BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s no spring practice for the YSU football team this year, forcing new head coach Doug Phillips to get creative with his players and coaches.
It’s been nearly seven weeks since Phillips was introduced and back on February 8th, the New Middletown native had no idea that working from home would be the new normal right now.
“You gotta have a plan you know and first and foremost was the health and safety of our players and the people in the Valley,” said Phillips. “Then secondly, how are we going to adjust to online education to make sure academically our kids could succeed.”
Phillips says keeping a routine is crucial during these times. He still meets with his assistants and players on a daily basis over the internet.
“We break it up into units,” said Phillips. We have ten units in football so my messages go out, it’s going out to the safeties, it’s going out to the running backs, it’s going out the o-line, trying to make that personal relationship within those units and knowing that there’s a coach in charge of that unit.”
After hiring his staff, Phillips has put a big emphasis on recruiting, especially looking at local players. When it comes to communication, he said it’s all about being consistent and getting creative.
“I think any program right now that can find a way to thrive and that’s the key word that I’ve been using with our players, find a way to thrive,” he said. “If it’s getting one percent better every day, then get one percent better every day. I truly believe what we do here in the next month and a half, I hope is going to be a little bit different than another program.”
Phillips replaces Bo Pelini after he spent five seasons with the Penguins before heading to become the defensive coordinator at LSU. While there’s no spring practice or a spring game this year, Phillips is not making excuses as he continues to make his own mark on this program.
“Is there going to be a sense of urgency? Ya, I have yet to see our kids with a football on the field, but guess what I’m not going to make that an excuse of the success we’re gonna have,” said Phillips. “When we get them back, we’re going to prepare them and we’re going to prepare them to try to win a lot of football games at Stambaugh Stadium.”