Monthly Archives: March 2008

Observations from the Saturday practice

While just about to leave town after watching PSU’s open (to the media) practice, talking to Joe and players, here’s some totally random thoughts.
-Tony Davis appears to be running as the second team cornerback behind Lydell Sargeant. Davis was converted to safety before last season. Chaz Powell and Nick Sukay are the second team safeties currently behind Anthony Scirrotto and Mark Rubin.

-The first team offense looked as expected with Clark under center, his offensive line consisted of Gerald Cadogan and Dennis Landolt at the tackles, the guards were Rich Ohrnberger and Stefen Wisniewski and A.Q. Shipley was the starting center. Penn State used a three-wide package with Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood as the targets. Mickey Shuler ran as the first team tight end with Evan Royster and Dan Lawlor in the backfield.

-First team defense consisted of Ollie Ogbu and Abe Koroma at the tackles, Josh Gaines and Maurice Evans on the ends, the outside linebackers were Bani Gbadyu and Tyrell Sales, while Josh Hull played in the middle. Sean Lee will be the starter but was dinged up and held out of some drills due to a tight hamstring and said as of now he expects to play on the outside. The secondary had Sargeant and A.J. Wallace at the corners and Rubin and Scirrotto at the safety spots.

-Wallace ran some drills with the first team offense out of the shotgun set, to which Paterno said he did some last season. Wallace was not credited with a carry on the offensive side of the ball in live game action last season.

-Derrick Williams was popped by middle linebacker Chris Colasanti during a passing drill in which Williams went over the middle on a crossing route. Williams said he had “never been hit like that in his life,” and laid on the ground for several minutes as team trainers and coaches tended to him.

-Devlin appeared to have better touch on the deep passes and displayed more accuracy. Clark was a little wild on short throws and had several of his passes deflected during the same drill.

-End Jerome Hayes ran during the practice session and Paterno said he is OK to practice, but the coaching staff decided to hold him out at the risk of further injury. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick did participate in drills but not the scrimmage, same for defensive end Devon Still who is coming off an ACL tear.

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Transfer notes, spring update coming

A couple of former Nittany Lions are headed to California Pa. to continue their playing careers.

Linebacker Dontay Brown and defensive back Travis McBride both made their intentions known according to the Washington Observer.

Saturday the beat writers and other members of the media have been invited to watch practice and chat with Joe and players afterward.

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Spring roster out

The Penn State spring football roster is out, with a few notables on it.

As expected, players involved in off field trouble this year, including Chris Bell, Phil  Taylor, Knowledge Timmons, Chris Baker and Navarro Bowman are all absent from the roster.

Tyrell Sales, who was involved in an incident last week in Pittsburgh IS on the roster. As is cornerback Willie Harriott and defensive tackle Tom McEowen.

No position changes of note, so far, in other words, Tony Davis is still at safety and intrestingly enough Brent Carter is still listed as a tailback, there were some rumors floating around he would be moved back to the defensive backfield. Also, injured players  Jared Odrick and Jerome Hayes are of course on the roster, but their action during spring ball is limited.

Paul Cianciolo is also on the roster as he splits time between baseball and football.

There is one notable number change as cornerback A.J. Wallace has swapped No. 12 for No. 1 formly occupied by Justin King. Also running back Stephfon Green has changed from No. 25 to No. 21 and fullback Dan Lawlor has switched from No. 38 to No. 33.

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Lions land first ’09 verbal

Multiple outlets, including FOS and BWI are reporting that Penn State has landed it’s first verbal of the 2009 recruiting class, North Carolina lineman Ty Howle, who visited PSU over the weekend.

FOS reported that Howle  met with PSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson and several players over the weekend, watched some hoops and made his commitment.

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Things to watch as spring ball starts

Here’s five areas I think you should watch with regards to PSU football this fall. This is of course excluding the two obvious points of Joe Paterno’s contract situation and also the Daryll Clark-Pat Devlin battle for the quarterback spot.

1. D-LINE DEPTH: With the losses of Phil Taylor and Chris Baker to legal trouble, Tom McEowen’s dependability, and the recovery process for Jared Odrick, Devon Still and stand-up end Jerome Hayes, this is the most crucial issue for the Lions.

Can they generate some depth along the defensive front if Baker and Taylor are done? When will Odrick be 100-percent and just what does Still have in store when healthy?

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson said back in Feb. that Odrick would likely sit out the Blue White game coming up on April 19. Hayes was hurt too late in the season and is still a ways away from being ready.

2. GREEN LIGHT? Evan Royster appears to have the edge on the starting tailback spot and there is no reason to think he wouldn’t given his performance last season, but what does the future hold for phenom Stephfon Green, who everyone raved about last season.

Does Green push Royster, who is really a talented, and complete back? Do the coaches split carries? Green’s got to see the field at some point, we know that. Just in what capacity?

3. WHO’S WIDE OPEN: Penn State will return a senior laden crop of receivers in Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood, but who is next? There are questions about Chris Bell and whether or not he will even be with the team, and there are others like Brett Brackett and Derek Moye, and eventually freshman A.J. Price, that will need to step up and be ready when it’s their time next season.

4.  MOVEMENT? Justin King’s departure to the NFL opens the door for a cornerback duo of A.J. Wallace and Lydell Sargeant, but with depth at safety in the way of Anthony Scirrotto and Mark Rubin, plus the possible need to get a youngster like Nick Sukay some time, would the coaches consider moving cornerback-turned-safety Tony Davis back to corner if either Sargeant or Wallace struggle during the spring session?

5. A No. 3 PLEASE: Quarterback Paul Cianciolo has traded the football cleats for the baseball spikes (scroll down a little to see he’s participated in three games so far this season) this spring, so how does that affect the positioning of Penn State’s third string QB?

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Pryor picks the Buckeyes

Saying he felt bad he had to tell certain coaches he wouldn’t be attending thier school, Jeannette star quarterback Terrelle Pryor ended his recruiting saga Wednesday morning by simply donning a black Ohio State hat, declaring he would play for the defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes.
Pryor chose Ohio State over Michigan and Penn State, and by all indications at his press conference, Michigan was his second choice.
Pryor delayed his initial announcement on National Letter of Intent Day saying he needed more time to decide and that he would take official visits to both Oregon and Penn State. Neither trip ever materialized.
Pryor said at his press conference this afternoon that Oregon was too far for family members to travel to in order to see him play.
When asked how serious of a contender Penn State was in the race for him, Pryor cited his close ties to defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who recruited Pryor, but added, “they just weren’t for me.”
When asked why, Pryor said “they’re just not.”
Pryor said he talked to Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel via phone after making his decision in the morning and Tressel said “welcome to the family.”
Pryor also said that Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez was still trying to sway him to Ann Arbor when he talked to him via phone this morning.
Pryor is the only quarterback in Pennsylvania history to rush and pass for 4,000 yards in his career. In December, the Jayhawks won the PIAA Class AA football title, and just last weekend, Pryor led his Jayhawks basketball team to the PIAA Class AA state title with an overtime victory over Strawberry Mansion.
Pryor finished his scholastic basketball career with 2,285 career points.
(1:20 p.m. update)
Mike White, the fabulous high school writer from the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh has an interesting quote from Pryor in his story posted online.
“I would’ve had Penn State higher and would’ve considered them more if I knew coach Bradley was going to be the head coach when Joe Paterno retires,” Pryor said.

Interesting. Talk amongst yourselves.

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D-Day for Pryor

Multiple outlets have been reporting throughout the day that the nation’s No. 1 college recruiting prospect Terrelle Pryor will indeed announce his college choice and sign his letter of intent tomorrow afternoon at Jeanette HS.

Indications are that Pryor will sign with Ohio State over both Penn State and Michigan. Pryor confirmed to Scout.com’s Bob Lichtenfels that he is down to three schools, the Buckeyes, Michigan and PSU.

Though Pryor said he would take an official to PSU, he has yet to do so and was just on campus last weekend as the Jayhawks won the PIAA Class AA state basketball title by defeating Strawberry Mansion in overtime.

According to Lichtenfels article, Pryor said the school should know he is on his way, leading to further speculation that he will indeed sign with the Buckeyes. When Pryor delayed his announcement back in Feb., he indicated that he had “his” school originally picked but wanted to respect his fathers wishes to take a look at Penn State.

He also indicated that he would take a visit to Oregon, but has since ruled them out of the running for his services.

Pryor told Lichtenfels that with the coming Easter weekend, he wanted to get things done quickly. He also must sign with a school before April 1.

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