July 31, 2007

30 days to kickoff

After finishing the 2006 season with a 6-6 mark, including a five-game win streak that included wins at Miami and Bowling Green as well as taking back possession of the Wagon Wheel with a 37-15 win over Akron, Kent State opens the 2007 season in just 30 days.

Expectations are high for the Golden Flashes, who return 16 starters and 44 letter winners from last year's team that finished in second place in the Mid-American Conference East division with a 5-3 mark.

KentSportsReport.com previews some of the keys for the next 30 days.

Fall camp begins on Aug. 3 when the Golden Flashes begin a three-week practice schedule that includes 11 single practices, seven two-a-days and the Blue-Gold Barbecue that includes a live scrimmage.

During that three-week schedule head coach Doug Martin, who enters his fourth season at KSU with a 12-22 record, hopes to see several players emerge in key positions.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN CAMP

Eight starters return on offense, including quarterback Julian Edelman and running back Eugene Jarvis, but the loss of top pass catcher Najah Pruden leaves the Golden Flashes looking for a new go-to receiver.

Shawn Bayes, Darren Rogers, Phil Garner, Leneric Muldrow, Cameron Bobb, Coleman Lynn, Aaron Robinson and Mark Woodson all figure to get a shot at earning playing time catching passes from Edelman. Bayes and Garner excelled this spring and Robinson, a grayshirt, showed flashes of brilliance. The depth at this position should provide Edelman and the offense with a more consistent and explosive attack through the air.

Defensively, the Golden Flashes have to replace three players currently on NFL rosters-safety Andre Kirkland, defensive lineman Dan Muir and cornerback Usama Young, picked by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

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