Haynes, Flashes welcome conference play

Brandon Kagan

Kent State head football coach Paul Haynes and his players are excited to start their conference schedule coming off a 42-3 loss to Louisville in week four.

“We’re happy that we’re in MAC play against teams that are like us and we’re excited to get it started,” Haynes said in a press conference on Monday.

With senior quarterback Nick Holley scheduled to have knee surgery this week, Kent State is currently running a two-quarterback system, featuring junior George Bollas and freshman Dustin Crum, who rushed for 62 yards at Louisville Saturday.

“He did a good job moving the ball,” Haynes said. “He made some freshman mistakes, but did a good job moving the ball.” When asked if he had to change his offensive game plan based on the two quarterbacks’ strengths, Haynes said, “No, we recruited those guys with what we were doing offensively, so there’s not a lot of change based on which one of those guys are in the game.”

Haynes praised the Kent State defense led by senior cornerback, Demetrius Monday, who recorded two interceptions against Lousiville. He has totaled four interceptions in his last three games, a number that leads the nation.

“He just keeps doing the things we are asking him to do and the things we expect him to do,” Haynes said.

Junior offensive tackle Stefano Millin also feels good about going into conference play

“I feel like the non-conference really helped us come together and have some chemistry,” Millin said.

Haynes had much additional praise for the recent performance of the special teams unit.

“It’s been really good, and it’s been a different guy every week that’s making a play on our cover unit,” Haynes said. “If we can flip the field and start teams in negative yards it’s good, and even our kickoff unit has done a really good job.”

Junior kicker, Shane Hynes, who made a career-long 48-yard field goal Saturday, and sophomore punter Derek Adams, who ranks 17th in national punting average, both had standout performances as well.

“It’s all in (Adams) work ethic,” Haynes said. “He is an unbelievable worker, and it’s paying off for him. If it’s not a 50 yarder for him he’s upset. But he doesn’t show it, he doesn’t let his emotions get the best of him.”

Haynes also stated that the Flashes are excited to go into week six with only one injury; sophomore offensive lineman Mike Marinelli suffered an arm injury and saw a doctor Monday.

The Flashes open up conference play against Buffalo Saturday in their second home game of the season at 3:30 p.m.

The Bulls are currently 2-2 and are coming off a 34-31 victory against Florida Atlantic University.

Tyree Jackson, the starting quarterback for the Bulls, suffered an injury in the matchup against the Owls and will be a game-time decision.

Brandon Kagan is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].