Last year didn't quite end the way Kent State football coach Doug Martin would have liked. After coming up just shy of winning a MAC title for the first time since 1972, The Flashes started last season with promise by upsetting Iowa State.
Yet they ended the year battered and flawed. Kent State dropped the last seven games of the season and cycled through four different quarterbacks as the injury bug kept biting.
The gritty Julian Edelman kept on playing after tearing a tendon in his knee the second week of the season against Kentucky. It took a Broken fore arm during the eighth week of the season against Bowling Green to finally force him off the field.
Giorgio Morgan was next. Although blessed with a golden arm, Morgan was done after an impressive game and a half. A knee injury got him too, burning his redshirt in a lost season.
third stringer Anthony Magazu had a pesky ankle and the season had to be painfully played out with the immobile Jon Brown under center.
Yet this spring has been able to deliver some optimism for Martin. Although his quarterbacks aren't completely healed, they are all suited up for spring practice.
“We haven’t had our starting quarterback in spring ball for the last three years, so this is the first time we have had all the quarterbacks healthy (during spring ball),” Martin said. “That is going to help speed up; especially the process of our passing game.”
Edelman’s arm still isn’t back to 100 percent, yet being able to practice makes a difference. At this time last spring Edelman, a senior, was out of for spring with a shoulder injury and Morgan was still in Georgia finishing his senior year of high school.
The two provide completely different styles at the quarterback position and provide Martin with plenty of options heading into the season.
Morgan, at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, is a prototypical drop back passer with a gifted arm. The ball floats out of his hand in an effortless motion. In his two games last season Morgan was 23-36 for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Against eventual MAC champs Central Michigan, Morgan picked apart the defense and found eight different receivers. It was his first collegiate game.
Edelman does not possess the throwing ability that Morgan does, but what he lacks he makes up with shear grit and guile. When healthy Edelman gives teams fits with his running ability. His pinball style racked up 455 yards last season on the ground including 167 against Kentucky. He is also more than capable at throwing the ball when needed.
Magazu and Brown also are in the open competition at quarterback, but are more likely to provide depth behind Morgan and/or Edelman.
“It’s going to be an interesting competition,” Martin said. “We got four guys that are competing at the quarterback position that have all played in games so there is a lot of experience there. Hopefully if something happens to us like what happened last year we can overcome it.”
So far this spring the battle has been extremely healthy, although Kentsportsreport.com’s Steve Hare did report that Morgan did not participate in the Saturday scrimmage because he over slept. Martin made him run stairs and work with strength and conditioning coach Toby Jacobi instead.
It will be interesting to see how the quarterback situation plays out this season. Both Edelman and Morgan are too good to not see the field, so we will see what happens.
Over at the Kentsportsreport.com they are following spring football much closer than I am, so take a look.