Owls stop thinking, start winning

Nov. 8—KENNESAW — The Kennesaw State football players have gotten out of the way of their brains, and it is starting to show.

By not thinking, and just reacting and playing fast, the Owls have been playing some of their best defense of the season. It has led to a three-game winning streak, which has gotten the team back over .500, and rekindled come conference championship hopes.

Coach Brian Bohannon said the reacting comes from having better practice sessions, and by playing harder.

"We've made and emphasis of watching tape on their own," he said. "And then we want them to go play fast. If you do those things, you make some plays, and you gain some confidence."

While the defense has still given up more yardage and more points than in seasons past, what reacting and playing fast has allowed it to do is to become a ball-hawking type of unit. In the last three games KSU has forced eight turnovers, and there have been chances at more. Against then-No. 15 UT Martin last week, the Owls intercepted five passes, including three by STATS Perform National Defensive Player of the Week, Chance Gamble.

I call it trust in your preparation," Bohannon said. "They are reacting to things, which you hope turns into turnovers. Guys are doing their job and playing fast. You do that and keep doing it over and over, good things happen."

That kind of play can be contagious, and it is starting to filter over to the offensive side, too. Early in the year the Owls were having to fight for three and four yards per play and not getting any of the explosive plays fans have come to expect. However, over the last three games, KSU has had 17 plays of 20 yards or more, including scoring plays of 20, 37, 32 and 61 yards.

With Kennesaw State seemingly beginning to find its stride, it couldn't have come at a better time. The Owls host Austin Peay this week and head to Eastern Kentucky a week from Saturday. If things fall right, it's not out of the realm of possibility they find themselves atop the ASUN standings with a chance to make the FCS playoffs. But Bohannon quickly pointed out there is still a lot of work to do.

"We have two games left, both are conference games and the conference is wide open," he said. "We had our best week of preparation of the season last week. Now, can we build on that?"