October 23, 2008

Any life left in Flashes?

When Kent State takes on Miami this weekend at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio, many will be wondering if the 1-6 Golden Flashes are up to the challenge.

That includes Kent State head coach Doug Martin.

Having dropped four games in a row and six of their last seven, including heartbreaking defeats to Akron and Ohio the past two games, Martin said he didn't know what his players were going to do against the RedHawks. He added that he had made the players very aware of the situation that they are in.

"We are going to find out Saturday what they're going to do," he said.

Martin has talked all season about players being able to make plays when it counted most. At his weekly press conference on Monday, he gave insight as to why some players may never be able to do that.

"My opinion of these guys, particularly those last two football games, we're in a position to win both those games and in the second half everybody turns it down; (they) don't want to step up and make a play, from the kicker right on down the line," Martin said.

Martin then asked how a team could go out and dominate the first half of play then do nothing in the second half.

He didn't wait for an answer. He already had his own.

"Because, they are afraid of it, and that's just the flat out truth and that's what's on film, that's what shows up each week, and either they can grow up and begin to win football games or they won't, but it's on them," he said. "It's on the players and it's like I told the players the other day, the only people held accountable for any of this are the coaches. There's no pressure on these guys. They got to go win, but it can only happen with them."

The Flashes fortunes in the last two games could have had different outcomes if Nate Reed was kicking the ball as well as he was in 2007. But, Reed's record-breaking season is a distant memory now and he's now fighting to keep his job.

To help Reed make kicks, Martin has put pressure on him in practice. On one occasion, the length of a practice depended on whether Reed could make a field goal.

One thing is for sure; Reed is going to kick in games.

"He's gonna' go out there and kick," Martin said. "I ain't going for it on fourth down anymore just because he's scared to go kick the football. He's gonna' march his butt out there and kick. He's on scholarship here; we're paying for him to be here. He's going to go kick the ball. Now he can either go humiliate himself or he can pony up and be what he's suppose to be and what he can be and make the kicks, but he's going to be out there kicking it."

Looking for answers
If Reed doesn't respond, Kent State's coaches already are searching the country looking for junior college kickers, Martin said. Martin prefers junior college kickers because they have already gone through the growing pains that high school kickers haven't experienced yet.

Don't you play baseball?
During the bye week, Cory Hindel, a catcher from the Flashes baseball team tried out for the kicking position. Hindel kicked when he played football at Tallmadge High School. He may work at it over the summer and come try out for the fall, Martin said.

"We're open to anything right now."

Don't you play quarterback?
The Flashes have struggled on special teams this season and Martin said he is just trying to put the best players he can on field. Don't be surprised to see quarterback Julian Edelman returning kicks and making tackles on the kickoff coverage team.

"He'll do it. He's a football player, he'll make a play," Martin said.

Edelman has already served as the personal protector for the punter this season.

M.A.S.H. Unit
Some good news in order for the Flashes as starting linebackers Cedrick Maxwell and Cobrani Mixon both are nearly back to 100-percent and will travel with the team to Miami. Their return, though, is likely slated for next week's game at Bowling Green.

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