Penguins’ receivers are mostly new guys
By Dan Hiner
The Youngstown State football team’s offense is in the midst of transition. There are new quarterbacks, new receivers and even Brian Crist and Tim Marlowe received promotions.
Crist became the offensive coordinator and Marlowe moved from defensive backs coach to receivers coach after former offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery left the program.
YSU has some new faces in the receiving corps. The problem is Samuel St. Surin is the only YSU receiver to catch a pass for the Penguins.
Zach Farrar transferred from Mississippi Gulf Coast during the offseason, but has been out with a thumb injury early in camp. He caught 11 passes for 266 yards for the Bulldogs last season.
Farrar began his college career at Oklahoma, but was redshirted his freshman season before leaving for Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Crist said he doesn’t expect Farrar to be back this spring and won’t rush him back to the field.
Marlowe thinks Farrar could be similar to former Penguin Damoun Patterson.
Both have size and speed, and if Farrar learns the playbook and is willing to contribute on special teams, could become a much needed playmaker in 2018.
“He’s got game-breaking ability,” Marlowe said. “He can certainly learn form D.P. and Damoun was a great special teams player as well. Zach’s gotta buy into the whole team, buy into the special teams like Damoun did because he is special athletically. He could dominate here at YSU.”
St. Surin will replace Alvin Bailey in slot. Surin caught four passes last year for 141 yards.
“I just gotta step up to the plate,” St. Surin said. “That’s what they brought me here for. That’s what I always did and that’s what I’m gonna continue to do.”
Crist said the Penguins have tweaked the offense, so the receivers are learning the new schemes along with everyone else.
“As a group, as a whole, they’re really talented. Obviously, we got a lot of learning to do,” Crist said. “They gotten better at that and they gotta keep getting better at that because there’s still too many mental mistakes right now.”
The Penguins also added Kendric Mallory from Ventura College. The junior finished with 70 catches for 703 yards and eight touchdowns.
With Darius Shackleford, Farrar and Mallory on the roster, the Penguins have something they needed the last couple years — size.
The three receivers are all 6-foot-2 or taller, and Shackleford thinks the offense will take advantage of that.
“I think more down in the red zone, a couple more jump balls or even just taking a couple more shots — throwing it up to myself, Zach or Kendric — throwing it up and taking a couple more shots a game,” Shackleford said. “It’s something we haven’t been doing the past couple years.”
St. Surin said the upperclassmen passed along the knowledge to succeed. Now the new receivers need to prove they can play.
“It’s all about stepping up,” St. Surin said. “Damoun, Alvin, [Stefan Derrick] they all left and told us everything. Now it’s all about doing what we learned and executing.”