Published: Saturday, April 14, 2007
Tanner one of few returning players on line
By PETE MOLLICA
YOUNGSTOWN There are times that Josh Tanner feels as much like a coach as he does a player with the Youngstown State football team.
The 6-foot-2, 305-pound senior offensive guard is one of just three starting offensive linemen returning to the Penguins this season.
With a lot of new faces getting looks on the line this spring Tanner finds himself answering a lot more questions to the younger players helping them make the adjustments needed to see playing time.
"It's really nothing new for me," said the Orlando, Fla., native. "I've been doing this a long time and even back in high school the coaches had me working with the younger players."
Three starters back
Tanner, junior Brad Samsa and senior Tyler Booth are the three returning starters for the Penguins on the line. Booth has already gone down with a knee injury and hopes to be back for fall practice.
"Losing Tyler really hurt, for me as much as the team because he's been along side me for the past three years and we worked very well together," Tanner said.
"The important thing this spring to find some guys who can step in and handle those open spots and really, things have been working pretty well to date," he said.
Another senior who is being counted on for a starting role is Matt Kishman, a 6-3, 280 tackle who has taken over the spot left by All-Gateway Conference standout Pat Walker.
Kishman has experience
Kishman was one of the Penguins' valuable reserve linemen a season ago and got a lot of playing time, which has helped him going into this season.
"We've got a lot of new faces on the line this year, but things have been going well and by fall we hope to be just as good as last season," Kishman said.
"We had a great line a year ago, all of the guys had worked together for several years and everybody was friends and knew each other's family," Tanner said.
"We're trying to get that going again this spring and we should be ready come fall," he added.
Offensive line coach Chris Bache, who is in his third season with the Penguins, has been pleased with the progress of the line this spring.
"We're probably right where we want to be, but we still have a long way to go," Bache said.
"Our goal this spring is to find six or seven offensive linemen who can play and then take them into fall practice.
"Josh is a leader and has always been outspoken even before becoming a senior," Bache said.
"He has led by example both in the weight room and on the field."
The Penguins held a light workout Friday getting ready for today's jersey scrimmage at 9:30 a.m.
"Things have been going pretty well thus far," said coach Jon Heacock.
"The cold weather has hampered us a little, but tomorrow the fun begins. It's been pretty boring for these guys the last couple of weeks.
Following Saturday's scrimmage the Penguins will practice every day next week leading up to the Red and White spring game April 20 at 7:30 p.m.
The Bob Dove Annual Spring Draft luncheon will be held Tuesday at noon in the DeBartolo Club Room in Stambaugh Stadium.
The team will hold practice sessions Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m.