More will be expected of YSU’s wideouts this season


More will be expected of YSU’s wideouts this season

By Charles Grove

cgrove@vindy.com

youngstown

While other units go from one solid practice to getting plenty of extra reps after practice the next day, the Youngstown State wide receivers have been consistent throughout spring ball.

It’s something YSU head coach Bo Pelini is pleased with, but it has also been an expectation.

“I think the wide receivers are playing well,” Pelini said. “I think the wideouts are playing at a high level — and they should. It’s an experienced group.

“I think it’s going to be one of the strengths of our team.”

The wide receivers weren’t an enormous threat a year ago. The team averaged 180 yards through the air while averaging 242 yards on the ground. But with Hunter Wells back as the starting quarterback, another year of experience and a younger set of running backs and the wide receivers suddenly are going to have a much bigger role this year.

“Damoun Patterson showed last year what he’s capable of, Alvin Bailey what he’s capable of, Stefan Derrick is showing what he’s capable of,” Pelini said. “And Isiah Scott is getting better now. We’re pretty deep. Jermiah Braswell and Zack Torbert are coming along now, too.”

The Penguins have so many guys showing promise, it may be a situation like last year when offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery was trying to get snaps for all of his quarterbacks.

“The thing is we’ve got a number of guys who can make plays and the hard part is going to be getting reps for all these guys,” Pelini said.

With fewer things to learn and evaluate than younger positions on the team, the challenge now becomes giving the wide receivers more to do to see how they handle the workload.

“We’re challenging them with a good amount of ‘install’ and most of the mental aspects of things,” Pelini said. “I see some young guys swimming in it a little bit. It’s about challenging them and seeing if they execute.”

Part of the success the wide receivers are finding might be due to the youth and inconsistency at times from the secondary, according to Patterson.

“[The secondary] is not disciplined right now,” Patterson said. “I feel like they’re young. I don’t see a lot of experience and they’ve got to get confidence.”

But that doesn’t mean Patterson is planning on taking it easy on his defensive counterparts.

“I’m not giving them anything,” Patterson said. “Both of us are getting paychecks and they’ve got to earn it.”

Nevertheless, with the playbook solidly in his mind, Scott said this spring is now more about the smaller improvements and not making mistakes.

“[I’m focusing on] the little things and the attention to detail,” Scott said. “[Things like] not jumping offsides and the little things that will cost you a game like penalties. If we do everything right here then we’ll do everything right during the game.”

Quarterback-turned-slot receiver Ricky Davis is still getting reps each practice and Pelini said he’s exceeded expectations a bit.

“He’s further ahead than I thought he would be at this point,” Pelini said. “I think he’s picked it up well. Obviously with his time at quarterback he knows the offense. He’s good against zones, he runs pretty good routes, he’s just got to get used to when guys are up on him with their hands on him.”

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