's pick.

"My first thought was I think they scored twice and (the officials) just didn't give it to them; that was my first thought," said Kent State head coach Doug Martin of the goal line stand. "We haven't worked a whole lot on goal line offense yet so that's probably not as big a deal as you would think."

For most of Saturday's final practice of the spring, Kent State's offense was held in check. Aside from a pair of Reed field goals and two late touchdown runs by Flowers (18 and 19 yards), the defense played nearly flawless.

"Defensively, I thought the kids played with a lot of enthusiasm," Martin said. "We gave up a couple of explosion plays; Andre had a couple runs for touchdowns there that shouldn't be given up and had the one deep pass to Jon Simpson there. I thought for as many young kids as we were playing in that scrimmage it was really good. I think our backup kids got a lot better today."

Martin found plenty of positives on offense too.

"I was really pleased with the offense in terms of taking care of the football; they only had one turnover which is really big," he said. "They didn't have any three and outs; they really drove the ball well in the open field part of things. (They) hurt themselves (with) negatives with a couple penalties that knocked them out of scoring opportunities."

After struggling through a 3-9 campaign last fall-primarily due to turnovers and penalties-Martin was encouraged by what he saw.

"If they will take care of the football like that and move it that consistently we'll win the field position game; that was a positive," he said.

By the Numbers
Passing: Giorgio Morgan, 14-23 for 100 yards, 1 interception; Jon Brown, 4-16, 82 yards; Anthony Magazu, 5-11, 58 yards.

Rushing: Andre Flowers, 13-59, 2 touchdowns; Giorgio Morgan, 9-37; Jamar Cromwell, 12-21.

Receiving: Jon Simpson, 1-56; Shawn Bayes, 2-32; Coleman Lynn, 2-28; Alan Vanderink, 3-25; Derek McBryde, 3-23; Rocco Colaveccia, 4-21; Andre Flowers, 1-14.

Defense: Andrew Hill, 8 tackles; Monte Simmons, 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss; Joe Tymoszcuk, 6 tackles; Howard Bowens, 5 tackles; David Filippi, 4 tackles, 1 sack; Darrius Carter, 4 tackles; Kevin Hogan, 1 sack.

Award Winners
After the scrimmage, the last practice of the spring for the Golden Flashes, head coach Doug Martin presented the awards annually distributed during the spring.

Leo Strang Award- Jameson Konz
Given annually to the player with the highest GPA

Gerald and Victoria Reed Award- David Filippi
Given annually to the player that demonstrates hard work and dedication beyond the call of duty.

Jack Lambert Award- Monte Simmons
Given annually to the most improved defensive player

Don Nottingham Award- Andre Flowers
Given annually to the most improved offensive player

Matt Ramser Award- Jameson Konz
Given annually to the player that demonstrates courage, dedication and a positive attitude

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