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Redshirt freshman quarterback Colin Reardon received solid reviews from both coaches and teammates after completing 21-of-28 passes for 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first collegiate start.
"Statistically, he played really well," said Haynes. "For a first start for a young kid, he played pretty well, but he will continue to get better and make better decisions at times to get us out of bad situations."
Reardon did make one glaring error when he had the ball knocked loose from behind while trying to scramble on a third-and-20 play. Liberty recovered at the Kent State 41-yard line, setting up a field goal that cut Kent State's lead to 7-3 and gave a struggling Flames squad some life.
"We tell them not to try to make great plays, and when he tried to make a great play, he turned it over," said Haynes. "But he's harder on himself than anyone else will ever be, which is a good thing. He will critique his game and work on the things that he's gotta get better at. He will definitely get better."
Senior wide receiver Tyshon Goode, who caught a game-high eight passes for 75 yards against Liberty, was impressed by how Reardon handled himself as a young quarterback.
"He has a great presence in the huddle," said Goode. "I know him being a young guy, it may not seem like (a strength), but in the huddle, everybody's eyes and ears are locked in on him. He has control of the huddle, definitely."
Haynes has said he will analyze the quarterback position each week and name a starter on a game-by-game basis, but barring a major meltdown in the next couple of practices, Reardon will be under center to open Saturday's battle with the Falcons.
TOO MANY FLAGS
Haynes was disturbed by the number of flags thrown at his Flashes in the opener. Kent State piled up nine penalties for 79 yards, with eight coming in the first half alone.
Needless to say, that issue is being addressed this week in practice.
"I think you've gotta harp on it like crazy in practice, and when you see it, there has to be a punishment involved," said Haynes. "A lot of them were just a lack of fundamentals and technique. Once you get tired this happens, you grab and hold. We've just gotta focus on it a little bit more and do a little bit better coaching. I put that on us as coaches, not the players. We've gotta make sure that we coach it better in practice."
CHECKING ON OLD FRIENDS
• Former star offensive lineman Brian Winters, who was drafted by the New York Jets in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, is listed No. 2 on the depth chart at left guard behind fourth-year veteran Vladimir Ducasse.
• Josh Kline, who played beside Winters on the left side of KSU's line last year, was signed as an undrafted free agent by New England and originally made the final roster, but was released Monday morning after cornerback Marquice Cole was re-signed.
• Former Flashes coach Darrell Hazell had a rough debut on Saturday, as his Purdue squad was pounded 42-7 at Cincinnati. "Sometimes things kind of snowball. You hit a brick wall and you can't get it fixed," said Hazell afterward. "That's probably a more fair account of where we are right now. We can get it turned around pretty quick if we fix those problems." Hazell lost his first game as head coach of Kent State 48-7 at Alabama in 2011.
• Junior wide receiver Chris Humphey, who caught what proved to be the game-winning 42-yard touchdown pass against Liberty, dropped a bomb from quarterback Spencer Keith that would have put his team ahead late in the fourth quarter of last year's 17-13 loss to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
• Haynes said that Anthony Melchiori (Aurora) is currently handling all of the kicking and punting chores. Kent State's star sophomore punter made his first collegiate field goal, a 39-yarder that tied the score at 10-10 in the fourth quarter, and two of his four kickoffs were touchbacks.
• In the opener, the Flashes recorded their first victory after trailing at the end of the third quarter since 2008, and won their first game without forcing a turnover since 2003. Kent State forced 38 turnovers in the first 12 games last year, but has now failed to force a single turnover in the past two games.
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