Our quick hitters from the open portion of Penn State’s Wednesday practice, the fifth session of the spring.
• Wednesday was full pads. But no tackling when we were there. It was outside.
• We only got to see six snaps — and they involved mostly backups, deep backups and very deep backups. That’s OK, though. Still plenty of stuff that’s of interest to hardcore fans. Speaking of which…
• Earlier this week on our premium forum, we gave members a look at (among other things) the starting offensive line. That has not changed. Wednesday, we got a look at the second-team O-line. Here is how it shaped up:
LT: Will Fries
LG: Michal Menet
C: Zach Simpson
RG: Charlie Shuman
RT: Sterling Jenkins
If you’re keeping score at home, that means the right side of Penn State’s second-team O-line now measures in a combined total of 13-foot-4 (Shuman and Jenkins are both 6-8) and 641 pounds.
Andrew Nelson was in street clothes. No surprise there.
• QB Tommy Stevens had two nice plays. One was a rollout where he hit TE Mike Gesicki for a short gain on the sideline. Stevens was on the move and the timing of the play was perfect. The other was a read option where Stevens kept the ball, found a hole on the left side and got through it very quickly. Again, they were not tackling. But he would have picked up a good 10-12 yards before S Ayron Monroe would have leveled him.
• The play of the day featured a bit of circus action. When the very deep reserves were in, third-team QB Jake Zembiec stepped up in the pocket and fired a bomb for WR Tyler Shoop. Though the receiver was well covered by transfer CB Javari Butler, the ball bounced off Shoop’s hands … and right into the hands of fellow walk-on WR Colton Maxwell for what was at least an 80-yard TD. Cool to see a walk-on make a big play when the media is there. The agreement that allows us into practice — where we don't show anything that reveals formations, blocking schemes and such — prevented us from including Zembiec's throw in the video below.
• None of the veteran D-ends played when we were there. We got to see the three redshirt freshmen — Shaka Toney, Shane Simmons and Daniel Joseph — rotate at the two spots. They were not allowed to clobber anyone, so it was tough to make any real evaluations. But Toney definitely looks a lot thicker than last season. Still skinny. But he’s getting there. You can see the quickness there, too. And Simmons had a nice rush where he just missed batting down a Zembiec screen pass. He really got up in the air to go after it.
• The initial DTs when were we were there were Antonio Shelton and Tyrell Chavis. Good indication that the primary rotation guys right now are Kevin Givens, Curtis Cothran, Parker Cothren and Robert Windsor. I did not see Ellison Jordan in there when we were there. But the depth here is great. DL coach Sean Spencer is going to be able to really keep his DTs fresh this season.
• As we noted earlier in the week, the backup LBs were Brandon Smith at the Mike, Cameron Brown at Sam and Jarvis Miller at Field. Brown looks thicker. Again, with limited contact, it was tough to really judge anything they were doing.
• Corners for most of our time there were Christian Campbell and Lamont Wade. That tells us the top three are likely John Reid, Grant Haley (both no-brainers) and Amani Oruwariye. T.J Johnson also got a few reps when the deeper reserves got it.
• Backup safeties when we were there were Monroe and Johnny Petrishen. That tells you the top three right now are likely Marcus Allen, Troy Apke (who I think Franklin forgot to mention during his PC) and Nick Scott. Nice to see Petrishen back in action after he was sidelined for much of last season with an undisclosed injury.
• Was also nice to see former Lion CB Alan Zemaitis in the house. He’s now an assistant at Susquehanna.