Nittany Lions Get With The Drill

With the Vidal Hazelton drama picking up steam there has been some confusion around one particular aspect of his Penn State visit this past weekend. Namely, when he had the opportunity to see quarterback Anthony Morelli participate in some passing drills. Here is a review of what Hazelton saw.

During his visit to Happy Valley this past weekend, Vidal Hazelton and his father, Dexter, had the opportunity to see Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli participate in some passing drills. This in turn has raised a lot of questions around the assumption that Morelli was "trying out" or "exhibiting his passing skills" for the star wide receiver prospect in an arranged set of drills.

This was not a case of an arranged session for Morelli to showcase his passing for Hazelton, but rather was a regular drill session, called "Drill 6," run during the winter conditioning period to work routes, timing and fundamentals of the unit.

Drill 6 is basically a 7-on-7 passing drill that is often conducted from the 45 yard line and works a variety of passing schemes, sets and routes for the wideouts and quarterbacks. The focus of the drill is for the wideouts to refine the details of their receiving and route-running, and to improve the timing of passes between the quarterback and receivers.

During the off-season, prior to spring practice, the quarterback, in this case Morelli, runs the drills. The passing unit will run two-, three- and four-wide sets and work a variety of plays, including curls, outs, slants and crossing routes, among others.

The drill typically has Morelli passing to a variety of receivers, including Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler, Mark Rubin, and James McDonald, among others. According to one practice observer, "The quarterback has the opportunity to see and understand each receiver's tendencies and either adjust his ball delivery or work with them to improve their skills."

According to another observer, "There was initial concern about Morrelli's vocal leadership, but he seems to have learned a lot from [Michael] Robinson in this regard. He has done a good job so far running the drills."

Morelli's "ball delivery has been sharp and consistent early on." He has also improved with "his variety of passes — they are not all fast balls like previous years."

In regard to Dexter and Vidal Hazelton's observation of the drill, it was not a "tryout" or "arranged exhibition" of Morelli for them, rather the players who were showing them around noticed the passing unit practicing and simply brought them over to watch the key figures in the passing game practice for a short period.


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