Offense lays an egg

Doug Gulasy

Protection problems and penalties plague Flashes in first spring scrimmage

Sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan tries to escape a sack from junior defensive end Monte Simmons Saturday during the team’s first scrimmage. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Credit: DKS Editors

Like celebrity deaths, bad offensive plays came in threes for the Kent State football team in its first spring scrimmage Saturday at Dix Stadium.

After the first two offensive plays of the day were whistled dead by false start penalties, junior defensive end Monte Simmons blew past right tackle Pat Reedy to sack quarterback Giorgio Morgan on the third play of the morning.

Later on, the Flashes sandwiched two more false start penalties around a fumbled snap by quarterback Anthony Magazu that was recovered in the end zone for a defensive touchdown.

Those six plays set the tone for the 90-minute scrimmage, in which Kent State’s first-, second- and third-string offenses struggled to move the ball against their counterparts on defense, scoring just two touchdowns.

“Usually at this point, the defense is a little bit ahead,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. ” . What I look forward is next Saturday (having) a great step of improvement.”

Kent State’s offensive line had the most problems in Saturday’s scrimmage, giving up seven sacks and committing a majority of the team’s 16 penalties.

As a result, the offensive linemen spent most of their time on the sidelines going through up-down drills as punishment for their play on the field.

“I was disappointed that the offensive line did not play better because they’ve played really well up to this point,” Martin said. “They did not play well (Saturday) at all. They didn’t protect the quarterback.”

Morgan and Magazu, who are battling for the starter’s job at quarterback, spent a good deal of their morning avoiding pass-rushers. Morgan completed six of his 12 passes for 57 yards and scrambled three times for 32 yards, while Magazu went 4-of-11 for 31 yards and an interception.

On the other side of the ball, the defense controlled the scrimmage, recording 15 tackles for loss, including those seven sacks. It also contained the Flashes’ usually strong running game, holding senior running back Eugene Jarvis to three yards on seven carries.

“I think we stopped the run pretty well today,” said junior linebacker Cobrani Mixon. “That limits them to passing the ball. Our (defensive backs) played good overall playing the deep ball, so I feel like we stopped the run and that limited them.”

Mixon had two tackles for loss and a pass deflection that led to an interception by cornerback Josh Pleasant.

The scrimmage had some scary moments early, as junior running back Andre Flowers had to be taken away in an ambulance after getting tackled and laying almost motionless along the sidelines for nearly 15 minutes.

Martin said Flowers had some initial numbness in his arms but regained feeling quickly and was able to move the entire time. Flowers was diagnosed with a concussion and a stinger and was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon.

“He got his neck jammed when he got tackled there, and he had some numbness in his arms,” Martin said. “So it was mostly a precaution. They got him to the hospital, and he does have movement and everything.”

Martin said he wasn’t worried about how the team performed because it was the first scrimmage and the Flashes played the way he thought they would. The team will scrimmage again this Saturday at Dix Stadium.

“We’ve got all (this) week to polish these things up, watch the film and get it taken care of,” Martin said. “Now if you have the same thing (this) week, then you’ve got concerns.”

Contact sports editor Doug Gulasy at [email protected].