Published November 16, 2012
1. I'm told that senior left tackle Andrew Radakovich is still out with a shoulder injury, which could be an unfitting end to a terrific four-year career.
After spending one year at Penn State, Radakovich transferred to YSU, where his older brother, Brian, played one year of football (2005) and four years of basketball. Until he went down midway through this season, he had played every game of his career, starting all 22 as a sophomore and a junior.
Radakovich also happens to be the funniest and best interview on the team, so his absence has been a big loss for people like me, too.
The shoulder injury has been bugging him for awhile. He didn't practice much in the spring and he told me this summer he'll need surgery when his career is over. It's the natural consequence of spending so much of your time getting your arms jolted back by 300-pound men.
2. This reminds me of something interesting Ron Strollo told me a few weeks ago.
Strollo, the current YSU athletic director and former tight end, said he wasn't sure he would be able to play in the 1991 national championship game. He had a bad back and couldn't even sit down the night before. He played (YSU's training staff gave him something to take care of the pain for a few hours) but, he told me, "I was done. Even if I had another year of eligibility, I couldn't have played."
It's astonishing to me that some guys can play four years of football (specifically, four years of SEC-level football) and still have enough left in their bodies for a long career in the NFL.
3. I'm told redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Stubbs is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Stubbs missed most of last season with a collarbone injury and, at 5-foot-6, 160 pounds, he may just be one of those guys who is going to get beat up every year. It's a big reason why he didn't get any FBS offers, even though he clearly has FBS ability.
4. I wrote about YSU's playoff prospects earlier this week (you can read that here: http://www.vindy.com/news/2012/nov/14/hopes-amp-prayers/?newswatch), but here's my feeling: YSU needs to win and get a lot of help. Even with a win, I think the chances are less than 50/50. Heck, Indiana State is worried about getting in and it already has seven wins. (Although only six were Division I wins.)
5. That said, a win would be huge. Indiana State is a very good team and a win would move YSU's record to 7-4, with a three-game win streak to end the season. That gives the Penguins momentum entering the offseason and something to sell recruits, fans, etc.
To me, 7-4 is a successful season, albeit less than what everyone expected. As for 6-5? Well, let's jump off that bridge if we come to it.
6. One quick note about Vindicator coverage (and if you find media discussions boring, please feel free to skip this): A few weeks ago, before the South Dakota State game, we made the decision not to send me on the road to cover that game.
There were two reasons for this. One, between airfare and hotel, it typically costs at least $500 to send me on the road to go cover a game. That's a decent chunk of change. Two, October and early November are VERY busy times for our sports department, so by hiring a writer in South Dakota (and, later, near Western Illinois), I was able to cover some high school events and help out in the office with all the other tasks that go into working at a daily paper (editing, budgeting, etc.).
While my preference is always to go on the road (even to states that end in the word "Dakota"), the reality is that at a newspaper our size, that's not always possible. Had the Penguins been unbeaten (or close to it), I most likely would have covered both road games, but since they weren't, we had to choose between two imperfect decisions.
7. One more thing: I will be on vacation in Atlanta next week, so if the Penguins do make the playoffs, I won't be there to cover it. But we'll have someone from our staff there, home or away, rain or shine.