The Penguins are getting ready for their first day in pads today.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown State football team spent its second day in helmets and shorts Friday, its final preparation before going to full pads today and the first contact of spring practice Sunday.
Coach Jon Heacock was pleased with the team's progress over the first two sessions, but is anxiously awaiting to see how the contact drills go.
"They've been working very hard and with a lot of enthusiasm," Heacock said. "But everybody looks good in shell drills; we'll wait to see what happens on Sunday."
Begins new assignment
The sessions are the first for assistant coach Brian Wright as the Penguins' new offensive coordinator. Wright, who begins his fifth season at YSU, replaced John Klacik, who was named head coach at Lock Haven University in last month.
"As soon as John left I went in and told [Heacock] that this is what I wanted," Wright said. "This is what I've been preparing myself to do ever since I came here.
"I'm excited because I love it here, it's a great place to work and the people are just outstanding," he added.
Wright has coached the quarterbacks since arriving at YSU in 2001. He also coached the receivers in 2003 and was recruiting coordinator in 2004.
Still works with quarterbacks
Wright will continue to coach the quarterbacks and serve as recruiting coordinator for now.
"The offense revolves around what those guys [quarterbacks] do and I'm with those guys all the time," Wright said. "You know what they can and can't do, you know what they can do physically out here on the field."
Wright said there will be some minor changes to the offense.
"The core of our offense will remain the same," Wright said. "We're still going to have be great blockers and take care of the football as well as throw it and catch it.
"The basics will remain the same, but we'll try a few new things and try to take advantage of some of the people that we have," he added.
Wright was a graduate assistant at YSU during the 1997 national championship season.
Helped develop Zetts
Last season, he coached redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Zetts of Boardman to an exceptional first season as a starter. Zetts completed 154-of-255 passes for 1,822 yards and 16 touchdowns. His completion percentage of 60.4 percent was the third-best overall and best by a freshman in a regular season in school history.
& quot;Brian has been around this program and knows the high standards that everyone expects, & quot; Heacock said. & quot;We are excited to have someone with his abilities and loyalty to direct our offense. We are happy to keep our offensive staff together and it will be a team effort from all of them. & quot;
Pressure always there
Having a veteran offense returning Wright doesn't feel pressure.
"In this town you're expected to win 15 games every year, whether you are starting 11 freshmen or 11 seniors," he said. "They still expect you to win them all."
The Penguins will work out today at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Sunday's session will include the "Hoot 'n Holler" drills.