Fight On Statements

Welcome to the most recent installment of Fight On Statements, where premium members ask questions on the Total Access Board — questions about PSU players and positions, the coaches and conference, recruits and rankings, and everything in between — and the staff answers.

ernie05 Asks: Is PSU actively recruiting Abree Jones from Florence, N.J.?

Bob Lichtenfels Answers: I have heard mixed reviews. At first I heard Penn State was, then I was told they were not. His high school coach has not been real receptive to our phone calls. I will continue to try and find out though.

SafeHaven Asks: How many DEs do you see Penn State signing in this year's recruiting class?

Bob Lichtenfels Answers: I would think at least two, possibly three. Odrick obviously could skew that number because he may be recruited as a DE, but his size will dictate where he ends up playing.

Mark Harrington Answers: Safe, I believe that number is closer to three given the losses the team has endured at end with Amani Purcell's transfer and the injuries to Ross Muir. Also, given the reports that Jed Hill has struggled at end this preseason, it would seem the Nittany Lions need to use this class to bolster the position quickly. Josh Gaines and Mike Lucian are showing promised at the position, but with the departure of Tamba Hali and Matthew Rice, the position will lose depth quickly next year.

bleedblu Asks: With the changes we are hearing about in PSU offense, how many TEs/FBs/H-backs do you see the team recruiting this year? Who do they have the best shot at landing?

Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Dedrick Epps, Andrew Quarless and Jeff Cumberland are all players who could be tight end-type players. Epps or Quarless seem to be the best bets right now for the Lions.

CarolinaDave Asks: Can Bob or Rob contact WR/TE Jeff Cumberland from Columbus, Ohio? Just curious to see where we stand with him.

Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Yes, we'll try to get in touch with him.

psufan2020 Asks: Jerell Miller and Chris Bell — I know there haven't been too many updates on Bell, but what is his interest in PSU? Also I saw that we made Bell's top 5. Is there any way we can have an update on Bell?

Bob Lichtenfels Answers: We don't have a working number for Bell right now, so we'll have to get that taken care of first, but we'll work on those two as well.

bleedblu Asks: Who is likely to step up at DE now that Chisley is gone? They have Rice, Hali, Gaines set as the top three, but after that who is looking like they could step up (Claude, Hill, Muir, etc.)? Is it possible that Ohrnberger will be moved back to DL?

Mark Harrington Answers: The top five rotation currently is Hali, Rice, Gaines, Lucian and Muir. Muir is out for a week or two with a minor knee sprain, but before the injury he was on track to earn a spot on the travel team.

Francis Claude has the foundation, but needs to work on this details of his technique — if he does this he could add some needed depth. Also Jed Hill has struggled matching up with assignments in the preseason. This is why DE recruiting is so important this year for coming seasons.

jonpsu Asks: OK, gentleman (and I use that term loosely) I know you two enjoy predictions so tell me the answer to these if you may.

Does Austin Scott or Tony Hunt emerge as the better tailback?

What will Morelli's role be?

Finally, will we see the most talented five start, or will the staff play the most on the OL, meaning if that is a younger player over Rush will Joe do the opposite of Wake/Connor last year?

Mark Harrington Answers: Gentlemen? Oh, you're referring to us! OK, as we have said Austin Scott has refocused on playing football and shown some promise in the preseason practices. He'll see some meaningful time, especialliy since FOS reported Rodney Kinlaw is sidelined with a minor knee sprain. However, Hunt looks to be the starting back right now and has done nothing to lose that role at this point. I beleive that you'll see both backs seeing significant reps. Although given the versatility of Matt Hahn, he could also make a claim to some of those snaps.

Morelli will be the backup quarterback. I guess you want more than that huh? OK, given the positive comments and accuracy of Morelli I believe the staff will work to get him some meaningful snaps this season, after all isn't he the frontrunner to start in 2006? Unless things get grim, he is unlikely to see any game-winning drives early on, but some game experience could work wonders for him.

I have sent your last question to the CIA to have it translated and I believe that you are asking "who will play the offensive line, the senior guys or talented younger players?" Out of the gate we will likely see more senior guys in the lineup. However, first, I believe fans put way too much stock in who starts. If you have followed Penn State football for more than a few seasons, you know that Paterno uses the starting job as a motivator. Remember when Ricky Upton, the fifth year senior running back, started? How many snaps did he end up seeing?

It is likely that guys like A.Q. Shipley, Greg Harrison and Gerald Cadogan will see some meaningful time on the line. Frankly, they are too good not to get them on the field. I would not be upset if they don't start though.

Mark Brennan Answers: Did someone say gentlemen? That's my signal to join in. I'll keep this short and sweet: Scott will emerge as the better all-around back. He has more skills when he is in shape, which he appears to be; If Robinson struggles early, you will see more and more of Morelli. We've heard great things about Morelli's accuracy in the preseason; The left side of the line (Brown/Rush) is set. When (not if):there are changes, they will occur on the right.

Think1 Asks: We've been hearing updates about many of the freshmen, but I haven't heard anything about Landolt, Baker, Coakley, Shuler, Claude, etal.? I'm guessing they'll redshirt, but did we get what we hoped for?

Mark Harrington Answers: Think, it is frankly too early to tell with these guys as they have been practicing for about a month now. Most true freshmen have a period of adjustment to the playbook and speed of the game. Even guys who are very fast like Devin Fentress and Willie Harriott are expected to redshirt given the depth chart and their need to better control their speed.

There have been positive comments on Dennis Landolt and Chris Baker. Francis Claude and Brennan Coakley are focusing in on their fundamentals and technique. We have not heard a lot on Mikey Shuler through the preseason. I would guess that all of these guys will redshirt though this season.

Mark Brennan Answers; One player to keep an eye on in the future: WR James McDonald. He has great size and speed. He may redshirt this season so he can pick up some of the finer points of the position, but I hear he has a tremendous upside.


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