Nittany Notes: Penn State Ready For Action

With preseason practice kicking off Monday, the Nittany Lions are ready to get back into the swing of things in preparation for the 2007 season. Get an update on happenings within the program as the squad gets ready to suit up for practice again.

Although it's been about 16 weeks since Penn State wrapped up spring practice in late April, the Nittany Lions have been in the swing of off-season work — regular sessions of running (ranging from 300s to 40s), lifting and position fundamental drills. As of Monday the team will kick off preseason practice and get back into unit, matchup and contact drills.

As one program observer said, "You've got a lot of guys who have put in a lot of extra time in the weight room these (past) few months and they are chomping at the bit to get back into pads and take some hits."

For the past several years the NCAA has closely managed the number of two-a-days programs can have and require teams to have a certain number of one-a-day sessions prior.

The schedule this coming week will see practice sessions everyday with one-a-day sessions Monday through Friday and two-a-day session starting the following Saturday.

Here are some quick notes from the program as the players close out the off-season in order to kick off preseason drills:

  • Several players have been pointed to as "taking the reigns of the team," aside from the expected seniors like Dan Connor, Anthony Morelli and Terrell Golden. "[Sean] Lee is as intense as they come," one observer told us. "His [leadership] approach is kind of like Paul's (Posluszny) — he demands excellence and leads straight up by example. He shows the others what they should be doing. He'll ride someone if he sees them dogging it out there or playing sloppy."

    Lee is at 235 pounds heading into drills and described as a "mountain of a man." As another observer explained, "He's made it a point to take Chris Colasanti and Nathan Stupar under his wings. He's been reviewing the basics — stance, positioning, roles — with them. Sean's been high on the young [linebackers]."

  • The guy who has taken charge of the offensive line is A.Q. Shipley. Throughout the off-season Shipley has been working with several of the other linemen, like Dennis Landolt, Gerald Cadogan and Lou Eliades.

    "He's pushing his unit hard — he tends to say they have a lot to prove and says he wants them to push themselves as much as he pushes himself," one observer shared. He's also had the unit in watching film to "understand each of their roles on different calls. [Coming off of spring practice] the unit knows they have to work on pulls and rolls and getting to their matchup and then holding that block. He's been stressing this with these (sessions)."

  • Although Justin King is the decorated veteran of the secondary, several observers have said Tony Davis has embraced his shift to safety after a "period of hesitation," and is working with the less experienced defensive backs like Nick Sukay and Mark Rubin.

    "Sukay is in good shape. He's physical and has pushed himself [this off-season]," one observer explained. "He was still getting the playbook down in the spring and was lost at times, so [the staff] will be watching him closely this [preseason]."

    Stay tuned to for continuing Penn State football news heading into preseason practice.


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