Nittany Notes: Weighting Game

With spring practice just weeks away, get an update on a variety of Nittany Lion players like Paul Posluszny, Derrick Williams and Ed Johnson, among others. Get a look at how several of PSU's key players are progressing as the prepare for spring practice.

Paul Posluszny

With Posluszny "nearly 100 percent recovered" from the knee injury he sustained in the fourth quarter of Orange Bowl, he is still unlikely to see extensive drill time this spring. As one observer explained, "Paul's recovery has gone extremely well. It's a testament to his conditioning and determination. But the staff doesn't want to risk reinjury by pushing him to participate in spring practice. Well, not that they'd be pushing him, since Paul has been lobbying for it all winter."

Though he has been focusing on the physical therapy of his knee, Posluszny has continued to work out the rest of his body regularly. "Right now he is about 237 [pounds]. He's a monster. He sees how special his senior year can be and he's working his tail off to get ready for it."

Though there is talk of the staff working in some experiments with the linebackers, particularly the younger guys like Jerome Hayes and Sean Lee, the consensus is that Posluszny is expected to remain on the outside. "He's quick and aggressive — the type of 'backer you need outside. He's too valuable to shift."

Derrick Williams

There has been a lot of confusion around Williams' size and whether he has added any weight this winter. "He's at about 205 [pounds] now," an observer shared. "If anything he's likely to drop down to around 195 [pounds]."

The staff is looking to Williams' as a "pillar of this offense to keep the pressure off [Anthony] Morelli early and make defenses find him." The staff is expected to run him from a "variety of spots" and will "keep him moving in the scheme."

In terms of his the broken arm that cost him much of the 2005 season, "he's 100 percent" and continues to participate in Drill 6 passing routes. Regarding some concern around his posted 4.50 40-yard dash about a week ago: "If people are questioning Williams' quickness and speed they obviously didn't watch him last season. He is just as quick now as he was before the broken arm."

Mark Rubin

Fans have been curious about the returning wideout, who sat out all of last season. The rumors of a move to tight end have been out in full force since the Orange Bowl. Rubin has yet to see a single snap at tight end since his return to the practice field. He saw reps at both wide receiver and safety with the scout team.

Rubin could see spring reps at safety, but according to one practice observer, "Hands down he's a receiver. That is where the smart money has him ending up."

As for a tight end move, "He's about 212 [pounds] right now. He doesn't have nearly the size or the frame to add the weight needed for tight end. We'll see."

Dan Connor

Connor has been "really tackling the winter [conditioning] sessions." Again, observers responded to the speculation around a possible move to the inside position. "I think we'll see him get some reps inside, but with [Tim] Shaw, Tyrell [Sales] and Jerome [Hayes], there are several guys who have a size advantage to play the spot over Dan. Like Posluszny, Dan is valuable on the outside."

Currently, Connor is about 224 pounds and "the staff doesn't appear to be pushing him to add much weight this off-season." The consensus is that Connor learned a lot from his suspension last season and has "really matured." as one observer put it, "Dan was always a hard worker, but he is more focused now on helping himself and the team — pushing guys in workouts. He's grown as a leader."

Ed Johnson

One of the most mysterious names in the program is that of Ed Johnson, the defensive tackle who missed last season for breaking the university code of conduct. Johnson is back on the team currently and working out.

"Ed looks good. He did a good job keeping himself in shape while he was away from the team," one observer explained. "He's right around 290 [pounds] and looks solid. It will be interesting to see how he looks in spring drills."

Johnson is expected to challenge for Scott Paxson's open defensive tackle position this spring. "He has the ability; the real proof will be with his technique. He's been off the field for quite awhile, so he will need some time to readjust and get down the fundamentals again."

Terrell Golden

The talk around the tight end position is that if anyone is likely to make a shift over it is Golden. However at about 200 pounds currently, he would need to add significnat weight to his frame to make a realistic impact at the position.

"With the depth of the receiver unit, it makes sense to share the wealth with other positions that need it," one observer explained. "Golden has the frame to approach the needed size to play tight end, but if he is making the move I'd say he is behind on adding the weight he would need. This shift is something in the spring plan, but whether it sticks remains to be seen."


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