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Wolford hints QB move possible

Published: Wed, October 31, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

Wolford hints QB move possible

By Joe Scalzo



On Saturday, Youngstown State quarterback Kurt Hess could begin one reign while another one ends.

For the first time in Eric Wolford’s 21/2 seasons, the Penguins’ coach hinted that the team is considering making a change at quarterback — a startling, but perhaps inevitable, admission in the wake of the team’s four-game losing streak.

“The only thing that we’ve talked about is, right now we can’t continue on this path,” said Wolford, who took care not to point the finger at any one player when discussing the offense’s failures. “We’re going to see how the week goes, but we cannot continue to have these breakdowns. I’ll leave it at that.”

Hess, a first-team all-conference selection last season as a sophomore, is struggling through the worst stretch of his 30-game career. Over the past four games, he has thrown six interceptions and fumbled three times, losing two. (For comparison’s sake, Hess had eight interceptions in 11 games last season and fumbled just twice, losing one.)

While some of the turnovers aren’t his fault — Wolford pointed to protection breakdowns, poor pass routes and big deficits that forced YSU to abandon its run-first offense — Hess has clearly not looked like the player who led the Penguins to their 4-0 start.

“We have been preaching ball security and all those type of things but I think [we fix it] by having players really understand that if this continues, we’re gonna have to make a change [at struggling positions],” said Wolford. “We are all accountable for what we do. We’re not going to let guys continue to put us in bad situations.”

While that quote was vague, Wolford added this a few minutes later: “If you don’t throw it to the guy that’s open or throw it away, you made the wrong decision. It’s that simple, you know?”

Backup Patrick Angle has completed 6 of 11 passes for 50 yards in four games this season but the sophomore did not play in last week’s loss to South Dakota State even though the Penguins fell behind 41-7 in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Style-wise, Angle is a similar quarterback, albeit shorter and with a stronger arm.

Hess is liked and respected by the players and the coaching staff — it’s telling that he was the only player brought in for Tuesday’s news conference — and his popularity outside the locker room is a big reason why he could win Homecoming King this Saturday.

Not surprisingly, he focused on the positive when talking to reporters —Hess could probably find something nice to say about lawyers who moonlight as used-car salesmen — and said he believes the Penguins can still finish the season strong.

“I truly believe in my team,” Hess said. “I believe in my teammates and my coaches and what we’re doing here.

“I believe we’re still a good football team. The record and some of the stats and the boxscores may not tell you that, but we’re a really solid football team with a lot of good players.”

Maybe, but belief is one thing. Performance is another.

During last week’s press conference, Wolford gave an unprompted defense of Hess, saying, “Kurt’s our guy and we believe in him. We expect Kurt obviously to bounce back.”

Hess didn’t and Wolford offered no such defense on Tuesday. It’ll be up to Hess to make that argument for him.

Question is, can he?


1Rockyroad(149 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

The "blame" game goes on and on. So now it's Hess that's the problem. It isn't like the offense isn't scoring enough points to win. They score plenty. The defense has the athletes this year to compete at a championship level. Maybe...just maybe,,,Wolford needs to look in the mirror (I know that would be difficult for a man with such an ego because he probably keeps a mirror in front of him at all times). Players need to get some loyalty in return from coaches and not be afraid that every mistake may land them on the bench. Hess should be worry-free out there. He's one of the best quarterbacks ever at YSU. Maybe the "Wolford-Doctrine" to play perfectly or watch-your-butt is causing the disintegration of the season. If Hess isn't safe, then everyone has to be playing tentatively, waiting for the hook.
A few years ago I spoke with a defensive back who was recruited by YSU. He told me that it would have been great to play at YSU, but that the vibes he got from Wolford made him look elsewhere. He said Wolford is for Wolford. The issues with the team may be that playing for Wolford is the problem. They may have tired of his methods.

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2AtownAugie(867 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Coach Wolford is quoted a saying "We are all accountable for what we do." True, Coach. So true.

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3Spiderlegs(160 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Hess has been playing poorly, and Angle seems decent, though untested in a serious situation. This could be a good move. Since the likelihood of reaching the playoffs is now only mathematical (possible but hardly likely), shaking things up and allowing someone else to have a chance isn't a bad idea.

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4blm99(3 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

This move is pathetic. Truly pathetic. Kurt Hess is a class act and a tremendous player. He is the only reason Wolford has the wins that he does during his tenure thus far. What a shame. Apparently, Wolford only cares about the kids when they win, so he could gloat to the media about what a tremendous coach he is. He is a pompous a**. The fact that he handled this in this manner is unbelievable. This man has no loyalty... He should bench himself. Penguin fans, we are far from getting back to the glory days with this guy. I am not usually one to call for someone's job, especially in the coaching business. I know fans are fickle and usually unrealistic, but even if this guy was winning, he is truly unlikable. This move will rattle the infrastructure of the athletic program. Classless move. Hess has done plenty to win. Can't say the same for Wolford...

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