YSU’s linebacker squad rebuilding


Dellovade’s departure creates opportunities

By Dan Hiner

dhiner@vindy.com

Youngstown

The Youngstown State football team lost starting middle linebacker Armand Dellovade to graduation, but the Penguins still have high hopes for their linebackers.

Dellovade led the Penguins with 102 tackles and started since he was a freshman. He was a four-time All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection, earning second-team honors on three times.

Dellovade recorded 337 tackles in 47 games. He finished 12th in school history in career tackles and had the most tackles by any YSU player since 2000.

But a local has taken over in the middle of the defense.

Cardinal Mooney graduate Ray Anderson has taken over for Dellovade. Anderson recorded 22 stops in five starts over nine games as a freshman.

The responsibility is nothing new for Anderson. It reminds him of his high school days.

“It’s a role that a lot of people wish to aim for,” Anderson said. “It’s not meant for everybody, but it’s a fun role once you get into it.”

Anderson’s secret is understanding that no one is perfect. He said the expectations increase on and off the field the older a player gets.

“The biggest thing is knowing that the perfect day isn’t going to be there — that perfect practice, that perfect session,” Anderson said. “But striving for the perfect day is always the goal and always pushing other people.

“Regardless of how your day is going — if you’re down or up — you got to be the center. You gotta be the guy on the team, you gotta be the guy on the defense and you gotta take control of everything.”

He also has experienced players on the outside.

Dellovade took Anderson under his wing last season. Seniors Cash Mitchell, Christiaan Randall-Posey and junior Terray Bryant also have helped Anderson adjust to a starting role.

Cash and Randall-Posey started last season at outside linebacker. Mitchell was fifth on the team with 35 tackles last season and Randall-Posey had 30.

“We kind of get it now,” Mitchell said. “Coming out there, leading those guys, it’s kind of easy for us.”

Playing experience in limited outside of Anderson, Randall-Posey, Mitchell and Bryant.

But Sean Baker, the YSU linebackers coach and Canfield graduate, said the whole point of spring practice is to get young players practice time.

“That’s the good thing about our spring, everybody gets reps, which is helping everybody on our defense,” Baker said. “They’re all talking, they’re all working with different people so that’s gonna put more responsibility on them play to play.

“Some guys don’t like to talk a lot, some guys do. It puts more pressure on them every single day. We have a lot of guys, some played and some haven’t, that are making strides right now.”

Anderson is one of the guys that’s taken on the added pressure. Baker said the sophomore is “growing every day.”

“From when we’ve started spring ball to where he is now, he’s gotten heads and shoulders better,” Baker said. “He comes out every day ready to work, he’s a great kid, works hard in the weight room and the class room and it’s starting to transition onto the field.

“He’s gonna have a lot more responsibility this year and he’s getting ready for it.”

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