Penn State opens up spring practice on Wednesday and we will have some updates and comments from the first day of spring ball on Wednesday after the practice session.
First the obvious going in.
- Stefen Wisniewski is sliding over to center to repalce A.Q. Shipley, so that means Penn State is breaking in two new guards.
- Dennis Landolt is stick at RT for now, so that means going in, Penn State needs a new LT.
- Kevin Newsome is Daryll Clark’s backup.
- Joe Paterno is back. OK, not that that needs a mention, but hey, if I am able to do my job in my 80’s, I’d expect someone to make mention of me too. As it stands, 60 would be nice to live to these days.
Anywho, if you read my piece today on Sean Lee and his return to the field you caught a few notes at the bottom and five positions to keep an eye on this spring on both sides of the ball.
Here’s five players I’m interesting in following this spring and through the Blue White game on April 25.
1. Daryll Clark: Why you ask? Because a year ago Clark was in a position he could be eased into the starting quarterback role with a veteran receiving corps. Now it’s Clark’s turn to make his new group of starting receivers feel at ease. All indications are so far that things are going well.
2. DeOn’Tae Pannell: Penn State needs a franchise left tackle to replace Gerald Cadogan, who replaced Levi Brown.
3. Chaz Powell: Switched numbers from 12 to 2, and he may be expected to dosoem of the same things the former No. 2 (Derrick Williams) did. I see someone more along the lines of a Graham Zug stepping up as a main receiver, maybe Brett Brackett or A.J. Price, but Powell could be the slash type guy.
4. Stephfon Green: Evan Royster proved he could be a 20 carry guy, something he said last offseason wasn’t necessary. Here’s the issue, Green, who has that blazing speed, sometimes tried too hard last season, he was inches away from breaking the big one…this season he needs to complete those runs.
5. Andrew Quarless: Has an NFL body, NFL potential, but hasn’t completed a full season without some issue of some kind. It’s a make or break year for him, Clark needs a security blanket at tight end and someone to ease the transition to a new receiving corps. Is this the year Quarless puts it together?
1. Sean Lee: Obvious choice, he is back from his torn ACL, how will be be once live contact in the regular season starts. He likely will not play in the Blue White game later this month.
2. Jack Crawford: Someone needs to step up and give Penn State pass rush, Crawford has potential to play both inside and outside, does he find a role and secure it? Does he step up?
3. Gerald Hodges: He may be the phyiscal presence Penn State needs at safety to get after bigger, pro-style receivers. Can he crack the depth chart immediately? Might be part of a revolution of sorts in the secondary.
4. A.J. Wallace: I’m of the belief he should swap sides and play offense, but he needs to stay healthy and give Penn State experience at the corner spot. If Wallace is going to stay on defense, with the possible emergence of Devon Smith as a return man, plus a guy like Powell able to return, Wallace should then concentrate fully on D.
5. Jared Odrick: How will he fair without Maybin, Evans and Gaines around him? More double teams?
Other battles to watch:
Who steps into Kevin Kelly’s spot? You know at some point a game will be decided by a field goal. Colin Wagner has the leg, Anthony Fera comes in with some hype and David Soldner, by all accounts was solid in high school. So who steps up?
I’m curious how Penn State plays it with the receivers in general. Gone is the burner type, at least right now. It seems more like Zug, Brackett and Moye are more possession type guys. So what does that mean for the offense in general? More conventional, is it a slower paced spread attack? Is Royster the showcase guy on offense in 2009?
Defensively, what, if anything does Penn State get out of Jerome Hayes?
To me there is some added pressure on Odrick, Abe Koroma and the defensive tackles until a pass rush emerges.
Just some things to think about as we draw closer to spring ball.