Hazell talks strengths, struggles of spring game

Matt Lofgren

The defensive squad topped the offensive squad Saturday morning at Dix Stadium in a jersey scrimmage just one week before the spring football game.

Coach Darrell Hazell has been eagerly waiting to see his players’ offseason pay off, but, he will still have to wait.

With just nine healthy linemen available, the defensive front was able to control the line of scrimmage all game en route to the 54-36 win. The scoring system was conceived by the coaches, with the defense earning points for sacks, tackles, losses and other big plays.

“It’s hard [to have missing linemen],” Hazell said. “You’re swapping guys, first team, second team. It plays a huge role in the success of the offense.”

The Flashes have been without the services of senior and second team All-Mid-American Conference left tackle Brian Winters and junior right guard Tyler Arend. Both Winters and Arend saw significant action last week on the starting line.

Hazell said he was optimistic the line will be ready in time for the season and is looking forward to new recruits coming in.

Aside from the struggles at the point of attack, the team did notice hints of what could be, for the season to come. Freshman Trayion Durham and senior Dri Archer split most of the time at the running back position. Durham and Archer were both at the field together at times with Durham lining up in the fullback position.

When it came down to it, the offense had to be pleased with the fact that neither senior Spencer Keith nor junior David Fisher threw an interception. As an added plus, no one on the offense turned the ball over.

Quarterbacks still battling; experience leading the way.

Commotion during the Kent State offseason is due to the addition of junior college standout David Fisher.

Fisher came into the spring as a known duel threat. Saturday he proved his versatility by tucking and running on broken plays for positive yards. Proving he has the skills, Hazell said Fisher just needs to spend time in the offense.

For now, Keith has the advantage of being in the offense for so long, Hazell said.

“Spencer is ahead because he knows the system and he’s able to communicate a little bit better,” Hazell said. “Fisher understands what the calls mean. He’s thinking constantly, which doesn’t allow him to make all the plays he’s capable of making all the time. Once he gets caught up, I think he’s going to be pretty dynamic.”

Throughout the spring, Keith has looked sharp with the first team offense. Saturday was no different, as freshman wide receiver Josh Boyle made some impressive plays as he has all spring.

Hazell said he has noticed the young receiver has made large strides this offseason. Noticing a positive change in the knowledge of the offense, Hazell said he has seen him become more confident in the offense.

Cortez and the Kicking Game Excelled

Senior Freddy Cortez has looked sharp all spring by making long field goals look easy.

Saturday, Cortez showed off his leg by splitting the uprights on a 53-yard attempt. He went on to make three of five attempts.

The Flashes have three practices left until the spring game on Saturday at 1 p.m. 

Contact Matt Lofgren at [email protected] or @MLofgrenDKS