PSU Scrimmage News & Notes

The Nittany Lions were back in full pads Saturday. Get the lowdown on what went down as Bill O'Brien's team wrapped up the next to last week of spring ball.

After a lighter practice Friday, in which the players were in shorts, jerseys and helmets, Penn State was back in full pads for scrimmage action Saturday. It was the 10th practice of the spring.

On a warm, sunny morning, the Nittany Lions worked 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 on the outdoor field next to Lasch Building.

• For most of the spring, the defense has had a clear advantage in scrimmage action. That changed Saturday. According to observers, the offense is starting to get a good handle on new coach Bill O'Brien's read-and-react offense.

“The offense looked good today,” an observer said. “It opened up. They moved the ball around and had lots of different plays. Looked like a good college offense.”

Another observer explained, “The offense had a pop to it; much sharper execution. Probably the best practice they have had (this spring).”

The offensive coaches were pleased with the overall focus of the unit and their improved execution. “Routes were tighter, reads were sharper - still work to get there, but days like this help the squad get there.”

Matt McGloin saw the bulk of the first-team quarterback reps. He seems to be the frontrunner for the starting job at this point. Overall, he had an “average to pretty good” scrimmage, according to one observer. A key is that he did not make many mistakes. The biggest error was a risky pass into the end zone that was intercepted by safety Tim Buckley.

• QB Paul Jones was back in under center after missing Friday's practice due to a class field trip. He worked mostly with the second-team offense and “looked good,” according to an observer.

• QB Rob Bolden also worked with the second-team and struggled. His consistency continues to be an issue.

Shane McGregor had most of the third-team reps at quarterback and had a tough day.

• Tailbacks Silas Redd and Zach Zwinak continue to impress as a one-two punch. Zwinak's emergence has mitigate the loss of bruising tailback Curtis Dukes for the spring. Dukes is skipping drills to focus on academics. Zwinak has shown the ability to “bust through holes.”

• Tight end Kyle Carter had the best catch of the day, a leaping grab down the sideline where he had to adjust in midair. Redshirt junior wideout Christian Kuntz also had a good day catching the ball.

• After starting the spring at cornerback and then missing time with a minor injury, sophomore Adrian Amos was back in pads He was seeing second-team reps at safety.

• At one point, a tussle broke out between linebacker Gerald Hodges and center Matt Stankiewitch. As is the case with most football scrums, there was no clear winner. One observer felt Hodges would have had the edge if the fight had not be halted, seeing as he was a standout wrestler in high school. We're of the opinion that Stankiewitch would have used his 62-pound weight advantage to score a KO.

• For the second time this spring, officials were used for the scrimmage action. “There were lots of flags,” an observer said.

The Nittany Lions will be back in action on Monday to close out the final week of the spring period. The Blue White Game is scheduled to close out spring drills on Saturday, April 21 with kickoff at 2 pm.

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