After completing their final full-fledged practice before Sunday's game just before 10 a.m., Kent State football head coach Darrell Hazell was rushed to the GoDaddy.com Bowl Official Press Conference, where he was joined by KSU Director of Athletics Joel Nielsen and the Arkansas State contingent. Then players from both teams joined officials and invited guests for the GoDaddy.com Bowl Mayor's Luncheon, featuring comedian Larry the Cable Guy as guest speaker.
n Memoirs: Friday's practice was a very crisp one, especially for the offense. Senior quarterback Spencer Keith was sharp, junior speedster Dri Archer caught several touchdown passes against the second-team defense, and practice ended with Keith and Chris Humphrey bumping chests after the freshman wide receiver snagged a 2-point conversion pass. ... After the press conference, Hazell was asked several interesting questions on the side.
First, about his volume of contact with new Kent State coach Paul Haynes: "Paul and I talked about staffing a little bit a few days ago, and that's about it. Paul's got his own little deal he's working on, and I've got my little deal. He called me the other day but I didn't recognize the phone number -- he changed his number because so many people were calling him about jobs. So I didn't know who it was, and I never called him back. On his approach to coaching his final game at KSU: "I don't think it changes much. You don't play it tight to the vest, but you don't gamble just because it's your last game."
On watching his new team Purdue's ugly 58-14 loss to Oklahoma State in the Heart of Texas Bowl on Jan. 1: "It was neat being up in the box with those guys (from Purdue). I got a chance to sit down with (former Purdue QBs) Drew Brees and Kyle Orton, some good guys, and I tried to evaluate the talent. They had a tough time. They missed some opportunities early, didn't make some plays."
Then it was off to the Mayor's Luncheon, which was quite an event. About 1,500 people attended the luncheon, which included performances by the band and cheerleaders from both schools inside the spacious Mobile Convention Center. Several of Kent State's top officials arrived in time for the luncheon, including trustees Jacqueline Woods, Jane Murphy Timken, Richard Marsh, Stephen Colecchi, Alex Evans and Chelsea Knowles. Kent State University President Dr. Lester A. Lefton spoke on behalf of his school. Donors also made their way to the event, including Kent State alumnus Dave Edmonds, the Senior Vice President at Fedex. New Flashes football coach Paul Haynes was also on hand along with his family. ... Kent State fans will begin flocking to Mobile today in full force. According to KSU officials, the university has distributed a little over 2,000 tickets. ... Kent State's players have been receiving a gift each day from the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Thus far the swag includes Sol Republic head phones with a KSU logo, a large leather garment bag with the GoDaddy.com logo, a watch that they received Friday night and a commemorative game ball. Before they left for Alabama, players received blue Nike GoDaddy.com Bowl warm-ups from the university. ... The weather improved on Friday, as the sun stayed out the entire day. But it was still cool and breezy, with temperatures in the upper 40s during the morning before reaching a high of 56 in the afternoon. The forecast for Sunday's game remains cloudy, with temperature in the high 40s at kickoff.
Coming Up: Today's events include a luncheon on board the famous World War II battleship the USS Alabama, a Mardi Gras parade with Grand Marshal Danica Patrick, and a Pep Rally at 8 p.m., followed by a Street Party.
Countdown To Kickoff: 1 day.