Penguins very hard at work
By Charles Grove
Game day for Youngstown State’s home playoff game against Samford will be Saturday.
But as far as the Penguins are concerned, each day this week might as well be game day.
“I think we finally realized that you win games during the week,” YSU linebacker Armand Dellovade said. “Coach [Bo] Pelini always talks about that.
“We know that if we’re going to be successful we’ve got to put in the work during the week.”
Penguins tight end Shane Kuhn agreed, but also said the film preparation for Samford is going to be especially important with an unfamiliar opponent.
“Film is huge this week because we’ve never played this team since I’ve been here and we don’t know many teams that have played them either so it’s like they’re brand new,” Kuhn said. “We’re going to have to learn a lot about [Samford] in a short period of time.”
Pelini said he believes that level of focus and preparation is there, but the ability to stay focused, especially at this time of the year is what will bring YSU success.
“For the most part, I don’t have to scream and yell at them on the practice field to get them to practice hard,” Pelini said. “A lot of times you’re going to show up and not feel like doing it that day. That’s human nature.
“That’s this time of year and it’s not easy. And you’ve got to find a way and you’ve got to hold them to that standard every day.”
There’s probably not a whole lot of scouting Pelini and his staff can do from the film from the last time the Penguins and Bulldogs played in the playoffs in 1991. YSU won 10-0 en route to a national championship.
Since then, the Penguins and Bulldogs have met two other times with YSU winning both. The Penguins won 24-7 in 1993 and 37-29 in 2002.
With this Saturday’s game being one of the biggest games in quite a while at Stambaugh Stadium, Springfield native and YSU punter Mark Schuler said he knows this game will be huge for the Youngstown community.
“I think it means a lot,” Schuler said. “I remember hearing stories when my dad was younger like back in the ‘90s and he’d be like ‘Everyone went to the games. That was the thing to do.’
“I remember hearing stories of like almost the entire town would come to the game because it meant so much and it was such a big deal and it meant so much to the community.”
The Weather Channel is predicting temperatures getting as low as 31 degrees Saturday night with 11 mph winds and a 40 percent chance of precipitation. In other words, weather the Penguins will be more than happy to play a team from Birmingham, Ala. in.
“I hope it’s cold so it’s hard for them to pass and catch the ball,” Dellovade said.