HERSHEY - Big 33 practice continued on Tuesday at Hershey High School with a few surprises and a few expectations being met. After two practices in the morning and the afternoon, and a walk through on Tuesday evening at Hersheypark stadium, most of the questions have been answered.
Moving right into the player notes:
Tom McEowen There is not much to say that has not already been said. Tom absolutely makes plays, and completely overwhelms the PA offensive linemen when he goes one on one. Tuesday's afternoon practice session featured some full contact scrimmage, and McEowen was disrupting the backfield on virtually every play. One play in particular stands out, in which Tom split the middle of a double team to wrap up the ball carrier in the backfield and spin him to the turf. The play caught the attention of head coach Mark Schmidt, who admonished Tom to, "save that death spiral stuff for Saturday night, just wrap him up and we'll blow the play dead." With two key offensive injuries this week already, the coaching staff is being careful with the amount of hard hitting they allow.
Abe Koroma is becoming my favorite player to watch this week. Some posters have remarked that he physically resembles a taller Anthony Adams, and I have to echo those sentiments. Koroma, however, is a quiet player, and is willing to do whatever the coaches ask of him. This week, that has meant that Abe has been spending an increasing amount of time on the offensive line. OL depth is of such a concern to the PA coaching staff that when Pitt bound WR/DB Dorin Dickinson went down with a knee and ankle injury, the coaches opted to fill the spot on the roster with Jason Kates from Bishop McDevitt, a wide bodied lineman who is destined for the University of Michigan.
Pat Devlin continues to be the more poised of the Pennsylvania quarterbacks, and looks excellent when working through his progressions. His passing is very accurate, however the velocity could best be described as a soft touch - definitely more of a precision passer than a Morelli style gun. Pat had a somewhat rough night at the stadium walk through, and was outperformed at the stadium in the two minute drill by Connor Dixon. The remainder of the week will tell if that was a one time or ongoing issue.
Collin Wagner narrowly missed a 49 yard field goal try during the stadium walk through, but seems to be a solid prospect as a field goal kicker. Wagner does not have a booming leg, but he does seem to have consistent placement, and a good work ethic. His stature is very similar to Kevin Kelly, but with a couple of additional inches of height.
Jared Odrick has been seeing most of his reps on the offensive line due to the loss of Malecki. Odrick is as solid as has been previously reported, and has the potential to play from either side of the line.
Travis McBride remains the enigma of this team. Travis exhibits very good hands when running patterns out of the backfield, but has seen very limited time in practice drills, in Schmidt's pass oriented offense. FOS caught up with Travis yesterday afternoon for a profile which will appear this week.
The rest of the team This is the most physical Pennsylvania team in several years. This group will not hesitate to hit and hit hard, which may come as a surprise to the Ohio team if they have studied recent games in the series. As has been previously mentioned, Pitt recruits Dorin Dickerson and John Malecki have been lost for the week due to injuries, neither of which appear to be serious enough to affect their Fall plans. Elijah Fields makes plays all over the field on offense and on defense, and may be the most polished receiver on the PA team. Despite arriving late due to high school graduation, Nate Byham seems to have very good hands. Byham appears undersized for a tight end, but during the Tuesday practice, he broke into the clear for a touchdown reception over the middle of the defense. Clem Johnson has been very evident on defense, and will make a nice prospect for someone if he is able to get his academics in order this year.
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