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Kent State Flashes

Kent State versus Boston College Preview

By admin Published: August 29, 2008

The much anticipated college football season will get underway for the Kent State Golden Flashes Saturday against Boston College at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Could the Flashes pull off another opening day upset? Here is a position by position break down.


Interestingly enough Kent State coach Doug Martin, BC head coach Jeff Jagodzinksi and BC offensive coordinator Steve Logan all coached together at East Carolina.

The trio are good friends and share a lot of football philosophy starting with the offense. Kent State and Boston College both run identical pro style offenses, same calls and everything. Making preparation for this game easier on both coaches.

While Martin said the weekly phone calls with Logan did not stop this week, they were a little more reluctant to talk about their respective teams.

In his first season with the Eagles, “Coach Jags” turned them into a winning football team, whether that success can continue into his second season – and without Matt Ryan – is yet to be seen.

Martin enters yet another year of pulling the Flashes out of the perpetual college football hell they have lived in since 1972.

There have been high spots as Kent State knocked off Iowa State last year in the opener. And low spots as the Flashes lost its last seven games with an injury depleted roster.

Martin remains steadfast on his commitment to establish a winning tradition at Kent State and I still feel, like he does, that he is very, very close. It just needs to translate to the field


Say what you will about senior Julian Edelman, but he is a difference maker when he is on the field. Edelman is such a good running threat that NFL scouts are eying him as a future return man. His arm has always been the question mark.

This preseason Edelman has looked better than ever according to Kent State coach Doug Martin. What I like the most about him this season is he is throwing to spots, which he didn’t do last year.

This problem was most evident in his air mailed interception against Ohio State. Much to the chagrin of Kent State, I could see Donald Washington sprinting down the sideline for six before it even left Edelman’s hand. That shouldn’t be a problem this year.

Nevertheless I have always enjoyed Edelman’s hard-nosed running as he has ran for 1,113 yards in his two seasons. He has thrown for 3,177 yards already and is creeping up the Kent State record books as well.

Boston College must break in a brand new quarterback in senior Chris Crane. He has played in just five games, but has amassed 262 yards on 27 of 40 throwing, so he is more than adequate.

Who would have ever thought that the graduated Matt Ryan would have been a first round pick before last year, let alone third overall? BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski definitely put his polish on Ryan. Can he have the same effect on Crane?

Advantage: KENT STATE
This is a very close one to call, but my decision is based on two things: experience and what Edelman can do when he is healthy. Considering he upset Iowa State last year and ran all over Kentucky, both when he was still healthy, I believe Edelman is above average. Unfortunately he hasn’t had many chances to showcase his talent yet due to injuries. Saturday would be a great platform to do just that.


Kent State senior left tackles Augustus Parrish (6-foot-5, 305 pounds) and Travis McGraw (6-foot-5, 305), and sophomore right tackle Pat Reedy (6-foot-4, 280) return from last year’s solid line.

Junior college transfer Mike Roder (6-foot-4, 310 pounds) should provide a seamless transition at right guard.

The Flashes will turn to red shirt freshmen Chris Anzevino, center, (6-foot-2, 308) and Michael Fay, left guard, (6-foot-4, 265) at the other two positions.

Parrish is a legitimate NFL caliber talent. All signs point to him having a great season. I also like moving Prishod Koonce, who will see time at right tackle, over from the defense. He is said to bring a mauler mentality to the line.

Boston College lost its stud left tackle, Gosder Cherilus, to the draft last year, but have a very capable fill in. Sophomore Anthony Castonzo was the only true freshman in the last 10 years to start on the offensive line at BC. He moves from right tackle to left tackle this season. Senior Clif Ramsey moves to left guard after starting 13 games at right guard.


The Eagles return more overall talent in Castonzo and Ramsey and Rich Tennant, who is a returning starter at center.

Kent State is clearly in a better situation than Boston College here. Kent State junior Eugene Jarvis is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, who averaged more than 139 yards a game. He is also is the leading returning rusher in the nation as he ran for 1,669 yards last season.

On the other hand, the Eagles will turn to true freshman Josh Haden at the position. Haden, 5-foot-8 182 pounds, was an All-State selection in Maryland as a prep.

Sophomore fullback James McCluskey is the leading returning rusher for the Eagles. His line last year: eight carries, 14 yards.

Advantage: KENT STATE


The Boston College receiving corps is described as marginal at best by Athlon Sports, but they only lost one person (Kevin Challenger) from last year. How will that experience play on the field this season, with a new quarterback?

Senior Brandon Robinson (56 catches – 793 yards -5 touchdowns last year) and junior Rich Gunnell (64– 931 -7) provide a nice combo that far exceeds anything Kent State has.

