Pete Lembo: More of the same instead of what's different
Ball State looks for new quarterback during spring training
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, INDIANA (SPORTS) - Ball State football coach Pete Lembo is willing to let the four quarterbacks listed on the 2014 spring roster play out to see who succeeds recording setting quarterback Keith Wenning.
The only problem is junior quarterback Kyle Kamman saw limited play as Wenning rolled up record setting a !0,000 yard passing career. And sophomore Ozzie Mann mostly sat the bench while freshman Jack Milas was a red shirt last season. And incoming freshman David Morrison played his last game in high school.
Lembo said Ball State was not like the National Football League that could out and buy a quarterback. And he was not likely to go out and recruit one either.
So when spring training ends in April, Lembo said he might or might not have a quarterback, but knows that Aug. 30 opening game with Colgate will be the deadline to have a new team ready to compete next season.
Lembo just got a contract extension where he will make $475,000 a year, nearly $100,000 over his current salary, Add up the car, travel, entertainment and bonuses for game and championship appearances makes Lembo among the highest paid coaches in the country.
Just being a head coach in Division 1 football humbles Lembo who has a laid back Seinfeld attitude and a continual drive to win and score that first college bowl game win.
With 11 starters graduating, including wide receivers Willie Snead and Jamill Smith besides defensive linemen Jonathon Newsome and Nathan Ollie, Lembo knows the pressure is on to find a team leader.
That's what fans already are asking after watching Ball State lose back to back bowl despite Wenning's record setting passing.
Lembo also has a relatively new coaching staff with Patrick Dougherty who joined Ball State after the regular season last year and coached tight ends at the GoDaddy Bowl; Nick Siatras, a defensive line coach from Miami and defensive coordinator Kevin Kelley who has 31 years coaching experience.
Besides having a new quarterback, the football team will have new quarters with a meeting room and offices for staff. The locker room also will be renovated this summer.
Lembo said other improvements last season like new video increased fan participation, and he looked forward to fun in he new season.
And the team will continue to be the "front porch": of Ball State, performing community service and being out in the community helping others as they compete and attend class.
Mayor Dennis Tyler mentioned this week the importance of university involvement in the community with recruiting students throughout the country and around the world to bring diversity and economy to the city.
Lembo said the football team would continue that tradition that has included cleaning up neighborhoods, helping at community centers and also working at special events.
As part of his new contract, Lembo also works in the front office as associate athletic director that was among the reasons to raise his salary by $100,000. He likened that to more of the same and not much difference in what he does now to help Athletic Director Bill Scholl and other coaches in the athletic department.