Offense puts in some new plays as Penguins
begin preparations for opener against Duquesne
By Charles Grove
While there were a whole lot of flashes of what the Youngstown State defense is capable of, the offense showed a few more cards about what they’ll run this year during Wednesday’s practice.
While the defense was its usual stingy selves in most of the team drills, the offense tried to implement a few more looks as they try to get game ready for next Thursday’s opener against Duquesne.
“The coaches wanted to see a few more things before we head into the game,” quarterback Ricky Davis said.
“[The coaches put in] a lot more quarterback runs and a lot more motion. The tempo is also a lot quicker now. We’re trying to look more like an Oregon offense. We’re going to go quick.”
The new plays made it more difficult for the Penguins to move the ball on their defensive counterparts, but everyone agreed the practice was productive without a multitude of first downs.
“I think today was a good day all around,” YSU head coach Bo Pelini said.
“We got a lot of time with good-on-good and now we’re going to get into game prep.”
Some of those situations came at the end of practice, and that’s when the offense really shined.
Tasked with late-game scenarios, Davis led the first string to a touchdown on one of his two possessions while Hunter Wells got reps with the backups and drove the offense into the redzone for a last-second field goal, which was what the situation called for.
“We want to get the guys into specific game situations,” Pelini said.
“We don’t want them to feel new come game time.”
Davis got nearly all the snaps with the first string Wednesday, but Pelini and offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery downplayed the idea that there was anything to read into that.
“Hunter has a sore shoulder and Trent got in there some, too,” Pelini said.
Montgomery said he’s still trying to give all the quarterbacks chances.
“We’re trying to pare the quarterbacks down a little and give guys opportunities so we can see who might be the first guy,” Montgomery said.
“We haven’t made a decision yet but we’re getting closer.”
Davis said he was aware he was getting the first-string snaps, but said he wasn’t losing sleep over the upcoming decision.
“[Getting the majority of the snaps] enters my mind but I’m not too worried about that,” Davis said. “Whoever they choose will be 100-percent ready to play.”
Davis and wide receiver Alvin Bailey did have the standout play for the offense during the two-minute drill when Bailey went up against linebacker Lee Wright.
In single coverage, Bailey beat Wright on a high-floated pass down the sideline. Once Bailey was free a moment later, it was off to the end zone.
“They went into man coverage and Alvin had a wheel route up to the corner,” Davis said.
“Any time you go man against Alvin, he’s going to beat you.”
Bailey said the connection he’s built up with Davis was key to the big play.
“We didn’t even have to look at each other,” Bailey said. “We just already knew where the ball was going.”
Now just a week away from the first game, the team will begin game-planning today for the Dukes.
“We’ll still run some good on good [today] but we’ll also start pairing that with what me might run in our first game,” Montgomery said.