Coaches Clinic Scrimmage Recap

A home show is taking place at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center this weekend. Across the street at Beaver Stadium Saturday, the emphasis was on remodeling, too. The Nittany Lion football team, in retrofit mode after losing 13 senior starters from last year's Big Ten championship outfit, held its annual springtime Coaches Clinic Scrimmage.

Unfortunately for anyone hoping to glean serious insight into where the team stands just past the midway point of the spring, many of State's returning stars skipped the scrimmage, as well, leading to a less than revealing afternoon of football.

The highlight? A 40-yard scoring strike from new starting quarterback Anthony Morelli to backup tight end Jordan Lyons in the 7-on-7 drill leading up to the scrimmage. Morelli rolled right and threw against his body on the play.

Morelli, taking over for Big Ten Player of the Year Michael Robinson, was effective all afternoon. The bad news is he was the only consistent QB. Reserves Paul Cianciolo and Kevin Suhey were both scattershot, with each tossing a pick.

Another bright spot was the play of backup tailback Austin Scott. He broke free for a 39-yard gain on the first play of the scrimmage. Not long after, he drew the wrath of head coach Joe Paterno, presumably for not hustling on a play, and was sent to the sideline. But Scott returned later and scored the game's first touchdown -- a 2-yard scamper on the 72nd play of the scrimmage.

The TD followed a play in which Morelli scrambled and slammed into safety Mark Rubin. Morelli fumbled and Rubin came out of the ensuing wrestling match with the ball. But the staff wanted to work on the goal-line offense, so the ball went back to Morelli and company.

The second TD did not come until the 91st play, when fourth-team QB Mike Hart lobbed a duck that safety Nolan McCready returned 65 yards for a score. The final score was a 10-yard fade from Cianciolo to Jordan Norwood during the two-minute drills that wrapped up the day's action. It turned out to be the final play of the scrimmage.

So why were so many key faces NOT playing in the game? Here is the deal:

• Butkus Award winning linebacker Paul Posluszny has seen limited action this spring and no serious contact as he recovers from the right knee injury that caused him to watch the end of the Orange Bowl from the sideline.

But it has hardly been down time for Posluszny, who has beefed up to 238 pounds and played an active role in coaching the man who is holding down his OLB spot this spring, sophomore Sean Lee. Lee has received strong reviews for his play and had several hard hits Saturday.

Posluszny did not dress for Saturday's scrimmage. He spent a portion of the afternoon running sprints in the north end zone.

• Senior running back Tony Hunt, still feeling minor lingering effects from the high ankle sprain that knocked him out of the Orange Bowl, has been seeing limited reps in the spring. Classmate Scott has been solid in his place, but not strong enough to move Hunt out of a starting job. Hunt dressed but did not play Saturday.

• All-American left offensive tackle Levi Brown has seen limited reps this spring, as well, so the staff can get a look at some younger faces at his position. Chris Auletta has been taking the bulk of the first-team snaps at the position, and did so Saturday as Brown skipped the entire scrimmage.

Jason Alford, the lone returning starter on the defensive line, was not at practice Saturday due to a death in the family.

So, all in all, it was very difficult to gauge the progress of the team's rebuilt offensive and defensive lines, and secondary. And, since neither coaches nor players were available for comment afterward, it was difficult to get their feelings on the action.

NOTES:

• Several key players skipped the game due to minor, unspecified injuries. They included starting middle linebacker Tim Shaw, defensive tackle Elijah Robinson and reserve receiver Terrell Golden. All dressed in green cross jerseys and participated in pre-scrimmage drills.

• Third-team corner Willie Harriott and third-team linebacker Nic Yocum had the other two interceptions in the game.

• The Lion did no special teams' work in the scrimmage.

• Spring practice concludes April 22 with the Blue-White Game.

Coaches Clinic Depth Chart

OFFENSE

QB:

Anthony Morelli

Paul Cianciolo

Kevin Suhey

FB:

BranDon Snow

Matt Hahn

Dan Lawlor

TB:

Tony Hunt*

Austin Scott

Rodney Kinlaw

WR:

Derrick Williams

Terrell Golden*

James McDonald

WR:

Deon Butler

Jordan Norwood

Kevin Cousins

Brendan Perretta

TE:

Patrick Hall

Kevin Darling*

Jordan Lyons

Mickey Shuler

LT:

Levi Brown*

Chris Auletta

Wyatt Bowman

Matt Lowry

LG:

Gerald Cadogan

Rich Orhnberger

Austin Hinton

C:

A.Q. Shipley

Patrick Weber

Ross Muir

RG:

Robert Price

Greg Harrison

Dennis Landolt

RT:

John Shaw

Mark Farris

Joe Toriello

DEFENSE

DE:

Jimmy Shaw

Mike Lucian

Chris Rogers

DT:

Jay Alford*

Steve Roach

Chris Baker

Lee Kuzemchak

DT:

Elijah Robinson*

Ed Johnson

Richard Cheek

DE:

Josh Gaines

Jed Hill

Francis Claude

OLB:

Sean Lee

Joe Cianciolo

Josh Hull

MLB:

Tim Shaw*

Dontey Brown

Jerome Hayes

OLB:

Dan Connor

Tyrell Sales

Andy Kubic

CB:

Justin King

Knowledge Timmons

Willie Harriott

S:

Donnie Johnson*

Spencer Ridenhour

Mark Rubin

S:

Nolan McCready

Anthony Scirrotto

Darien Hardy

CB:

Tony Davis

Devin Fentress

Lydell Sargeant

*Did not play in the scrimmage.

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