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Penguins Will Miss QB Tom Zetts
Last year’s Penguin QB talks about the incoming crop of quarterbacks looking to talk the helm in 2008.
Youngstown State senior Tom Zetts was at the Penguins spring practice last week, but for the first time in five years the standout quarterback was not on the field, or even in uniform.
Zetts completed an outstanding career at YSU last fall and will graduate this spring, but he just couldn’t stay away and needed to take a look at the Penguins’ future.
Obviously, Zetts had his eyes on the quarterbacks and who would take over the position that he held for each of the last four seasons with the Penguins.
“I’m really just trying to get a feel for them right now,” he said. “But it’s tough to really tell until you get under the gun in game conditions.”
Familiar with two prospects
Zetts is familiar with the Penguins’ top prospect, junior Todd Rowan, since he spent three seasons working as Zetts’ backup. Redshirt freshmen Paul Corsaro has one season under his belt, while junior Brandon Summers, a transfer from Toledo, is in his first year with the Penguins.
“If Todd stays healthy, he’ll do the job,” Zetts said. “Corsaro still needs some work and I really can’t get a feel on Summers, although he appears to have a strong arm.”
“I think the key to this whole team is staying healthy,” he added. “If they do, then they should be very good.”
None of the three quarterbacks will ever have a career like Zetts just completed, mainly because none of the three will start every game that the Penguins played for the last four years like Zetts did.
And he just wasn’t the starting quarterback; he was one of the team leaders both on an off the field.
Product of Boardman High
Zetts came to the Penguins right out of Boardman High School and more than likely would have been a starter somewhere in his freshman season, but in the season opener of 2003 Zetts came off the bench for a couple of series against Edinboro, completed two of three passes and had one intercepted and ran the ball once, a play where he suffered a fracture collarbone and was lost for the rest of the season.
But he came right back next year and took over as the starter and started every game thereafter, 47 straight, and just about broke every YSU passing record.
Still Zetts would have traded it all for one national championship. He did give the Penguins their first two Gateway Conference championships, one outright in 2006 when he took the Penguins to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff semifinals before losing to eventual champion Appalachian State.
Zetts’ records included most pass attempts (1096), most completions (654), most passing yards (7,728) and most touchdown passes (51). He also had the highest pass completion percentage in school history and finished with a career-high 13 games with 200 or more yards passing.
He had his best game in the FCS playoff opener against James Madison at Stambaugh Stadium when he passed for 314 yards on 40 attempts and his final game against Western Illinois last year produced 298 yards and two touchdowns that enabled him to set two of his records.
Near perfect in classroom
The 6-1, 205 pounder was also a success in the classroom where he compiled a near-perfect 4.0 grade point average throughout most of his career.
This year’s YSU football team has now completed four spring practice sessions. They had their first full contact day on Sunday and there is a lot of promise being displayed out on the Stambaugh Stadium field.
Standouts include senior defensive tackle Mychal Savage, who has been a dominant force in the Penguins’ defensive line for the past two years and will definitely be an All-America candidate again this season.
Seniors Da’Angelo Wilson and Jarvis Richards are the leaders in the secondary at cornerbacks, while senior Rashod Simon appears locked into the middle linebacker position.
Offensively the quarterback position is a long way from being settled, and the same goes for tailback. Senior Ferlando Williams is the cream of the crop at wide receiver and senior Derrick Bush is the No. 1 tight end. The offensive line has both experience and depth and special teams could be one of the Penguins’ strong points in 2008.
Spring baseball and softball are in full swing now and both the baseball and softball teams will be at home quite a bit over the next month. They both play at home on Tuesday. It will be the home opener for the softball team at McCune Park and the baseball team will be in action at home over each of the next five days.
Penguins will miss Tom Zetts
Pete Mollica, The Vindicator