Nittany Notes: O Update

As the team continues progressing through spring practice, the offense is starting to take shape. Get the lowdown on the line, the passing game, an injury and much more in the latest installment of Nittany Notes.

Penn State's offense has been working a wide array of drills this week on both the ground and in the air. The offensive line continues to be a focal point in "trying to get the best makeup [of the line] for impact and durability."

Offensive Line

As we reported earlier this week the offensive line hadd seen some change as of Monday, with shifts of Dennis Landolt and John Shaw.

As of Wednesday's practice the offensive line unit still saw a good amount of first-team work with the following lineup:

RT: Dennis Landolt
RG: John Shaw
C: A.Q. Shipley
LG: Rich Ohrnberger
LT: Gerald Cadogan

John Shaw

"[The coaches] are trying to assess John's abilities inside," an observer explained. "His power and ability to create a surge seems to work well supplementing A.Q.

As for Landolt, his "play continues to impress. He has been refining his technique. [The coaches] are working to get him in the lineup to make an impact." The depth at left tackle is a concern, "but Dennis could shore up the right side if he keeps this up," an observer said. He has done well, but the staff "wants to see him go against some of the speedy first-team ends, like Maurice Evans. Handling 30 snaps against him will really be telling."

This line "provides strength in the center and speed on the wings for the most part." Cadogan is coming along, although he is focusing on his lateral movement off the snap to engage the rush.

The staff believes it has enough talent to field an effective offensive line in 2007, even with the loss of All-America tackle Levi Brown. The key is getting the right people in the right places, which is why there have been so many shifts this spring.

A.Q. Shipley

Passing Game

The wideouts have "been pretty sharp" in recent sessions. The first-team is still seeing Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood and Derrick Williams get the bulk of reps. The unit drills have seen a recent focus on intermediate routes, working curls posts and "even some slants."

Anthony Morelli has worked extensively with the tight ends — particularly Andrew Quarless — in the flat and on the wings. He's also been working on "timing adjustments around engagements." This was further explained when one observer said, "[Morelli] is becoming better with his intermediate passes if the target gets off the line clean. These are pretty quick routes, so the timing is essential, but what he is working on is adjusting when a tight end or wideout is engaged and held up by a defender."

Andrew Quarless

Quarless, while improving his blocking, still has "work to do." But he is becoming very effective with his "releases off the line." As another observer told us, "He look smooth out there and consistently uses his body well. Add in the fact he can haul and he is a headache to cover for most guys."

Derrick Williams "has moved very well — he's sleeker, stronger and more aggressive. He still wants the big play, but he seems OK making first down plays too." Williams has shown "stronger cuts" and "sharper runs."

Derrick Williams

Butler's route-running continue to be "the best out there." What's also interesting is that Butler, Norwood and Williams are working with each other to "teach the strengths of their game." According to one observer, "These guys have competed head-to-head for a few years now. Now you'll see Butler pull Williams aside to discuss getting thrown off a route or Williams talk to Jordan [Norwood] when he can't get off the line. They are heading into their junior year, so I think we're seeing that maturity start to take over. They all know they all have work to do, so why not help each other?"

Running Game

In terms of the ground game Austin Scott continues to see the bulk of first-team reps out of the backfield, although they have also been working Scott's hands this spring with more passes. "Austin has hit the holes hard [this week] and really knocked helmets."

Rodney Kinlaw

His biggest issue this spring has been "dancing in traffic," as one observer put it, but he has focused on "forward progression for extra yards" in recent drills.

The backup role has been a "dogfight" between Rodney Kinlaw and Evan Royster. Kinlaw has had ups and downs this spring. "He's looked great in drills, but didn't exactly have a stellar scrimmage."

The competition between the two has been described as "experience vs. intensity." Royster's "power and no-nonsense approach" have some observers gushing over his abilities. Although the lack of experience have some concerned.

News and Notes:

  • Freshman tight end Jon Ditto sustained an injury earlier this week to his left shoulder, which has him currently in a sling. The exact extent of the injury or any related absence from contact drills is unknown at this point.

    Jon Ditto

  • Currently there have been no player suspensions related to the fight incident earlier this month. If charges are filed, don't be surprised if they are announced late next week.

  • For those following the Antonio Logan-El saga, despite talks around a possible transfer, it now appears he may stay at Penn State to focus on getting his degree.

  • For only the second time in the past two decades, Joe Paterno is closing the Coaches Clinic Scrimmage (this Saturday) to the media. Observers say the coach has put the program in a state of "media lockdown" due to all of the speculation about the fight incident. Stay tuned to for observer reports from the scrimmage.


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