Flashes exit Tuscaloosa healthy, prepare for Saturday’s home opener

AJ Atkinson

Kent State coach Darrell Hazell addressed the media in his weekly press conference today going over key notes about the Alabama game, player updates and discussing the Flashes’ next game against Louisiana.

Players that stood out

Hazell said no player impressed him more that sophomore defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix in Saturday’s game at Alabama.

“I didn’t realize how good he was,” Hazell said with a smile. “To watch the film and see what he did against those guys who allegedly and probably are the best players in the country…he was unbelievable.”

Hazell said what the team may do is try to disguise Nix more and line him up at different positions to keep the opposing offensive linemen working more and confuse any double team strategies they may have. Hazell added that having Nix opens up holes for the other defensive linemen because the offensive line will put so much emphasis on blocking Nix.

“I’m glad we don’t play against him, because he is as disruptive as a player as I have seen since Dwight Freeney at Syracuse when I was at West Virginia.”

Nix sustained an ankle injury in Saturday’s game, but is listed as probable for this week’s home opener against Louisiana Lafayette.

Others who stood out were freshman running back Trayion Durham with his big fourth and one carry for a first down on Kent State’s side of the field, walk-on Nick Conrad, who forced a fumble for the special teams and sophomore defensive end Mark Fackler.

“(Durham) took that guy on and took him for a ride for five yards,” Hazell said. “It was good to see him do that in that position. And Nick Conrad got out there and made some big hits on special teams. He’s actually going to be a nominee for our Jack Lambert Hit of the Week. We’ll have the team vote on that tomorrow.”

From running back to quarterback

Junior Sal Battles will begin taking snaps at the quarterback position in this week’s practices. The 5-foot-11, 218 pound junior out of Youngstown began the year as a backup running back, but saw the depth of the position and asked to go back to quarterback.

Battles threw for 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior season at quarterback for East High School in Youngstown. He graduated high school with 3,078 passing yards and 3,165 rushing yards and 74 touchdowns in his career.

Hazell said unless shown otherwise in the coming weeks, freshman Jerrod Ronyak will remain the backup quarterback to junior quarterback Spencer Keith.

Injuries after week one

Hazell said senior linebacker Kyle Reese and sophomore defensive back Darius Polk suffered concussions in the Alabama game and are questionable for Saturday’s game against Louisiana.

Scouting report on Louisiana

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns opened its season against Oklahoma State Saturday, falling 61-34.

Louisiana has the scouting report of not being much of a defensive team. Hazell said Louisiana’s main strategy is running an explosive fast paced offense that takes as many snaps as possible.

The Flashes hope to combat the Ragin’ Cajuns with the same strategy. The Flashes used a huddle up offense against Alabama in hopes of slowing the game down and tiring the defense. Instead, Hazell said it also slowed the game for the Flashes and hurt their progress.

“The more plays you can run the better you’re going to be,” Hazell said. “At the end of the (Alabama) game, we got into more fast paced offense and started to move the ball on offense. That might be the direction we have to go (Saturday).”

Next game

The Flashes (0-1) open Dix Stadium against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (0-1). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday night.