Nittany Notes: Makin' Moves

Penn State has been testing players at different positions during the early part of preseason ball. Get up to speed on that and more in this edition of Nittany Notes.

Penn State kicked off preseason practice Monday. Since NCAA rules mandate that players not wear full pads, the on-field action was said to be "uneventful."

In a session held indoors at Holuba Hall, the team ran some basic technique drills and "got some route work in." Despite the low-key approach to the preseason's kickoff, the coaches got right into some position shifts, which they typically experiment with this time of year. Keep in mind that these moves are not necessarily permanent and the the staff uses them to see how they can fill out depth and "redistribute talent," as one observer said.

Among the current practice shifts are:

  • Michael Zordich: As we reported yesterday the true freshman is currently seeing snaps at fullback, a move that takes him away from the linebacker role he had seen work at (both inside and outside) since his arrival on campus earlier this summer.

  • Andrew Dailey: The redshirt 'backer has also seen a shift to offense and is expected to see work at both fullback and tight end.

  • Chaz Powell: Although the redshirt freshman has received consistent praise from observers for his work at safety, he is currently working with the wide receivers. Incidentally, Powell had over 400 receiving yards as a senior in high school.

  • Jesse Alfreno: The redshirt sophomore has moved from wideout to the secondary.

  • Tom Golarz: The fullback has shifted over to defense and is seeing reps at defensive end. Golarz played end earlier in his career.

  • Ryan Gmerek: The redshirt sophomore was at running back through the off-season, but is now seeing drill work with the secondary.

Price Is Right

True freshman receiver A.J. Price did not enroll at Penn State for the second summer semester, as most members of the Class of 2008 did. He had to tie up some loose ends academically at South Like High in Reston, Va., to make sure he was eligible to play as a true freshman with the Lions.

Price did just that. And he arrived in Happy Valley over the weekend ready to start preseason ball. Though he is not enrolled in school yet, he is allowed to practice with the team.

New Face

Penn State graduate assistant J.B. Gerald abruptly left the program in early July. That may not sound like such a big deal. The fact that he went to a conference rival, though, has some folks in Lasch Building a bit uptight.

Gerald is now listed in the position of "quality control" with the Illini. Illinois happens to be Penn State's opponent in the Big Ten opener this season (Sept. 27 at Beaver Stadium).

Sources say Gerald could have served one more season as a GA at Penn State, where he worked primarily with the offense. Asked if the staff was angry that he left for a conference rival, one observer said, "As them Illinois week."

Gerald has been replaced by Matt Kavanaugh (no relation to the former Pitt QB with a similar name).

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