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Kent State Football Enters Camp with Many Questions; Looks to Grow Throughout 2023 Season

Kent, OH- We have reached the Dog Days of Summer, with the calendar flipping to August. With that, comes football, and at Kent State University, that meant a pre-camp press conference for new head coach Kenni Burns. Burns comes to Kent by way of Minnesota, where he coached under PJ Fleck. Expectations across the MAC are low for the Flashes this year, as in the coach's poll, the Flashes were picked to finish last in the East Division.

Coach Burns Opening Statement:

"Our football team has worked so hard up to this point. The players from winter conditioning saw growth and development... These guys work their tails off and I love this football team. I've said it over and over again. I love them because they're giving everything they possibly can to the coaching staff and the strength staff. If you can build off that and put them in a position to be successful as coaches, you have some good play for the football team as well."

Coach Burns on the Offense:

"We look at our football team, there's two stories. On offense, we are very young and inexperienced, we have 11 new starters playing on offense. I learned from PJ [Fleck] to flip that and look at it as we got the most opportunistic offensive players that can play this year. There's a lot of good young talent that you're going to see. Some new names are going to emerge after the first couple of games. You're going to say 'Wow, this kid has got a future to be a great player for Kent State'.

Coach Burns on the QB Battle:

"It's a true battle. Right now, we won't name a starter until after the scrimmage in the middle of Fall Camp, but it's between Tommy Ulatowski, Griffin Brewster, Devin Kargman, and Mike Alaimo, a transfer from Purdue. They're all going to have an equal opportunity to present themselves up to that scrimmage and in that scrimmage, "let 'er rip" and we will come out of that and name our starter.

On Getting all 11 guys to gel on offense and work as one cohesive unit:

"That's my number 1 goal, to be honest with you. Since spring ball ended, I've been meeting with other head coaches to talk about how you make a unit cohesive when everybody is from different walks of their journey. The biggest thing I've found is you put them into situations where they have to face adversity together. In the summer we did certain things where they had to rely on each other to have success. The same thing will happen in fall camp. We've got to get them connected with each other, put them in situations where they have to rely on each other and get to know each other off the field. It's what we've been doing and what we will continue to do.

The biggest thing he's looking for from the team this season:

"Growth. I know it's going to happen. I know we're going to eventually click on offense and click on defense. The team you see in week 1 will be different come week 4 or 5."

On being rated last by MAC Coaches in the Poll and using it as a motivator:

"We're not. The one thing about the MAC is every year there's a different winner. I don't put a lot of stock into the pre-season polls. I would probably put us last too because we literally are the most inexperienced team in America. We have all new starters on offense and only a few returning on defense. On this coaching staff, we know what we have and I know from my experience the pieces that you need to have a winner and I can tell you that we have the pieces in place to have a winner. "

For more from Coach Kenni Burns, you can view the Fall Camp Press Conference in it's entirety below:



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