Across the Field: Three Questions on the Youngstown State Penguins and Their Road Trip To West Virginia

We get a boots on the ground report on this week's opponent from beat writer Charles Grove of the Youngstown Vindicator.

Working for one of the best-named newspapers on the planet, Charles Grove is the Youngstown State beat writer for the Vindicator. He covered the Penguins season-opening win over Duquesne, and like most observers, sees a team and a program that appears to be on the rise. YSU is expected to ride its running game against the Mountaineers -- it piled up 394 yards on the ground and narrowly missed having three players eclipse the 100-yard mark.

Q: How has Bo Pelini settled in at Youngstown? It seems like a good fit from the outside - he's a fiery guy and Youngstown has that blue collar mentality. How have Penguin fans related to him?

Grove: Bo a Youngstown native so he's fit in just fine. He obviously knows the area well. Many people didn't know he was from the area and thought it was an odd choice by Pelini but it made sense to locals. He wanted his children to attend Cardinal Mooney High School as well, so that was another benefit to returning home. Penguins fans really love the hire and hope he stays aboard as long as possible.

Q: Will the Penguins play a conservative game against the Mountaineers, try to keep it close and steal it late, or will they be aggressive and attack on offense and defense?

Grove: The rushing attack is a bit more up to speed than the passing game based on the practices I saw before camp and in the opening game. Quarterback Ricky Davis improved by leaps and bounds in terms of his throwing ability but still has yet to prove he can carry a team with his arm. The offensive line and running backs did a tremendous job against Duquesne and I believe that will be the course of attack on Saturday.

Q: Is it realistic to think that YSU can get back near the levels achieved under Jim Tressel, when the Penguins competed for national championships? Does the fan base still expect to win at that level?

Grove: Ohio and northeast Ohio especially is a great area to recruit. It's really not out of the question to think YSU can get back to the national spotlight. The team and coaches both talk about national championships being this year's goal so they're not shying away from it. The facilities are strong, especially the WATTS Center, there's a strong football tradition here and there's a winning coaching staff in place. People think if given a couple of years YSU will be back where they were in the 90s. (Editor's Note: The Watson and Tressel Training Site is YSU's indoor on-campus athletic facility.)

Davis had an ultra-efficient outing against the Dukes, completing 75% of his passes (12-16) for 187 yards and three scores. As Grove notes, he might not be ready to produce a win by throwing the ball 40 times, but that's not the Penguins' game plan. If he continues to take advantage of chances when they present themselves, as they did in the opener, he opens up his abilities and becomes much more difficult to defend.

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