Freshman Sal Battles knows his way around the football field. It is knowing where Kent State football coach Doug Martin wants him that seems to be the problem.
In just his second collegiate practice, Battles could be seen working with the wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and even special teams Tuesday.
They got me playing so many positions, it’s just a lot to learn,” Battles said.
“It’s pretty cool coming out and just doing everything,” he said. “I am just trying to get on the field and play.”
He shouldn’t have much of a problem. The Youngstown East graduate earned First Team All Ohio honors as well as Offensive Player of the Year for Northeast Ohio. During his high school career he passed for 3,078 yards and rushed for 3,165 yards. He also had 74 touchdowns.
“Coaches are just talking to me and seeing I could a lot of things with the returning game and a bunch of stuff like that,” Battles said. “He just has me out there just seeing where I can play.”
Konz continues to impress
I’m already hard-pressed to find another tight end in the MAC who possesses the skills that Jameson Konz brings to the position. The converted linebacker made the position look so simple Tuesday.
He is just a natural on offense. Konz looked bored as balls were fired at him from a Jugs machine five yards away. He didn’t seem flinch or drop any balls. The majority of the receivers rock back or seem surprised when the ball came.
During one-on-one drills starting linebacker Cedrick Maxwell guarded the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Konz. Maxwell had no chance. Although Maxwell is known as a speedy, athletic linebacker, Konz, who is known as the fastest player on the team, blew by him play after play.
That is not to pick on Maxwell at all. He would start on just about every other Mid-American Conference team. If Konz is able to make that easy work of Maxwell, then how many linebackers are really going to be able to guard him this season? Not many.
One of the biggest problems that has plagued Kent State and many mid-major teams, over the years is a lack of depth. Since Doug Martin’s arrival the overall depth of the team has gotten better and better.
Martin is recruiting better. The players he is bringing in are better. The results on the field have just not shown up yet. They would have won a lot last year if they hadn’t struggled through four quarterbacks.
One sign of this new found depth is the ability to finally move Konz over to offense were he belongs. Konz, a senior, was a stand out wide receiver at Lake High School before coming to Kent State. When Konz arrived on campus the Flashes were so thin defensively that the coaching staff was forced to put him to defense where he could help immediately.
Although he earned three letters as a linebacker and recorded 90 career tackles, once the season begins everyone will see just how fluid he is leaping for balls. He just looks fluid and comfortable on offense.
Konz is not the only player who is switching form offense to defense this season. Former defensive lineman Lester Troutman is also playing tight end this season.
Fifth-year senior Prishod Koonce will also be on offense for the first time this season. Starting linebacker Derek Burrell said Koonce, 6-foot-3, 295 pounds, brings a tougher mentality to the offensive line this season.
All four of last year’s quarterbacks are back on the field and healthy for this season. It has to be an added bonus that this is the first year Edelman has been healthy for spring and summer practices. He looks as if he has added a few more pounds of muscle. I expect a big year out of Edelman as he plays his senior year with a chip on his shoulder.
Giorgio still has the prettiest throw on the team and will get at least one series a half in each game, Martin said at media day.
A few more faces are also joining the quartet. Battles lined up at center some as did freshman Matt Hurdle. Physically Hurdle looks like a left-handed Giorgio clone without the pretty throwing motion. He seems more athletic over all though. He will be red shirted barring another repeat of last year’s disaster.
Ready for hitting
I’ll go more in depth Friday when the Flashes put the pads on and starting hitting each other around a bit. See ya’ then.