That wasn’t so bad: Flash football 2009

Nick Walton

I’d like to think of myself as an optimistic person even when things are at their worst.

This belief of “things could be worse” defines my outlook on this season’s football team.

Sure it would be easy to point out that the Flashes had another losing season, that they lost three straight games to end the season and that they are going to be at home while an Ohio Bobcats team they beat handily in October is playing in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl the day after Christmas.

But why dwell on the negative?

The fact that Kent State entered the month of November with something to play for is impressive considering the obstacles they had to overcome.

Anyone outside of the locker room who actually thought they would have a legit shot at the Mid-American Conference East division title without senior running back Eugene Jarvis and with a freshman quarterback leading the team is lying.

The Flashes showed that they were more than Jarvis as people stepped up when they needed to. Take the best player off any team, and it’s easy to come up with excuses for shortcomings. But players like sophomore running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry and freshman running back Dri Archer stepped up.

The emergence of Spencer Keith opened up the passing game, allowing the wide receivers to make plays downfield. Kent State will actually enter next season with a legit passing game to complement the consistency of the running game.

The defense was bent, but didn’t break for most of the season, and they came up with big plays and stops when the team needed them.

I know by now the cynics are saying this a homer column, and I need to put down the Kent State pom-poms. But looking back at the season, this team was decent – not good, not bad, just decent.

The spectacular play during October doesn’t excuse the disappointment at the end of the season, but would it have been a disappointment if they weren’t in a position to do something special?

Of course when reminiscing on this season, I would be remiss in my responsibilities as a reporter if I didn’t comment on Kent State coach Doug Martin’s guarantee. At the time it seemed silly (Hell, I was laughing all the way back to the newsroom after that press conference), but it was something someone had to do.

Was it over the top? Sure. But if Martin came out with a weak and uninspired address to the media after losing arguably the best player on the team, we would question whether he was intense enough to lead this team.

It would be easy to point out that Kent State fell short of Martin’s grand prediction, but to step out and try to break this “culture of losing,” someone has to have the guts to set the bar high.

So yes the ending of the 2009 season was disappointing, but the heart and determination of the team wasn’t.

Contact sports report Nick Walton at [email protected].