Carmen Bricillo, a native of Western Pennsylvania, is in his 10th season coaching the offensive line for the Penguins.
A tireless and well respected recruiter in his hometown region and Midwest junior colleges, Bricillo has had an impressive 15 All-Missouri Valley Conference selections during his nine years with the program.
In 2018, senior offensive lineman Gavin Wiggins was named first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference while center Vitas Hrynkiewicz was a second-team selection. Both players had durable careers with the program as Wiggins started all 42 games of his Penguins career while Hrynkiewicz started all 38 times. The unit blocked for first-team All-MVFC tailback Tevin McCaster who finished with a career-high 1,235 yards. Additionally, Hrynkiewicz has been invited to attend the NFLPA Bowl following the campaign.
In 2017, senior offensive tackle Justin Spencer was a first-team honoree capping a career that saw him start all 50 games. Spencer was the first Penguin offensive tackle to be named first-team league in 10 seasons. Earning second-team honors were Hrynkiewicz and Wiggins.
During his nine years as a member of the coaching staff, the offensive line has played a key role in the success and improvement of the program.
In the past nine seasons: YSU has scored more than 27 points on 65 occasions and had more than 400 yards of total offense 57 times; the Penguins have scored 230 rushing touchdowns and 158 passing touchdowns; YSU has thrown for more than 2,000 yards in each campaign since 2010 and rushed for more than 2,000 yards in all but one campaign; completed nearly 60 percent of its passes and YSU has attempted more than 448 rushing attempts in each year.
With a healthy unit in 2016, the Penguins' offensive line was a key reason the program returned to the postseason and eventually reached the National Championship Game.
Four of the five linemen started every game while the same group of five started the final 13 games together. Dylan Colucci, Wiggins, Hrynkiewcz and Spencer started all 16 games while Brock Eisenhuth started the final 13. Eisenhuth was a first-team All-MVFC honoree, Spencer was a second-team recipient while Colucci was named honorable-mention. Hrynkiewcz was named to the all-newcomer squad.
YSU averaged 242.7 yards rushing per game to lead the Missouri Valley Football Conference while ranking 10th nationally. The Penguins had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers during the year and a first-team all-league tailback. Highlighting the campaign was a school-record 572-yard rushing performance at Missouri State. In the five-game playoff run, YSU had four 200-yard rushing performances and three 200-yard passing performances.
In 2015 and 2017, injuries made things challenging at the position, but the unit bonded together to be successful.
When imposing their will during the 2017, the Penguins' offensive line was one of the top units in the country. YSU averaged 222.5 yards rushing per game and had 411.2 yards of total offense. McCaster earned first-team All-MVFC honors running for 1,066 yards.
The Guins had more than 400 yards of total offense and over 240 yards rushing on six occasions. YSU also had a pair of 300-yard passing contests by two different quarterbacks. Eight lineman, including three different right guards, started a times during the season. On multiple occasions starters were limited in practice during the week before being as full-go-as-possible on Saturday. And for the second straight year the Penguins had three different starting QBs in the lineup in Hunter Wells, Nathan Mays and Ricky Davis.
During 2015, injuries made things challenging at the position. However, with only one senior and one player (Spencer) to start every game, YSU buckled down and allowed just four sacks in the final seven games of the season. Eight linemen, including three different centers, started at times during the campaign.
In the final five games of the campaign, YSU employed a dual-quarterback system as well to add to the lines responsibilities. The Guins attempted 15 more passes in one fewer game than in 2014 and in both years they allowed just 14 sacks.
In 2014, YSU averaged 213.0 yards passing and 202.2 yards rushing per contest in 12 games for an average of 415.2 yards a game. It was just the second time in school history that YSU averaged more than 200 yards rushing and passing per game in the same season. The Guins threw for 2,556 yards while rushing for 2,427. The Penguins had 21 touchdown rushes and 20 touchdown passes during the campaign.
A young line helped pave the way as TB Martin Ruiz had a career-best 1,320 yards on 265 attempts. Ruiz and fellow TB Jody Webb combined for more than 2,000 yards on the ground and scored 19 touchdowns.
During the 2014 slate, YSU's line had just one senior in center Stephen Page. The Penguins consistently started a junior, two sophomores and a redshirt freshman. Spencer was named to the MVFC's All-Newcomer squad in his first year as a starter.
