KENT: New Kent State football coach Paul Haynes spent the first day of camp primarily focused on his team’s tempo and attitude.
With the first few days of camp at Dix Stadium dedicated to installing the team’s offensive and defensive sets, Haynes wasn’t really looking for any players to wow him or even stand out. Getting on and off the field quickly and being in the right place at the right time were good enough.
“We liked the tempo for the first day of camp,” Haynes said. “That’s the biggest thing, just getting them back out here and getting the kinks worked out. It’s the first time we’ve been out here since spring, so we liked what we saw.”
One player who did stand out was sophomore quarterback-turned-receiver Evan Shimensky, who caught two short passes near the sidelines.
After finding himself buried on the Golden Flashes’ depth chart after his first season, the former Kent Roosevelt quarterback went to former coach Darrell Hazell and asked what his best chance to get on the field would be.
“He said, ‘Maybe you should think about moving to slot or wide out,’ ” Shimensky recalled. “I said, ‘OK, good. Put me there.’ I just wanted to be anywhere to help the team win.”
The position switch was a little bit more of an adjustment than the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Shimensky expected.
“I’d played quarterback since I was 10 years old,” he said. “So, when you switch positions, it’s going to be difficult at first. But having a summer to learn routes, catching, timing, it’s definitely easier today than it was last year. It feels different, it feels better.”
Shimensky still has a ways to go, but the coaching staff has noticed the work he’s put into his role change.
“I think he can work [his way] into the offense because we use Dri [Archer] at running back and receiver,” Haynes said. “So you talk about looking for depth at receiver.
“We do have Tyshon [Goode] coming back at that spot, but we still don’t have a lot of depth at receiver. So we need some guys to step up in there, and he has been doing that. He’s had a great summer, so it’s in his hands now if he wants to take it. I don’t care who’s out there, I just want the best guys out there and he’s got a good chance to help us.”
The physical adjustment to receiver is ongoing for the undersized Shimensky, but KSU offensive coordinator Brian Rock said the right frame of mind has been present from the start.
“He’s got a great attitude, work ethic and want to,” Rock said. “And those are prerequisite for anybody to succeed. He made a couple nice catches today and we’ll see how he continues to progress.”
Healthy and happy
The Flashes began camp with a relatively full deck of players that includes fifth-year senior Goode.
“Everybody looked good,” Haynes said. “We’ve still got a couple bumps and bruises, stuff we’re taking care of instead of trying to jump them back in there and getting them re-injured. But pretty much, everybody’s ready to roll.”
Last season at this time, Goode, the Flashes’ top returning receiver, suffered a serious hamstring injury while leaping for a pass.
Although it initially was thought to be a routine pull, Goode struggled to recover after rest and rehab. Later, an MRI revealed that two tendons had torn from the hamstring. The injury sidelined Goode for KSU’s entire season after surgery in October.
“I was excited to look at Tyshon today to see how he moved,” Haynes said. “He’s a good-looking receiver who’s had a lot of production here. So, hopefully, we can get that production out of him again this year.”
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