REDSHIRT REPORT: Part II

We continue to give the lowdown on those Nittany Lions who were redshirted in 2010. Among the players tackled in this installment are Paul Jones and Dakota Royer.

While a handful of Penn State true freshmen played in 2010 — RB Silas Redd, QB Rob Bolden, LB Khairi Fortt, DT DaQuan Jones, TE Kevin Haplea — most members of the Nittany Lions' 2010 recruiting class redshirted this season.

But that doesn't mean the players who are sitting out lack talent. The list of Penn State greats who have redshirted is extensive, including All-Americans like Ki-Jana Carter, Kerry Collins, Michael Haynes, Larry Johnson and a host of others.

The best part about redshirting as a true freshman is it allows a prospect to immerse himself in the strength-training program and get fully acclimated with the playbook. Each Friday during the season, while most everyone else on the team is off or traveling, the redshirting rookies are put through brutal workouts at Lasch Building.

You can read Part I of our Redshirt Report series here.

With that in mind, we believe it is important to track the progress of the redshirting freshman. See Part II of our exclusive Redshirt Report series here:

Paul Jones, QB, No. 10

With the debate and drama swirling among Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, many are wondering how Paul Jones has progressed this past year and if he'll be in the off-season race for the starting job at quarterback. When it was initially announced he was redshirting back in August the sentiment was that Jones was disappointed and "down" for a period.

The assessment now is that "he's matured" and "gained focus" and that the season was spent practicing with the foreign team. No he is zeroing in on the PSU playbook again. "No doubt he wasn't happy about [redshirting]," according to one observer. "But it took the pressure off and allowed him to really get into the film room and pick up things."

Jones is said to have a consistent drop-back with his feet and strong release. He's still working on "setting himself" and "seeing the entire field." Many feel the patience he found this year has served him well on and off the field. "He has a good perspective and is more relaxed. He's still hungry, but I think he's also been more patient on the field," an observer said.

Jones has also become known as a guy who "steps up for the team." One observer pointed to him playing some scout team tight end as Florida's Jordan Reed in the Outback Bowl prep practices. "He was a highly ranked guy [out of high school]. Some guys come in here with their stars and act like they own the place and get knocked down. He's a level-headed guy. He hasn't been a diva and does what the coaches ask."

Jones has also changed physically, adding about 20 pounds, and is at about 6-foot-3, 245 pounds now. "He's big and strong. It's going to be interesting to see how he uses his size to his advantage."

Dakota Royer, LB, No. 32

In a position that is filled with the likes of Gerald Hodges, Khairi Fortt and Michael Mauti, the past year has been a learning experience for Royer. "Physically he got the basics, but it's taking time for him to get down the speed of the game."

Initially there was speculation that Royer could potentially move to defensive end, but his lack of size has made that a tall order. He has added bulk this year, though, and is said to be "in the 220s" now. Several observers feel Royer has the "first step" to eventually make an impact at outside linebacker. He's too has played a variety of roles on the scout team, including wide receiver.

Aside from his conditioning, Royer has been working on refining his read-react skills. "I don't doubt he has the instincts, but he needs to trust them more," one observer explained. "He was one of the more shocked young guys when the coaches were tearing into him early on, but the older guys helped him to realize it will make him better."

Royer was an early enrollee, so the redshirt was said to be frustrating. "A lot of guys who come in early just expect they are destined to play out of the gate, but it doesn't always work that way." Royer has learned the importance of patience though this year. "He's been heads down and knows this off-season is a big one for his progress."

Khamrone Kolb, OT, No. 72

At 6-5 and about 335 pounds, observers tend to like Kolb's frame and feel "he carries his weight pretty well. It sounds weird but he's pretty trim for someone his size."

Kolb primarily saw reps on the scout team at both offensive tackle positions. In the latter part of the year he was seeing more snaps on the right side, playing the role of Florida's Xavier Nixon in bowl preparations, but most are mixed on where he will end up and feel that the coaches have not decided yet. "I think the lack of experience will keep him on the right [side] initially, but if he nails down his technique he could easily move over [to left]."

This year has "given Khamrone a boost," improving his strength and endurance. His focus is on his technique, though. As one observer told us, "He's got to use his hands better and keep his feet square under him." Although he has to improve to pick up the rush, he's said to be "getting sharper" off the snap. "At first he was fairly slow off the snap in drills, but it's started to click."

Some feel that if Kolb can manage his size and get consistent "controlling the corner" he may have an edge against some older guys like Eric Shrive and Adam Gress when it comes to earning playing time.

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