Spring Kickoff: Unit Progress Reports

As Penn State prepares to kickoff spring practice, get up to speed on how the team looks with a sneak peek to FighOnState.com's exclusive detailed progress reports. Our reports take you inside the team like no other source can and show you where the Nittany Lions stand in terms of depth, personnel and more as spring ball kicks off.

For the past several weeks we have been taking FightOnState.com members deep into Penn State's winter workouts with detailed progress reports on every unit. Get a glimpse into various aspects of the team's off-season work so far.

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Now get a peek at the winter progress of each PSU unit:

Linebackers

The linebacking corps continues to be one of the most interesting units to keep an eye on heading into spring practice. Although the Nittany Lions appear to lose a lot with the departure of all-time leading tackler Dan Connor, the unit has impressive depth upon which to draw. As one observer told us, "Danny's departure is a loss; he wasn't the most vocal guy, but he was the guy that the younger players would watch and emulate. Luckily Sean Lee is built in the same mold — maybe even to a greater degree with his borderline obsession with his technique. But [Sean] also brings that vocal, in-your-face approach the team needs. He is more of a...READ MORE.

Defensive Ends

The Lions appear to be stacked at the positions on the first two teams, but beyond that depth is a bit of a concern as Jerome Hayes will not engage in contact this spring as he continues to rehab from a torn ACL, Devon Still is coming back from the same injury (thought he sustained it much earlier) and Jed Hill is said to me moving on from the program. Keep in mind that the strong- and weak-side personnel will shift (as opposed to staying on the left or right) based on the opponent. For example...READ MORE.

Defensive Tackles

"[Position coach Larry Johnson] has really helped him to start pulling his game together to progress toward being that dominating force [Johnson] expects him to be." Of the current crop of defensive tackles, Ogbu is the only player in that group who saw action in all 13 games last season, starting in four. "The [game] experience Ollie got has really improved his approach," an observer said. "He still needs consistency with...READ MORE.

Defensive Backs

"A.J.'s really starting to make the corner — no pun intended — on his play," an observer said. "He is more comfortable in coverage and is playing tighter on routes. He had a nice [interception] in the bowl game and could really be the guy to step in for Justin if he keeps his head in the game and doesn't...READ MORE.

Tight Ends

Even with these setbacks, the unit still has promise in the eyes of several observers. "You have some solid, young talent. But remember, in this offensive scheme the tight end's top three responsibilities are first to block, second to block and third to catch a ball once in a while. Having said that, there are some guys here like...READ MORE.

Offensive Line

Last season he focused on using his hands more effectively and "keeping his shoulders square to his [assignment]," as one observer explained. Generally he has shown consistent technique, although he has had to work on keeping his center down. Troutman has worked to pull together his strength and technique, but has made progress. He still needs to...READ MORE.

Running Backs

Royster also missed one game and had four games where he had four or less carries. "He's not the fastest guy out there, but he may be the sharpest," one observer explained. "Watch him when he's in the backfield; a lot of backs will get into position and put their focus right on the QB. Watch Evans' helmet — it's continually...READ MORE.

Quarterbacks

Because both situations are far from actual game conditions, observers tend to show hesitation or advise caution when discussing the progress the quarterbacks are showing prior to spring practice. The two lead candidates for the quarterback starting role are Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin. And much like a political race, there tends to be a split among observers on who the better QB candidate is. "Personally, I think Clark is a bit more versatile," one observer said. "He's definitely been more...READ MORE.

Wideouts

Observers indicate that the backups will shift receiver positions periodically to "get a feel and understanding of the different spots." Brackett backed up Terrell Golden in the R spot much of last season. "Deon is probably the most consistent [receiver] on the team in terms of his technique," one observer shared. "He has great body control and it always moving toward the ball — a lot of receivers just...READ MORE.

This is merely a taste of the extensive detailed reports that only FightOnState.com can provide. Unlock your FOS Total Access Pass and get inside the program just in time for spring practice.

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