YSU FOOTBALL Heacock: Team not ready for opener
The Penguins are still sorting out their quarterback situation.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State's football team is less than 10 days away from its season opener and coach Jon Heacock said the team is still far from ready.
The Penguins, scheduled to participate in their second scrimmage of the preseason today at 2 p.m., have made considerable progress since drills began less than two weeks ago, but Heacock said the team still had a ways to go.
"We're 10 days from playing," Heacock said Monday, "and that's just where we're at right now. We're not ready to play yet.
"We have a lot of players who have never taken a snap in a game yet and then we have a lot of veteran players," he continued. "We don't want to go too fast for those veterans that we lose the younger kids, so we've been spending some more time on fundamentals this week."
Heacock said that the team's hustle and enthusiasm has been terrific, "but we have to eliminate the mistakes."
Today's scrimmage will be much the same as the first session last Thursday.
"Because of all the new kids we have we can't go too fast or throw too many things at them right now, so we'll be playing it by ear out there tomorrow," Heacock added.
"You have a kid like Matt Rycraft out at wide receiver. He hasn't played in a year and didn't even get to practice in the spring, but he's learning and learning quickly."
Heacock said that the quarterback situation is coming around slowly.
Colby Street, the senior from Beallsville and the only quarterback with college playing experience, seems to be the leader going into today's scrimmage.
"Colby has been progressing very well, and Luis Gonzales is back after being out last scrimmage with a back injury, while we've moved senior Justin Greene up to the No. 3 spot," said Heacock.
Green probably had the best performance in the first scrimmage.
Redshirt freshman Aaron Marshall has been moved to wide receiver.
"Aaron still has a lot of potential at quarterback, but at the same time he is a tremendous athlete and one that you don't want to have standing around," said Heacock. "This move gives him the opportunity to get out on the field right now with the offense."
Heacock said newly added transfer Cecil Howard from Syracuse is still acclimating himself to YSU. He didn't practice Monday in order to arrange his academic schedule for this year.
"Cecil is just out there trying to find out where he is right now," Heacock said. "People just don't realize how difficult it is on a transfer coming in like he has. We're just going to watch how things progress and take them as they come with him."
The Penguins' season opener is Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. against Clarion University at Stambaugh Stadium.
Following today's scrimmage, the Penguins will windup two-a-day practices on Wednesday with a kicking scrimmage in the afternoon and a team steak fry.
After an off-day Thursday, game week preparation will begin Friday afternoon.
Heacock's first press conference will be Tuesday at noon in the DeBartolo Stadium Club at Stambaugh.