YSU FOOTBALL Fitness test, first two-a-day drills signals of serious business
Head coach Jon Heacock will coach with Pete Rekstis in the secondary this season.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State head football coach Jon Heacock is pleased with the overall physical condition of his team.
Thursday, the Penguins held their annual fitness testing, which shows players' level of condition coming into camp. Heacock, for the most part, was pleased.
"We had some guys that have some conditioning issues that we've got to get solved, but really everybody came back in really good shape," Heacock said.
"There are a few guys that we're going to have to work with, but for the big picture, I thought they came through it very well," he added.
Friday, the Penguins held their first of two-a-day workouts with the entire team present, and again Heacock found some good things.
"It was kind of crazy out there today, guys running around everywhere," he said. "There was a lot of enthusiasm out there and a lot of effort, but it is day one and it is what it is.
"Overall, I thought the kids came out ready to play."
Heacock has changed his role somewhat with this year's team; he's going to be much more involved with the defense.
"I'm going to coach with Pete [Rekstis] in the secondary this year," Heacock said. "I think that last year I wasn't sure just what I should be doing.
"All my background is on defense and I've got all the faith in the world in those guys on the offense, so I'm going to go back and coach some defense.
"I want to help out more this year, and the one place I can do that is on defense, so that's what I'm going to do."
The Penguins worked out for about two hours Friday morning and then again in the afternoon.
Although it was just the first day with the entire group together, there were three players already wearing yellow jerseys, signifying they were injured.
Two of them, senior wide receiver Jerald Burley and junior defensive back Waymann Peters, are starters. Burley has a slightly sprained ankle and Peters a hamstring pull. Neither are considered serious, and YSU trainer Dan Wathan expects both to be back to full strength in the next couple of days.
Freshman offensive tackle Erik Claxon, the 6-7, 325-pounder from Brunswick, is also in yellow. He is scheduled to have an MRI today to determine the severity of a muscle tear in his leg. It is something he did in high school, but was aggravated again during the freshmen workouts.
Red-shirt freshman Tony Limongi of Niles, a 6-0, 240-pound offensive lineman, went down during Friday's workout. He suffered an ankle sprain and it's not known how long he'll be out.