If there is one position that I am not expecting much out of Kent State, it is the wide receivers. They have been streaky at best. Last year I noticed guys like Shawn Bayes or Derek McBryde, but it was only in spurts.

Freshman Chris Gilbert has been a pleasant surprise this year and could help. Defensive back Sam Kirkland has also moved to the other side of the ball and is said to be a natural.



The decision to move Jameson Konz to the offensive side of the ball has looked great throughout spring practices. Konz has a great ability to go and get the ball. His hands are one of the best on the team. Plus, how many 6-foot-3, 220 pound men can run a sub 4.4 forty yard dash like he does? Expect him to also split out and play some at wide receiver giving the team a much needed boost.

Kent State’s backups are also interesting editions. Jonathan Simpson is 6-foot-5 225 pounds and adds a great athleticism to the team. Every time I watch him at practice I get the sense that he could eventually explode and be an all-conference performer. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t been able to translate his talent to the field yet.

Martin also moved Lester Troutman to the position from defensive end. He is more of a physical tight end than the other too and provides good depth.

Boston College senior Ryan Purvis is an All-ACC performer and is on the preseason watch list for the John Mackery Award and Rotary Lombardi Award. With his 54 catches for 553 yard and four touchdowns in tow, he makes this position an easy choice.



Kent State’s front seven is one of the better groups in the conference and it all starts up front with the pass rushers.

No Kent State player opened more eyes this offseason than sophomore buck end Monte Simmons. His quickness will allow for a lot of rushes on the quarterback. There were times during preseason scrimmages that Simmons would manhandle ALL-MAC performer Augustus Parrish on the line. That doesn’t bode well for opposing teams.

I also expect Kevin Hogan and Darrius Carter to put pressure on the quarterback. Hogan has 12.5 career sacks in two years.

Boston College also features one of the better front sevens in its conference and Kent State coach Doug Martin said it could be the best defense the Flashes have seen since Ohio State. That is saying a lot.

Three of the four starters across the defensive line return, but B.J. Raji will fill the only void. Raji was an ALL-ACC second teamer in 2006, but missed 2007 for academic reasons.

Left end Alex Albright and left defensive tackle Ron Brace were both all-conference honorable mentions last year. Albright had 8.5 sacks last year and should continue that pace.



In my opinion this is the strongest group of players on the Kent State team. Sophomore middle linebacker Cobrani Mixon will be playing in his first collegiate game. He missed last season after transferring from the University of Michigan.

Weak side linebacker Derek Burrell had a breakout season last year with 112 tackles (9.3 a game). This season he is on the preseason Butkus Award Watch list.

Starting strong side backer Cedrick Maxwell and middle linebacker Stevon Moss would start for any team in the conference.

Mark Herzlich, Mike McLaughlin and Brian Toal make up Boston College’s unit. This group of run stoppers make the BC defense go.

Herzlich is also on the Butkus Award watch list as well as the Lott award watch list. Toal missed last season with a shoulder injury. Expect Robert Francois and Kevin Akins to see a lot of snaps as well.


If there is one glaring weakness in the Boston College defense it may be the secondary. Gone is All-American, and leading tackler, Jamie Silva. Strong safety Paul Anderson is the lone senior of the group.

While the Eagles led the conference last year in stopping the run, they were atrocious at stopping the pass, ranking last.

Kent State is also young in the secondary as corner Rico Murray is the lone senior. The corners have played well in preseason camps, but the safety position seems thin.

Sophomore Brian Lainhart is playmaker at free safety and should be the centerpiece of this group, along with Murray.

At strong safety sophomore Dan Hartman saw plenty of time there last season to get acclimated to the position.

Sophomores Kirk Belgrave and Danny Sadler as well as true freshman Josh Pleasant will all see plenty of time at corner.

Advantage: KENT STATE


What a difference a year makes. At this time last season Martin was praying that he could get something different out of his putrid kicking game. The punters couldn’t punt, the kickers couldn’t kick. It all equated to disaster on the field.

Those prayers seem to be answered as Martin calls the punting of true freshman Matt Rinehart a gift from the heavens.

Ryan Hidalgo, another true freshman, won the long snapper duties this season. Martin admittedly said the combo’s first punt will make for a nervous coach.

Junior kicker Nate Reed really had breakout season last year and finally provided some consistency in the kicking game.

The Eagles also have a true freshman as a punter. Ryan Quigley was an All-State punter in South Carolina.

Senior place kicker Steve Aponavicious was 13 of 19 a year ago.

Although the flashes have made strides, it still needs to translate to the field.



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