KSU football regroups in spring practice, seeks improvements


Sophomore running back Nick Holley runs the ball through Army defense during the Homecoming football game at Dix Stadium on October 18, 2014. The Flashes won, 39-17.

Shayla Pierce

After struggling in a 2-9 2014 season, the Kent State football team is taking steps to ensure for a better season this fall.

Coach Paul Haynes said following the completion of this year’s spring ball season, the coaches took a step back to look at the full picture.

“I start doing an evaluation of where we need to go and what we need to be talking about as a whole program,” Haynes said.

Every returning player and incoming recruit is on campus completing training. There are team workouts, as well as positional workouts that the players are doing at least two to three times a week.

Senior quarterback Colin Reardon is coming off a 14-touchdown season, and a Kent State single-season record of 228 passes. This summer, he has been throwing at least twice a week, while also doing team workouts to get ready for the season.

Reardon said he makes sure to spend time with teammates off the field as well.

“Anything we can do to build team chemistry on and off the field,” Reardon said.

Senior linebacker Devante Strickland said his main focus is getting back from a season-ending knee injury from last year.

“I’m working on strengthening my knee back and getting in good shape for this upcoming season,” Strickland said.

Matt Dellinger, a senior linebacker, is entering his final season with 183 tackles in his career. Dellinger is putting in his time in the weight room this summer to prepare, because he said a lot of times opponents are gaining extra yardage on a tackle because they’re falling forward and not backward.

“I really have to work on driving my legs and make a lot more tackles for losses,” Dellinger said.

As Haynes is still evaluating personnel, he said he hopes he is to the point where he doesn’t have to lose a lot of freshmen. That said, Haynes said he has an obligation to play the best players.

“If those guys come out and prove they are the best players, then they will have the opportunity to play,” Haynes said.

Nate Terhune, a senior defensive lineman, is working out four to five times a week. He is coming off last season with 35 tackles and one fumble recovery. Terhune, along with the others on the defensive line, are putting in extra time going through fundamental drill work to make sure everyone, including new freshmen, know all the basics.

Haynes said he will look to his seniors to lead the team, no matter what their role is.

“All of them have to have positive attitudes and this team will go where they go,” Haynes said. “Every year, I put it on them to take the leadership role.”

Haynes said if everyone involved can reach his full potential, the team has a chance to be competitive in the Mid-American Conference.

“It’s not really about going into the season with a big goal,” Haynes said. “ I want to make sure we continue to get better each day. If we do that, we will end up where we want to be in December.”

Contact Shayla Pierce at [email protected].