Published August 18, 2012http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
1. Penguins coach Eric Wolford avoided it as long as he could, but he's starting to show the telltale sign of a head coach: paranoia.
YSU closed off Saturday's scrimmage to the public (parents and media were still able to attend), which I figured was due to the university holding summer graduation at Beeghly Center.
Apparently, the coaches are worried about secret scouts infiltrating the stands.
You could argue that this shows that Wolford is confident his team is good enough to win every game, including the opener against Pitt, and don't want to take any chances.
So, yeah. We'll go with that. It sounds better than the alternative.
2. Wolford said his two biggest depth chart issues are at safety and wide receiver.
Wide receiver wasn't really a problem until junior Jelani Berassa went out with an ACL tear earlier this week. He's lost for the season, depriving the Penguins of their tallest starter (6-foot-4) and their best deep threat from last year.
Sophomores Kintrell Disher (6-4, 215) and Andrew Williams (6-2, 185) are both big and athletic, but way too inconsistent to be trusted full-time. That leaves Christian Bryan (5-10, 180), Kevin Watts (6-0, 225) and Andre Stubbs (5-6, 160) as the most trusted starters and none of those guys create matchup problems, size-wise.
3. Tight end Will Shaw, on the other hand, does create matchup problems. Both of Kurt Hess' touchdown passes in scrimmages have come on deep crosses to Shaw. I expect the coaches to throw to him a lot.
4. Senior Jeremey Edwards and junior Josh Garner are the main returnees at safety but it's pretty clear the coaches aren't in love with either of them.
Senior Deionte Williams started with the first team with Garner on Saturday (Edwards and Garner had started the first scrimmage) and junior Twin Fernandes also got some looks but nobody has really distinguished himself.
I guess there's still two weeks, right?
5. Kicker David Brown made a 49-yarder during the scrimmage, which was a good sign.
Brown was decent on extra points last year (53 of 56) but didn't show much leg in practices and scrimmages and Wolford clearly didn't trust him outside of 30 yards.
He made 3 of 4 field goals last fall but YSU needs more from him this season.
So far, it looks like he can give it.
6. Speaking of kickers, punter Nick Liste has looked terrific.
He probably doesn't get enough ink.
7. It was good to see redshirt freshman Demond Hymes back in the backfield. He's missed most of camp with a concussion and you could see the rust flying off as the scrimmage wore on.
Wolford sat starter Jamaine Cook (the coaches want him as fresh as possible) and neither backup running back did much on Saturday. Adaris Bellamy carried eight times for 13 yards and Torrian Pace had eight carries for 12 yards.
Based on what I've seen, Hymes is the second-best running back in camp.
8. I was stunned to see Dubem Nwadiogbu starting over Travis Williams at Will linebacker, particularly since I had given Williams a preseason all-conference vote.
Williams was the defense's best player in the spring game but he hasn't done much in camp so far and the coaches really like Nwadiogbu, one of the team's most athletic players.
This might be one of those wake-up call demotions — after all, Williams started all 11 games last year, the only linebacker to do so — but it proves Wolford isn't lying when he says no job is safe.
9. Williams' demotions gives credence to the "Never trust a transfer" philosophy.
He and Devont'a Davis were highly-touted transfers from the University of Miami (Fla.) last summer. But Davis left the program on Thursday and Williams is now a second-stringer.
Davis initially left the program earlier this summer -- he hung up on me when I called him for comment -- but came back in time for camp. I was there at the first practice and I remember Davis arrived late, prompting cornerbacks coach Glenn Davis to yell, "Always got to be late, huh?"
When Davis was locked in, he was really good. But he was never one of new defensive coordinator Joe Tresey's favorites.
10. The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto wrote an interesting story this week about the Akron football team and how there's just six players left from the 2009 recruiting class. You can read it here: http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/blog/index.ssf/2012/08/enthused_by_new_coach_terry_bo.html
New coach Terry Bowden is trying to change the culture of the program but, like Wolford, he realized immediately that he needed a talent upgrade.
The difference is, it's a lot easier to recruit to YSU than Akron.