Practice Notes: Wednesday Review

With the Nittany Lions in the thick of spring sessions, the offense is focused on making strides against an experienced, fast and "dangerous" defense. Get the scoop on a variety of players, including Derrick Williams, Justin King, Michael Robinson, Deon Butler, Mark Rubin, Jordan Norwood and Scott Paxson, among others.

Perhaps the best thing going for the offense currently is the fact that it is learning from a veteran defense that plays "fast, hard and aggressive on every down." As one observer shared, "The defense knows they have the edge and they exploit it. This is the best test for this offese though, you can see them improving."

Scott Paxson, Andrew Richardson and Tyler Reed have been particiapting in practice since Monday's session. As one observer said, "They are going to have to fly straight and prove themselves to the staff."

The passing game is getting the biggest challenge thanks to a "vicious pass rush" and "all-around impressive secondary." The receivers are "very fast and run decent routes," according to one observer, but the wideouts still "have to do a better job getting off the press." They are doing much better handling the press as each practice progresses, but it still continues "to throw off the timing routes."

All eyes have been on Derrick Williams since he reportedly sustained an ankle injury on Monday. However, he is currently practicing. As one insider explained, "He [Derrick] just tweeked it [his ankle] a little. He's OK though, it was nothing serious."

As we first reported, Williams is continually matched up against verteran cornerback Alan Zemaitis. That has continued into this week's drills. Michael Robinson consistently tells Williams to go against and challenge Zemaitis, which has "been great for him. He won't face a better corner in the country like A.Z.," another observer shared.

Robinson has agressively thrown at Zemaitis in drills, too. "He's the one quarterback who goes after Alan regularly," an insider explained. Robinson is able to deliever the ball at times past Zemaitis primairly because the two players talk about his weaknesses in coverage and Robinson exploits them, but it is still a challenge to do.

Mark Rubin did not practice yesterday. He apparently was sick and missed drills and is expected to return. soon. However, Justin King is back in practice after missing the Coaches Clinic scrimmage with a minor ankle injury.

King continues to receive tremendous praise, with observers decribing him as "a natural" and "the real deal."

Deon Butler is making such an impression that he is expected to earn a scholarship with some observers saying he is among the most impressive walk-ons PSU has seen in years. The other receiver who is "scary good" is Jordan Norwood. The reports on Norwood are impressive with comments like "amazing" and "so good." One observer even compared him to Marvin Harrison, saying "he's so impressive for being so small."

The offensive line continues to trail the defensive line, however it is making strides. "The quarterbacks do have more time to deliver the ball, but they still need more. A second or two goes a long way to develop a route," one observer shared.

Another insider explained, "You have some impressive talent on the line. [Levi] Brown is looking great and some of the young guys are really stepping up like [Gerald] Cadogan and [Greg] Harrison."

Center A.Q. Shipley is getting "better with his snaps, but it needs to become second nature to him." He is said to think too much about it and loses focus on his assignment at times.

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