Kennesaw State will try to bounce back from loss

Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon likes how his team bounced back from its first loss.

After losing at Dayton, the Owls hammered Point 56-17 in as “business-like” an approach as Bohannon said he has seen in his team’s first five games.

He will get another chance to see if the Owls can bounce back Saturday. After losing at Liberty 45-35 last week, Kennesaw State will host a confident Monmouth team that nearly upset top-ranked Coastal Carolina last week.

“Monmouth is a really good football team, but it’s more about Kennesaw state than it is about Monmouth,” he said. “We have to respond. Told our guys right after the game: ‘We have to get ready to play the next one.’

“Know our guys will do that.”

The team has looked better in practice than it did last week. Bohannon said the team lacked focus in its preparation for the Flames. Linebacker Kyron Minter said Bohannon snapped at the players right before the game because he didn’t think they were as sharp in preparation as they should be. The missing focus and the obvious physical differences between the teams was an eye-opening experience for some of Kennesaw State’s players.

Bohannon said he began watching tape of the game as soon as they got on the bus and saw his offensive linemen and defensive linemen getting tossed around.

On one play, Minter, a 227-pound junior, put everything he had into trying to tackle Liberty’s fullback. Because he hit him around the shoulders, he barely got him to the ground. Bohannon said that’s not the way he’s taught to tackle and exemplifies the need for the players to use their fundamentals and techniques to try to offset what may be a difference in the size of the players on more-established programs.

“Some learned that if you don’t do what you are coached to, you don’t give yourself a chance to compete,” Bohannon said.

The team also was hampered by the fact that the roster isn’t very deep. Because the Owls are in their first season, there are only 44 players using slightly more than 34 scholarships. The offense will use a max of 17 players during a game, and they will be without three starters Saturday: running back Micah Reed and offensive linemen John Pearson and Malik Letatau. The defense has lost four starters: defensive back Keon Roman, defensive linemen Luther Jones and Auuzoyah Alufohai and rush end Dustyn Moore.

Bohannon said he’s not going to use many of the seven freshmen who signed in February because there’s a “bigger picture” to building the program.

“As we go through the Big South schedule, it’s tough,” Bohannon said. “We don’t have a lot of depth at certain position. It’s just part of the process, but it doesn’t make it any better.

“Whoever is up next, scholarship, walk-on, third-string, fourth-string, they have to go play.”

The good news, Bohannon says, is that his team kept fighting against Liberty. Despite falling behind 24-7 at halftime, the Owls outscored the Flames 28-21 in the second half.

That’s the kind of fight Bohannon wants to see Saturday against Monmouth.

“No question our football team is going to respond,” he said. “It takes a lot of hard work, but it’s going to respond.”