Football’s offensive keys to success

Cody Francis


Thoughts about what to watch out for this Friday.

In honor of the upcoming football spring game this Friday, we thought we’d take a look at the 2010 edition of the Kent State football team’s offense and offer up some random, early season thoughts about what to watch out for this Friday.

• Watch out for quarterback Spencer Keith. In two intra-squad scrimmages during the spring practices, Keith has impressed. Most recently, he completed 14-of-24 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns Saturday. This season, with an unusually strong running game backing him up, Keith has a chance to shine. The key to his success, and his team’s success for that matter, will be limiting his turnovers. Kent State coach Doug Martin obviously has confidence in his sophomore signal-caller, recently referring to Keith as “one of the best quarterbacks in the conference right now.”

If Martin is right, we should look for Keith to light up Dix Stadium this Friday. If he’s wrong, there’s always… Giorgio Morgan?

• Watch out for the experienced offensive line. Losing only one starter, Dante Campbell, from the season before, the Flashes return with experience at the offensive line. Junior Chris Anzevino, junior Michael Fay, sophomore Brian Winters and sophomore Kent Cleveland all return on the offensive line. Former right tackle Pat Reedy, who started 23 of 24 games in his two seasons on the offensive line, is making the transition to tight end this season.

Anzevino, Fay and Winters combined have started 56 games in their collegiate careers. Cleveland only started one game last year, but he received significant playing time in his freshman season.

Campbell will be replaced by freshman Tom Pizzurro, who Martin has been high on since signing day in February.

It’s up to these guys to keep Keith safe and the running game running. They have a tough act to follow, as the 2009 offensive line allowed only 19 sacks, fourth best in the MAC.

• Watch out for sophomore wide receiver Tyshon Goode. Goode is Keith’s favorite target. Last season, he set freshman records with 53 receptions, 755 yards receiving and five touchdowns. In Saturday’s scrimmage, Goode looked like he was already in the same form as he was in 2009 with four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

However, Goode can’t do it on his own. The Flashes need another receiver to step up and take some pressure off Goode, who had more receiving yards, receptions and touchdowns in 2009 than his possible 2010 counterparts, juniors Kendrick Pressley and Sam Kirkland, had combined (39 receptions, 455 yards, three touchdowns).

• Watch out for the running game. Last September, Martin said if senior running back Eugene Jarvis didn’t get a sixth year after a lacerated kidney ended his season in Kent State’s second game, “everybody in Kent should storm the NCAA, and we should burn the place down.” Well, Martin got his wish as Jarvis is returning this season. However, the coach may have a problem going into the 2010 season that he didn’t expect to have and that any coach in the NCAA would kill for: too much talent at running back.

Jarvis, the NCAA’s second-leading returning rusher, is the definite starter going into this season — as he should be. But Martin has a few very talented running backs in Jacquise “Speedy” Terry, Dri Archer and Andre Flowers nipping at his heels.

The trio rushed for a combined 1,075 yards in 2009, and the four backs have combined for 5,269 rushing yards in their careers.

Not that this is necessarily a problem for Martin, but he needs to find a way to get his backs on the field — whether it’s by running more two- and three-back formations or by putting one of them in a slot. Nobody ever said having too much talent was a bad thing, but if Martin doesn’t get these backs involved, Kent State might find itself at the basement of the MAC yet again.

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