Football team picked sixth in division

Nick Walton

Players not taking poll to heart

Junior running back Andre Flowers is tripped up by a Delaware State player on Sept. 13 at Dix Stadium. The Flashes were victorious 24-3. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Mid-American Conference media members picked Kent State to finish sixth in their division in the conference’s Football Media Preview in Detroit last week.

The poll was unveiled on Friday and media members picked Buffalo to win the East Division and Central Michigan to win the West Division as well as the MAC Championship.

Despite being picked low in the division, senior running back Eugene Jarvis isn’t taking the poll seriously.

“When it’s all said and done, the games are not won in the media room,” Jarvis said. “You can use it as motivation, and that’s what we do because we’re always at the bottom of the poll. But as of right now, we don’t pay that no mind.”

Jarvis, who missed three games due to an ankle injury last fall, will return for his final season. Despite missing those games, Jarvis was second in rushing yards on the team and was named to the Second-Team All-MAC.

After finishing 4-8 overall and 3-5 in the conference, the Flashes will have to replace multiple offensive starters from last season, which includes quarterback Julian Edelman. Coach Doug Martin said senior Anthony Magazu and sophomore Giorgio Morgan will compete for the starting job.

“We’re going to let those guys compete during two-a-days and see how they do,” said Martin. “They both had really productive springs, and we feel comfortable with both of them, but we will name a starter by the end of two-a-days.”

On defense, junior safety Brian Lainhart and junior linebacker Cobrani Mixon return to fill the leadership roles left by graduates such as linebacker Derek Burrell and cornerback Rico Murray.

“Cobrani has really stepped up for Derek,” Lainhart said. “I’m trying to be a little more vocal to take some of that off of him. They were a great leadership class so that’s going to be a big thing that I have to pick up.”

Last season, Lainhart established himself as one of the best defensive players in the conference by tying for the lead in interceptions and being seventh in total tackles in the conference, which earned him a spot on the Second-Team All-MAC as well.

Martin wants the defense to do a better job of rushing the passer and getting more sacks.

“We didn’t have the amount of sacks we had in the past and that’s got to change,” Martin said. “I think we got to play better up front, and the other thing is we got to play much more aggressively.”

The Flashes open their season Sept. 3 against Coastal Carolina at home. Along with facing tough competition within the conference, Martin and his team will play out-of-conference teams Boston College, Iowa State and Baylor.

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected]