COLLEGE Penguins injury roster growing
Seven players are not participating in training drills.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State football coach Jon Heacock made it through both practice sessions on Monday, which is more than a lot of his players were able to do.
Heacock has been bothered by severe back problems and has missed several sessions this fall. He was feeling better Monday, but at the same time seven of his players were not taking part in the drills.
"We've got some players banged up, hopefully nothing really serious, but we're getting some good work at the same time," Heacock said. "We had two real good sessions today."
The Penguins, who completed their first week of drills, have been without junior tackle Pat Walker and sophomore guard Josh Tanner since practice began.
Both were injured late last season -- Walker a knee and Tanner a shoulder. Tanner had surgery on the shoulder right after spring practice ended.
Heacock is hopeful that both will return to play this season.
Some other injuries on the minor side include senior defensive end Joe Juby (foot), junior wide receiver Tyler Morton (knee) and sophomore transfer nose tackle Greg Jacobs (shoulder). Also, senior tight end Shawn Carlson and redshirt freshman tight end Chris Kenney are not injured, but medically unable to practice.
Heacock also announced that freshman recruit Antonio Magnone of Steubenville, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterback, has decided not to continue playing football and is no longer in camp.
"He came one day got banged up a little and then decided he didn't want to play, but I think he had made up his mind some time ago," Heacock said.
With Walker and Tanner out for the early part of the season , Heacock has moved defensive lineman Jamal Lee back over to the offensive line.
"He's been there before and it won't be difficult to switch him back and forth if we need goal line defensive help," Heacock said.
There was another shift this week as senior quarterback Aaron Marshall will be spending time learning the tight end position.
"He knows the offense, so it's not that difficult of a move for him and he's really looking good there right now," Heacock said.
Another face missing from drills, but expected back this week is Maurice Smith-Davis, the 6-1, 245 pound sophomore linebacker who transferred from Michigan State this spring.
Smith-Davis, a Howland High product, had to take some summer school classes and was kept out of drills until the grades came out this week.
"It looks very good for him," Heacock said. "We hope to have him back in uniform this week, maybe even tomorrow."
The Penguins added a couple of new graduate assistant coaches in Pat Pearson, a former Girard High and Baldwin-Wallace graduate, and former YSU standout defensive back Sherrod Holmes. Pearson will assist with the linebackers and Holmes with the defensive backs.
Holmes, who transferred to YSU out of a junior college in California, started for the Penguins in 2002-03. He replaced graduate assistant Ricky Perez.
The Penguins will practice once today at 2:25 p.m. and then go twice on Wednesday at 8:40 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.
Heacock has not released the dates or times for any of the team's fall scrimmages.
"We're keeping it a secret," he laughed.