Good ‘bye’?: Bye week interrupts Penguins’ hot streak again

The Youngstown State University football team
celebrates during the Fall Fire Fest pep rally on Thursday night. The Penguins take a 7-1 record into
a bye week before traveling to the University of South Dakota. Photo by Dustin Livesay/ The Jambar.

It’s not exactly déjà vu, but a little over a year ago, the Youngstown State University football team was in a similar position to where it is now.
On Sept. 22, 2012, the Penguins defeated the University of Northern Iowa to improve to 4-0 on the season.
They went into their bye week red-hot, but came out ice-cold with a 0-4 for October.
After Saturday’s victory against Western Illinois University, YSU (7-1 overall, 4-0 Missouri Valley Football Conference) is once again rolling. And once again, the Penguins are rolling right into a bye week.
“I wouldn’t mind to keep playing,” tight end Nate
Adams said.
However, the Penguins will be forced to sit idle Saturday. And safe to say, they don’t want a repeat of last season’s post-bye-week blues.
“I’m going to give them some time off because we need to heal up,” said YSU head coach Eric Wolford. “We’re still going to lift and do some conditioning and stuff like that — fundamental practices.”
But there will be a different approach to this season’s
bye week.
“We will tee it up, though, and play a little football,” Wolford said. “We’re going scrimmage it up.”
By doing so, Wolford hopes YSU can keep its momentum going until the Penguins head to the University of South Dakota on Nov. 2.
Defensive end Kyle Sirl agrees with the altered approach.
“I know what we used to do during the bye week,” he said. “Now we’re going focus on getting some rest and getting recovered and focus on what we need to take care of.”
While Adams isn’t in favor of the bye week interrupting YSUs five-game winning streak, Sirl has a different opinion.
“Actually, I think our bye week is at a critical time for the stretch we’re about to get into,” he said.
After heading to South Dakota (4-3, 3-0), the Penguins will travel to UNI (4-3, 0-3) before returning home for games against North Dakota State University (7-0, 4-0) and South Dakota State University (4-4, 1-3).
“Anytime you get a bye week you kind of get some guys back that may have been hurt or playing through some injuries,” Sirl said.
Wolford said there are a number of defensive players that are banged up and will take advantage of the extra rest.
Also, Wolford likes the opportunity the bye week presents to judge his back-ups.
“We’ll tee it up with some of the younger guys to get an evaluation,” he said. “We can make an evaluation of how those two’s really are in the heat of the moment scrimmage-type situations.”
The Penguins will catch up on their scouting as well — particularly their self-analysis.
“We’ll get to do a much more in-depth scouting report on ourselves and evaluate what we’re doing well and what we’re not,” Wolford said.
And while the bye week has come during a YSU hot-streak for the second year in a row, the Penguins simply want to handle this season’s better.
“We’re just going with the flow,” running back Martin Ruiz said. “We’ll get a lot of extra stuff in — workouts, treatments, getting our bodies healthy — and we’ll be good to go.”