2009 Kent State Golden Flashes Football Preview
2008 Record: (4-8, 3-5)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Doug Martin (19-39 at Kent State, 19-39 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: A.J. Pratt
Defensive Coordinator: Pete Rekstis
Other Key Returnees: C Chris Anzevino, G Michael Fay, DT Sam Frist, WR Phil Garner, S Dan Hartman, DT Aaron Hull, LB Cobrani Mixon, OT Pat Reedy, G Mike Roder, CB Danny Sadler, TE Jonathan Simpson, WR Alan Vanderink
Key Losses: WR Shawn Bayes, LB Derek Burrell, QB Julian Edelman, DE David Filippi, LB Cedrick Maxwell, CB Rico Murray, OT Augustus Parrish
The big question for Kent State heading into the 2009 campaign is at quarterback. Julian Edelman was not a great passer, but he did rush for 1,370 yards and 13 touchdowns. The battle to replace him is fierce between Anthony Magazu and Giorgio Morgan. Neither proved they could bring a consistent passing attack to one of the worst passing offenses in the nation in 2008 during the spring and the battle should last until the fall.
Kent State's Strengths:
However, the offense is full of potential, even if the quarterback situation remains unsettled. Running back Eugene Jarvis is a great back who averaged nearly five yards per carry and made ten total trips to the end zone. The offense will rely on Jarvis while the passing game adjusts to life without Edelman. And that should be fine with the return of four linemen who did a superb job paving the way for the ground game last year and should be even better this time around. Jarvis is also a decent pass catcher and the new signal caller might look his way quite a bit this year now that Shawn Bayes has run out of eligibility. Bayes was the only consistent receiver on the team last year. Phil Garner and Alan Vanderink, along with tight end Jonathan Simpson have potential and experience and it is time that they step up and become consistent receiving threats.
Kent State's Weaknesses:
Too often, due to turnovers, the offense put the defense in a bad situation. The team ranked seventh in the conference in total defense, but still gave up nearly 32 points per game. If the offense can hang onto the ball, the defense will be better, but how much better? Linebacker Derek Burrell was easily the best player on that side of the ball and now he is gone. Suddenly junior Cobrani Mixon is the most experienced linebacker on the roster and he will have to go from a roleplayer to a leader. The secondary returns some talent, most notably Brian Lainhart, but they gave up well over 200 yards in the air per game in 2008. That could change with a year of experience, but it would also help if the front four can get pressure on the opposing quarterback. Senior end Kevin Hogan is the likely candidate to get into the backfield, but the team needs to find another quality end.
The Bottom Line for the Golden Flashes:
Kent State has not been to a bowl game since 1972. Will that streak end this year? Probably not, but it is certainly a possibility. The defense should be a little bit better now that they are more experienced and the Golden Flashes have one of the best rushers in the conference. If the offense can balance itself out with a decent passing attack, there is no reason to believe that this team cannot win a majority of their home games and steal a road victory or two against a team like Eastern Michigan and find themselves eligible for a bowl.
By Joel Welser
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