By Joe Scalzo
The city’s second favorite sport begins Tuesday.
Coming off a 7-4 season, its best since 2007, Youngstown State’s football team opens spring practice with 14 returning starters and a lot of question marks up front.
The Penguins lost three starters from the offensive line (four if you count tackle Andrew Radakovich, who missed the second half of the season with a shoulder injury) as well as their leading rusher (Jamaine Cook) and leading receiver (tight end Will Shaw).
Defensively, three starting linemen are gone, as is part-time starter Luis Quinones.
With all the uncertainty in the trenches — not to mention four new coaches since last fall — YSU coach Eric Wolford said it’s important not to rush things this spring.
“Something that we’re doing different this year is we’re going at a little slower pace,” he said at February’s signing day press conference. “With all the mid-year defensive linemen we signed and some of the new offensive linemen breaking into the lineup, we need to make sure they’re getting everything they need.”
YSU will hold the first of 15 spring practices at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Stambaugh Stadium. The annual spring game is April 19.
YSU’s fall football season — i.e. the city’s favorite sport — opens Aug. 29 at home against Dayton.