YSU FOOTBALL Hoot 'N Holler
The drill is the first real contact session for the Penguins each fall.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- The pads came out, the contact began and the Youngstown State University football team took its first real steps to getting ready for the 2001 season.
The annual "Hoot 'N Holler" drill again kicked off the Penguins' first day of full contact, and it was as enthusiastic as always for the players and coaches.
YSU first-year head coach Jon Heacock watched the drills and took close notice of the effort put forth by his team.
"I thought it was very enthusiastic out there this morning," Heacock said. "The kids were anxious to start hitting and I thought things went very well for a first session.
"We still have a long way to go and we're not ready right now to play our first football game, but then again we don't have to be ready right now.
Coach pleased: "I was pleased to see some of our young kids step up and perform well in the drills," he added. "We have to look at the films, but overall I was pleased with the play today."
The Penguins, who open the 2001 season on Aug. 30 at home against Lock Haven University, had another heavy practice Monday afternoon. Today, they will take it a bit easier.
"We plan on going strong about every other day," Heacock said. "We've got a few kids banged up, nothing serious, but we want to avoid injuries as much as we can -- although this is football, and injuries are part of the game."
Eight players did not take part in the first contact day, including several starters who were injured or sick.
Senior starting tackle Pat Crummey is recovering from a pulled hamstring, as is junior running back P.J. Mays and wide receiver Eugene Mintze.
Senior starting fullback Jerry Johnson and backup fullback Greg Giannios were sick on Monday and did not participate in drills, while reserve offensive lineman Nick Roberts and Dean Jewell and wide receiver Phil Larmon also were nursing injuries.
Junior lineman Robert Lipowski hurt his knee during the Hoot 'N Holler drill when a teammate rolled over his leg.
"All of the injuries to date have been minor," said Heacock. "They are all day-to-day things and most should be back in action this week."
Senior Charles Mister, who had been working with the quarterbacks, is back with the wide receivers, as was senior Andre Coleman, who was also getting some work at tailback.
The Penguins held a situation scrimmage in the morning, including a two-minute drill session that had the offense drive from its own 40-yard line to the defense's 30 before junior linebacker Ken Baun of Canfield batted a Jeff Ryan pass into the arms of defensive tackle Matt Mechling that killed the drive.
Freshman impressive: Ryan, junior Colby Street and sophomore Ben Bair all worked the quarterback position, but it was freshman Aaron Marshall who impressed the coaches with his play for a first-year player.
Marshall, from Detroit and the brother of former YSU standout Willis Marshall, showed a lot of poise for a freshman in his first scrimmage.
"He does so many things naturally, things that you can't coach," said Heacock.
On one play the freshman rolled to his right on a goal-line situation. When he drew the defense in appearing to be running, he stopped and dropped a perfect pass to a wide open David Colella in the end zone for a score.
The team will continue two-a-day workouts at 8:40 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. today and Wednesday. It will hold a light workout Thursday morning and then hold its first jersey scrimmage on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.