Andrew Dailey, S (6-foot-2, 221 pounds)
The redshirt sophomore saw his initial action in the program at linebacker and even saw some practice snaps on offense in the preseason of 2008. But with a backlog of 'backer talent and an anticipated need at strong safety, he made the move to the secondary early in the 2008 campaign.
"With the loss of [Anthony] Scirrotto and [Mark] Rubin, the coaches have been focused on shoring up the depth at safety," one observer explained. "Dailey has strengths and weaknesses in the role, but he's got a faster track to the field at safety than he would at linebacker."
Down 10 pounds to 221, Dailey has seen first- and second-team reps at strong safety this spring and is currently running first team. Currently he is battling Nick Sukay for the first team role. "It's been a good battle [between Dailey and Sukay]," one observer said. "Sukay has an edge on experience, since he's more comfortable with the position and is probably a bit more refined with his technique, but Dailey has a durability edge. The coaches are concerned with Nick's tendency to get injured."
Approach: Dailey's "done everything asked of him," one observer said. "He was put at linebacker and picked up the role quickly. He moved to offense [last preseason, playing wideout and H-back] and pushed himself to learn the role. Now he's at safety and he's picking that up." Described as a "focused" and "determined" player, some observers have indicated they would like to see "a bit more aggression" to supplement his physical abilities.
Strength: "Big and athletic," observers like Dailey's size and his "ability to control it." He particularly has shown strong run-stopping skills and has been focused on improving his coverage skills.
Reads: Dailey is "getting the position down," however, "he's tentative at times with his reads, which is magnified at safety." Observers have expressed concern about his "raw instincts to be consistently effective" at the position.
Improvement: "It comes down to that first step off the snap," one observer summarized. Dailey is said to have good "straight ahead speed," but needs to work on his "decision speed." As another observer said, "that can come with experience once the guy nails down the playbook, but sometimes it just doesn't come."
Impact: Although he is seeing first-team work currently, Dailey has some challengers pushing for the starting job. Namely, Sukay, who, if he proves he has the durability to avoid any further injuries, will make a strong case for the starting job. Plus, true freshman Gerald Hodges is turning heads with his size and speed.
FightOnState.com is THE source for original, exclusive, inside coverage of Penn State football.