Kent State’s offense struggled mightily in Wednesday morning’s practice, as the defense intercepted several passes thrown by different quarterbacks. Two of the passes picked off were by senior cornerbacks Darius Polk and Malcolm Pannell, both of whom have had good spring outings.
“We were a little bit sloppy on offense today,” said first-year KSU football coach Paul Haynes. “It was good on the defensive side, but bad on the (offensive) side…Last year we got 38 turnovers and only had 12. There’s a big reason for that success. Today we almost had 12 (turnovers in practice).
“We gotta get better there, we can’t have that. It comes down to concentration. What we’re asking them to do, they have to do it.”
Junior tight end Casey Pierce helped the much-maligned offense redeem itself late, catching a jump ball from sophomore Luke Smurthwaite in the endzone among a group of defenders for a 35-yard touchdown on the final play of practice.
Still, Haynes went on to stress the importance of the Golden Flashes attitude heading into the 2013 campaign.
“I’m pleased with where we are, but not satisfied,” he said. “What’s going to be really important for us moving forward is our attitude. Talent is never enough, it’s all about what we’re thinking…we have enough talent to get it done, we just gotta have a better, a championship, attitude.”
FISHER OUT – Senior quarterback David Fisher, who is battling with sophomore Colin Reardon for the starting job, will miss the last few days of spring practice and sit out Saturday’s Spring Game after suffering a knee injury earlier in the week.
“He has to get a procedure done to his knee, so he could be (sidelined) a little while,” Haynes said. “He could be (out) from two to four weeks to four months. We just gotta wait and see.”
With Fisher sidelined, redshirt sophomore quarterback Brett Maxie has gotten increased playing time with the two’s.
GOODE UPDATE – Senior receiver Tyshon Goode has practiced this spring on a limited basis, just participating in 7-on-7 drills, but not playing in game situations with full contact. Goode suffered a hamstring injury during spring practice last season, had surgery and missed the entire season.
During the Flashes trip to Mobile, Ala., to play in the GoDaddy.com bowl game, Goode talked about the long road back to full strength and his desire to go out on a good note with a strong senior season.
SPRING GAME – Saturday’s Spring Game will pit the Flashes first-team offense and defense against the rest of the roster. There will be 12-minute quarters in the first half, followed by 10-minute quarters in the second half with a running clock. Before the 6 p.m. game, KSU is hosting a free youth clinic at 4:30 p.m.
COACHES MAKE DIFFERENCE – Sophomore linebacker and Michigan native Matt Dellinger said his decision to come to Kent State came down to him liking the coaching staff under former head coach Darrell Hazell.
“The coaches were great, that’s what it came down to,” Dellinger said.
So when Hazell and a handful of assistants left for Purdue after just two seasons at KSU, Dellinger admitted to feeling a little uncertain.
“Thankfully, the new coached are just as good,” Dellinger said. “I was a little worried in the beginning, but the new staff has been great. It helped that (safeties) coach (Jeff) Burrow and (defensive coordinator Brian) George stayed and it’s cool that (Haynes) is a defensive coach. He’s always down by us yelling at us – which is good.”
IN THE COMMUNITY – Haynes has immersed himself in the Kent community by speaking at several events. Friday, he is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for a United Way function at 5:30 p.m. at the Rusty Nail.