Stephen Meadows is one of the Youngstown State Football players that carried over and made the successful transition between a new coach and an old one. In the interview with Meadows, he touches on the differences between Coaches Heacock (2009) and Wolford (2010). We also discussed everything from tattoos to Brett Favre to what I was chewing. Meadows can come off as a little wild, but said that he has never felt as confident going into a season as he does with this years YSU team.
Paneech: You played linebacker when you were in high school and now you are a defensive end in college. With today’s terminologically happy defenses, is there much difference?
Meadows: In high school I was free to pretty much roam around the field and find the action. At the college level it is very different. In college you have a gap you have to hold down and if you can’t do the job, you are not going to be playing. Everybody on defense has a job, and if everyone does their job, we are going to win games.
Paneech: You are one of the carryover guys from last year playing under Coach Heacock to this year playing for Coach Wolford. What is the difference between the two styles and was there a rough transition?
Meadows: I was recruited by Heacock and I fell in love with this place. Heacock was a great coach and I respect him to the fullest. When he left here, it was a sad time until Wolford came in and stepped the intensity up. There were some serious changes that he made when he got here and all of the slackers are gone now. We knew that if you were not going to play football the Penguin way then you needed to get out. The biggest changes were the intensity and the overall atmosphere.
Paneech: How big of a thrill is it going to be to play at Happy Valley against #14 Penn State?
Meadows: It’s going to be a heck of a thrill. I’m not one to look in the stands when I’m on the field and I heard it gets loud over there, I’m ready to shut ’em up.
Paneech: What are you majoring in and how is school going?
Meadows: I am majoring in business management, and it is going great. I’m in the new Williamson School of Business and I’m trying hard to keep my eyes open.
Paneech: How did you feel when you heard that YSU was picked to finish seventh this season?
Meadows: Mad! Ever since I got here we have been at the bottom of the food chain. I would rather let our actions speak for themselves this season. I am pretty confident in this team, in fact, I am more confident in this team than I have been on any other team that I have ever been on. This is a tight group, I don’t feel like I have guys that I play football with, I feel like I have brothers.
Paneech: What player in the NFL do you try to imitate, or take after, when you are on the field?
Meadows: My favorite team is the Green Bay Packers, but I am a Brett Favre guy. No matter what is going on around him, he is going to play every snap that he can whether it be the cold or the pain, he is out there giving his all. As far as playing style, I like the way Jarred Allen and Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, AJ Hawk – all tbose guys.
Paneech: What is the biggest factor you would attribute your success to?
Meadows: I had a long road to get here. My high school and Pop Warner coaches taught me the fundamentals and got my head right to get to this level.
Paneech: What do you do when you have some free time?
Meadows: I enjoy cranking up the heavy metal and shooting some pool with my boys, that’s what I like to do.
Paneech: You have quite the collection of tattoos. How did that start and how many are there?
Meadows: I got my first tattoo when I was 16. I was playing inside linebacker in a 4-4 defense, the buddy I had that played to my right was Russell Isaac Powell and he shot himself so I went and got a RIP tattoo on my right arm. Then to make my mom happy, I got an ‘In God We Trust‘ tattoo on the inside of my arm. The rest have accumulated over the years, my most recent is the big lion’s head (pointing) with a cross going through it which symbolizes that through God’s strength you can kill anything. I have probably made at least 30 trips to the shops. Everything is connected, so it all counts as one.
One Word Answers
Favorite Cereal: Sugar Smacks.
Favorite TV Show: Trailer Park Boys.
Biggest Phobia: Spiders.
Best Movie Ever Made: Braveheart.
The Animal You Most Resemble: Great White Shark.
Best Class Offered At YSU: Home Economics.
Worst Habit: No sleeves in the Winter.
Favorite Drink: Grape Gatorade.
2011 Super Bowl Prediction: Minnesota Vikings versus Indianapolis Colts.
Vegas or Cancun: Vegas!