YSU turns attention to WVU, but Butler lingers
Penguins get set
to take on WVU
By Dan Hiner
The Youngstown State football team is still bothered by a 23-21 loss to Butler on Saturday.
Penguins defensive tackle Wes Thompson said the players “will have to live with it the rest of our lives.”
“People are still having a hard time dealing with it,” the Boardman graduate said. “We’re gonna find out later on today when we practice. I’m hoping everybody responds good, but it was a tough loss and we have to put it behind us.”
YSU head coach Bo Pelini said the team lost its fundamentals during the game. He said Butler didn’t do anything the Penguins weren’t prepared for, but players were out of position or made critical errors.
“They had a couple guys make some real good plays and you gotta give them credit where credit is due, but we didn’t execute,” Pelini said.
“We made a lot of boneheaded plays, we didn’t do the things we were coached to do on both sides, we played undisciplined. You go right down the list. A perfect storm of mistakes.”
A Mountain to Climb
After a difficult loss, the Penguins are shifting their focus to the most talented team on their schedule: West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 40-14 win over Tennessee. The Penguins will look to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2008 under Jon Heacock.
Saturday’s game will be the third meeting between YSU and West Virginia. The Penguins lost to the Mountaineers 38-21 in 2016.
YSU led 14-7 in the second quarter and the teams were tied at 14 by halftime. But West Virginia scored 17 unanswered points in the third to pull away.
“West Virginia’s a good team and we have to put behind us what happened on Saturday and just focus on West V,” Thompson said. “I feel if we put a great week of practice together, we should be able to compete with this team.”
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier is a Heisman Trophy candidate and threw five touchdowns against Tennessee. The Volunteers allowed Grier to throw for 429 yards, the most allowed in Tennessee history.
“[Grier] had one hell of a game, but coach Bo’s gonna get the defense right, he watched the film just like everyone else is gonna watch the film and he’s gonna make the adjustments [necessary]” YSU wide receiver Darius Shackleford said. “He’s gonna learn from the Butler game and he’s gonna have a great defensive plan too. Bo’s a defensive guru.”
With co-defensive coordinator Richard McNutt on paid administrative leave, Pelini has been forced into a familiar position.
Pelini has been the acting defensive backs coach since McNutt left the team on Wednesday. He was a four-year letterman as a safety at Ohio State from 1987-1990.
Pelini didn’t want to use the loss of McNutt as an excuse, but said handling the defensive backs is cutting into his head coaching responsibilities.
“When I’m spending 90 percent of my time in meetings with our defensive backs because we don’t have our defensive backs coach, it limits what you can do,” Pelini said. “That’s not an excuse.
“Believe me, things that we coach in the week and corrections we made, you gotta go out there on Saturday and do it. We didn’t do it.”