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AUDIO: Cards Protect Muncie With New QB

Quarterback Ozzie Mann’s signing at Ball State appears logical as he played High School football minutes away from Scheumann Stadium. That does not mean it was a lock Ball State coaches would offer the Delta High School product a scholarship.

Which route is faster to Scheumann Stadium from Delta between Walnut and Broadway?

When Coach Pete Lembo arrived after the 2010 season, he could have wiped the slate clean releasing all the assistants under Stan Parrish. Instead Lembo kept Joey Lynch on board as recruiting coordinator to maintain relationships with incoming recruits.

“The first thing we do in the staff room everyday is write a hand written note to the kids at the top of our list,” Lembo said at the signing day banquet. “Joey Lynch, one of his many duties, is to keep that list updated.”

Lynch is as well-connected to Ball State as one can be. Not only did he start at quarterback for the Cardinals, he is also the son of former Ball State coach Bill Lynch. Parrish hired Lynch as an assistant in 2009.

Lynch is also a graduate of Delta and followed Mann’s progression as a passer closely. Offensive Coordinator Rich Skrosky had just been hired and saw tape of Mann for the first time in this past February and liked what he saw.  Skrosky called Lynch for his opinion.

“As soon as I watch [the tape] I called Joey and said, ’Joey, what do you think of this guy?’” Skrosky said. “We didn’t know each other very well yet so I think he was thinking. ‘Oh gosh, Skrosky hates him,’ so he said ‘I think he’s decent what do you think?’”

What Skrosky said next was a huge relief for Lynch.

“I think he’s awesome,” Skrosky said on Mann.

Ball State offered Mann a scholarship and he became one of the first commitments to the 2012 class.

Ball State has let local quarterbacks in the past slip away to a rival. Chandler Harnish was a native of nearby Bluffton but Ball State did not recruit him. Brady Hoke was coaching the Cardinals at the time and did not think Harnish’s style would fit in with Ball State’s air attack. With Nate Davis playing the position, quarterback was not a position in dire need.

With Ball State out of the running, Harnish went across state lines to conference rival Northern Illinois. The Huskies won the Mid-American Conference Championship in 2011 making Ball State regret not taking him.

Lynch and Skrosky were not about to make the same mistake.

Mann went on to have a successful senior year individually throwing for 16 touchdowns with only four interceptions. That type of ball security has the Ball State coaches really excited to have him on the roster.

It may be a while for Mann to see significant playing time behind incumbent starting quarterback Keith Wenning and senior quarterback Kelly Page. Lembo’s philosophy is to red shirt players who may not contribute right away.

“If we have to keep playing freshmen it’s not going to work,” Lembo said. “I could be Lou Holtz and these guys could be the best coaching staff in America and it just doesn’t happen.”

You can listen to what Skrosky had to say on Ozzie Mann at the Signing Day Banquet below.

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