As you probably know, the vast majority of Penn State football practices are closed. So we depend on a team of knowledgeable, reliable and well-placed "observers" within the program to relay information to us. We withhold their names so they can speak their mind without fear of retribution.
We trust what these "observers" say to be accurate or we would not pass on that information to you. Having said that, though, please keep in mind that we do use a variety of sources and that they are not always in complete agreement with one another.
THE SCENE: The early consensus on the Class of 2007 freshmen is that they are an outstanding group of players all around. "These guys are even better than we expected," one practice observer shared. "We knew the class had a good amount of talent, but they are really making a strong impression on the whole." The class is "real tight" already and is "developing some important bonds."
THE TOPIC: True Freshmen.
Below we have assessments of a variety of true freshmen. It proves challenging to get assessments on every individual members of a unit or class, so there is not necessarily a need for concern if a player is NOT mentioned in a report — it simply means we did not have the opportunity to gather an assessment of the player.
Ryan Breen (P, No. 49): Breen "has got a huge leg," as one observer assessed. "He's been a little nervous out there. He's just getting the hang of things, but when he gets ahold of one it's definitely high and far." Breen has also been in on kickoffs, along with Kevin Kelly. "[Breen] has bombed some kickoffs, too." He doesn't have the control or consistency yet that Kelly has, but he "has the power, which you can't coach."
Chris Colasanti (LB, No. 53): Colasanti is among the freshmen receiving the most praise so far this preseason. "If I had to pick one guy who really has impressed me, it would be tough, because you have some guys who just have come in here ready," one observer said. "[OL Stefen] Wisniewski looks the part, [LB Nate] Stupar is impressive, [TE Andrew] Szczerba is right there, but I'd have to go with Colasanti. He doesn't look like a freshman. He's so well put together." Colasanti is seeing middle linebacker reps and "is trying to pick up everything he can from [Dan] Connor. He works with him, asks him questions, studies his movements when he's on the sideline — that's what I would do too if I were him."
Andrew Dailey (LB, No. 13): Dailey is seeing his practice reps at the "Fritz" position and "is sharp and fluid with his pursuits. He needs to work on his pursuit decisions though." Dailey also needs "to settle down a bit. He's anxious at times and he is so focused on making a play he forgets the basics."
Stephfon Green (RB, No. 25): Green "has great speed" and "impressive vision out of the backfield." As we reported on Monday he took a screen pass 75 yards for a touchdown in a recent scrimmage. "He can blow things open and has of few times in Drill 6," one observer shared. The consensus is that he has the physical tools to provide needed depth to the position, but many are holding back their predictions of his potential impact because it is so early.
Josh Marks (OL, No. 66): "Josh has shown good control over his body — he needs to keep his hands up, but he draws a lot of power from his thighs and back and gets his center-point down low." Observers feel he has a shot to impact the two-deep of the offensive line early. "The line is hurting for depth in pockets, so the opportunity is there for him."
Derek Moye (WR, No. 6): "Physically, he's in a good situation — he'll benefit from a redshirt year in the weight room and to learn the playbook cold. Believe it or not, a lot of these guys will be wrapping up their careers soon, so his time will come." Moye has been praised for a "good first step" and "looking the ball in." He needs to "tighten up those routes, but he's still learning the position. He also needs to get down low to handle a jam on a post route or off the line." Moye made a few "impressive grabs" in Saturday's scrimmage.
Devon Still (DE, No. 71): One major disappointment is the injury to defensive end Devon Still in Friday's practice. As FOS reported previously, Still tore his left ACL and is expected to miss the 2007 season. "That [really] sucks," one observer said. "There is a ton of depth on this team, so there are not a lot of [freshman] players who were going to make an immediate impact, but Devon was among the few on the short list." Still's size, endurance and attitude had the defensive coaches impressed. As another observer explained, "We might have seen him break into the rotation this year." As an aside, Still has moved to the first floor of his dorm so he can avoid the steps.
Nate Stupar (LB, No. 34): Stupar's size and intensity are "major assets" for the linebacker. Currently, Stupar is fourth on the depth chart at the "Sam" 'backer position. As one observer said, "Obviously there is a lot of depth there. A few years ago and he would have been on the two-deep [as a freshman]. He'll work his way up though — he's sound all around — once he picks up the playbook he'll be big time." Dan Connor, Sean Lee and Tyrell Sales have been working with Stupar, Dailey and Colasanti a lot in practice this preseason.
Andrew Szczerba (TE, No. 80): Szczerba is currently at tight end and is doing well overall. "He has surprising speed for his size," one observer said. Another observer commented on his movement saying, "He has great control for such sheer size. His burst off the line is tough to contain. The younger guys will try to jam him and just get knocked off their saddle." He's also receving praise for his receiving skills and "ridiculous hands." Yet another observer said "he has a long way to go [to make an impact in 2007], but he is getting there."
Stefen Wisniewski (OL, No. 61): "His endurance is impressive, he is keeping up in drills and hasn't dogged any yet," according to one observer. "He's put together well — has a solid build. He has to avoid the tendency to get upright, but he's off to a good start." He's been referred to as "an animal" and "a stud."
There's no better source for looks into the program than FightOnState.com. FOS brings you exclusive in-depth practice reports, interviews and features you can't find anywhere else. Here is a rundown of our preseason practice reports do far:
Nittany Notes: Start It Up
Nitany Notes: Scrimmage Report
FOS TV: War of the Words
FOS TV: Scirrotto One-on-One
Photo Gallery: Team Group Shots
First Look: Meet the Rookies
FOS Audio: Paterno's Media Day PC
Nittany Notes: Kickin' It
In Focus: Dan Connor
In Focus: Austin Scott
Nittany Notes: Drill 6 WR Report
In Focus: Derrick Williams
Nittany Notes: Power Line (OL)
Follow Up OL Player Notes
Nittany Notes: Position Battles
Nittany Notes: Opening Day Notes
Preseason Kickoff (Schedule, Plan)
Stay tuned to FOS for continuing exclusive reports on PSU's preseason practices.