Published August 20, 2011
Thirteen thoughts with YSU's opener 13 days away.
1.YSU coach Eric Wolford surprised me a little bit today by naming sophomore RB Jordan Thompson the backup to Jamaine Cook following the team's second scrimmage. Last year's backup, Adaris Bellamy, didn't play Saturday with a rolled ankle but I don't think that was the deciding factor. I think the coaches just like Thompson more.
Thompson missed most of the spring with academic issues and was working with the receivers at the end of camp. Wolford has often called him one of the team's most athletic players and I think the coaches like his mixture of size, speed and strength. I'm also not sure they're sold on Bellamy's work ethic. Maybe this is their way of sending a message.
2. The wide receiver spot is starting to take shape. Senior Andre Barboza and sophomore Jelani Berassa seem to be the top two receivers, with freshman Christian Bryan and sophomore Kevin Watts getting slot looks. Seniors Pat White and Ely Ducatel seem to be on the second team but I think they'll see plenty of playing time, as will freshman Kintrell Disher when he returns from injury.
One notable absence from that list is junior Juilian Harrell, who didn't seem to play a down on Saturday and looks to be in the coaches' doghouse.
3. YSU's offense played much better than it did in the first scrimmage but some of that was due to a lot of defensive injuries. The two starting corners, sophomore Donald D'Alesio and freshman Devont'a Davis were both out, as were defensive linemen Nick DeKraker, Josh Fenderson and D.J. Moss.
4. I think senior Marc Kanetsky is still ahead of Patrick Angle for the backup QB spot. Neither looked great on Saturday -- Kanestky was 6 of 14 for 95 yards, while Angle was 4 of 8 for 35 yards and two TDs. Angle went through a stretch where he had three straight passes batted down, followed by a sack.
My impression is that if Kurt Hess got injured during a game, Kanetsky would get the nod. But if Hess got injured early in the season, they'd give the job to Angle since he has a higher upside.
5. Senior DE Obinna Ekweremuba is light years ahead of where he was last summer. I wish he had another year after this. He's starting to figure the game out and could be a real matchup nightmare.
6. True freshman Andre Stubbs should be the main kick returner. I'll accept no arguments otherwise. That kid can move.
7. The Detroit Lions re-signed former YSU WR Dominique Barnes after releasing him last week, which was nice. But I can't understand how Barnes got signed and former Iowa/Mooney standout Derrell Johnson-Koulianos isn't on a roster. (DJK reportedly was going to sign with the Eagles but he's not listed on their roster.)
I always liked Barnes because he was a big-time player who liked getting media attention. Problem was, he was an awful interview.
8. The worst interview on the team, so far, is sophomore Chris Elkins. He seems like a nice kid but after talking to him in the spring, I got the feeling Elkins would be fine with never getting interviewed again. (Senior TE David Rogers and senior LB John Sasson give off the same vibe.)
9. The best interview is sophomore G Zach Larson. But junior LT Andrew Radakovich is pretty good and so is DeKraker.
I have no idea whether you care or not, but there you go.
10. Speaking of, here's today's random note of the day: There was a blue polka dot bra on the ground outside Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday. I'd like to know the story behind that.
11. I'm a little surprised there haven't been more defections since the start of camp. LB Taylor Hill left the team (I'm told he's headed to trade school to work on cars, but I'm not sure if that's true or not) and DE David Rach is academically ineligible, but that's it.
More randomness: Two of the offseason departures, safety Grant Mayes and kicker Jake Smith, were also the two best-dressed players on the team.
12. This has nothing to do with YSU but how in the world could the AP vote Oklahoma No. 1 today? I think the SEC has earned more respect than that.
I'm usually proud of the AP poll because I feel like the voters take it more seriously than the coaches poll voters, but Alabama should be No. 1.
13. This also has nothing to do with YSU but our annual high school football preview comes out Sunday, so make sure you pick up a copy.
After six years of being in charge of that section, I've been lucky enough to avoid that job over the past two years. It was easily my least-favorite project of the year. (Although there have been times when covering Kelly Pavlik seemed just as bad.)
Anyway, kudos to my sports editor, Rob Todor, and one of our designers, Jen Schatzel, for a job well done.
UPDATE: Holy smokes, I forgot to mention Nick Shook! Thank you ValleyRed, although Nick would never be able to follow in my footsteps because he does grunt work without whining and complaining.