September 15, 2009

Viking Quest

"From the past...comes a warrior of the future."

That's the tagline from the fictional TV show Viking Quest depicted in the hit HBO series Entourage.

According to Wikipedia, the fictional sci-fi series was set in the mid-10th Century AD and starred Johnny "Drama" Chase, played by Kevin Dillon, as Tarvold, a Viking hero who sailed the seas in search of treasure. Instead, Tarvold was caught stealing the gold of Vali, the Norse God of Revenge. To make up for his crime against Vali, Tarvold was forced to loot and plunder, and in the process he became one of the most feared of all Vikings.

In the spirit of Tarvold and other Viking conquerors, Kent State head coach Doug Martin hopes to turn a negative into a positive.

After losing starting running back Eugene Jarvis for the year after the 5-foot-5, 170-pounder suffered a lacerated kidney in Saturday's 34-7 loss at Boston College, and the questionable health of his starting quarterback Giorgio Morgan, Martin knows most future opponents are writing off the Golden Flashes.

"What's going to be written about us, and what's going to be in the media, is that it's going to be tough; 'it's probably over, they don't have Jarvis,'" said Martin on Monday at his weekly media conference. "And, I'll promise you, and I told the football team this, I'll promise you that's what's being said at every other MAC school right now from Akron to Miami to whoever you want to name, 'well Kent State's done, they don't have Jarvis anymore.'"

But Martin believes there's a hidden message in there.

"Well let me tell you what they're really saying," Martin said. "They're really saying, 'Brian Lainhart is not good enough to play without Eugene Jarvis. Andre Flowers isn't good enough to go and play running back. Dri Archer is not good enough to go and play running back. The rest of you Kent State football players, you ain't good enough, and coaches too. You coaches aren't good enough to get it done without Eugene Jarvis; he's all you had.' That's what's really being said there if you want to talk about that."

Martin won't let Jarvis' injury, or anything else, deflate his team. In fact, the sixth-year head coach ended his media address with a guarantee of future success.

"I love history," he said. "The Vikings, you know how they used to conquer people? They used to sail those ships in there, get off the ships then burn them. There's nowhere to run.

"So I'm going to tell you this. We don't have our starting quarterback; we don't have our starting running back; I don't care. I'll guarantee every Kent State fan right now this is going to be a winning football team and this football team is going to be in a bowl game...I just burned the ships."

Lainhart, a junior safety and one of four team captains, said Martin’s guarantee serves as a vote of confidence as well as an ultimatum.

"I love playing under pressure. I love that he believes in us that much that he guaranteed we are going to win," he said. "Now it's just on us. There's nowhere to hide, there's no excuses. He took every excuse that anybody has and just threw it out the window."

Martin also burned the ships, leaving the Golden Flashes to conquer their foes and become warriors of the future or sink into another losing season.

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