Flashes looks ahead to upcoming football season

Kent State University’s tight end Casey Pierce breaks through a Bowling Green tackle for a first down during the MAC game at Doyt Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. The Flashes lost the game, 30-20, bringing their record to 1-9 and 0-6 in the MAC.

Stephen Means II

Coming into the season, the Kent State Football team (0-1) has nowhere to go but up.

After last season’s disappointing 2-9 (1-6 Mid-American Conference) results, the Flashes feel optimistic heading into its third season under head coach Paul Haynes.

“I think the difference between the group we had last year and this year is that we’re all really close,” said sophomore running back Miles Hibbler, in a video preview entitled, Moving Parts-2015 Football Camp.

Returning virtually every starter not named Chris Humphrey or Casey Pierce, the Flashes have enough experience at each position to make a vast improvement in the win column compared to the past two seasons.


Kent State’s offense comes into the season under the leadership of newly appointed offensive coordinator Don Treadwell. Treadwell introduced the spread offense during spring camp in order to put more of an emphasis on the team’s offensive weapons.

The biggest question for the Flashes offense will be whether it can establish a consistent running game. Last season Kent State finished with a total of 901 rushing yards and six touchdowns, a total most teams’ starting running back amasses on his own.

The difference this year will be the offensive line. Last season the O-line featured four sophomores and a redshirt freshman. Now, the running game should benefit from playing behind a more experienced group.

Top Returners

Colin Reardon

The redshirt senior is entering his third year as starting quarterback for the Flashes. The biggest key for his success this season is to cut down on his turnovers. Reardon threw 16 interceptions last season, four of which came against Bowling Green, while throwing just 14 touchdowns.

Nick Holley

The junior running back led the Flashes with 516 rushing yards. Holley also caught  27 receptions for 199 yards and one touchdown. Holley’s versatility makes him a key weapon in both elements of the offense.

Trayion Durham

The redshirt senior returns following a season ending back injury. Durham ran for 766 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. He came to campus ranked the third best fullback in the 2011 class. Now healthy, Durham’s return to the lineup is a major factor for the Golden Flashes success – Durham is arguably the most talented player on offense, and his number will be called upon often.  

Players to watch:

The offensive line will be the key to the Flashes ability to put points on the board. The better the line is, the more time Reardon will have to make better decisions in the pocket.


The defensive side of the ball for Kent State is without a doubt its better half last season. The Flashes return all 11 of its starters, along with its top 11 tacklers.

The secondary could be one of the most productive in the MAC this season if Kent State can improve its pass rush. The Flashes were only able to generate nine sacks last season.

Top Returners

Nate Holley

The junior safety, and twin brother of running back Nick Holley, returns possibly as Kent State’s best all-around defender. Holley recorded 137 tackles along with four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

Jordan Italiano

The senior safety recorded 96 tackles along with three interceptions during the 2014 season. Italiano made 10 or more tackles four times last season including a season high 16 against Bowling Green.

Players to watch:

Demetrius Monday

The redshirt junior proved to be the Flashes top cover-corner last season recording 40 tackles, an interception and a team-high seven broken up passes.

Najee Murray

Athlon’s named the senior cornerback to its preseason All-MAC Third Team following a sophomore season where he recorded 23 tackles and recovered two fumbles.

Kent State dropped its first game Saturday to Illinois (1-0), 52-3. The Flashes take on Delaware State (0-1) in the first home game of the season this Saturday, September 12. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m.

Contact Stephen Means II at [email protected]