Goode getting better

Lance Lysowski

Sophomore wide receiver Tyshon Goode had caught 20 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown before last weekend.

His critic was not happy.

Goode missed blocks and was penalized on a block below the knees in Kent State’s 34-21 loss at Toledo on Oct. 16.

His critic was not happy.

imagesGoode did not record more than 55 yards in a game until last week.

His critic was not happy.

Tyshon Goode’s 158-yard performance last week finally appeased his greatest critic.

Goode’s critic is not a coach or a fellow player. It’s his mother.

Since the sophomore wide receiver’s Pop Warner playing days, his mother has always been there. When Goode would be running toward the end zone for a touchdown, he would glance at the sidelines and there she was. Diedra Glenn would run with her son toward the end zone.

Last weekend, Goode recorded season highs with 12 catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns to break out of a season-long slump.

Goode, who was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Offensive Player of the Week, said the performance could end the critical phone calls Glenn has made to her son so far this season.

“My mom’s been really hard on me too. I can thank her for all of that,” Goode said. “She’s been really hard on me. Phone calls and all of that. For instance, if it’s a block I miss, she’ll say ‘stop playing soft, I’ve seen you make that block a million times.’ Or if it’s a catch that I should have caught that I didn’t. She’s just there. My Mom is very into football. My mom has been a really great inspiration.”

Last season, sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith and Goode developed a rapport that led to the two breaking Kent State freshman records in multiple categories. Goode’s 53 receptions for 755 yards and five touchdowns also earned him a spot on ESPN’s All-Non BCS freshman team.

At the beginning of this season, expectations were high for Goode, but a nagging knee injury limited his ability to make the same catches he did last season. With his health improving and junior wide receiver Sam Kirkland becoming the team’s No. 1 target, Goode took the initiative to improve not only the way he performs in game, but also his effort in practice.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said Kirkland’s work ethic has served as a wake-up call for not only Goode, but also the rest of the team.

“The example Sam has laid down for our entire football team is one they can all learn from,” Martin said. “This is a guy who has really changed his whole way he approaches the game. When Sam comes out to practice, it’s an assault and he practices like every play is his last play. That’s why he’s having the year he’s having.

“With Tyshon, the lights finally came on for him last week about that. All of a sudden in practice, he’s diving for balls, making difficult catches and blocking. He’s doing the things you need to do in order to become an elite player. Low and behold, that’s how he played.”

For Goode, consistency has always been an issue. Last season, after back-to-back-to-back 100-yard receiving performances, Goode only caught four passes for 65 yards against Temple.

Martin said Goode must continue his practice routine if he wants to continue to be successful.

“Now, the deal for Tyshon is can you do it week after week,” Martin said. “Just because you practice like that doesn’t mean you’re always going to have a game like that, but you’re never going to have a game like that unless you practice that way.”

At the conclusion of last season, Martin was posed with the task of hiring a new coach to mentor Goode and the receiving corps. The decision was an easy one when Eugene Baker became available. Baker, who played for Kent State from 1994-1998, still holds every wide receiving record in school history and spent time in the NFL.

When he first took the job, Baker immediately watched tape on Goode and liked what he saw.

“He was just a natural receiver when he came in,” Baker said. “A natural ball catcher and he made plays. I was looking forward to working with him this year, and I was looking forward to getting him to come out and make more plays for us.”

With five games left in the season and the Flashes facing three of the best pass defenses in the conference, Goode knows he has to continue to practice with the intensity he showed last week, and Baker can help him do just that.

“I felt like I’ve learned a lot of things when he came a long,” Goode said. “Not only that. He holds what I want; he holds all of the records. I feel like he can help to guide me there.”

So as long as Goode continues to play well, his greatest critic will be happy.

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].