Opinion: Time to get Ford tough



Cody Erbacher

It’s time for Kent State coach Geno Ford to make a change.

After falling to rival Akron, 65-62, in the conference opening game on Saturday at Rhodes Arena, Ford has the tough task of transforming a team that looks like they have lost all hope, to a team that can compete for a second-straight Mid-American Conference Regular Season Championship.

The Flashes are on a three-game skid, they have a 0-5 away record and they no longer hold the best record in the MAC.

With a roster holding just three players that have played against MAC opponents, the Flashes don’t look like they have the drive or experience to post a solid conference record.

Last season, Kent State lost back-to-back games against conference opponents Miami and Bowling Green because of a lackadaisical defensive attack at the beginning of the MAC season.

Consequently, coach Ford decided to sit three of his top four scorers to motivate the players.

It worked.

The Flashes won 11 of their final 12 games in conference play en route to a MAC Regular Season Championship.

Although last seasons team boasted much more experience, this year’s team displays similar talent, even if it’s just for brief moments in each game.

Against the Zips, the three returning players from last season’s roster recorded 40 points.

Not bad at first glance.

But the trio of senior guard Rod Sherman, sophomore guard Randal Holt and junior forward Justin Greene shot a sloppy 14-of-37 from the field.

And the rest of the roster tallied 23 points, just a few more points than team leading scorer Sherman, who recorded 19.

Ford, who is fourth in the Kent State record books for wins in a single season (2009-10) with 24 and wins in his first season (2008-09) with 19, needs to make a change if he wants his team to be a legitimate contender in the MAC.

Last season, Ford had experience to fall back on.

But this season he has a floor full of talented players that look lost and confused.

It could be because of the fact that three players (Holt, Sherman and junior guard Michael Porrini) were forced to play in over 35 minutes against Akron because of a lack of depth on the team. Only two players on the Zips’ roster played for 30 minutes, compared to the Flashes five members. And none of the Zips posted over 31 minutes.

Or the Flashes could be struggling because most of the Kent State roster is not used to playing in front of a 5,019 member crowd that is, for the most part, rooting against them.

Regardless of the reason, coach Ford needs to figure out a way to motivate his team as he did last season, or he could be watching the postseason at home rather than coaching on the court.

Contact Cody Erbacher at [email protected].