2013 Kent State Preview – Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 3, 2013


CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Kent State Golden Flash Offense


Kent State Golden Flashes

Preview 2013 - Offense

- 2013 Kent State Preview | 2013 Kent State Offense
- 2013 Kent State Defense | 2013 Kent State Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: It took a few years, but the old regime got the running game going with Dri Archer and Trayion Durham combining for over 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Brian Rock’s attack isn’t going to change the formula, but he will move Archer out to wide receiver where he’ll take less wear-and-tear and also be used even more as a jack-of-all-trades playmaker. The line has to come up with some big replacements for a few all-stars, but there’s a good base in the middle to build around in center Phil Huff and guard Anthony Pruitt. The return of Tyshon Goode from an injury and the addition of Archer could make a night-and-day difference for the receiving corps, but someone has to get them the ball. David Fisher and Colin Reardon are dual-threat options, but the offense needs a passer who can occasionally stretch the field.

Returning Leaders
Passing: David Fisher
14-23, 230 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dri Archer
159 carries, 1,429 yds, 16 TD
Receiving: Dri Archer
39 catches, 561 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Senior RB/WR Dri Archer
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior QB David Fisher and/or redshirt freshman QB Colin Reardon
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman OT Reno Reda
Best pro prospect: Archer
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Archer, 2) RB Trayion Durham, 3) C Phil Huff
Strength of the offense: Archer, Running Game
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback, Passing Game

Quarterbacks

The passing game was painfully inefficient and ineffective last season, but Spencer Keith got the job done when he had to. Now it’ll be a fight for the job with 6-1, 220-pound senior David Fisher in the slight lead. The former JUCO transfer from Palomar CC, he’s 6-1, 220-pounds and has the dual-threat capabilities the coaching staff is looking for. He’s not a big bomber, but he’s accurate and experienced completing 60% of his throws last season in a limited role for 230 yards and a touchdown and a pick, and he ran for 31 yards.

Neck-and-neck for the gig is 6-1, 202-pound redshirt freshman Colin Reardon, another dual-threat option with good toughness and tremendous quickness. A high school defensive back as well as a quarterback, he’s not huge but he’s a terrific athlete who could be a nice runner right out of the box.

Watch Out For … Nathan Strock, the best of the three quarterbacks signed on this recruiting class. By far the biggest and best passer on the roster, the 6-3, 200-pound fireballer has a fantastic arm, but he can run a little bit, too. Very accurate and very poised, he could step into the starting role right away.
Strength: Dual-threat options. To be the Kent State starting quarterback you have to be able to run a little bit, and all the Golden Flash quarterbacks can do that. The starter will end up being one of the team’s top three rushers.
Weakness: Efficiency. The KSU passing game struggled way too much to get things going downfield, and while that was with Spencer Keith under center, this isn’t going to be a vertical, efficient attack no matter who’s throwing.
Outlook: Call this a work in progress. The quarterback situation wasn’t settled in spring ball, and the fight will carry on well into the fall with Fisher and Reardon battling it out and three true freshmen getting their chance. Whoever moves the chains and keeps the mistakes to a minimum will get the gig.
Unit Rating: 5

Running Backs

The Golden Flashes have one of the nation’s most dangerous all-around weapons in senior Dri Archer, a 5-8, 175-pound do-it-all back who cranked out 1,429 yards and 16 touchdowns averaging a ridiculous nine yards per carry, and he also led the team with 39 catches for 561 yards and four scores. He’ll be move to a slot receiver role, but he’ll still get more than his share of carries as the coaching staff does whatever is needed to get the ball in his hands. One of college football’s most dangerous home run hitters, he’s an elite kickoff returner averaging 36.9 yards per pop with three scores to go along with everything he did for the offense, finishing the season fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards. Able to change around games in a heartbeat, he ripped through the fantastic Bowling Green defense for 241 rushing yards and two scores, and tore up Ball State with three catches for 104 yards and two scores and Army for 222 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries.

The coaching staff can move Archer to receiver because of Trayion Durham, a more traditional back with 6-0, 248-pound size and a ton of thump. One of the team’s best-rated recruits over the last several years, he’s might not crank out big runs, but he averaged 4.8 yards per carry rushing for 1,316 yards with 14 touchdowns with five 100-yard days and a 172-yard, three score day against Miami University. A decent receiver, he caught 17 passes for 181 yards, but his worth will be as a workhorse, between-the-tackles runner who carries the offensive load.

Junior Anthony Meray is a very smart, very quick option who has been brilliant off the field but has yet to show much on it. The 5-8, 186-pounder saw his workload diminished to nothing running just nine times for eight yards and catching a pass for seven yards, but he ran for 244 yards as a freshman showing nice pop and burst.

Watch Out For … Roman Clay, the only running back the team signed on. Pennsylvania’s Mr. Football, the 5-11, 210-pounder ran for 2,497 yards and 31 scores last season showing a good combination of burst and power. He’s more of a between-the-tackles runner at the collegiate level, and he’ll get his chances early on.
Strength: The tandem. Durham is a power back who can soften up the defense, while Meray and Archer are the flashes of lightning who’ll try to crank out the big play with the ball in their hands in a variety of ways. But it’ll mostly be a rotation of Durham and Meray because …
Weakness: Archer is really moving to receiver? The move might not be permanent and it’s a way to keep him involved while also getting Durham his carries, but really? Archer is one of college football’s most dangerous players, and he needs to carry the ball at least ten times a game. However …
Outlook: It’s not like the coaching staff doesn’t know what it has in Archer. The goal is to keep the team’s top weapon fresh so he can handle the ball 15 or more times a game in all areas and keep him from getting blasted as a runner. Durham is a terrific back who’ll earn all-star honors, and Meray and Archer will come up with big play after big play when given the shot.
Unit Rating: 8

Receivers

The receiving corps should get a big jolt with the move of Dri Archer to the Slot, and while it’ll take away from his running back duties, it should up his NFL stock. At 5-8 and 175 pounds he isn’t big, but he could be this year’s Tavon Austin and rise up the draft charts as a difference-making weapon everyone has to have.

