Mike Burns, Josiah Doby and Darius Peterson are good enough to start.
& lt;a href=mailto:email@example.com & gt;By PETE MOLLICA & lt;/a & gt;
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- For the last three seasons Youngstown State has enjoyed P.J. Mays to lead the offensive attack.
Mays, though, finished his career last season as two-time All-American, the Gateway Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and the team's leading rusher and scorer for the past three seasons.
But, assistant head coach and backfield coach Sam Eddy is excited about the coming season and what he's got coming back.
The Penguins have three senior tailbacks, all of whom could have started for most teams last year, and they have a couple of youngsters who could be outstanding in the near future.
Seniors Mike Burns, Josiah Doby and Darius Peterson are all good enough to start next season and Eddy expects to get work for all three.
"Mike Burns has shown that he's capable of having some big games," said Eddy. "He rushed for over 100 yards last year and had a big game against Marshall two years ago in the season finale, rushing for over 80 yards.
"He got a little bit bigger in the off-season, he's kind of like an Adrian Brown-type runner, but he's also strong and will overpower you with his strength."
Eddy said Doby is capable of breaking off a big run at any time, such as the 60-yard touchdown scamper he had against Southwest Missouri State last season.
"Both Burns and Doby haven't had to be the main man in the offense before and it's up to them to step it up this season, especially in the leadership role," Eddy said.
"Darius Peterson is the type of runner who can turn a game around with one play. They all have their own identity and roles with this team," he said.
The Penguins have a couple of young tailbacks who have been impressive in spring drills this year.
Sophomores Josh Cayson (Warren JFK) and Justin Reams are both smaller, but very quick. Cayson didn't get to play his freshman season because he didn't meet academic requirements, but he's expected to see action this season as a kick returner.
Reams, who helped the YSU track team to the Horizon League championship this spring in the sprints, is another player with great speed.
"It's going to be a great competition this spring and fall," Eddy said. "It's probably going to come down to who stays healthy."
Eddy also has senior Keland Logan (6-foot-1, 285 pounds), an Ursuline High product, at fullback. Senior Chris DiMauro and redshirt freshman Demetrius Ison will contend for playing time.
"Keland is a big boy who has a lot of talent and because of his size and the lack of size on our defensive line, he could be seeing action on both sides of the football this year," Eddy said.
Eddy said the fullback position will not be as much a part of the offense as in the past.
"We're doing some different things out there this year," he said.
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