Another year at Kent not a bad idea for Dri Archer
With the best season in school history now in the books, it’s time for the Kent State football team to start focusing on the 2013 season and new coach Paul Haynes has a big challenge facing him right off the bat.
Namely, how to convince All-American running back Dri Archer that coming back for one more year at Kent is a good idea.
On the one hand, Archer’s stock will probably never be higher after leading the Golden Flashes in rushing (1,482 yards, 16 touchdowns and 9.0 yards per carry), receptions (39 catches for 561 yards and four touchdowns) and averaging 36.9 yards per kickoff return with three touchdowns (before teams stopped kicking to him).
On the other hand, Archer has only this big year on his resume (he missed last season over an academic issue) and he is just 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds. After watching Cleveland’s Travis Benjamin (who’s two inches taller than Archer but the same weight) look pretty small on an NFL field, it’s easy to wonder if there is a place for Archer in the NFL.
And since Kent State was the only FBS school to offer him a scholarship, Haynes may be able to play the loyalty card a little bit.
“He’s a dynamic player, he’s a playmaker, he’s productive and he has to touch the ball a lot for us,” Haynes told The Beacon Journal. “What I told him when I talked to him, that in the future that’s what’s going to happen. It can’t just be kickoffs. We have to find creative ways to get the ball in his hands and not just jet sweeps so (opponents) can’t key on that. He’s too good a player to be on the sidelines or not having the ball in his hands.”
Archer owned MAC defenses this year and appealing to his competitive nature is a good tact for Haynes to take. But after hurting his knee in Kent’s loss to Arkansas State on Sunday night, Archer may not want to risk getting hurt and missing parts of his senior year. Before the injury, Archer ripped off a 44-yard run and scored Kent’s only touchdown on an 18-yard reverse that showed his talent.
Working against Haynes could be the fact that he has no relationship with Archer – yet.
“Ultimately it comes down to his and his family’s decision,” Haynes said. “But I will definitely give my two cents in what I think is best for him. But with me not knowing him too well, I’m going to reach out to other people who do know him a little bit better and have them also talk to him.”
Part of it is being selfish, but we hope that Archer comes back for his senior year. Another year of experience can’t hurt and if he can learn to return punts and become a reliable receiver, it’s not that hard to see smart offensive coordinator using his talents. After all, Darren Sproles (who is just 5-foot-6 and 190 pounds) has been able to carve out a pretty decent NFL career so far.
If Haynes can convince Archer to come back next season, it will be the first big win of his head coaching career.
And having Archer on the roster would go a long way toward helping Haynes and the Golden Flashes add to that win total in 2013.
(Photo by The Associated Press)