Nittany Notebook: Our Latest Practice Report

The Fight On State staff has gathered more news and notes from Penn State practice, including progress reports on the young defensive backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks, as the kickoff to the 2005 season approaches.

Here are some general news and notes around the Penn State practices.

Injury Report:

Aside from Mark Rubin's ankle injury that we first reported on earlier this week there have been some other minor injuries sustained recently.

Anwar Phillips: Phillips sustained a muscle strain in his neck, but the starting cornerback "looks fine" and is not expected to have lingering effects from the injury.

Sean Lee: We also reported earlier this week that Lee sustained a knee sprain in practice. Described a "minor," the injury is expected to sideline him from action for the next week or so.

Practice Notes

Defensive Backs: We have discussed the two-deep defensive backs at length, but many fans have been asking about some of the younger prospects. Devin Fentress, Willie Harriott and Anthony Scirrotto all "have nice speed, but look raw early on."

The three have seen reps at both corner and safety positions, however Scirotto will likely end up at safety while Harriott and Fentress are expected to eventually end at cornerback.

Although these three players have impressive speed, they have had a challenge adjusting to the speed of the game at the college level and "maintaining control over their speed to avoid overpursuits."

Fentress and Harriott are expected to redshirt. Scirrotto continues to see return reps and "could see action if he continues to improve his return game."

Wide Receivers: Although Derrick Williams has had some unexpected dropped balls at times "he's fluid and is getting a strong grasp of the playbook."

As one observer shared, "Williams knows with Rubin out that there is a big leadership opportunity for him to grab and frankly he's playing like he wants it."

Williams continues to see his reps outside on the line in a variety of formations. At times he will shift in, depending on the scheme the offense is running.

Jordan Norwood also gets a significant amoutn of praise (almost as much as Williams) from observers. Actually he has been called "the most plesant surprise since spring practice."

He excels on his route-running and looks the ball in consistently. He cuts well and "could really make an impact with a unit in need of it."

Norwood has seen his reps in the slot and and at the outside wideout spot, but "he typically does not play the line" though.

Lydell Sargeant "is frankly a shock at wideout," as one observer explained. The staff thought of him as a running back who could catch heading into practice, but has "really emerged as a consistent target."

Sargeant continues to see time in the 4-wide set in the slot and has also rotated in during 3-wide sets at times.


Michael Robinson "is relaxed and confident out there." The line has been improving with their overall pocket structure, but when things break down "he has been more decisive than in years past." He has scrambled well, although he sometimes "has mental lapses like running head on at [Paul] Posluszny."

He has a good set of speedy receivers, which has challenged the timing of his delivery of the ball at times, but "he has made leaps and bounds this preseason."

He is a vocal leader, "more vocal than what this team has seen from the position in recent years."

Anthony Morelli has seen about a quarter to a third of first-team reps since two-a-days started a week and a half ago. He is "more confident and throwing better." He tends to wait too long on his reads sometimes and "appears to second guess or double check them" which cause problems with the offensive line.

Although the offensive line has improved, they are "unable to hold a defensive line like this at bay for more than a few seconds," which is what Morelli has been requiring with his reps.

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