Scrimmage: Offense Report

This year, for only the second time in two decades, the media was not allowed into the Penn State football program's Coaches Clinic Scrimmage. But that didn't stop FightOnState.com from covering the event, thanks to an assist from our well-placed and well-informed observers. Get updates here on the offensive side of the ball.

Reports from our most reliable sets of eyes have already begun to pour in. We will update this file as we receive more news.

These were among the items that stood out at the scrimmage, which was played at Beaver Stadium under ideal weather conditions:

OFFENSE

  • The offense was "very conservative" in Saturday's 11-on-11 scrimmage. Anthony Morelli "looked good, but wasn't worked a lot." The offense practiced a lot of stretch sets to open up the running game, which proved to be a challenge based on what the defense was showing them.

  • Saturday was a different situation for the offensive line from Friday's practice. The offensive line was "battle tested" with a series of blitzes, as the defense sent up to seven men at the pocket to see "how the line handled it."

  • The duties out of the slot were handled by Jordan Norwood, Brett Brackett and Terrell Golden. Norwood "is so quick — he doesn't have the top-end speed, but he can create space and has great hands." Brackett, who also saw first-team reps exclusively from the slot, impressed observers. On one run in particular he juked Navorro Bowman, stepped by him as A.J. Wallace was in pursuit. When Wallace caught up to him he "grabbed Wallace's [shoulder] pad and drove him into the turf."

  • The running backs found difficulty finding open lanes. The backs also showed they "need work on picking up the blitz" outside of Matt Hahn. "Austin [Scott] in particular needs to focus on this," one observer said.

  • For the second straight day, sophomore receiver Chris Bell was dazzling. The highlight was a curl pattern on which he came back for the ball, made the catch, then turned upfield and "lowered his shoulder at the 5-yard line and went in for the score," one observer said. Bell caught roughly four other passes, including a deep pass down the sideline. Bell is proving to be a handful, even for the first-team secondary. "He's been doing it against everybody," an observer reported. Bell got a lot of work with the first-team offense.

  • Norwood, a junior, was also outstanding at wideout. He "had a nice bubble screen where he broke a tackle and took it 50 yards before he was tackled at the 10-yard line." Norwood also made a circus catch of a poorly thrown ball by third-team QB Paul Cianciolo for a touchdown.

  • Redshirt freshman receiver Graham Zug played well in the scrimmage, catching "five or six passes," according to one observer. "He's very smooth — caught everything thrown in his direction."

  • Backup tight end Mickey Shuler, a redshirt sophomore, caught a touchdown pass in the game. Shuler and fellow reserve Brennan Coakley both looked good in the scrimmage.

  • In the first series between the first-team offense and first-team defense, the offense opened with two fumbles and a sack. This was attributed to the defensive line "getting a great push on the first three plays." On the first snap the defensive line "blew up" the line and the handoff between Morelli and Scott was bobbled and hit the turf. "At that point it was mass chaos for the ball."

  • Many of the veteran offensive skill players did not log serious action in the scrimmage. Morelli "gunned a couple in early" but didn't play much after that. Likewise, WR Derrick Williams and Scott saw limited snaps. Scott "didn't have a lot of room but ran hard when he had the chance."

  • One observer said redshirt freshman running back Evan Royster seemed tentative in the scrimmage, saying "it didn't look like he wanted to lower the shoulder." Royster appeared to be ready to spring a long run at one point, but was taken down in the open field by diminutive cornerback Willie Harriott.

  • Walk-on running back Nick Pinchek received the bulk of the carries in the scrimmage. Redshirt freshman Brent Carter "barely played at all," according to one observer.

  • Daryll Clark is the clear-cut second-team QB. He had a long completion down the middle on which he showed "the same velocity as Morelli." He also broke a long run. The third-teamer, Cianciolo, received more reps in the scrimmage than any of the other QBs. He struggled at times. Fourth-teamer Pat Devlin did not see much action.

  • The offensive line broke down as such.

    RT: Dennis Landolt, Joe Toriello, Austin Hinton
    RG: John Shaw, Rich Ohrnberger, Ako Poti
    C: A.Q. Shipley, Doug Klopacz
    LG: Lou Eliades, Rich Ohrnberger
    LT: Gerald Cadogan, Johnnie Troutman

  • Guard Elijah Robinson was in street clothes and did not play in the scrimmage.

  • Before the scrimmage, offensive line coach Dick Anderson had Ohrnberger working on snaps to Clark. Ohrnberger only played guard in the scrimmage, though.

  • Poti played at tackle Friday but was moved to guard Saturday.

  • Devlin "was solid but not spectacular. He needs to work on his deep ball and has work to do with the detials of his game." Devlin did throw a "stellar block" for Rodney Kinlaw on a 30-yard run. "He's not afraid of contact," one observer said.

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