Flashes football prepare for spring game

Matt Lofgren

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With the spring football game just around the corner, coach Darrell Hazell has his eye on who he will be able to count on come the start of the season.

Eight practices into the spring session, and the Kent State football coaches have been working hard to install several new parts to the Flashes’ offense. So far, things are working out well ahead of schedule, Hazell said.

“We’re going to get a lot of reps,” Hazell said. “There’s close to 80 plays scripted, but there will probably be 120 runs, and we can really find out who can play when the red light goes off, who’s going to be able to handle the situations when we’re real tired.”

The one decision coach Hazell has yet to make is whether or not his quarterbacks will be involved in full contact during the game. At the very least, Hazell said he would give the five quarterbacks “one or two series with them live.”

Youthful Wide Receivers Need to Improve

Senior wide receiver Tyshon Goode has been setting a good example for the rest of the wide receiving core all spring long, but the message hasn’t been driven in yet.

Along side Goode, senior Eric Adeyemi has been working hard for his final season, but coach Hazell said he needs to “step up consistently.” A transfer from Kentucky, Adeyemi had only five catches last season but was pivotal in the return game.

Other younger wide receivers like freshmen Josh Boyle and sophomore Chris Humphrey have made positive strides in Hazell’s eyes. Aside from Goode and Adeyemi, coach Hazell said there is no clear cut number three.

Defensive Backs More Comfortable with Second Year

It took a while for assistant coach Jeff Burrow to get his players to get acclimated to a new defense last year, but Burrow said the players are treating it like second nature.

“Last year, we were brand new,” Burrow said. “We had lost previous starters, so my guys were brand new. Now they have a year of experience, and we played a bunch of guys in my room, and now there’s a comfort level they’re playing with.”

Throughout the spring, the defense has had a good nose for the ball as turnover numbers fluctuated. Burrow said that his players are reacting better and the amount of batted balls has pleased him.

Junior defensive backs Calvin Tiggle and Luke Wollet, who were impact players for the Flashes’ defense last season, have already exceeded the coaches expectations, according to both Hazell and Burrow.

Crediting time spent studying and working in the defense, Tiggle said he is excited to put all of his knowledge of the defense to the test in the spring game.

“I feel everything is coming a lot more clear to me,” Tiggle said. “I have a better understanding as well as seeing my teammates play. We all just came together as a team, and we progressed since last year. I feel we came together more as a team as opposed to in years back. We really weren’t a team, but [with] the new coaches we got and the things they implement to us, we’ve come together as a team and everything’s been going great so far.”

Keith Showing Strong Leadership Values

As quarterbacks senior Spencer Keith and junior David Fisher split time under center, Keith’s comfort within the team has led to a positive showing of leadership.

One practice out of every week finishes with what coach Hazell calls a MAC Championship Period where he tests the determination of his players. Tuesday, players had to hold each other up for 60 yards for a wheel barrel run.

Keith led the whole way.

“He’s really started to step up and pulled people with him and being very vocal,” Hazell said, “as well as [having] done it by physical leadership.”

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected] or @MLofgrenDKS