Three questions for Kent State football team
Three questions facing the Golden Flashes heading into spring camp:
1. Who will fill the shoes of three graduating seniors on the offensive line?
Conversation about the giant bodies that make up the offensive line might be a bit boring, but look no further than the 2011 season for proof of just how important the jobs of these players are. During former coach Darrell Hazell’s first season in 2011, the Flashes started with a 1-6 record before the line was shored up by moving players around. After the move, KSU won four of its last five games and then carried that momentum into last season, winning 15 of 17 games following the adjustment. Thus, finding the right replacements for four-year starter Brian Winters and three-year starters Josh Kline and Kent Cleveland will prove crucial to the Flashes’ success in 2013. New coach Paul Haynes only signed one offensive line recruit in the offseason and is relying on last year’s reserve linemen to take the next step.
2. Who will start at quarterback?
With four-year starter Spencer Keith gone, the Flashes’ starting quarterback is likely to be senior David Fisher or sophomore Colin Reardon. After witnessing Keith’s struggles during his first season in 2011, Hazell promptly went out and recruited Fisher from California’s Palomar Community College to come to Kent and battle Keith for the starting job. Fisher had a stronger arm and was more mobile, but he wasn’t able to knock off Keith, who was better at protecting the football. With a year in the system, has Fisher improved enough? Or will offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Rock turn to Poland Seminary standout Reardon, who showed incredible poise as a true freshman in camp last season?
3. Do the Flashes have the talent and experience to repeat last year’s stunning success?
The 2012 season went in the history books as one of the program’s best ever. KSU finished with an 11-3 record, played for the Mid-American Conference championship and reached a bowl game for the first time in 40 years. But surpassing or even matching those feats will be difficult this season thanks to a tough schedule. After opening with Liberty on Aug. 29, KSU will jump right into league play, hosting Bowling Green the following week. Then, things will get really interesting when the Flashes go back to the nonleague portion of the schedule, traveling to LSU and Penn State in back-to-back weeks. Two weeks later, KSU will have a rematch with Northern Illinois, which topped the Flashes in overtime in the MAC Championship game at Detroit’s Ford Field, earning the right to play in the Orange Bowl. If KSU manages to go .500 (3-3) during the early portion of the schedule, it would be considered a victory.
— Stephanie Storm