Hazell reacts to K-State loss, prepares for South Alabama

Jacob Corcoran, AJ Atkinson

Coach Hazell’s reaction to last week’s loss at Kansas State

KentWired Video

var so = new SWFObject(‘http://www.staterinteractive.com/player.swf’,’mpl’,’665′,’450′,’9′);





After Saturday night’s loss, Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell said the most important step his team must make is sticking together and for the true leaders of the team to emerge.

“It’s easy to lead when things are good,” Hazell said, “but when you’re struggling, you have to have leaders that our strong and step up and define who you are as a team.”

After three games, the Flashes’ opponents have scored 105 points to Kent State’s 19 and have 976 total yards to Kent State’s 475. Hazell said looking into his players’ eyes, he can tell they are all just as determined as he is to fix this.

“Their eyes tell you a million stories,” Hazell said. “This is important to them. It’s important to a lot of people in that locker room.”

The one positive of Saturday’s game Hazell was happy to talk about was the running backs. The Flashes rushed for 118 yards against Kansas State, which is a huge improvement from the first two games—the Flashes only rushed for a combined 63 yards in the first two games of the season.

Freshman running back Trayion Durham took the majority of the carries and impressed many in his 72 yards on 18 carries. Hazell said he was most impressed with the six-foot, 260 pound tailback’s ability to always move forward after contact.

“He always finished the other night getting a couple more yards after contact,” Hazell said. “He’s very physical, and he played very physical the other night, which is good to see.”

Receiving the least amount of carries Saturday was senior running back and captain Jacquise Terry. Hazell said they have had the idea to move Terry back to wide receiver, a position he played as a sophomore, but Hazell likes him too much as a running back.

“Helping us out in the slot may be an option, but I still like him with the ball in his hands on certain plays,” Hazell said. “He’s a specific type of runner.”

Preparing for South Alabama

KentWired Video

var so = new SWFObject(‘http://www.staterinteractive.com/player.swf’,’mpl’,’370′,’280′,’9′);





One part of Saturday’s game that Hazell is still sore about is the number of penalties the Flashes committed, especially the number of personal fouls. Kent State had eight personal fouls for 120 yards. Hazell said he understands some personal fouls, such as sophomore defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix and junior defensive back Sidney Saulter’s facemask penalties, but the others, such as junior wide receiver Matt Hurdle’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, are inexcusable.

“(Hurdle) and I are going to have a meeting after this press conference and talk about some things,” Hazell said. “Those are penalties that crush your football team. You have to put your team first and forget about those personal battles.”

Hazell said junior quarterback Spencer Keith’s morale is down once more after failing to redeem himself Saturday. If the team can help Keith and boost his confidence, Hazell said fans will see a good football team.

“We can be a pretty good football team,” Hazell said. “I’ve said that the last couple of weeks, and I believe it. If I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t say it. We have a lot of good football players in our locker room. We’re going through some hard times right now, but the team’s been great. Because of this adversity, we’re going to be a really good football team. You may think I’m an eternal optimist, but I don’t’ think so. I think it’s more reality than being eternal optimist.”

Kent State begins preparing for South Alabama this week. The Jaguars are coming off a 19-game winning streak that was snapped last weekend against North Carolina State. In South Alabama’s first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision Conference team, N.C. State defeated them 35-13.

Hazell said he has not done much scouting on South Alabama yet, but knows they have some talent from what he has seen. He said many of their players were third and fourth stringers at other schools and transferred to South Alabama in order to start.

“They are going to bring a lot of good football players up here with them,” Hazell said. “They have a lot of good players who run around and are physical and present some problems. They have two good running backs and a good quarterback who can throw it on time. It’s going to be a tough football game.”

The Flashes prepare for their second home game, hoping this one provides their first win of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Dix Stadium.

Contact AJ Atkinson at [email protected].