In 2013, Elkins was named a second-team All-American by The Associated Press and was a third-team honoree by The Sports Network. Elkins became the Guins' first All-American offensive lineman since 2008. He moved from guard to center for the campaign and helped lead a fairly-inexperienced group, even though four seniors were starters. Bryant had a strong year at left tackle to earn a trip to the East-West Shrine Game along with Elkins. Previously only one Penguin (DT Harry Deligianis in 1998) had played in the game.
YSU's line helped opened holes for Ruiz, who was named the MVFC's Newcomer and Freshman of the Year after rushing for a school-freshman record 1,094 yards. He was the first freshman running back in MVFC play since 1993 to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.
The offensive unit averaged 33.8 points per game, 204.8 yards passing, 195.8 yards rushing and 400.6 yards of total offense per contest. The Guins tied a school record with by scoring 50-or-more points in three games during the year. YSU started the campaign 8-1, which included a six-game winning streak. That was the best start and longest winning streak since 2001. In the process, the Guins started league play 5-0 for the first time ever and set a school standard winning eight consecutive conference games.
In 2012, YSU allowed just eight sacks, the fewest in a season in the program's history. The offense ran a total of 788 total offensive plays during the campaign, including 292 pass attempts. In the FCS, the Penguins were seventh in fewest sacks allowed per game.
Headlining the group guards were Elkins, a first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference pick, and Lamar Mady. Elkins was the Guins' first first-team all-league honoree since 2008. Mady, an honorable-mention all-league selection, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders. Mady made his NFL debut in November and played in seven games for Oakland in his rookie year during the 2013 season.
YSU averaged 386.1 yards per contest with 198.8 coming through the air and 187.3 per game coming via the ground in 2012. Tailback Jamaine Cook reaped the benefits of the lines work becoming just the second player in school history to rush for more than 4,000 yards in a career.
In 2011, the offensive line was a part of a unit that set school records for total yards per game (458.6), points per game (36.2) and total touchdown receptions (27). In the regular season, YSU was the lone FCS program to rush and pass for more than 2,500 yards.
Youngstown State ranked fifth nationally in total offense per game and seventh in per game scoring. Additionally, the Penguins ranked 10th in rushing offense (231.1 yards per game) and 11th in sacks allowed per game (0.82). In nearly 300 passing plays, the line surrendered just nine sacks. The nine sacks allowed was the lowest total in a season since 2007 while the rushing average was the highest since 2001. YSU was also seventh at the FCS level in fewest tackles for loss allowed.
The unit had the same starters in 10 of 11 games for the campaign. Individually, center Mark Pratt was a second-team All-MVFC selection while Elkins was an honorable-mention all-conference pick. Most impressively, the Penguins did not have one senior on the line in 2011.
In 2010, the Penguins offensive line helped pave the way for a then school-record 412 yards of total offense per game, including 215 a contest on the ground.
YSU also averaged 31.3 points per game, the fifth-highest single-season output in school history. Nationally, the Guins ranked in the top 25 in fewest sacks allowed.
The Penguins had two All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selections in second-team pick Bobby Coates and honorable-mention selection Eric Rodemoyer.
Bricillo spent the 2009 season as an offensive assistant coach at Illinois. He worked with the offensive line for the Illini assisting coach Joe Gilbert.
He spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons at Akron assisting with the coaching of offensive tackles and tight ends on J.D. Brookhart's staff. He originally joined the Zips staff in 2006 as the school's director of video services.
Bricillo was a center at Duquesne, starting 32 games in his college career. He earned first-team all-conference honors in both 1995 and 1996, while leading the Dukes to two league championships and 10-1 records in each campaign playing for Greg Gattuso. The 1995 squad won the school's first-ever Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship.
He began his coaching career at his alma mater in the spring of 2005 as the offensive line coach for the Dukes. In the 2005 season, the team posted a 7-3 record and won a conference title. Bricillo also tutored four linemen and his tight end to all-conference accolades.
Prior to joining the staff at Duquesne, Bricillo spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana Area High School.
The Shelocta, Pa., native and a graduate of Indiana High School earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Duquesne in 1999. He completed his master's in sports science and coaching from Akron in 2009.