Youngstown State’s secondary underwent some changes in last Saturday’s 52-17 loss to No. 14 West Virginia. It will take a bit of time to figure out if they’re working, but there are some promising signs.

Head coach Bo Pelini was reluctant to compare the defensive backs’ performance from the Butler game to last Saturday, citing that the game plan was drastically different for the two teams.

“There were a couple things that for the most part, our guys were where they needed to be,” Pelini said. “At times we got a little soft in our coverage and didn’t play a situation very well. There’s some things that we need to get better at, but overall, there was a little bit of a jump.”

Senior Crispin Lee replaced sophomore Terray Bryant at strong safety and had a career performance in his first start. He led the Penguins (0-2) with 15 tackles — nearly matching his career total in one contest.

“He made a few mistakes, but he played hard and he played fast,” Pelini said. “He did a lot of good things, he made a lot of tackles and I thought Crispin played well.”


This week, the Penguins put their newest addition at safety on the depth chart, Jakkar Jackson, behind Lee and ahead of Bryant. Jackson was a late transfer from Central Michigan who arrived the week classes started at YSU.

“With all our injuries and our two safeties down, he’s a guy that came across us. We had a few guys wanting to transfer to us after fall camp because of whatever situations they were in,” Pelini said. “He’s the one we settled on and we got him into school. We were fortunate that Jakkar fell in our lap.”

Jackson went public with his reasons for leaving the Chippewas. He was the team’s starting nickel back leaving spring ball, but when fall camp came around, he wasn’t No. 1 on the depth chart — and his coaches wanted him to switch to linebacker. He laid out his grievance in CMU’s student newspaper.

“I didn’t come to Central Michigan to just be a player on the team and say ‘Fire Up Chips’ and be happy,” Jackson said to Central Michigan Life on Aug. 28. “I felt like it was a slap in the face because at one point I was the starter and then the job was gone coming back to camp.

“I didn’t come for the education either. Like I told [CMU coach John Bonamengo] three years ago, I came to CMU to make the NFL.”

Brian Dzenis, The Vindicator

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