September 16, 2008

Trip to Bayou presents challenges

If Kent State is to win its second game in a row this Saturday at Louisiana-Lafayette, the Golden Flashes will have to do so against a quarterback who mirrors their own.

"(Michael Desormeaux) is Julian Edelman all over again, which is a bad deal for us," Flashes head coach Doug Martin said at his weekly press conference Monday.

Martin added that Lafayette's senior quarterback runs the ball just as well as the Flashes' starter and does a nice job of throwing it too.

Illinois would be hard pressed to disagree since Desormeaux nearly led the Ragin' Cajun's past the No. 24 ranked team in the country last Saturday.

Desormeaux was 25 of 35 passing for 200 yards and 1 touchdown. Thirty-four of his 42 yards rushing came on his touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

"You've got to keep him in the pocket when he's throwing, if he is able to step through the pocket, then he can hurt you in a variety of ways, you want to keep him back there," Martin said. "Running the ball, you can't let him get on the corner, if he gets on the corner, if you don't have some [players] on him, he'll make one guy miss. He made Illinois miss all day last Saturday."

Bayou Bound
Kent State's game at Louisiana-Lafayette is just the Golden Flashes second contest against a Sun Belt Conference opponent. The Golden Flashes are 1-0 against Sun Belt Conference foes. They beat Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe), 31-29, in 1975.

"I think this is a good game, I think it's a good trip for our players to get to see a different part of the country and get to play in a different area," Martin said.

This is just the second time the Flashes will play in the state of Louisiana, but Martin said his team is excited about playing in a football crazy state.

"They love their football down there, it's gonna' be a wild environment," Martin said.

The Ragin' Cajuns are expecting 25,000 fans for the game Saturday, which could present problems for the Golden Flashes offense as they try to audible at the line of scrimmage.

Martin said the key to being successful is for the players to keep their poise and get the snap counts right when the crowd gets loud.

Martin added that when in the shotgun formation, the Flashes don't use snap counts, instead relying on the center to start the play.

"[This] is what you play for," Martin said. "You like to play in those exciting atmospheres."

Similarities Abound
Despite similarities in size to the Flashes' first opponent, Boston College, Martin said the Ragin' Cajuns are very different from the Eagles.

"Their defense is a lot different. Boston College really just sits there and plays a base sound defense. Lafayette, their defensive line is always moving, there is always a stunt or a blitz most of the time coming from somewhere," he said.

The Ragin' Cajuns use a spread offense, something the Flashes saw last week against Delaware State and something they see often in the MAC.

"There's a lot of familiarity there for us," Martin said.

Jarvis on the mend
Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis left Saturday's game against Delaware State with a turned ankle.

"It looked like he was getting a little bit sore and I felt like we could rest him and get away with it," Martin said.

Jarvis' status for Saturday is still undetermined.

Addition by Subtraction?
Martin said the team has been working eight or nine players out at wide receiver and that he is trying to find a group that consistently makes plays, but added that the team will likely bring just five or six to Louisiana.

Martin addressed the struggles that freshman Sam Kirkland has had at wide receiver since switching to the position from defensive back.

Martin said sticking it out with the red shirt freshman is a tough call but that Kirkland will be given more opportunities.

"We need to be productive out there, at the same time, I know Sam has just moved to wide receiver, but one thing you can't teach kids is how to catch the ball. You can either catch it or you can't," Martin said. "We're gonna' stick it out with Sam a little longer and try to bring him along, if he doesn't do it this year, maybe its next year, but right now we gotta' find the right people, after this game, we gotta' have the best people on the field we can possibly have to be able to have a chance [of winning] the conference."

Kirkland will battle Coleman Lynn for playing time Saturday. Martin said the determining factor would be who has a better week at practice.

At split end, Martin is pleased with Shawn Bayes and freshman Chris Gilbert.

"I think Gilbert is doing some really good things for us, he almost made a great catch there Saturday and we gotta' get him in more and get him that first catch, get him over the hump because he's playing well," he said.

Almost special again
After a disastrous performance at Iowa State, Kent State's punt team responded well last week against Delaware State.

"I thought Matt Rinehart did a really nice job coming back from being brain damaged the week before," Martin said. "He kicked the ball really well."

Martin also praised long snapper Ryan Hidalgo. "He's been really good for a true freshman to jump in there and do what he's done in these first three games.

Red shirt for Morgan?
After seeing his first action of his career at Kent State midway through last season, sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan is buried on the depth chart this year. If he doesn't make a move soon, he could end up red shirting to preserve a year of eligibility.

"If Giorgio doesn't get in this week, then we would definitely look at red shirting him, unless there is an injury at quarterback," Martin said.

Martin said that Morgan has gotten much better, but Anthony Magazu has played very well ahead of him.

"I'm really pleased with Anthony, and I think Giorgio is going to be a great player down the line. That red shirt deal may be the best thing for him right now."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!