YSU hires new running backs coach

The Youngstown State University football team has hired Eric Gallon as its new running backs coach.

Gallon, who coached high school football in Florida, said he’s been impressed with what he has already seen from the YSU football program.

“We have some great backs who can run the ball,” Gallon said. “A lot of the techniques will change. … We need to focus on mental toughness and carrying our guys over the hump. You have them playing at a high level of success already, so we can enhance it.”

Along with his coaching experience, Gallon said he brings with him experience as a running back at Kansas State University in the late 1980s.

“Kansas State has a great tradition of winning championships. We had to build it up,” Gallon said. “I just want to make the team successful from the work done at Kansas.”

During his days at KSU, Gallon met Eric Wolford, who is now YSU’s head football coach.

“I’ve known him since we played at Kansas,” Wolford said. “He’s had a great career, and we kept a relationship after college. After he got hired at George Jenkins High School in Florida, we just kept in contact.”

Wolford spoke highly of the program’s new hire, explaining that their experiences together on the field helped him decide to hire Gallon.

“My decision was based on my comfort zone with [him and] my system, and that he’s a guy I could just relate well with,” Wolford said.

Wolford said he knows players will benefit from Gallon’s expertise.

“I think it’s important to have guys who can relate to a player,” he said. “He can see it through their eyes, and he’s just a great recruiter for players.”

Offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo said Gallon’s experience as a running back factors into how the team will respond to him. “It gives him credibility to the position and the players. They understand him,” he said. “He’s able to piece together post and pre snaps for the running backs and just overall read the position.”

In addition, Bricillo said Gallon understands the position, but also has a willingness to learn.

“He worked with high school kids, and that helps you learn how to develop young men,” he said.

YSU’s offensive line has seen improvements each year, and both Bricillo and Gallon said they want to continue to improve as the Penguins head into the 2013 season.

Wolford said Gallon has been quick to comprehend the team’s game plan.

“He’s learning the offense, which is a key during our spring drills,” he said. “He has a very good background and is just a fundamental guy.”

Gallon said his expectation is to be successful both on and off the field, adding that the players are “academically sound,” which “translates well onto the field.”

Overall, Gallon said his new position as YSU’s running backs coach is “a great opportunity.”

“I wouldn’t want to go into battle with anyone else,” Gallon said. “[Wolford] is a great father, coach and go-getter.”