Flashes are MAC champs? Maybe in 2007

Kali Price

There’s always next year for Kent State football.

This was supposed to be their year, but after Saturday’s 34-3 loss to Northern Illinois, I’m starting to think that everyone might have to wait until next year for the Flashes to be in contention for a Mid-American Conference title.

Sad as it is for the Flashes’ talented seniors, it’s a transition year for Kent State football.

And after 30 years of losing, the Flashes have a long way to go before building a tradition at Kent State.

The talent is there, the potential is there. More than anything, the heart and the drive are there.

But the maturity isn’t.

Every mistake made by the Flashes is usually a mistake that any underclassman would make; dropped passes, fumbles and missed blocks are all part of the learning process in football.

The Flashes’ offense is what is struggling the most.

Kent State brought sophomore quarterback Michael Machen with the expectation that he would turn the offense around from former quarterback Josh Cribbs’ running-style offense to a passing offense.

Not only is Machen still adjusting to his new position, but he is seemingly still adjusting to working with his offense.

So maybe next year will be different.

But until then, Martin is still trying to build the program.

It was even obvious to Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak.

“I think Doug’s (Martin) really trying to get the running game going,” Novak said. “They’re struggling there a little bit. We talked before the game and I know against Navy, they ran 27 or 28 times. I think he’s trying to consciously get that going. We’ve been through this type of thing too; I think you have to look long range. Right away, we all want to be satisfied today and next week and Doug’s trying to build a program here.”

The Flashes do have to look at the long term and start building the program for the future.

Maybe the team won’t be there next season, or the season after that, but I still agree with Kent State coach Doug Martin when he says that the Flashes have the potential to have a good football program.

But building a program takes time and it’s the same thing that Northern Illinois had to go through.

“I give Northern Illinois all the credit,” Martin said. “They are what we are trying to get to be. And they are something we modeled ourselves after with Coach Novak starting at Northern and bringing them to where they are now and what we started here he’s been on the same path. I give him all the credit in the world. I think he’s done a magnificent job building a football program and that’s what we want to do. And we’re not there yet.”

Contact assistant sports editor and football reporter Kali Price at [email protected].