Receiving resurgence

Nick Walton

Flashes’ wide receivers play with increased consistency

Sophomore Kendrick Pressley, freshman Tyshon Goode and senior Phil Garner all fill the position of wide receiver for the Flashes. The Kent State receivers have seven touchdown catches through eight games this year after having nine all last season. Danie

Credit: DKS Editors

Coming into this season, the Kent State football team’s wide receivers were labeled as a weakness.

Inconsistent play from a receiving core that finished second to last in the Mid-American Conference in passing offense was a significant problem for the Flashes last season.

“We’ve had guys that one week would play really good, or as a group they’d play really well and then wouldn’t follow it up with another game,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said.

With Kent State going to a more balanced offensive attack, expectations increased for the receivers. The receiving core took this as a challenge.

“This program has been really based upon how well the receivers did,” senior wide receiver Phil Garner said. “If the receivers have a very good game, we have a great chance of winning.”

Kent State receivers have seven touchdown catches through eight games this year after having nine all of last season.

Led by a group of young players, the Flashes’ receiving core has helped the offense improve despite injuries and an inexperienced starting quarterback, freshman Spencer Keith.

Freshman wide receiver Tyshon Goode leads the team with 355 receiving yards on 29 receptions and three touchdowns.



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“He’s making big plays for us, and we’ve had that in the past at the position with Shawn Bayes,” sophomore wide receiver Sam Kirkland said. “We needed him to (make plays) now, and he stepped up and did that. That’s been big for us, and everybody’s feeding off of that. Guys are making plays in practice and in games.”

Goode said the transition from high school football was difficult initially, but he started learning the offense as the season approached.

“During training camp, (learning plays) was one of my weak spots,” Goode said. “(Wide receivers) coach (A.J.) Pratt worked with me through that to prepare for the season, and now I’m good with the playbook.”

Kirkland and Goode combined for 185 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the team’s 20-11 win at Ohio last Saturday. Martin said the performance against Ohio showcased the trust between Keith and the receivers.

“The receivers made some really dynamic catches for Spencer,” Martin said. “He put the ball in some tight places, but they went up and took the ball away from people. We haven’t seen that around here in quite a while, probably since (former Kent State wide receiver) Darrell Dowery was here with (former Kent State quarterback) Josh Cribbs.”

After playing in seven games this season, Keith said he feels he has good chemistry with the wide receivers.

“There has to be a whole lot of trust because they have to trust me that I’m not going to lead them into someone, and I have to trust them to look whenever I need them to,” Keith said.

Sophomore wide receiver Kendrick Pressley said Keith helps the receivers because he steps up in the pocket to throw and has the ability to run.

With contributions from younger receivers, Garner said the mentality of receivers has changed.

“We have attitude and (the young receivers) have a will to succeed,” Garner said. “They don’t strive for anything less than coming out here and working hard every day.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].