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Kent -- Aug. 8 kicked off a crucial two-week stretch for George Bollas.
The former Aurora High star is one of three players competing for Kent State's starting quarterback position during preseason camp, which opened at Dix Stadium. Also in the fray are freshman Justin Agner (6-foot, 200) and redshirt freshman Mylik Mitchell (6-3, 194).
Bollas, a 6-3, 208-
pound redshirt sophomore, has a leg up based on experience after starting the final six games last season for the Golden Flashes (3-9 in 2015).
Still, he needs to prove he's the man to lead a Kent State offense that simply must improve drastically in 2016 after struggling mightily last fall.
"It's an open competition," said Bollas. "[Head coach Paul Haynes] said a starter won't be named for two weeks of camp. It's good competition. It's making all three quarterbacks better. It's exciting. It's going to be fun."
Bollas led the Flashes to a 15-10 victory at U Mass in his first collegiate start with an extremely efficient performance, completing 20-of-25 passes for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception while adding 79 yards on the ground on 15 carries.
But KSU's youthful offense stalled in the final five contests of 2015, producing just 31 total points while getting shutout three times. The Flashes finished the season averaging just 13.8 points and 270.8 yards per game.
BOLLAS wound up completing 94 of 167 passes for 756 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions, while tacking on 275 yards (3.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown on the ground.
While the experience was difficult at times, Bollas is still grateful that he received extended playing time last season.
"Games from high school to college are a completely different thing, so it was good to get a few games in," he said.
Bollas believes the off-season has been extremely productive for a Kent State offense that featured almost all underclassmen and a first-year offensive coordinator in Don Treadwell last season.
"The off-season went really well," said Bollas. "Last year was our first year under the offense that coach Treadwell put in, so this year we're fine-tuning things, getting more comfortable with it.
"We're a lot more confident in the system now. We were young last year, graduated only one or two starters.
"Now we have everyone back, and we've all been working together, grinding together. Me and the whole team are really excited about this season."
While the quarterback competition will be fierce over the next two weeks, Bollas is doing his best to keep a level head through it all.
"I do the same things every day. I do everything to the best of my ability and try my hardest," said Bollas, an Academic All-Mid-American Conference honoree last season.
"I just want to play how I play. I've definitely improved over the offseason. The whole offense has improved. It's going to be exciting."
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