facebooktwitterRSS
- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up

Sorry, no featured jobs currently.

- Advertisement -
 

« News Home

Scalzo: YSU’s Bryan promises changes



Published: Fri, August 8, 2014 @ 12:08 a.m.

If his life were a movie, Youngstown State senior Christian Bryan would be played by Mark Wahlberg, but with a receding hairline. He may not be from the Valley, but he’s as blue collar as a Struthers plumber, as gritty as Don Bucci’s voice.

At 5-foot-10 and (cough, cough) 190 pounds, Bryan willed himself into becoming a Division I wide receiver by channeling his Philadelphia roots and out-Rocky Balboa-ing guys more talented than him.

Which is why, 258 days after his last real football game, he’s still miffed about the way the Penguins fought their final rounds.

“There’s plenty of things in my head that I want to say but I can’t,” Bryan said, referring to a 42-13 loss to South Dakota State in a Stambaugh Stadium snowstorm. “To be honest, we didn’t even show up to play. You seen the snow and I think kids just said, ‘You know what ...’”

Bryan stopped, then thought back to a speech that senior wideout Jelani Berassa gave in front of the team just before camp started.

“Jelani said, ‘If you watch that game, you would think South Dakota State was playing on [dry] grass or regular turf and that it wasn’t snowing out,’” Bryan said. “And he was right! They came out with the mindset that they don’t care if it’s rain, hail, sleet or snow. They wanted to get in the playoffs and that’s what happened. We went out and we curled up.

“That’s unacceptable.”

As a freshman, Bryan led the Penguins in receptions (46) and yards (722), benefiting from instant chemistry with quarterback Kurt Hess and extra attention given to Berassa. With Berassa hurt the last two years, Bryan’s numbers have dropped, from 30 catches for 372 yards and three TDs in 2012 to 26 catches for 306 yards and two TDs last fall.

But he’s still one of the team’s best receivers — and one of its best leaders, a coach-in-training who doubles as YSU’s chattiest interview. He understands the fans’ frustration over YSU’s playoff drought because he feels the same way.

“It’s been absolutely crushing,” he said. “We’ve been one game short for three years in a row. I can’t even put into words how it’s felt.

“Last year we were 8-1 and lost our last three games. That’s a mindset thing. We’re not less talented than anyone else.* But you’ve got to have the right mindset. You’ve got to play with your mind and play with your heart.”

(*This is a lie. North Dakota State was more talented. But it sounds good.)

On paper, this year’s team seems like the least likely of Bryan’s tenure to make the playoffs. The Penguins are breaking in a rookie quarterback, several new offensive linemen and must replace their best defensive linemen (Kyle Sirl), linebacker (Teven Williams) and defensive back (Dale Peterman) on a unit breaking in a new defensive coordinator (Jamie Bryant).

But the running backs are ridiculous, the wide receiver group is talented and there’s some intriguing new players on defense, even if you’ve never heard of most of them. This could work, Bryan said.

“The depth on this team surprised me,” he said. “We have a lot of new talent. We just need some leaders, for the older guys to step up into that role.

“For the past three years, we’ve seen absolutely everything. Our mentality is going to change this year. We will be ready for that type of [South Dakota State game]. The situation at the end of the year? That’s not going to happen again.”

Joe Scalzo covers YSU sports for The Vindicator. Write to him at scalzo@vindy.com or follow him on Twitter @JoeScalzo1.


Comments

1Spiderlegs(144 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

My basic rule: Your success is inversely proportional to how much you talk about being successful. People who want to succeed know that simply talking about it means nothing. Judging from the large number of inspirational quotes and YouTube videos coming out of this year's team, I think that this team looks very confused.

Suggest removal:

2YtownSports(244 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Remember when Y.S.U. teams took pride in playing in "The Ice Castle" and considered it to be home field advantage?
"They came out with the mindset that they don’t care if it’s rain, hail, sleet or snow. They wanted to get in the playoffs and that’s what happened. We went out and we curled up." That quote says a lot about a lack of leadership. Perhaps that has been a key missing element the last 3 years. Teams with leaders...from the top down...succeed. Those without it don't. Is anyone taking notes?

Suggest removal:


News
Opinion
Entertainment
Sports
Marketplace
Classifieds
Records
Discussions
Community
Help
Forms
Neighbors

HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2014 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes