In this part of the report, we give the lowdown on the PSU offense coming out of the weekend's action and deliver some quick-hitters. Find out how things are shaping up on the offensive line, which young receiver is turning heads and how the quarterbacks are doing.
As of Saturday the offensive line starters were still:
LT: Levi Brown
LG: Gerald Cadogen
C: A.Q. Shipley
RG: Robert Price
RT: Chris Auletta
However, Brown did not see extensive reps during the scrimmage to give the backups the opportunity to see more first-team reps. Auletta shifted over to left takle to take Brown's spot, which moved John Shaw up at right tackle, where he has received consistent praise for his play. "He gets up on his toes and has good footwork," according to one observer. "His quick mobility makes it difficult for opposing linemen to get around him, but he needs to control his strength. There are times where his assignment can pull a shoulder back, causing John to lose his footing so he can get around him."
With the departure of Trent Varva from the team, the center position three deep is Shipley, Patrick Weber and Ross Muir. "Shipley looks comfortable at center and commands the line," an observer said.
Rich Ohrnberger also received strong praise for his play at guard. "Rich is built like a guard should be. He is put together well and plays tough — he's a talker at the line," one scrimmage observer shared. "He needs to get comfortable on the [snap] counts. He plays anxious."
As for Price the reports are mixed. Some observers do not feel Price has the abilties that backups Greg Harrison and Dennis Landolt possess. "He just doesn't have the athleticism of the other guys," one observer said. On the other hand other observers feel his off-season dedication has earned him the spot, saying, "Price really came into the winter committed. He did what the coaches asked of him, so he's there to send a message to other players around the program — hard work equals reward, but I am not sure he will stay there."
Anthony Morelli and Paul Cinaciolo split the bulk of the scrimmage snaps at quarterback. Morelli was described as "relaxed," "smooth" and "consistent" with his passes. He had "strong drops" and "delivered the ball with confidence." Morelli ran through his progressions well, but the staff still wants him to show patience on route development. At times he delievered the ball too early, but "his timing with the receivers was pretty good." He also plays well under pressure "when things break down."
Cianciolo also "had some nice passes," but observers feel that despite his strong drop back and delivery, he isn't running through his progressions as well and often "tries to force balls."
With the receivers the starters were still Deon Butler and Derrick Williams, with Jordan Norwood and James McDonald also turning heads. Williams "makes plays you think he has no way of making. He has looked great on receptions and meets the ball so well on out patterns." Williams does not appear to be hindered by the arm injury he sustained last season.
Butler also has received positive reports all around. "He didn't play as much on Saturday so the backups could see time, but Morelli obviously likes his as a target since he seems to go to him all the time when he's out there," as one observer said.
McDonald is "looking real good" with his play. "He has a few inches over the starters — not as fast, but fluid on runs. He is very coachable and has great reception skills. He sets his hands out, looks the ball in and cradles on the reception," an observer explained. One observer said, "The way he is playing he looks like he could really challenge Norwood for the three spot."
At running back the coaches had Tony Hunt participating in drills, but "didn't work him hard since they want him to recover" from his lingering high ankle sprain. This provided an opportunity for Austin Scott to see added first-team snaps. Scott had a "good scrimmage." He "ran hard," broke some nice runs and took one in for a touchdown.
BranDon Snow has "been a force in the backfield" and "provides added protection for Morelli." The fullback has also seen a slight increase in opportunities to carry the ball, focusing on short-yardage and goal-line situations, similar to how he saw his 10 carries last year. "The staff really got a good look at what BranDon is able to do last season and they want to capitalize on that this year. He is not going to be a featured back, but in certain situations he is a great weapon."
At tight end Patrick Hall continues to see the bulk of first-team reps, but Kevin Darling continues to impress as "the most balanced tight end out there who can block and catch." Jordan Lyons, Francis Claude and J.R. Zwierzynski continue to be in the mix, but "none of them have emerged as a challenger yet."
Future lions Aaron Maybin, Pat Devlin and Tom McEowen were on hand at Saturday's scrimmage. The previous Saturday A.J. Wallace and Phillip Taylor were up to take in practice. According to one observer, "This is another special class — these guys are so anxious to become part of this team. It's great to see them get so involved so early."
Paul Posluszny was not suited up for the scrimmage. Though he has been seeing half-speed drills this spring he did not participate in the scrimmage Saturday, but observered from the sidelines.
Lydell Sargeant continues to see his reps at cornerback exclusively and played this position during the scrimmage.
The team has not worked punt or kick returns extensively this spring so far. While Anthony Scirrotto is said to have the edge on punt return duties, observers indicate that a variety of players are expected to get a look at the position, including Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood, Justin King and Derrick Williams.
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