October 8, 2008

Flashes must make plays

While fans may see Saturday’s match up between Kent State and the Ohio Bobcats as a meaningless game between two lowly teams with 1-5 records, the Golden Flashes see an opportunity to turn their season around.

Kent State head coach Doug Martin continues to stress to his players that they are not out of the hunt for a spot in the MAC championship game.

“Our players have got to understand that everybody in the conference, in the MAC East has a loss right now,” Martin said. “If our players want to go like they did in 2006 and go on a winning streak, they can get right back in this thing, and that starts this Saturday.”

Martin doesn’t consider the contest to be a knockout game, even though the loser will fall to 0-3 in the conference, because he doesn’t know how many wins it will take to win the East. Currently, Akron and Buffalo are tied for first in the division with 1-1 conference records.

Whether or not the Flashes can rebound following their heartbreaking loss to cross-town rival Akron last weekend remains to be seen. If the Flashes hope to be a force to be reckoned with the rest of the season, avoiding a let down as a result of that loss to the Zips is essential.

Martin admitted that such a let down could happen to a team. With both teams coming off emotional losses last week, Martin knows the team that responds the right way will win the game.

“We got two teams that are in the exact same position coming in here this Saturday,” Martin said. “One team, I’ll promise you will play with unbelievable passion and the other team won’t, and the team that does will win.”

If Kent is to avoid a let down and go on the kind of winning streak they enjoyed in 2006, the players will have to do something else Martin has been stressing all season--make plays when it counts.

Quarterback Julian Edelman admitted after the Akron game that the Flashes made more plays against the Zips, but the Zips made plays when they needed them, and that was the difference in the game.

To prove this point, Martin pointed out that at the end of Akron game, Zips receiver Deryn Bowser caught a crucial touchdown pass despite being well covered by Kent State senior defensive back Rico Murray.

Bowser made the play and Murray didn’t.

Kent State receiver Shawn Bayes had an opportunity to make a similar catch after that to win the game, but couldn’t secure the ball in the end zone.

The inability for some Flashes to make plays under pressure may come down to the fact that they’re just not wired to do so. All Martin can do is put the best players he can on the field and give them a chance to make the plays. He can’t run, catch, tackle and throw for them.

Martin said that this team is the team that he envisioned having when he took over the head-coaching job in 2004.

“I love this football team I’m coaching this year,” Martin said. “They want to win. They left everything they had out there on the field Saturday and I’m really proud of them for that and I’m with them all the way. We’re in this deal together.”

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