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YSU coach Doug Phillips speaks at 1st Curbstone Coaches event of ‘21

YSU AD Ron Strollo to speak on Sept. 20

BEAVER TOWNSHIP — The Curbstone Coaches kicked off their 63rd season of weekly meetings Monday with Youngstown State head football coach Doug Phillips serving as the guest speaker at the Avion Banquet Center.

Phillips, who led the Penguins to a 1-6 mark in the spring and has his team currently 1-1 after their first two fall contests, told the organization that every day, every practice remains a process for his young team.

“It’s a process that we are getting better at,” Phillips said. “I believe that you play like you practice and we’re learning that. I can guarantee you that we will always play with great effort and fight.”

The Penguins posted a 44-41 overtime win in their season opener against the University of Incarnate Word and are coming off a 42-14 loss on the road at the Big Ten’s Michigan State Spartans.

He said his team welcomes the week off as they get ready to host Western Illinois on September 24 in their first Missouri Valley Football Conference game.

“We’re practicing a lot of different looks right now,” he added. “With Incarnate Word, we knew that they would throw the ball upwards of 70 times and hope to run 100 plays or so while Michigan State, it was a 50-50, pass-throw combination. The offenses we’ve faced thus far have been different from those that we saw during our seven-game spring season.

“In football if you aren’t ready to play, you lose. If we don’t show up to play in our league then we won’t win so a bye week means more work. We’ll take what we did well from our first two games, what we need to improve upon and work on that because we do not want to go backwards.

“Each and every day you compete for your job. You compete and get better.”

Against the Spartans, Phillips used eight linebackers, 10 linemen and five players in the defensive secondary.

Developing his program and depth is a top priority.

“We’re focused on signing a great 2022 class in December and if I can, I’ll sign as many as 25 players,” Phillips stated. “You recruit and develop the young men you sign and focus to fill a need. The 2022 recruiting class will be our first full class and that is how you develop a program. It’s full class after full class after full class. The transfer portal is just a short time answer.”

The FCS, of which YSU is a member, has had an excellent showing the first two weeks of the season with Montana topping then-No. 20 Washington, 13-7, East Tennessee State posting a 23-3 win over Vanderbilt and Jacksonville State upsetting Florida State, 20-17 on the final play of the game.

Those are just a few of the surprises and Phillips appreciates the strength of the FCS.

“There isn’t a huge fall off, maybe just depth when you compare the FBS and FCS,” he noted. “Other than their 85 scholarships compared to what we would get, there are great players in our league. Just look at the draft.”

Joining Phillips at Monday’s meeting were offensive tackle Dan Becker of Cincinnati Indian Hill High School, a four-year letterman, and running back Christian Turner, a super-senior, five-year letterwinner and three-time high school state champion who hails from Cincinnati

“YSU has always been the place for me,” said Becker, a public health major. “It was huge for me to get my degree and now as I continue to work toward my graduate degree.”

Last fall, Turner earned his undergraduate degree in business administration and this fall semester is set to graduate with his MBA.

“I was recruited by MAC schools in high school but they waited before offering me,” Turner added. “YSU offered me after my junior year and my parents begged me to come here because they felt I could play as a true freshman. It was the best decision I ever made.”

Next Monday, Ron Strollo, YSU executive director of athletics will serve as guest speaker.

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