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Kent State coach to decide on starting quarterback soon; Bollas in contention

by ALLEN MOFF | RECORD-COURIER REPORTER Published: August 23, 2016 11:09 AM
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Kent State's starting quarterback for the Sept. 3 season opener at Penn State will be revealed following Saturday's afternoon practice by head coach Paul Haynes, who provided an update on his squad's signal-caller situation after Monday's morning walk-through at Dix Stadium.

“We're not there yet to name a (starter),” said Haynes. “(Offensive coordinator Don Treadwell) and I talked about it this morning, and we'll figure it out this week. I will guarantee you that I will name a starter on Saturday.”

The competition remains three strong. Redshirt sophomore George Bollas, a former Aurora High School standout who started the Golden Flashes' final six games of the 2015 season, is battling freshman Justin Agner and redshirt freshman Mylik Mitchell for the first chance to lead the offense in 2016.

Bollas (6-foot-3, 216) is the only candidate with experience at the collegiate level. He steered the Flashes to a 15-10 victory at UMass in his first start by 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 Bollas and the entire offense struggled down the stretch last fall, producing just 31 points while getting blanked three times in the last five games. Kent State wound up averaging an FBS-low 13.1 points per contest in 2015.

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Bollas completed 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.

Agner (6-0, 200) attended Air Force Prep after starring at Woodstock High School in Georgia, where he threw for 1,161 yards and 13 touchdowns in six starts as a senior. He joined the KSU program last winter and took part in spring drills.

Mitchell (6-3, 201), a former Cleveland John Hay High School star, was trailing his competition heading into preseason drills but has made up ground according to Haynes.

“Going in (to preseason camp) I said that (Mitchell) was behind. But now he has a chance to start for us (at Penn State),” said Haynes. “Mylik has had a good camp.”

Haynes said just before the start of preseason practices that he'd name a starter within two weeks, but hedged after both Agner and Mitchell suffered minor injuries last week that kept briefly kept them out of action. Last week he updated the quarterback situation by saying that all three would play in the first four games of the season, all non-conference contests, and he stood bythat statement on Monday.

“They're all going to play,” he said. “The guy that starts (at Penn State) may not be the guy that starts the rest of the year.”
What will Haynes be looking for out of his quarterbacks for the rest of this week, as he decides who will start against the Nittany Lions?

“Leadership,” he said. “I'm not worried about mechanics and those types of things. I want a guy who is a leader, who has a presence in the huddle. I want the guy who does the best at getting our entire offense on the same page to accomplish what we set out to do.”

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