YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Last Saturday’s lopsided loss to South Dakota State sparked a players only meeting with the YSU Football team. That’s a good sign according to Head Coach Bo Pelini.
He wants the players to be accountable, and says there needs to be a voice other than the coaches in the locker room. The Penguins have now lost two straight games in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. With five games left to play in the regular season., the Penguins need a couple of wins on the road to keep their playoff hopes alive.
“We’re fine,” Pelini said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. You don’t panic. You stay the course. You stay with the program. You keep teaching these kids and coach them better. That’s where we’re at as a football team. I think they’re mad more than anything, and maybe a little embarrassed because of how we played and rightfully so, players and coaches alike.”
Penguins players are eager to get things back on track.
“At this point it’s not the coaches. I would say it’s the players is where there mindset is right now, and our preparation has to be better,” Wide Receiver I’tavious Harvin said.
Junior Derek Rivers, who broke the program’s all-time sack record last Saturday, said that the player’s meeting was productive.
“I feel like everybody understands it now,” Rivers said. “I wish we could have understood it a little earlier but I feel like it’s playing in everybody’s head what needs to be done, and what has to be done at practice, on and off the field.”
Senior Defensive Tackle Emmanuel Kromah is looking forward to returning to the field this Saturday at Southern Illinois.
“We’re hungry, we’re hungry, after these two losses we’re hungry and we’re realizing our back is against the wall and we really don’t have any choice either we stay down or we fight,” he said.
Penguins and Salukis are slated to kickoff at 7PM Saturday night in Carbondale. YSU has won four of the last five meetings against the Salukis.