Pees wants playmakers.
Offense, defense, special teams, doesn't matter. Players that produce big plays will play, plain and simple.
And Pees may have found a few such performers during Saturday morning's intrasquad scrimmage at the Dix Stadium practice fields.
Superb showings by sophomore running back Chante Murphy, redshirt freshman tight end Joel Reikowski and freshman defensive tackle Roy Attieh highlighted a highly-entertaining first fall scrimmage filled with big plays.
"The thing that's good to see is that we've finally got some guys making plays," said Pees. "We're intercepting passes, breaking off big gains, our receivers are going up and getting balls. We've got some guys making plays that you need to win, plays that can turn a game around."
Guys such as Murphy (5-foot-10, 208 pounds), who dazzled observers with a seemingly newfound burst of speed and elusiveness while piling up 118 yards on 22 carries.
Where did this guy come from?
"Ah, Murphy didn't surprise me," said Pees. "He's had a really good camp. He's older, his feet are better and he's quicker than he was a year ago."
Reikowski, a huge target at 6-5, 263, showed he has soft hands to go with his mammoth body. He hauled in a bomb over the middle from quarterback Jose Davis after beating the covering linebacker badly for a 40-yard score, then caught a jump-ball in the corner of the end zone that slipped through the fingers of several defenders.
"He's so big, it's hard for defenders to get around him," said Pees. "Reikowski's a blue-collar guy who has earned his opportunities to get the ball."
Meanwhile on defense, Attieh (6-2, 300) was simply all over the field making plays _ several in the offensive backfield. And James Harrison, a 6-1, 243-pound linebacker from Akron Coventry High School, also continues to impress the coaches with his quickness and physical style of play.
"Attieh is always active," said Pees. "Roy and Harrison are going to help us out a lot up front this year."
Another player that helped his standing on Saturday was senior cornerback Murad Holliday, who turned in a solid performance and may have secured a starting job because of it.
"Holliday's playing like a senior. He's been very consistent," said Pees. "He has an advantage at one corner, but the other corner and the free safety spot are still up for grabs."
Current first-string free safety Reggie Crook and freshman cornerback Abdur Kahn each picked off passes for a Kent State defense that created nearly as many big plays as it surrendered for a change.
Offensively, Davis (19-of-31, 202 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs), first-string running back DeMarlo Rozier (14 carries, 58 yards, 2 TDs) and starting sophomore wide receivers Joshua Bostick and Jurron Kelly all had solid scrimmages.
Still, despite all the positive performances, the Flashes are far from a finished product.
"We were a little inconsistent on both sides of the ball, but that's typical of a first scrimmage," said Pees. "We need to be more consistent and physical on offense and defense."
The Flashes will hold two more intrasquad scrimmages this week, one Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. and another Saturday evening in preparation for their Sept. 4 night game against the Bearcats.
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