For those who may have missed our board post, here is a review of the practice schedule penciled in for this week:
MONDAY: Tops (helmets and shoulders pads, with shorts) in Holuba Hall
WEDNESDAY: Full pads in Holuba Hall. 25-play (or so) scrimmage slated for the end of the session.
FRIDAY: Full-pad session in Holuba Hall. The staff had considered scrimmaging at Beaver Stadium on this day, but with rain in the forecast has decided to keep it indoors.
SATURDAY: Full-pad session at Beaver Stadium with a scrimmage. This should correspond nicely with Penn State Junior Day.
Please note that what is going to happen later this week is subject to change at the whim of the coaching staff and depending on the weather.
The Nittany Lions are dealing with some recent additional injuries. Safety Nick Sukay is dealing with a broken bone in his foot. As one observer said, "He got it a while ago, maybe last week, and was playing on it, but the pain was pretty bad." Currently Sukay is sidelined with an immobilization boot to help the injury heal.
Also, defensive end Eric Latimore sustained a dislocated finger earlier in the week. "He'll be fine," one observer explained. "It's not an uncommon injury for the linemen to get with all the bodies and helmets flying in such tight space, but it hurts like hell." Latimore is still practicing despite the injury and has had the finger taped up for added protection.
The team ran some 1v1 position drills and then got into a "short scrimmage" on Wednesday, which was comprised of "about 27 plays," according to observers. "They were working routes (for the passing game), lane development (for the ground game) and just line technique on both sides," one observer said.
Since the scrimmage part of the practice was so short and did not feature any spectacular plays — "It was pretty generic stuff," according to one observers — we'll focus this report on what the team appeared to be trying to get done.
In Wednesday's drills, the quarterbacks worked "timing on route breaks" and "pocket management." According to one observer, "They are pushing both Daryll [Clark] and Pat [Devlin] to push through their progressions. I'd say Pat is ahead in this respect. He's shown some good look-off technique, but both need to continually improve so they don't telegraph their passes."
The quarterbacks also "worked on moving with the pocket" and handling breakdowns. "Both guys tend to stay up on their toes and show decent movement as the pocket shifts, but the real work is anticipating these shifts and avoiding break points in the line," one observer explained. "Both guys have gotten grabbed (by defenders) because their eyes have been locked on the flat and they have basically ignored the line shifting."
Stefen Wisniewski saw added first-team guard reps at guard Wednesday. As for the tackles, "depth is still a concern at this point." Tackles Ako Poti and Nerraw McCormack "both still have work to do on their footwork and engagements - they've struggled sealing off the corner consistently."
Overall the first-team line has shown "improvement picking up the initial surge (from the defensive line), although they're are still some miscommunications with transitions and assignments at times." The line has spent a good amount of time in practices this week on run blocking and "opening up, but more importantly sealing off [running] lanes."
"Fight" On State
As the coaches "dial up the intensity" of practice, there are more and more "scuffles" breaking out in practice. Wednesday a few of these incidents broke out. "They were running some outside [ground] plays. [OT Josh] Marks engaged [LB Chris] Colasanti, who stepped up to plug the lane. Josh laid into Chris' side — I guess he really nailed his shoulder. The funny thing is Colsanti barely moved. And it was a pretty big hit, you could hear it. The whistle blows and I thought someone was going to lose a head. Both really got into it. Josh started to walk away and Chris kept going."
Colasanti was benched for a period after the incident, but eventually got back into drills. "I love his intensity — he'll get into a facemask if he's not happy — but he really needs to control it. [The coaches] are trying to channel it so that it elevates his play without any potential flags."
Backup defensive tackle Tom McEowen and backup offensive guard J.B. Walton "got into a little pushing match." So did reserve defensive back Shelton McCullough and offensive tackle Johnnie Troutman. "You want this kind of energy around practice. Knocking some helmets is a good thing in my view." another observer said.
Stay tuned to FightOnState.com for continuing unmatched, original coverage of Penn State football and spring practice.