But thus far, the Golden Flashes' vaunted attack

By Allen Moff Record-Courier staff writer Published:

But thus far, the Golden Flashes' vaunted attack hasn't given the team much of anything.

The two-game numbers tell it all: one solitary touchdown, 13 measly points and a rather mediocre 566 total yards (283 per game). Compare those figures to a year ago _ 31 points (36 with quarterback Jose Davis in the starting lineup) and 442 yards per outing, even though most of the primary weapons at the skill positions remain in place _ and one has to wonder what gives?

What happened to the explosive offense Kent fans have come to know and love?

"Nothing major has gone wrong. We're just pressing," said rookie coach Dean Pees. "Players are trying to do too much, trying to make the big play on every down instead of taking what the defense gives us."

In other words, the Flashes have no one to blame but themselves.

After the Flashes' disappointing 24-10 loss to Youngstown State on Saturday, Pees answered no when he was asked if he was happy with the play calling. But he retracted that statement after watching the game film on Sunday.

"(Offensive coordinator) Charley Molnar called a pretty good ballgame," said Pees. "We went deep way too often, but those plays weren't all called. They were check-offs (by Davis) at the line. We had guys wide open underneath, but we just didn't get the ball to them."

The deep ball was a major weapon last year for Davis, who averaged 14 yards per completion in '97. But teams have been trained to take away the deep threat this season, as evidenced by Davis' 10 yards per completion average thus far in '98.

"I'm not putting down Jose," said Pees. "He's a great player and a tremendous competitor. But sometimes a great player feels like he must make every play, and he doesn't let the system work for him. Jose's trying to force things and make big plays on every down instead of just taking what the defense gives him."

Davis agreed with that assessment after the YSU game.

"When they sit back and wait on the big play like (the Penguins) did, we've got to learn to take what the defense gives us," he said. "We're hurting ourselves, and it's frustrating because we know that we're the ones messing up. No one's beating us."

Davis has relied heavily on senior wide receiver Eugene Baker, for obvious reasons. Even though he's been double-teamed on nearly every play the first two games Baker has still caught 18 passes for 228 yards, but he's averaging just 12.7 yards per catch compared to 15.0 a year ago.

"Eugene's a great clutch receiver," said Pees. "But we can't expect him to come through for us every time. We need to spread the ball around more, to make Eugene even more effective."

Pees would also like to see Davis use his athletic ability to run with the football more. Last year, Davis averaged 3.5 yards per carry (minus sack yards) with a long run of 65 yards, but his longest scamper so far in '98 is just 10 yards.

"I asked Jose if he realized how tough a guy like him is to defend," said Pees. "A guy that can scramble really puts a defense on its heels."

The Flashes have also failed to run the ball effectively, having gained a mere 94 yards in two games on the ground (1.8 yards per carry). But patience will take care of that problem as well, according to Pees.

"If we're patient and throw the short passes, that will open up the running game," said Pees. "And the running game and short passes will open up the deep threat.

"Scheme-wise, this is a very tough offense to defend if we do things correctly. We just have to be patient, and everything else will take care of itself."

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