Archer led the team in receiving and should be the team’s most dangerous option, but 5-9, 173-pound sophomore Josh Boyle has the potential to be the main man at his spot at the outside X position. He came up with a nice first season making 28 grabs for 338 yards and three scores, averaging 12.1 yards per try highlighted by a 63-yard score against Towson. He’ll have to hold off Tyshon Goode, who has been one of the MAC’s most dangerous receivers over the years earning all-star honors in 2010 and doing a decent job in 2011, but he suffered a hamstring injury before last season and didn’t hit the field. With 136 career catches for 1,814 yards and 12 touchdowns, the 6-0, 183-pound veteran knows what he’s doing, but he has to get healthy.

Junior Chris Humphrey has been an academic all-star and turned into a steady receiver last season spreading out 26 catches for 319 yards. However, he didn’t score and didn’t come up with too many big plays despite starting all 14 games. A good blocker, he uses his 6-1, 194-pound size well.

Part tight end, part fullback, senior Tim Erjavec is back after doing a little of everything for the offense. The 6-2, 250-pounder is a good blocker for the ground game and showed decent hands as a short-range receiver catching 19 passes for 181 yards and a score. He’s not all that athletic, but he’s tough. Backups Casey Pierce, a 6-4, 230-pound junior, and Kyle Payton, a 6-3, 247-pound junior, are more like big receivers than blasting blockers. Payton caught seven passes for just 38 yards and Pierce made one grab for ten yards.

Watch Out For … Brock Macaulay, one of the team’s most dangerous tight ends with 6-7, 240-pound size and basketball athleticism. The potential is there to be a matchup nightmare from the start with good hands and excellent leaping ability.
Strength: Experience. The loss of second-leading receiver Matthew Hurdle isn’t that big a deal, especially with the return of Goode to the mix and the emergence of Archer as more of a receiver. Humphrey, Boyle and the tight ends all know what they’re doing.
Weakness: Big plays. Archer should be able to change that, but outside of one huge play from Boyle, there weren’t any big deep plays for a receiving corps that couldn’t stretch the field. Considering all the attention paid to the ground game, the receivers needed to come up with more than 11.5 yards per catch.
Outlook: The receiving corps has mostly been along for the ride, but the addition of Archer and the emergence of Goode – hopefully – should change that up a bit. The Golden Flashes don’t have an efficient passer to spread the ball around, but the receivers should be better overall.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Offensive Line

The offensive line that was so terrific for the running game and so tight in pass protection has to undergo a bit of a makeover. 6-5, 275-pound redshirt freshman Reno Rada isn’t huge, but he’s a good athlete at left tackle with the toughness to handle himself well against the stronger more experienced ends. He has to fight through the early growing pains, and has the unenviable task of replacing all-star Brian Winters, but there’s a world of upside. Also looking to make an instant impact is sophomore Jason Bitsko, a nice-looking 6-3, 280-pound right tackle with the hitting ability to work at guard if needed and the feet to be decent in pass protection. He saw the field for a few games, but he has to prove he can hold down the job on the outside.

6-3, 290-pound senior Phil Huff will be the anchor of the offense starting again at center. Beefed up over the last few years after adding 40 pounds, he’s still quick and can still move, but now he’s far stronger and a terrific interior presence for the ground game.

Trying to step in at left guard for all-star Josh Kline is senior Pat McShane, a 6-5, 300-pound veteran who started out his career at Indiana before transferring to KSU. The starter at right guard last year, he’s one of the team’s leaders and hardest workers, and now he has to be a steady force on the left side to help out Reda. With McShane moving over, 6-2, 315-pound sophomore Anthony Pruitt will take over on the right side. A very promising, very good 6-2, 315-pounder, he’s built to generate a push for the running game, and he has a little bit of athleticism and quickness to get on the move.

Watch Out For … Wayne Scott. One of the team’s only recruits for the offensive line, the 6-3, 320-pounder from Daytona Beach is a big, tough blocker who’ll immediately be one of the team’s largest blockers. He won’t see time right away, but he’ll someday be a starting guard.
Strength: Run blocking. While this crew won’t necessarily throw anyone into the fifth row, it’ll generate a decent push and do just enough so the terrific group of backs can do their thing. The line can wall off well.
Weakness: Brian Winters and Josh Kline. There’s promise and potential along the front wall, and Huff and McShane are good veteran leaders, but the left side is gone. Winters and Kline were fantastic all-stars who turned into one of the big reasons for the phenomenal season.
Outlook: The line came up with an outstanding season doing a great job in pass protection while paving the way for 226 rushing yards per game. It’s going to take some reworking and some retooling, but the production will hardly fall off the map. However, it’ll take a little while before the right rotation comes together.
Unit Rating: 5

- 2013 Kent State Preview | 2013 Kent State Offense
- 2013 Kent State Defense | 2013 Kent State Depth Chart