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Penn State Spring Practice Quick Hitters

Our premium takes as the Nittany Lions crept closer to the final week of spring practice.

Our premium Quick Hitters from the open portion of Penn State’s Wednesday practice.

• We actually saw some 1v1 work for the first time this spring. There were several backups sprinkled in there as some established guys were seeing their reps limited.

• On one play, DE Shareef Miller rushed QB Trace McSorley. But RT Chasz Wright pushed Miller wide, creating a huge lane for McSorley. McSorley was through it in an instant and off for a 20-plus yard again. 

• On the same play, DE Shaka Toney blew in from the other side and actually beat LT Ryan Bates. It was impressive. But the play unfolded so quickly that McSorley had already taken off. A year ago — when PSU was just learning this offense — McSorley would have easily been sacked. The other cool part is that Toney followed McSorley right through the big hole and seemed to be gaining on him before the QB ran out of bounds.

• There were a bunch of different DEs rotating in with the ones, including Ryan Buchholz (who also plays tackle) and redshirt freshman Shane Simmons.

Mike Miranda was seeing some time with the ones at LG. Confirms all of the positive stuff we’ve been hearing about him. But this was likely an instance where projected starter Brendan Mahon was getting a break. Mahon was there and in pads, and clearly had been practicing. Same with Steven Gonzalez.

• They had a play where they had a nice little flair route set up for RB Andre Robinson. LB Jason Cabinda did a great job of reading it and batting down McSorley's pass. Fellow box LB Manny Bowen had rotated over and might have had a shot at tackling Robinson. But otherwise the play was extremely well blocked and could have popped for a touchdown.

Grant Haley will be one starting CB if healthy. Christian Campbell will be the other. In nickel packages, expect Haley to move inside. The interesting thing Wednesday is that when we were there, they had Campbell and Amani Oruwariye as the CBs with the ones (no doubt Haley was getting a break) and … true freshman Lamont Wade was at nickel.

If you recall, we said one of the keys for Wade this spring was going to be getting down the fundamentals of playing corner at this level. The fact that they are now working him at nickel, too, would seem to suggest he is a fast learner.

• Haley told us Wade had his third pick of the spring, this one off a Cam Brown tip of an attempted short pass. Wade leads the team in interceptions this spring.

• They had some fun running out a special block package on an attempted field goal. They’ve done this in the past so I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets. First they wanted TE Mike Gesicki out there. But it ended up being WR Irvin Charles. Charles and S Marcus Allen came nowhere close to blocking K Tyler Davis' short attempt, though.

• Also on special teams, they did some kickoff work. The return guys were Saquon Barkley, Nick Scott, Josh McPhearson, Brandon Polk (in full gear) and K.J. Hamler (no pads). Davis bombed one of his kickoff attempts deep into the end zone. We did not see Joey Julius out there.

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