After the pain of last week's overtime loss at Kent State, Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon has been guarding his players against another letdown Saturday at Alabama State.

KENNESAW -- Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon was concerned with how his team would respond to a its 26-23 overtime loss last Saturday at Kent State. 

As the Owls (1-1) were preparing to hit the practice field Wednesday for their upcoming game at Alabama State (1-1), Bohannon was still trying to figure out how the team was dealing with the defeat.

"I'm at a little bit of a loss right now for where we are," he said Wednesday during his weekly news conference. 

Part of the reason was the bad weather Tuesday. After having team meetings, the Owls had to sit in the locker room for more than two hours until a sudden thunderstorm could pass. Once the weather passed, the team was only able to practice for about 45 minutes.

Another part may be the sense of urgency -- or the need for one -- with Bohannon saying he left a message to get the players attention.

"I got after them pretty good after practice," he said. "We don't lose much around here and, by gosh, we don't lose two in a row ever around here, so the response to a loss should be astronomical right now. Everyone from me to coaches, to players to trainers to managers to everyone involved -- everybody -- we win as a team we lose as a team, so the response to these things needs to be through the roof, and I'm not sure it's there." 

One of Bohannon's concerns came on the offensive side of the ball, where Kennesaw State replaced 10 of the 11 starters, including having five new starters on the offensive line. 

Left tackle Jake Lassiter, center William Nana Fabu and right guard Terrell Paxton have started both games this season. Eight linemen saw action in the season opener against Point, with seven playing against Kent State.

Bohannon said he has seen incremental growth from a number of players on the line, but just like the rest of the offense, he said it will be awhile before the coaches settle on a final starting five.

Through two games, the Owls are second in the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing at 342.5 yards per game, 11th in total offense at 514.5 yards per game and fifth in time of possession at 35 minutes per game -- though the statistics were skewed because of the team's 59-0 blowout of NAIA-level Point.

One positive for Kennesaw State's offensive line is that the unit has been called for only three penalties through the first two games. 

"We have a long way to go," Bohannon said. "It's a positive on the penalties, but we have a long way to go. All 11 operating as a unit on a consistent basis, we're not there yet. 

"You hold the ball for 40 minutes (as Kennesaw State did against Kent State), you should win every game. We have to keep working, keep grinding, but we're not there yet."

The Owls are expected to face an Alabama State much improved from when it lost 62-13 to Kennesaw State last year at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The Hornets are 1-1 and could easily be 2-0 after suffered a five-point loss to defending Conference USA champion UAB in its season opener.

To beat Alabama State for a third straight year, Bohannon said his offense will have to play better and fix the mistakes it has made the first two weeks.

"We're not there yet," he said. "I didn't expect us to be. Did I expect us to be further along? Yes. I didn't expect (the offense to work perfectly) when you replace that many kids. You expect some growing pains to go with that.

"We need to make a big step this week."


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