Nittany Notes: More Shifts

Wednesday, our Nittany Notes covered a variety of shifts around the offensive side of the ball, answering questions revolving around Derrick Williams, Justin King and Jordan Norwood, among others. Well, the defensive side of things has also seen some personnel movement this week.

There have been some interesting shifts this week in practice focused on the defensive line to "boost depth and aid in the line rotations."

As one observer explained, "The coaches are looking to revamp some things to finish out the season strong. There's a lot on the line here."

Tyrell Sales: The redshirt freshman has started at middle linebacker in four contests this year, filling in for Dan Connor in the early games this season. He has aso seen action in all seven of Penn State's games in 2005.

This week he has shifted to defensive end and has seen his reps with the second team, adding to a rotation of Tamba Hali, Matthew Rice, Mike Lucian and Josh Gaines.

There is some concern among observers with Sales' size at end. As one observer explained, "He's small, but has shown promise on pass-rushing situations thanks to his build."

With Sales seeing reps with the defensive ends, Tim Shaw and Dontey Brown have been playing first- and second-team middle linebackers respectively during this week's practices.

Jim Shaw: Practice this week has also seen Shaw shift over from defensive tackle to defensive end, a "more natural position" for him. Shaw has shown good technique off the corner and "strength at pressuring the pocket."

This move provides added depth to the unit and "gives the players some experience and gives the coaches a chance to evaluate some younger talent at the position, which loses a lot after this season."

A.Q. Shipley: The former defensive linemen has seen time at both center and guard this season, seeing playing time in all seven games with the offensive line.

With Shaw shifting to end, this week the practices have seen Shipley shift back over to the defensive line at tackle. He has seen the bulk of his reps at second-team defensive tackle, a position that "suits him well."

Shipley's shift across the line of scrimmage would provide added depth to the tackle rotation which boasts Scott Paxson and Jay Alford.

Other Notes:

  • With yesterday's report many fans were asking about Tony Davis. Davis has been seeing his practice reps at second-team corner and has been "impressive." He has not been seeing nickel back snaps though, since the majority of those reps have gone to Donnie Johnson.

  • James McDonald is at second-team wide receiver. He runs clean routes and has good technique. He needs to focus on shedding defenders and getting "more of a burst off the line."

  • Lots of fans have asked about Wyatt Bowman. Bowman has been seeing the bulk of his snaps at second-team offensive tackle and has impressed observers with his footwork and technique.


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