April 18, 2009

Flashes make progress

Kent State's second scrimmage of the spring wasn't nearly as flawless as the weather at Dix Stadium, but head coach Doug Martin didn't have much to complain about.

"It was much better than the first scrimmage," he said. "We were hoping to see dramatic progress and we did."

Last weekend, the Golden Flashes were plagued by penalties. On Saturday, the squad committed just three infractions. Martin was also hoping to see his wide receivers improve from last week-and he did.

"We had very few penalties and the receivers stepped up and made plays-Sam Kirkland caught a big slant for a touchdown from Giorgio Morgan and we had another long pass where the receiver stepped up and made a play. That's all encouraging."

Kirkland, a converted defensive back, led all receivers with five catches for 86 yards, which includes the 45-yard strike from Morgan. Derek McBryde, who hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Magazu, had three catches for 36 yards.

At quarterback, Morgan had little time to set his feet and throw, but still completed 6 of 12 passes for 70 yards and a score. Magazu was 9 of 15 for 93 yards after completing 6 of his first 7 throws for 88 yards.

"Statistically, Magazu is going to fare better than Giorgio because of the pass protection and lack of a run game," Martin said.

The offensive line gave up five sacks and struggled to give the quarterbacks time to look downfield. But, Martin saw progress in a thin unit.

"I wouldn't say (they struggled); the offense scored two touchdowns in four series so that's not too bad," Martin said. "We're not running the ball as well as we need too and the pass blocking has to get better. It's just a consistency issue and depth is an issue. Our second offense is way behind the first offense."

There's no question the starting defensive line got the best of their offensive counterparts. KSU's top running backs were held to just 41 yards on 16 carries. Eugene Jarvis, who also flashed his big-play ability on punt returns, carried 10 times for 18 yards and Jacquise Terry pitched in with six carries for 23 yards. A concussion kept Andre Flowers out of the scrimmage.

Despite the lack of success running the ball, Martin is excited about his full stable of ball carriers.

"Eugene is Eugene, still making plays," Martin said. "Jacquise Terry had some really nice runs today as did Alan Vanderink. It's a good problem to have; we have four really good running backs."

Defensively, there were plenty of standouts.

Cobrani Mixon, Dan Hartman and Zach Williams each posted five tackles and Will Johnson, Danny Sadler and Greg Keys each were credited with three stops.

Williams, Josh Stover, Quinton Rainey, Chris Favazzo and Kevin Hogan each claimed a sack and Josh Pleasant picked off a pass at the goal line and broke up two other pass attempts.

Martin was pleased with what he saw on defense.

"I think Danny Sadler is playing really well and Josh Pleasant, he had a big interception right by the goal line. That was a great play. Cobrani Mixon and Dorian Wood are playing really well inside."

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