Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Penn State has a shot at him, as do four more teams: Maryland, Florida, Virginia and Oklahoma. According to him he's not down to two — he likes five, plus their are three on the outside looking in: Tennessee, Boston College and Illinois. I don't foresee any academic problems as of right now.
Joe9195 Asks: How many official trips are schools allowed to pay for each recruiting cycle? Also, is there a limit on the number of recruits taking official visits allowed at any one game?
Mark Harrington Answers: That is a good question. I am not certain of the answer, but we will try to find out.
PSUFan2020 Asks: With Garry Warren, I've read that this kid is quite a player but a little on the small side. How interested in Penn State is he since their are hardly ever any updates on him? I know he's one of the top running backs in N.J. besides Moreno. Do you think that the staff may wait to see what transpires with some of our other running back targets?
Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Each year there are certain kids who just don't talk or are unreachable. I have personally called Warren numerous times and I am given the runaround. It can only be a coincidence so many times that when you happen to call someone their phone is dying; after two or three times its more then coincidental. I learned my lesson last year from a recruit — once they start that don't even bother, it's a waste of time. When they decide, they decide.
PSUFan2020 Asks: What's up with Jason Adejpong? I remember he seemed pretty interested in Penn State earlier in the year but now it seems he isn't as interested. Is this staff recruiting other defensive ends harder or are there some players that we like more at DE than Adejpong?
Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Adjepong is No. 1 on most boards at DE, so it's not a matter of the staff at PSU recruiting other DEs harder. I think it's just that Adjepong has cooled in his interest with the Nittany Lions.
erv66 Asks: Since Dontey Brown is having difficulty picking up the pass coverage at linebacker, is he an option to convert to DE?
Mark Harrington Answers: Brown would have to add a good 25 pounds or so to be an effective defensive end. I like the way you think given the perceived depth of the linebackers thanks to the addition of Jerome Hayes and Sean Lee to Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, Tim Shaw and Tyrell Sales, among others. Brown seems to have the frame to add size, but I am not sure the staff sees him as having the potential to be an effective defensive end.
NWNittany Asks: How do you guys see the linebacker positions shaking out this year? Using standard terminology, who do you see starting at middle (mike), strong (sam/over tight end) and weakside (will) ? And who do you think comes off the field in the nickel?
Mark Harrington Answers: First off Mike, Sam and Will are the traditional names given to the Middle, Strongside and Weakside linebackers, respectively. However, as you might expect, Penn State does things a little differently. At PSU the Strongside is called the "Sam," but the middle position is called the "Backer" and the weakside is the "Fritz."
In regard to your question, Paul Posluszny has extensive experience playing the "Fritz" and I think he will likely remain on the weakside thanks to his size and speed. That would put Dan Connor at the "Sam" and I think Tim Shaw is the guy to beat at the "Backer."
I think the three-deep for the linebackers will likely look like this:
KokobewareHI Asks: I have heard from more than one source that John Thomas has been more open to using some powerlifting techniques. One of the reasons why was because some kids were lifting on their own and "overlifting." Thus, at the very least, JT wants to make sure the kids aren't overextending themselves. Any truth to this?
Mark Harrington Answers: Yes, we first reported on this in the spring. John Thomas has incorporated an optional free weight portion of the conditioning program which began with winter conditioning and has carried through the spring into the summer workouts. Several of the players have incorporated this into their workout regimen. The exact motivation for it is unclear, though the explanation you presented seems plausible.
PSUSmitty Asks: Are we planning on using the zone blocking scheme this year? Are we changing anything about the line's preparation?
Mark Harrington Answers: Yes and yes. In regard to zone blocking, the line practiced a lot of blocking with a strong focus on the zone technique throughout the spring. The summer workouts are usually about getting technique fundamentals down so the players have a good base to work from once the staff implements something in preseason camp. So right now they are focused on fundamental development, but if we are going to see a lot of zone blocking we will know in a few weeks once the preseason kicks off.
OWCHippy Asks: What are the chances that there will be any real changes in the game-day playcalling process? Based on the rumors regarding who did the [very successful] playcalling at the Michigan State game, it's almost been assumed as fact in the offseason that Galen Hall will finally have full authority to make the game plan and game-day decisions on O this fall ... you make the call. Is this true, or will the inept multiheaded monster continue to rule the playbook?
Mark Harrington Answers: OWCHippy you defintely like to throw the high and tight heated questions — I like that. This is a tough one. Yes, reports from around the program have confirmed that Hall spearheaded the offensive playcalling for both Indiana and Michigan State. As much as I would think that would be enough to hand him the reigns (he is the offensive coordinator, after all) I am just not sure. The staff had to have seen the mess the playcalling system was, resulting in mass confusion and delay-of-game penalties — so why didn't they change it? Well, you could say they did starting with the Hoosiers, but why did it take so long? Given this I'd like to think we'll see an efficient, effective system, but I am just not sure given history. Sorry, I guess I struck out on the question you pitched.