THE SCENE: With the departure of many key leaders (like A.Q. Shipley, Rich Ohrnberger, Gerald Cadogan, Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood and Deon Butler), the Nittany Lions have some big shoes to fill. However, PSU is hardly devoid of "take charge" players. Here is a review of the players on offense who have been stepping into the leadership roles this off-season.
We asked each observer to vote for their top three leaders on offense. We also included quotes from different observers as to why they made their selections. The number next to each name reflects the percentage of the total possible votes the player could have received.
Daryll Clark, QB: 100% - Not surprisingly, every observer we spoke with pointed squarely at Clark as the primary leader of the 2009 offense. "It's not just because of his position, though," one observer explained. "He pushes everyone around him, but will also take the young wideouts aside to show them how to hit the post or stick a route." As another observer said, "D's a guy who will give you everything on the field, but more importantly, he'll do the same in the locker room and sideline."
Evan Royster, RB: 70% - Described as a "lead-by-example" and "all-business" player, Royster is said to be quiet, but "is the type of guy who shows you what to do through his actions." One observer compared Royster's leadership approach to Dan Connor's, saying, "He's not the one to necessarily get in the pregame huddle and get everyone pumped, but he gets guys going just by the way he plays."
Dennis Landolt, OG: 60% - The veteran of the offensive line with the departure of A.Q. Shipley, Gerald Cadogan and Rich Ohrnberger, Landolt is said to be another "silent force" for the offense. "He's not a lot of talk, but he shows guys how it's done," one observer said. "I actually think he's been one of the more underrated players on this offense when you consider what kind of career he has had."
Stefen Wizniewski, OL: 30% - The junior is stepping in for the All-American Shipley at center and "has embraced that role." As one observer said, "He's got a lot of credibility with the guys; to come in and make an impact on the [offensive] line as a freshman. He flanked Q and seems to have a similar [leadership] style. He's no-nonsense, but has the ability to get guys' crashing helmets."
Mickey Shuler, TE: 20% - Another veteran of the offense, Shuler tends to be vocal and "will work with guys on their technique." He's spent time doing this with younger tight ends like Andrew Szczerba and Mark Wedderburn. "He can be pretty engaging and is fairly easy-going in his demeanor," an observer said of Shuler. "Again, I am not sure he's a 'fire-the-troops-up' sort of guy, but I like what he does for this squad."
Brett Brackett, WR: 10% - The consensus among observers is that the wideout unit needs a leader to step in for the departed Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood and Deon Butler. Despite this agreement, few are sold on who that will be, with Brackett beinfg named as "a guy who has solid experience and just needs a boost of confidence."
Chaz Powell, WR: 10% - On the other side is Powell, who is also getting mentioned as a step-up candidate for the receivers. "A lot of guys love his attitude, and his talent and abilities really help him to be a guy others look to to improve their own game." Powell is relatively young as a redshirt sophomore, but is expected to be the likely candidate to fill Williams' "utility role."
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