Machen brings new arsenal to Flashes’ offense

Joshua Hudson

Kent State coach Doug Martin talks over a play during practice with sophomore quarterback Michael Machen Tuesday. Machen is taking over for incumbent quarterback Josh Cribbs. He starts his first game for the Flashes

tomorrow against Michigan State.

Credit: Jason Hall

Joshua Cribbs left some pretty big shoes to fill for the next Kent State quarterback.

After becoming one of only two Kent State quarterbacks to both rush and pass for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, Cribbs has moved on to the NFL, now playing with the Cleveland Browns. Those achievements may seem pretty daunting for anyone to measure up to.

Mike Machen doesn’t seem to mind.

The Mobile, Ala., native, who transferred from Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., in December, looks to be the player the coaching staff hopes can take the team to the next level. Most young players would be nervous of such a responsibility but not Machen. He said you can’t compare him with Cribbs.

“I don’t really think that you can compare us because we have two different styles of play,” he said, referring to the styles of play between Cribbs and himself. “He did his own thing which was geared more towards the run. I am more of a passing quarterback.”

Kent State coach Doug Martin agreed with Machen’s assessment of the playing styles.

“Josh was our primary runner last year, so this year that is going to have to change,” he said. “Mike has got some mobility, but we are going to go to more of a passing game. That is something that I have been trying to do since I have been here.”

Machen should provide the aerial attack that Martin has wanted. He finished with 22 touchdowns and over 2,000 passing yards for Coffeyville Community College last year. He led the team to a 10-2 record and a victory in the Valley of the Sun Bowl.

The University of Alabama and the Atlanta Braves also noticed his arm right out of high school.

He was drafted by the Braves organization after graduation and decided to try his luck on the diamond. But, he said the writing on the wall led him in a different direction.

Machen decided to attend Alabama and attempt to play quarterback under Dennis Franchione. But after just one season, Franchione left for Texas A&M and Machen’s shot seemed to go with him. Two coaches later, Machen decided it was time to move on and find success somewhere else.

“I wish I never went to Alabama,” he said. “When coach (Mike) Shula arrived, I was never given a shot. I had three different coaches and learned three different offenses in about a year.”

Machen said the only thing he knew about Kent State was that it had a pretty good basketball team.

But now that he is here, he feels he made the right decision.

“I feel that Kent State is on the right track and I am happy to be here,” he said. “The people have really made me feel welcome, but I still feel that I have to earn their respect.”

Martin said he is also happy that Machen decided to attend Kent State.

“Mike has a very strong arm and doesn’t seem rattled in different situations that we put him in,” Martin said. “He has been everything that we have hoped for and then some.”

Contact sports reporter Joshua Hudson at [email protected].