YSU FOOTBALL Penguinsmake QB moves to lift team
Wide receiver Aaron Marshall returns to a quarterback role.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- It was one-year ago today that Youngstown State head football coach Jon Heacock was preparing for a game with the University of Toledo, the Penguins first game against a Division I-A ranked opponent.
But Heacock and his staff never left their morning meetings as the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon sent the country into a state of mourning.
The Toledo game was canceled along with all of that weekend's NCAA college football games.
"It was a day that in our lifetime we will never forget," said Heacock Tuesday at his weekly press conference in the DeBartolo Stadium Club in Stambaugh Stadium.
"We will definitely take some time tomorrow [Wednesday] and talk about it," Heacock said. "It was a day when everything else was just unimportant."
Youngstown State has an open date this weekend.
The Penguins are coming off a disappointing 28-13 loss to No. 6 ranked McNeese State last Saturday at home. The Cowboys moved into the No. 3 spot nationally, while the Penguins dropped to No. 12 in the Sports Network poll and No. 10 in the ESPN/USA TODAY poll.
"This open day has come at a good time for us," Heacock said. "It's a chance for us to get healthier and a time for us to get better as a team."
The big question going into this week has been at quarterback. Heacock said the Penguins must find help at the position.
One name mentioned was senior Justin Green, who took his first snaps at quarterback last Saturday and drove the Penguins 87 yards in the team's final drive for a touchdown.
"Justin Green was impressive in that drive," Heacock said. "One thing about Justin is that he doesn't make mistakes. He was a two-year starter at Bethany College before he came to YSU."
Green probably has the least athletic ability of any of the other four quarterback prospects.
The one with the most ability is freshman red-shirt Aaron Marshall, who has spent most of practice and the first two games at wide receiver.
"He'll officially be back at quarterback tonight at practice," offensive coordinator John Klacik said Tuesday.
"We have to look at the situation and do what's best for the whole offense," Klacik said. "We might need to play more than one quarterback in the game."
The Penguins entered the McNeese game expecting to see nine- and 10-man defensive fronts.
"We knew that we would have to throw six home-run balls over their defense in the game," Klacik said. "We threw six home-run balls, but we were 0-for-6 on the night."
The Penguins play their Gateway Conference opener against Western Kentucky on Sept. 21. Klacik said he wants to see better production from the offense.
"Are we there yet?" said Klacik, "No, we're not. Do we have a chance of getting there? Yes we do."
Heacock said the Penguins lost junior cornerback Pat Reece for the rest of the season with a broken bone in his foot and that tight end Dennis Dlugosz is questionable for the Western Kentucky game.
Senior linebacker Jon Tekac left the McNeese game with a hip pointer, but Heacock expected him to be ready for next week.
Tekac has led the Penguins in tackles both games. He has 28 tackles on the season -- including seven for losses and three sacks.