Penguins getting bit by injury bug
The good news Monday was that some players returned.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- There has been a lot of color on Youngstown State's practice field, but not the kind first-year football coach Jon Heacock would like to see.
Players wore plenty of blue and yellow jerseys Monday signifying injured players not taking part in drills. The Penguins have been hit by a rash of minor, but nagging injuries ever since camp opened and that list seems to keep growing.
"It just seems like there have been more of those minor injuries than ever before," said Heacock. "I even mentioned it to trainer Dan Wathen, that I thought this was the worst year I can ever remember."
Wathen, who has been with the YSU football program for more than 20 years, begged to differ.
"I could bring out last year's list and it would probably surpass this one," Wathen said.
Adding to it: The most recent additions to the injury list include junior All-Gateway Conference defensive tackle Matt Mechling, senior defensive back Antulio Aroche and senior wide receiver Andre Coleman.
Mechling, a starter since his freshman year, could miss a couple of weeks with a rib injury and probably won't play in the opener against Lock Haven on Sept. 30.
Senior fullback Jerry Johnson, just off the injury list, is back on it, as is sophomore offensive lineman Nick Roberts.
Johnson and freshman redshirt fullback Mike Roberts are also considered unlikely to play in the first game.
There was some good news Monday; junior tailback P.J. Mays, sophomore tailback Mike Burns and senior wide receiver Eugene Mintze all returned to action.
The injuries and the recent death of Eloise Tressel caused Heacock to change his practice schedule, including the scrimmages.
Scrimmage rescheduled: The Penguins were supposed to hold a rehearsal scrimmage today at 2 p.m., but that was moved back to Wednesday.
"If we don't get anybody else hurt we will probably hold our special teams scrimmage [today], but that could also change if more injuries pop up," Heacock said.
YSU was to practice early today, then the seniors and coaches were to bus to Berea to attend a public service for Mrs. Tressel at Baldwin-Wallace College.
"If everything goes as planned we will probably hold a kicking scrimmage at 4 p.m. [today]," said Heacock.
Senior offensive lineman Lavelle Hawkes, who last played for the Penguins in 1999 and was a starter, has returned to the team and is taking part in practice. Hawkes sat out last season because of NCAA sanctions but has been reinstated.
The Penguins will end two-a-day workouts on Wednesday and plan to take Thursday off. They will practice at 10 p.m. Friday following the Rayen-Ursuline game.