Defense Steps Up As Penguins Complete Ninth Spring Practice

Taylor Hill
Taylor Hill

The Youngstown State defense took a step forward with a strong performance against the offense on Wednesday afternoon at Stamabugh Stadium. While the offense had some success in Red-Zone situations, the defense forced some key turnovers throughout the workout.

Sophomore cornerback Donald D'Alesio, sophomore linebacker Thomas Sprague and redshirt freshman safety Justin Austin each had interceptions as the Penguins worked on a variety of situations. D'Alesio returned his pick for a score, while Sprague caught his over the middle and Austin made a diving grab of a tipped pass.

The offense found some momentum late in the workout as Allen Jones scored on a long run and then on the final play of the scrimmage scored on a fourth-and-goal play from a yard out.

Head Coach Eric Wolford said the team spent the early portion of the pracice working on fundamentals before turning the offense and defense against each other later in the workout. Wolford said the defense looked good on third-down situations while the offense had the upperhand in the red zone.

One emphasis this spring has been on becoming a more physical football team and Wolford said he is happy after nine practices how far the team has come.

"You've got to develop mental toughness and it's got to be physical," Wolford said of spring camp. "We practice hard. We hit each other and tackle and wrap up, that's part of becoming a more physical football team. I think there's a lot of teams across the country that are emphasizing becoming a more football team and I think we have become a more physical football team. We're making progress there."

YSU returns to practice on Friday at 4 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium. Wolford said the practice would be more of a game-week Thursday scenario fine tuning various aspects entering Saturday morning's scrimmage.

Upcoming Spring Schedule (All Practices at Stambaugh Stadium)
April 8 - Practice | 4 p.m.
April 9 - Scrimmage | 10 a.m.
April 10 - FCA Banquet (Coach Wolford guest speaker) | 6 p.m.
April 11 - Practice | 4 p.m.
April 12 - Bob Dove Luncheon | Noon
April 13 - Practice | 4 p.m.
April 13 - Penguin Gameday Television Show Live | 7:30 p.m.
April 15 - Women's Coaching Clinic | 6 p.m.
April 15 - Practice | 6:30 p.m.
April 16 - Spring Game | 12:05 p.m. (WKBN 570)
April 17 - No Stone Unturned Pancake Breakfast at Mt. Carmel | 9 a.m.
May 6 - Football Alumni Reunion - Youngstown Country Club

For Season Ticket or Spring Game information contact the YSU Athletics Ticket Office at (330) 941-1978. Season tickets are on sale now for both reserved seats and general admission.