Tuesday marked Kent State football’s first day in full pads and also the first day with some real excitement with camp’s initial installment of the “Steeler drill.”
This pins three offensive lineman against three defensive lineman or linebackers and adds a running back sprinting through the hole. It’s three yards to the goal line, a lot of spirit from each sideline and a lot of bragging rights.
The offense won the first couple rounds before the defense got it together and stopped them short six plays in a row. The offense then ended the drill with a touchdown.
Redshirt sophomore defensive end Marcus Wright made a nice play to fight through two blocks to bring down freshman running back Julian Durden early, though Durdan later got him back with a great power move to bulldoze his way into the end zone.
Three units were ran through a hurry-up offense, giving each quarterback inside of two minutes about 50 yards to go to the end zone while down five points.
Sophomore wide receiver Chris Humphrey made perhaps the play of the day, though he ended up out of bounds. With two seconds left on the simulated clock. David Fisher found Humphrey in the end zone, and Humphrey made a circus catch to fight off a would-be pass-interference call to still complete the play. Hazell called him out of bounds, though also said he would have called a pass-interference had the players not needed a break.
Humphrey is in line to receive more reps now that Tyshon Goode is out two weeks “at a minimum” and has a murky status for Kent State’s opener against Towson on Aug. 30. Humphrey may be cross-trained to play multiple spots.
Hazell also likes freshman Josh Boyle.
“He’s been really steady and understands what we’re trying to do,” Hazell said. “He’s tough. He’s a guy that I really like right now and is playing well.”
As of today, senior Eric Adeyemi has the inside track should Goode not be able to return.
Adeyemi says the offense just needs that one good spark.
“Once we get that one big spark, the rest is history,” he said. “The big run, a downfield pass, a screen taken to the house—something big. That would set the tempo for the rest of the season in my eyes.”
Kent State travels to play at Kentucky on Sept. 8, which is where Adeyemi transferred from. He says he’s been keeping up with some old friends on Facebook and Twitter, and says “They’re talking a little smack but I got a little something for them.”
Most of the early practice was focused around special teams. Matt Hurdle, Adeyemi and Sidney Saulter received most of the work returning punts. Saulter also intercepted David Fisher for the second day in a row.
Boyle, Durden and Darius Polk also spent time returning kickoffs.
Later, Hurdle hauled in pass along the sidelines. Saulter yelled “out of bounds” and Hurdle smiled and replied with “That’s in, buddy!”