That's one of the many questions Kent State football coach Dean Pees is pondering after last Saturday's sorrowful showing at Northern Illinois.
"Our guys, for whatever reason, don't take compliments well," said Pees during Tuesday's weekly press conference. "They felt too good after the Miami game. Sure we played them tough (17-10 defeat), but we lost. That's the bottom line.
"Then we go into Northern Illinois automatically assuming we're going to play that well again. And, since they aren't as good as Miami on film, we go in thinking we'll win just by showing up. And we proceed to get kicked everywhere you can get kicked."
The Flashes were beaten so badly, they didn't even bother watching the game film.
"I can't correct effort and attitude," said Pees. "We ran to the ball on the first play, and that was it. On the second play their fullback pancakes our best defensive player, and that set the tone for the rest of the day.
"So instead of watching film we held a long team meeting. Only one guy talked, and I didn't ask any questions."
Pees later said that attitude isn't the main problem with his Flashes.
"They're good kids, and we've had very few off-field problems," said Pees. "What we have is a tolerance for losing. We settle for just playing well way too easily. We say we want to win and we practice hard, but a team that really wanted to win wouldn't become complacent after a loss."
Not only did the Flashes get beat at Northern Illinois, but they got beat up as well as five key players were injured.
Senior strong safety Geoff Betts, one of Kent's top defenders, suffered a knee injury and underwent surgery on Tuesday. He will miss Saturday's game at Dix Stadium against winless Buffalo along with sophomore Jurron Kelly (knee), the team's second-leading receiver, and sophomore tailback DeMarlo Rozier (ankle). All three players could return before the season's end.
Freshman Jacon Avery will start in place of Betts, sophomore Matt Curry will move into the No. 2 wide receiver slot, and freshman Booker Vann and sophomore Chante Murphy will continue to man the tailback position.
Meanwhile, senior Duvall Braxton and sophomore Victor Vrabel, who have
been alternating at left guard, are both questionable for Saturday's
game. Junior Jason Hupp will move from left tackle to left guard, and
senior Cory Zwick will start at left tackle.