YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Fall football camp got underway Tuesday at Stambaugh Stadium on the campus of Youngstown State. It’s the first under first-year Head Coach Bo Pelini. Players worked out in just helmets and shorts for two hours on day one.
New Penguins’ Head Coach Bo Pelini is well aware of the positive preseason buzz surrounding his program…both in the community….and in the locker room.
“Really, now it’s our job to give them something to get excited about, and putting the product on the field that they’re gonna enjoy, that they’re accustomed to. That’s gonna be the challenge,” Pelini said.”
“People say that he’s a player’s coach…he’s a player’s coach. He’ll do anything for us and it makes the world easier to play for a coach that you want to play for,” Junior Defensive End Derek Rivers admitted.
The valley native Pelini returns plenty of players to the program in his first season on the job. Among those returning to the mix…dominant Defensive End Derek Rivers…who was named to the STATS Defensive Player of the Year Watch List.
Starting quarterback Hunter Wells is back under center…joined in the backfield by preseason all-conference running back Martin Ruiz. Paving the way up front…four of last year’s five starters returning on the offensive line.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment,” said Ruiz. “The new changes. A whole new coaching staff We’re feeling real good. It’s a new mentality. We’re feeling real good about this season.”
With the wealth of experience, the Penguins have their sights set high in Pelini’s first year with the program.
“I wanna obviously win a Missouri Valley championship and have a chance to play for a national title, but, it’s easier for me to sit behind a camera and say that. We gotta take it game by game and we’re not gonna worry about that until it comes,” Sophomore Quarterback Hunter Wells said.
Derek Rivers: ” We have so much more weapons, more depth. It’s gonna be a competitive camp. And I think with the new coaching staff, our defense is gonna be legit this year.”
29 freshman took part in the their first full workout with the program. Several FBS transfers were likewise on the field. Those include LeRoy Alexander, Jalyn Powell, Soloman Warfield and Avery Moss along with junior-college additions Donald Mesier and Jamar Pinnock. Moss enrolled at YSU in the spring after transferring from Nebraska.
Bo Pelini: “I’m not one to sit there and make bold predictions and say we’re gonna do this, and we’re gonna do that. We’re gonna find out. We’re gonna line up eleven times and we’ll have our opportunity. It’s what we do with that opportunity that’s gonna count.”
The Penguins return to the practice field Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The 2015 regular season opener is Saturday September 5th at Pittsburgh.