Backups, barbers and other YSU football thoughts


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by Joe Scalzo - "A blog about YSU Penguin athletics, not the insides of penguins."   | 155 entries"> Untitled document

1. YSU coach Eric Wolford was really frustrated with his second-string after Saturday's scrimmage, believing they didn't play hard or play well.

"I've got to see some significant improvement in our twos [backups] and that's got to happen in the next two weeks," he said. "We need to get our twos playing faster and playing at a higher level because those guys are one play away. Our ones, those guys are experienced and those guys are good players and it shows."

2. It's not a good sign that sophomore Dante Nania was Kurt Hess' primary backup on Saturday considering he spent the first seven practices at safety. (He moved back to QB for Thursday's eighth practice since it was obvious he wasn't good enough to play safety at this level.)

Nania is the team's most athletic quarterback and he's got a strong arm but he's not nearly as advanced in the mental side of the game, struggling with pre-snap reads and decision-making. Wolford even admitted on Thursday that YSU could probably only use half its playbook when Nania is in there.

Last year's backup, Patrick Angle, looked impressive last summer but (understandably) decided to transfer to Ohio

Northern after spending most of the fall on the sidelines. Angle would have been a junior this season and didn't want to spend another year stuck behind Hess.

3. Redshirt freshman Nick Wargo impressed the coaches as the scout team quarterback last fall and he's gotten a lot of reps this spring because Hess has missed the early part of several practices to attend class.

But Wargo hasn't done much to distinguish himself and the No. 3 quarterback, walk-on Tanner Garry, was moved to safety when Nania moved back to QB.

Bottom line: Unlike the past three years, there's a pretty steep drop-off behind Hess.

4. I've been impressed with Kintrell Disher since I saw him as a true freshman receiver two years ago but after being moved to tight end this spring, I'm not sure it's going to work.

Disher is 6-4 but weighs 215 pounds, which is a lot lighter than YSU's other two tight ends, Carson Sharbaugh (6-5, 260) and Nate Adams (6-5, 255)

Wolford is a run-first coach and he expects his tight ends to be able to block first. Disher can block defensive backs but linemen and linebackers are a different story. So far, he's struggling.

Disher made one good catch on Saturday but he's been very quiet this spring.

5. Speaking of Sharbaugh, he was peeved that I said he gave Adams a "50-cent haircut" in a story earlier this week.

"What's yours worth?" he said to me at practice this week. "A penny?"
Two things:

- I've cut my own hair since high school, so, if you don't count the cost of the clippers, it probably doesn't cost much more than a penny to cut my hair.

- I didn't say Sharbaugh wasn't capable of giving a $20 haircut. I only said Adams got a 50-cent one. It looks like he took a No. 4 attachment and just let 'er rip.

6. Safety Donald D'Alesio, who buzzed off his locks, said he and Sharbaugh are two of the better barbers on the team.

"Carson's not bad," D'Alesio said. "He tries to teach me some things. We always say if football doesn't work out and school doesn't work out, we'll open a barbershop together."

7. These are the kind of things that keep spring practice interesting amid endless quotes about "getting better every day" and "coming together as a team."

8. I know Kansas coach Mark Mangino came here with a reputation for screaming and mistreating his players but I haven't seen any evidence of it.

He's been pretty quiet so far, content to stay in the background and teach during most practices. He's the complete opposite of defensive coordinator Joe Tresey, who alternates between screaming "Are you s---ing me?" and "You've got to be s---ing me!"

9. Chaney High graduate Mike Zordich attended Thursday's practice and called the WATTS the "best indoor facility I've ever seen."

Zordich spent the last four years as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, working his way up to safeties coach the past two years. He lost his job when Andy Reid got fired and isn't coaching anywhere right now.

"I'm holding out for more money," he joked.

Zordich's son, Michael, spent the past few years playing fullback at Penn State and is hoping to either get drafted this month or sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.

10. One women's basketball note: I have no idea how John Barnes will do as the Penguins' new head coach, but his resume is impressive.

On paper at least, it looks like YSU got a good one.

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