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Kent State Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Posted Aug 7, 2006

Kent State Golden Flashes Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – From one season to the next – Man, when you see this kid, the Kent State QB Michael Machen, the first thing you think of is “Big”.  That guy is huge with a capital H-U-G-E.  6’6” and 235 pounds worth of big.  But, beyond his obvious physical attributes, for Golden Flashes fans this season, the biggest key is his improvement over the first year as starter in 2005.  After a long, perhaps torturous journey from the University of Alabama to minor league baseball to junior college to Kent State, the opportunity to settle in as the quarterback for a second consecutive year should help provide some homeostasis for the big fella.  He flashed his big arm at times throughout the year, which was a distinct difference to the speedy running traits of former QB Josh Cribbs, but he also threw 18 interceptions.  However, decision making for a quarterback typically improves more in the second year than at any other time, and that should be the hallmark for Machen this fall.  Improve game management.  Get into the right play and out of the bad one.  Turn those 18 interceptions into 8 or less.  The last thing this offense can have is, okay, well, any offense for that matter, is to consistently turn the ball over.  But, Machen is in such a better situation than he was 365 days ago – he knows the offense, he knows his teammates and he knows what to expect when MAC play cranks up this fall.  As Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul spout on American Idol “make this offense his own”. 

2nd and Seven – Five Alive – Last year, the star on defense was Justin Parrish, who was first team All-MAC with 20.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks (shoot, at that rate, Parrish was the team’s second leading rusher, accounting for 160 yards in losses).  This year, the baton gets passed to Danny Muir, a 285 pound defensive end, who should vie for All-MAC honors this fall, after earning second team honors last year.  Muir has been consistent throughout his career, registering an average of 8 tackles for a loss, but with Parrish out of eligibility, Muir becomes the defensive game changer.  He maintained his quickness, even in adding 30 pounds since his arrival on campus, and has to be as active in the backfield as Parrish was last season.

3rd and Three – Going Deep, really deep – A QB with a big arm.  A WR with some serious jets.  Sounds like a recipe for the deep ball.  Uh, yeah.  WR Najah Pruden only had 33 catches last season, but he averaged nearly 21 yards per catch.  And, don’t expect that number to fall this year, although the Golden Flashes would like to see their speedy star get his hands on the ball a little more this season.  I mean, do the math – 50 catches at 21 yards per catch, wow, that’s like a million yards.  Who wouldn’t want a player with that type Pruden production potential?

4th and One – What’s that other thing – running the ball?  Yeah, that – Honestly, that’s got to be a joke.  There’s no way that’s right.  505 total rushing yards?  In eleven games?  What are those, Arena ball stats?  That’s insane.  But, yet it’s 100% real.  The leading rusher for the Golden Flashes, Jerry Flowers, ran for just over 300 yards.  No other player ran for more than 100 yards.  Not one.  For a whole season.  Shoot, the rest of the ball carriers had a hard time totaling the remaining 200 yards.  Oh man.  So, is it a stretch to say that the Golden Flashes need to be able to run the ball a little better this year?  Uh, ya’ think? 

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