The senior quarterback had to makeup a lot of classwork since last season.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- There was a time this past spring when Colby Street felt that he might never play football at Youngstown State again.
Street, a 6-foot-3, 233-pound senior from Armstrong Mills, got into some academic problems following the winter and was forced to overload his spring schedule in order to be eligible to play this fall.
He missed most of spring practice, working out just on the weekends to concentrate on his studies, and through a lot of hard work and with a lot of help he made it.
This is an important year for Street, who has been a backup to Jeff Ryan for the past three years. Now Street has taken over those reigns and will make his debut as the starting quarterback Thursday when the Penguins play host to Clarion University in the season opener at 7:30 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.
"There was a time, right at the beginning of spring, when I had some doubts that I'd ever make it to fall practice," Street said.
"But as it went on, it got better and I had so much help from the coaches, [head academic advisor] Marilyn [O'Bruba] and all the other advisors," Street added.
Heavy classroom load
Street took 19 credit hours during the spring, way over the normal load for a student, but he said it was his own fault.
"I'm the one who got me into that situation in the first place and I'm the only one who was going to get me out of it," Street said. "I'm glad it past now and I'm ready to concentrate on football again."
Street is the only one of YSU's quarterbacks with any college starting experience. Freshman redshirt Aaron Marshall came out of the spring listed as No. 1 on the depth chart.
Street came into preseason camp in great shape and worked hard to regain the No. 1 spot.
"It's been exciting and a lot of hard work, but now that I'm getting most of the reps in practice it all seems worth it," Street said.
"We have some great quarterbacks and I know that I'm going to have to continue to work hard if I want to stay No. 1," he added.
Street will be backed up by junior transfer Luis Gonzales, a Florida native, who came to the Penguins from the University of Cincinnati.
Senior Justin Greene, a transfer from Bethany College, is listed No. 3 on the depth chart, while Marshall and sophomore Matt Rycraft of West Branch have been moved to wide receiver to take advantage of their athletic abilities.
Street is high on this season's team, especially of the offense.
"We have so much potential," he said. "We have a great offensive line, great receivers and great running backs. And with the defense that we have it should be just a great season."
Needs to play key role
Street said he will need to play a big role if the team is to succeed offensively.
"My main objective is to take care of the football," he said. "If we don't turn the ball over, we have a chance to go a long way this year."
YSU coach Jon Heacock has been impressed with the job that Street has done both off and on the field the past few months.
"Colby has worked very hard, just as all our quarterbacks have, but he's earned the chance to start in the opener," Heacock said.
After that it's all up to Street whether he keeps the job or not and he wouldn't want it any other way.