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YSU FOOTBALL One final fling for Penguin standout



Published: Thu, April 28, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



After a four-year basketball career, Brian Radakovich will play football this fall.

By PETE MOLLICA

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- It's been four and a half years since Brian Radakovich was on a football field as a player in game conditions.

Friday night the 6-foot-7, 245-pound senior will be back on the field when he takes part in the Youngstown State Red and White spring game at 7:30 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.

Radakovich spent four seasons with the Youngstown State men's basketball team, finishing up an outstanding career in March.

The former two-sport standout at Steubenville High, Radakovich has always loved football and it was a hard choice for him to choose basketball over football coming out of high school.

When he completed his basketball eligibility this past season, he decided to give football one last fling with his remaining eligibility.

"I thought about for a long time and I wanted to give it a try," Radakovich said. He was a standout at Steubenville, where he played for his father, Robert, who still coaches on the Big Red staff.

Always a hard worker regardless of the sport, Radakovich has impressed the YSU coaches with his work ethic this spring.

"He works so hard and is so willing to learn," said his tight end coach Brian White. "He has that big lanky body and he's really come along this spring and he's really only had about 25 hours of YSU football."

"It's been a lot of fun," said Radakovich. "The coaches have just been outstanding with me. The offense is a little different than what I was used to in high school, but it's all coming back to me."

New possibilities

After playing on a losing team for all four seasons of his basketball career, Radakovich is excited about the possibilities of the upcoming season for the Penguins.

"I think there is really something special going on here," he added. "Everybody is working real hard an they all feel there is a chance for good things this fall."

Radakovich really didn't have much time from the end of basketball to the start of spring practice.

"I was still pretty banged up from basketball when spring football began," he added. "My weight is also not up to where it should be for football, but I expect to work on that this summer in the weight room."

Being a senior is always a leadership position with the Penguins, but Radakovich finds himself in an unusual position in that he's really just a rookie himself and learning as much as the other young players.

"It's a little more difficult for me, since right now I'm still learning myself, but since I can't lead by example, like I did in basketball, I had to be more vocal out there on the field," he said.

YSU coach Jon Heacock is very pleased that Radakovich decided to give football a try.

"We're just pleased to have him around," said Heacock. "His work ethics are something that all our young kids need to take notice of. He's come a long way this spring, but he still has a long way to go.

"I definitely think that he can help us this fall," Heacock said.

Radakovich will be part of the Red team that will take on the White team in Friday's spring game.

"We've got a pretty good team and I like our chances on Friday," he said.

mollica@vindy.com




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