April 9, 2009

WR makes Goode impression

When it comes to spring football practice, this isn't Doug Martin's first trip around the block.

This spring begins preparations for Martin's sixth season as head coach at Kent State. With eight starters returning on offense and seven on defense, Martin had plenty to be excited about before the spring's first workout.

After watching his squad for nearly a week, there's even more to be encouraged by.

"It's been really good so far," Martin said. "What has shown up is that we have upgraded ourselves at the wide receiver position. Tyshon Goode, a kid we brought in from Hargrave (Military Academy) has really stepped up."

Goode, a 6-foot-1, 178-pound freshman originally from Syracuse, N.Y., has made quite an impression on his new head coach. More importantly, he gives the Flashes a blend of size, speed and a reliable pass catcher at a position that has not produced consistently for several years.

It's no wonder Martin considered sorting out the wide receivers a priority for the spring. So far, he likes what he sees.

"It was a major concern," Martin said. "We wanted to get a look at the young guys we redshirted like Chris Gordon; he had a couple of touchdown catches (Wednesday). With he, Tyshon Goode and Jameson Konz and Kendrick Pressley back, those four guys really have to step up."

Pressley made quite an impression last fall when he caught eight passes for 57 yards against Akron, his first appearance in a Kent State uniform. He caught just one ball the following week before an injury cost him the rest of the season.

Now, Pressley is back to form, even with a minor hamstring injury.

"He's playing really well," Martin said. "He has a hamstring, so we're resting him. But, he's playing just like he did against Akron. He's getting yards after catch and making plays."

It's not just the wide receivers that have caught Martin's eye. There's a battle-or at least there used to be-for the starting left tackle position.

"(Redshirt freshman) Kent Cleveland at left tackle is proving to be a really good player; he's really stepped up," Martin said.

Martin was also impressed with his linebackers, young and old.

"Dorian Wood is playing really well right now for us; I'm really pleased with him. Howard Bowens has started out really good, but (he has some personal issues to tend to) so he won't be with us for a while. But, he's off to a great start," Martin said. "I love the athleticism of Darius Polk and C.J. Steward. They can run; it's just a matter of getting experience and learning the defense."

At quarterback, the Flashes are in good position returning two players with game experience under their belts.

"The experience Giorgio Morgan had as a freshman is really paying off now and all the experience Anthony Magazu had has really paid off," Martin said. "It's not like we're starting over."

With two talented prospects at quarterback, Martin is paying close attention to which player separates himself from the other. The way it looks, it won't be an easy decision to make.

"It's a good battle of two talented kids," Martin said. "What's really showing up is that redshirt year for Giorgio was really productive. He's about 215 pounds now and running well. He's in a different place mentally. Anthony, every time he went in a game he was really productive for us."

Finally, with several position changes on the docket, Martin was curious to see how those players responded to their new roles.

Chris Gilbert, we moved him to corner and he's playing really well," Martin said. "He'll be a really good player for us. Moving Chris Favazzo to defensive line was a good move. It gives us a bigger body; we had to get bigger on the defensive line. And Sal Battles to quarterback, he can make some plays for us. I like what I'm seeing."

The Golden Flashes return to the practice field Friday morning. All practices are closed to the public.

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