KENT: With the defense sporting the navy blue jerseys it earned the right to wear by way of winning Saturday’s jersey scrimmage, the Flashes spent a majority of time during Monday’s spring practice working on two-minute drills.
Throughout the morning, the blue-clad defenders continued to make their presence felt.
“Our whole defense has been very good,” KSU coach Darrell Hazell said. “Saturday, it looked like our old defense showing up. A lot of guys shined on that side of the ball.”
Perhaps that’s due in large part to the emphasis defensive coordinator Jon Heacock has put on his players learning more about the big picture, rather than position only.
“I think last year when guys heard a call, they performed the call,” Heacock said. “I think our challenge this spring has been to learn the defense as a whole and play the defense that’s called. I always tell them, ‘defense is knowing where your help is.’ Last year, I don’t think we had a handle on that.”
Senior kicker Freddy Cortez continues to grade well during spring camp.
“I thought Saturday’s scrimmage might have been Freddy’s best day of kicking ever,” Hazell said. “At least since I’ve known him. He was smooth, he got the ball up quickly, he had great distance and the kicks were right up the middle.”
Three weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus, Cortez made a 46-yard field goal with plenty of room to spare and blasted a kickoff out of the back of the end zone during the jersey scrimmage.
Although Cortez has always had a great deal of leg strength, he has been focusing on getting more lift on his kicks.
“Elevation is so critical and he’s been working at it,” Hazell said. “As long as he stays with his mechanics, the ball comes up extremely high.”
Junior quarterback David Fisher is still learning the offensive signals while battling senior incumbent Spencer Keith for the starting job, but Fisher’s scrambling ability continues to impress.
“When I went over the film a second time and focused on the plays he made under duress, he was able to find some hidden yardage plays that were pretty impressive,” Hazell said. “There was one play where he should been sacked for a safety. Instead, he shook off the tackler and found [junior tight end Tim] Erjavec for a big 15-to-20-yard gain. A couple of other plays he slid. Together, it all creates another dimension for the offense.”
Just one day after touring Kent State on an official visit last weekend, Pennsylvania nose guard Tyler Haddock verbally committed on Sunday to play for the Golden Flashes.
A 6-foot, 300-pound junior, Haddock is a two-year starter for the defending Class AAA champion Spartans at Montour High School.
“He went, liked what he saw and had a good time,” Montour coach Lou Cerro told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “So he decided to commit.”
Although the Flashes were the first to offer Haddock a scholarship, he’d also received interest from nearby Pitt, as well as Cincinnati and Georgia Tech. According to a source close to KSU’s program, Haddock is the first commitment for the team’s 2013 class.
Stephanie Storm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Flashes blog at www.ohio.com/flashes. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SStormABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.