Simple goals for Morgan

Joe Harrington

Coach Martin wants offensive execution, no turnovers from freshman

For a veteran quarterback, Kent State’s game against Central Michigan tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Dix Stadium would be a dream come true. Central Michigan allows more yards through the air than any other team in Mid-American Conference at 306.8 yards per game. That’s about 65 yards more than the next lowest team, Miami.

It’s a dream for a veteran quarterback, like Kent State junior Julian Edelman, but it is a different kind of dream for the Flashes’ new quarterback, freshman Giorgio Morgan.

The 19-year-old from Georgia is starting his first college football game against the Chippewas, after watching Edelman all year. Morgan said he is ready for the game, even though he expected to use 2007 as a developmental year while redshirting.

“It didn’t really affect me as much,” Morgan said. “It’s made it easy on me because I was able to sit back and look at what (Edelman) did on the field and apply that to what I’m about to do.”

Morgan said he is prepared for Central Michigan and believes he can lead the Flashes to a win. As for starting his first game, he sees it as a non-issue.

“It’s really not too much of a big obstacle to come across,” Morgan said. “It’s just staying within the offense and doing what (Kent State coach Doug Martin) tells me.”

Martin has been through this process before and said Morgan is “too young to be scared.”

Last season, Edelman was new to Kent State and the offense, but went on to earn All-MAC status after leading the Flashes to a 6-6 record.

Martin, who has coached NFL quarterbacks Jeff Blake and Jacksonville’s David Garrard at East Carolina, said he doesn’t expect his quarterback to play like an All-American tomorrow, but he has set goals for Morgan.

“I told Giorgio that I was going to define a successful game for him,” Martin said. “That definition is that he goes out and executes our running game properly and doesn’t turn the ball over. Anything else is gravy.”

The young quarterback has to rely on his teammates to win his first start. The running game is the best in the MAC with 1,798 yards, but has only produced 11 touchdowns this season. Sophomore Eugene Jarvis, the second-leading rusher in the nation, has 1,103 of those yards.

Central Michigan’s defense, which plays a similar scheme to Kent State’s top-ranked squad, is last in the MAC. They allow nearly 497 yards of offense per game.

But the offense makes up for that.

Led by 2006 MAC Freshman Of The year, Dan LeFevour, the spread-offense is second in the conference. The Chippewas average 411 yards a game. Their 33 touchdowns are tied for the most in the MAC.

Last week, the Flashes faced one of the nation’s best passing attacks in Bowling Green, but were caught off guard as the Falcons ran for 197 yards.

“After somebody does that to you, it wakes you up,” senior Colin Ferrell said. “We realize that we have to step it up this weekend.”

LeFevour is spreading the ball around to receivers Bryan Anderson, a sophomore, and freshman Antonio Brown. The two receivers have combined for 104 catches and 1,018 yards.

The Flashes will be without junior linebacker Cedrick Maxwell for part of the game. Maxwell was penalized and ejected for throwing a punch against Bowling Green, but was not suspended by the league. Martin is holding him out for at least a quarter as a form of team punishment.

Martin believes the Chippewas are the best team in the MAC, even with a 4-4 record and coming off a 70-14 loss to Clemson. Martin reminded his players that Central Michigan has just one more win than Kent State. Martin said the Flashes still have the ability to beat any team in the MAC, despite the disappointing record.

“If (Kent State) wants (the win), they can take it,” Martin said. “Unless they look at it that way, they’re not going to get that done.”

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].