HOOT 'N HOLLER Padded Pens pour on the pain
Saturday will be a double session at 8:20 a.m. and 3 p.m. They will also work out Sunday at 2 p.m.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- The 2004 football season officially began Thursday morning around 9 a.m. for the Youngstown State Penguins.
That's when the "Hoot 'n Holler" contact drill officially began the hitting portion of the Penguins' fall drills.
The Penguins had been working in shorts for the first four days, putting pads on for the first time Wednesday and hitting for real on Thursday morning.
"I thought it was a pretty enthusiastic drill," said YSU coach Jon Heacock. "We put the ball on the ground a couple times which I didn't really like, but overall I thought it was pretty good, some good hitting out there.
"I think we're getting better and hopefully the more reps we get the better we're going to get," Heacock added. "We obviously still have a long way to go with all the new kids, plus we've moved a few kids around to different positions, but we are improving."
The Hoot 'n Holler drill consists of three offensive lineman and three defensive linemen and one running back and one defensive back.
In three-down situations, the offense scored four times, while the defense held four times. Senior Matt Rycraft, junior Josh Cayson and sophomores Monquantae Gibson and Regis Edgerson all scored for the offense.
While freshman redshirt quarterback Tom Zetts has nailed down the starting quarterback slot, the battle is still on for the No. 2 spot between junior Aaron Marshall and redshirt freshman Vince Gliatta.
"They are still very close," said Heacock, "and it may be a while before we decide on one or the other."
Marshall was the team's starter for most of the past two seasons. The 6-foot-3, 220 pounder from Detroit lost his starting job to Zetts in the spring.
Gliatta came to YSU from Penn State, where he spent most of two seasons as a defensive back, but wanted to play quarterback, the position he played at Canton Central Catholic.
The Penguins also have a fourth quarterback prospect in freshman walk-on Matt Zuppo of Girard, who will probably be redshirted this season.
The Penguins came out of the first contact session with only a couple of minor injuries. Junior linebacker Justin Scholes suffered a cut on his chin that required a few stitches, while senior defensive back Steve Reynolds sustained a bruise on his arm, but returned to practice before the session was completed.
The team scrimmaged for about a half hour, mostly working on the passing game, and Zetts was impressive, completing all six of his passes, all of them in the 5-to-10 yard range. Gliatta completed the only pass he threw, while Marshall was 1-for-2.
The team also worked on some hurry-up field goal drills with senior Nick Terracina and freshman Brian Palmer of Mineral Ridge getting in some work.
The Penguins held an afternoon practice in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts after watching the films of the morning session.
Today the team practiced in the afternoon and on Saturday will be a double session at 8:20 a.m. and 3 p.m. They will also work out Sunday at 2 p.m.