Nittany Notes: Michigan Prep

Though the Nittany Lions are coming off their biggest win in years, are back in the top 10 and on top of the Big Ten, their attitude heading into the Michigan game may be a surprise to many Penn State fans.

"The staff and players have had this game circled on the schedule since the winter. They have seen this game as the defining point of this team — not the Minnesota or Ohio State games," one observer explained.

The captains, Paul Posluszny, Michael Robinson and Alan Zemaitis addressed their units and the squad saying that the team has not proven anything yet and needs to maintain its collective focus and discipline and continue to take the season one game at a time.

As another observer explained, "The guys know that going to Ann Arbor is not to be taken lightly. Wins and losses mean nothing in this game."

With the defense playing the lead role in the win over the Buckeyes, the early practices this week have focused on building off the momentum of the win and assembling a scheme that "pressures, confuses and frustrates the Michigan offense."

Despite the hard-hitting of last Saturday's game, the Nittany Lions appear to have no new major injuries heading into the Michigan clash.

Though the first-team defense is intact and solid, there have been some shifts this week around the squad. Jed Hill has moved up to second team defensive end, taking the place of senior Mike Pawlikowski.

With the suspension of Paul Cronin, Nolan McCready has stepped in at second team to replace him.

Also, Justin King has been seeing some increased reps as the nickelback this week and more first-team reps at corner. "The defensive staff is really please with his progress."

In terms of the linebackers, the starting set has been Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor on the wings and Tim Shaw at the middle position. Though Tyrell Sales still dons the navy first-team jersey, he has been seeing his reps with the second team so far this week at middle linebacker along with Sean Lee and Dontey Brown on the outside.

On an interesting sidenote, Tamba Hali sat out of the bulk of practice Monday. Although he was suited up, Josh Gaines got some work with the first-team defensive line in an effort to build up some added depth at the posiiton.

The players on the scout team playing the role of some key Michigan players are:

Chad Henne: Kevin Suhey
Mike Hart: Nick Pincheck / Zack Zeglinski
Steve Breaston: Devin Fentress


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