KENT: Time is running out, and Tyshon Goode can feel it.
With a renewed commitment to making the most of his senior season, Goode, a Kent State wide receiver, is now looking to make up for lost ground.
“I want to redeem myself from last year,” he said. “I want to show my coaches as well as my teammates that I can be a guy they can count on in tough situations. I want to be a leader, a guy who can step up, a guy who they can go to on third-and-long or whenever.
“Last year, there were a lot of things preparation-wise that I felt I didn’t do. So, I look at last year [as a lost year] and that just fuels me that much more now.”
For a majority of last season, Goode was all but a no-show, catching only 24 passes for 316 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. Goode, as well as many of his teammates, struggled to understand a new offensive system put into place when coach Darrell Hazell and his staff took over for former coach Doug Martin.
“When you’re learning a new offense, it’s always rough trying to forget your old offense,” said Goode, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior from Syracuse, N.Y.
But to make matters worse, the group didn’t work as hard as they could have to make headway sooner, something that at least in Goode’s case, he seems to fully understand and accept now.
“Everything’s coming like second nature now, and that feels good,” said Goode, who admitted it wasn’t until the second half of last season that he felt comfortable and knew what he was doing in the Flashes’ new offense.
To say KSU’s receiving corps underachieved last year is an understatement. As a group, they hauled in just 172 passes for 1,745 yards and 11 touchdowns. Only one — the now-graduated Chris Gilbert — caught more than two touchdowns. He caught three.
But if spring camp is any indication, the receivers could be one of the most improved groups on the team.
“For [Goode], he’s a kid who gets it so your heart goes out to him,” KSU receivers coach Thad Jemison said. “It’s his senior year and he wants to be good. So, he has a chance. Now, if we can get all the guys doing that, we’ll have a great season.”
Jemison knows that sounds a lot easier to say than to do.
“When you come in as a new staff and you have a different approach but it sounds the same and you’re not winning, the kids kind of think, ‘uh oh, here we go again,’ ” Jemison said. “[It wasn’t] until we started winning that they bought into the system. What we see now is a carryover from the end of last year.
“You gotta win [over] the kids. We began to find success with what we’re doing, we stayed on them and now they understand it’s bigger than football. They’re studying harder than they’ve ever studied and really taking ownership of their own life. You can see that and you can feel it with the way the kids respond to us now.”
While Goode spoke with a group of reporters Monday morning after practice, Jemison stood nearby and smiled as he listened to his new disciple.
“It was hard for them last year,” Jemison said. “They didn’t know us and didn’t understand what we were expecting. But him saying the things he just said, he gets it. In fact, he was in here Saturday and Sunday when I came in watching film by himself. Last year, he wasn’t doing that.”
Now, Jemison hopes that Goode’s renewed dedication rubs off on the rest of the group, which includes fellow seniors Matthew Hurdle and Eric Adeyemi and sophomore Chris Humphrey.
“I want to show not only the [Mid-American Conference], but the whole nation how good we can be as a wide receiver corps,” Goode said.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Flashes blog at http://www.ohio.com/blogs/kent-state. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.