Published September 25, 2012
The Vindicator's Blitzmobile spent several hours tailgating before Saturday's win over Northern Iowa and I joined Vindicator sports editor Ed Puskas for a pregame trivia contest.
The rules were simple — correctly answer a question and you got a choice between two general admission tickets or a Blitz T-shirt.
Since these were (presumably) hard-core fans, I came armed with a media guide, just in case my questions were too easy.
I needn't have bothered.
Here's a selection of questions I used to stump people:
- Who was Youngstown State's coach before Eric Wolford?"
I got quite a few "Tressel!" answers, as well as some blank stares. My favorite came from a guy who blurted out, "Oh, uh ... Peacock!"
- Name a starter on the offensive line.
I bet I asked this to at least 10 different people and only one person could name one. (D.J. Main, although the guy only got the last name.)
When the lineman question failed, I'd usually say, "OK, name one starter on the defense."
At this point, most people just kind of chuckled and looked away. (But take a bow, Dale Peterman and Dom Rich. One person knew each of you.)
YSU's women's golf team, by the way, couldn't name a single lineman or defensive player.
"They don't know us, either!" one of them said.
"Yeah, but they're football players!" I said. "They're supposed to be self-centered!"
One guy confessed he didn't know much about the current Penguins but said he was an Ursuline graduate, so he asked for an Ursuline question.
"Sure," I said. "Name the Ursuline High graduate and former Youngstown State football player who went on to star in 'Married ... With Children' and 'Modern Family'?"
"He was an Ursuline grad?"
"Yes. He played Al Bundy."
"Ooooh. Um, I don't know."
(It's Ed O'Neill, by the way.)
Another woman asked for a Steelers question, so I asked her which former YSU quarterback was Terry Bradshaw's backup? She had no idea. (Cliff Stoudt.)
I asked a woman in a South Range sweatshirt to name the only South Range graduate on YSU's roster. She had no idea, even though she admitted she was a school busdriver.
"Can I get back to you?" she asked.
Five minutes later, she came back and guessed "David Rach."
Rach, YSU's starting linebacker two years ago, quit the team in the summer of 2011. I gave her the tickets anyway. (The answer is Chuck Lengyel.)
A few people knew that Tom Zetts was YSU's all-time leading passer ("No, not Ron Jaworski," I said to more than a few) and a few knew that Tamron Smith was the all-time leading rusher (although I had to spot at least two people his last name). A depressing number knew YSU's record and an even more depressing number knew UNI's record. When I asked one guy to tell me how many games in a row UNI has won in the series, he said, "Six!"
"Stop guessing! You don't know." (He got a consolation air freshener from Flynn's Tire.)
I even asked a couple people the name of the Vindicator's sports editor, pointing straight at Ed. Only one could.
I didn't have the heart to ask them to name the Vindicator's Youngstown State beat writer. It would have been too depressing.
(His name is Joe Scalzo, by the way.)
YSU's Bruce Palmer and Ross Morrone have been putting together terrific weekly highlight videos, so if you missed last week's win (or even if you didn't), make sure you check it out here:
One of the stories surrounding Northern Iowa last week was the Panthers' interest in moving up to the FBS level. With the "Big Five" conferences expanding (and consolidating power), UNI's brass believes there's not going to be much difference between the bottom of the FBS and the top of the FCS.
In case you're wondering, YSU has no such plans. Teams in the Mid-American Conference (the most logical destination) have athletic budgets that are double the size of YSU's budget, which is already stretched thin. (Not to mention the fact that MAC schools like Kent and Akron aren't interested in adding a team from one of their prime recruiting areas.)
Still, I did my due diligence last week, asking YSU athletic director Ron Strollo if there were any plans to make the jump.
"Just trying to determine between the Big Ten and the Big 12!" he wrote in an email. "You have a preference?"
I do. The ACC. It combines all the nice weather of the SEC, with a fraction of the arrogance. (At least in football.)
Later this week, we'll have a story about YSU's strength coach, Mike Cochran. But I wanted to share something that didn't make the story.
Cochran was a strength coach at YSU during all four national championships and was also with Tressel for Ohio State's national championship team. He said YSU RB Jamaine Cook is the strongest pound-for-pound player he's worked with in nearly 25 years.
“LeCharles Bentley at Ohio State threw up the most weight I’ve ever seen," Cochran said. "But Jamaine Cook, you talk about a guy who had a 635-pound squat, he bench presses 415, he hang cleans 405 and he’s 5-foot-8, 210 pounds. That’s unbelievable.
“He got mad at me because I wouldn’t let him break the all-time squat record. I said it’s crazy to put 700 pounds on your back.”