I've always tried to hold back from tooting my own horn.
Actually, I never quite understood the saying. Whose horn and I'm supposed to toot? I don't want to put my mouth on someone else's horn. That's nasty. And secondly, I don't want to toot anything. It's a dumb word.
Anyway, I got off topic. The reason I bring this up is because of the recent situation involving Youngstown State University football player Dale Peterman. I wrote a column a few weeks back telling people not to be too quick to judge Peterman, who was charged with possession of marijuana, speeding, driving under suspension and failing to wear a seat belt. Other media outlets in the area ripped the senior defensive back, saying he should be thrown off the team. Tisk, tisk.
Peterman had his marijuana and driving charges dismissed in Warren Municipal Court on Wednesday after a state trooper confirmed for a judge that it was the older brother of Dale Peterman who was passing himself off as the football standout.
YSU coach Eric Wolford, who suspended Peterman indefinitely after he was picked up for an outstanding warrant stemming from the charges, said Friday that his "intentions are to reinstate him," but he will make an official ruling on Peterman today.
"Sometimes you're wrongfully accused," Wolford said.
Granted, Peterman was found guilty in Girard Municipal Court on an unrelated misdemeanor charge of no operator's license, but I certainly don't think that warrants a suspension. The 22-year-old Peterman already missed one game, Thursday's 28-10 victory over Dayton, and his name has been tarnished for something he didn't even do. I think the kid has suffered enough.
Wolford said he was going to "let the legal process run its course" when the incident was first announced on Aug. 14, and he was wise to do so.
"It's a good thing that I did," he said. "If I would have made a knee-jerk reaction or an irrational decision, what would I be saying to the kid now? Sometimes you have to defend your kids. If they tell you something, and you think they're telling you the truth, you've got to defend them. So, it all worked out."
UGLY START: The Penguins could use all the help they can get right now. Sure, they beat Dayton, but the Flyers are a non-scholarship school that really has no business playing a tight game with YSU. The biggest surprise was the play of senior quarterback Kurt Hess.
Hess had one of the worst games of his career, finishing 9 of 19 for 73 yards and two interceptions. He also missed a few open receivers and looked rattled when things didn't go well. The Penguins threw the ball just three times in the second half, when the result was still in the balance. Sure, they were running the ball with ease (Adaris Bellamy had a career-high 203 yards), but there was a third-and-7 play late in the game in which the Penguins ran off tackle. That's a sign the coaching staff had very little confidence in their captain.
The knock on Hess has always been his consistency, so hopefully it was simply an off night. He can't afford to have many more of those if YSU intends on ending its six-year playoff drought.
NFL CALIBER?: An NFL scout attended Thursday's game and was checking out a few players. He asked the names of the players not be revealed, but he did say they were offensive linemen. The obvious candidates are senior Chris Elkins, a 6-foot-4 300-pound center who was a first-team all-league selection last year, and 6-7, 320-pound senior tackle Kyle Byrant. Both possess the size to hold their own in the NFL, and they've been coached by Wolford, who made his name as an offensive line coach at prominent universities like Illinois, Kansas State and South Carolina. Their overall strength and athleticism, along with their aptitude in understanding complex NFL offenses, could be determining factors on whether they're drafted or, most likely, picked up as undrafted free agents.
Bellamy made an impression as well. The enigmatic senior entered YSU as a highly recruited prospect, but injuries and the lack of breakaway speed have held him back.
Another player who is probably rising on a few draft boards is Niles High School-product Nick Liste. The fifth-year senior punter has been one of the best in the Missouri Valley Conference for a few years, and his 64- and 62-yard punts on Thursday had to open the scout's eyes. Consistency will be what other potential scouts look at when considering Liste.