Record-Courier staff report
Kent State conducted its first practice of the spring football season Tuesday morning at Dix Stadium.
"It wasn't bad," said second-year KSU head coach Paul Haynes. "We're focusing a lot on making sure the guys do the little things right -- playing low, running to the ball, not (being) in bad position. Those are the things that we want to concentrate on these 15 (spring) practices."
The Golden Flashes return 18 lettermen and six starters on offense, along with 21 letterwinners and eight starters on defense from a 2013 squad that finished 4-8 in Haynes' rookie season. He is changing things up somewhat during his second spring practice season as the KSU boss.
"We're doing a lot more teaching periods," said Haynes. "We have less team periods. We're doing a lot more (small) group work, so there's more of a progression of teaching that we're focusing on so our guys know exactly what they're doing and they understand why we're doing things."
Haynes is also focused on bringing his Flashes together as a unit this spring.
"One thing we continue to focus on is team chemistry," he said. "Until we learn to truly love each other and care about each other we won't be a championship team, and the only way you can do that is to spend time with guys. Our guys have bought into that."
Area players on Kent State's spring roster include returning starters Anthony Melchiori (junior punter/kicker, Aurora) and Nate Vance (senior defensive end, Stow), along with redshirt freshman safety Jake McVay (Aurora), junior wide receiver Evan Shimensky (Kent Roosevelt), redshirt freshman quarterback Tony Carroscia (Stow/CVCA), junior running back Joe Rogers (Barberton), sophomore fullback Steve Nagy (Hudson), freshman running back Khaled Abukhaled (Field), senior defensive lineman Marcus Wright (Kent Roosevelt), junior wide receiver Steve Magic (Streetsboro), sophomore kicker Zach Reichert (Streetsboro/Hoban), freshman linebacker Tyler Freeman (Woodridge) and senior punter Andrew Horning (Stow).
Spring practices will continue Thursday morning, while the annual spring game is set for Saturday, April 26, at Dix Stadium.