NITTANY NOTES: DB Concerns

The Penn State secondary is of primary concern for the coaching staff this spring. Get an in-depth review of the unit right here in our exclusive Nittany Notes.

One of the more pressing concerns with the Nittany Lions this spring is with the secondary. With A.J. Wallace sidelined with a hamstring injury and an overall lack of meaningful experience across the unit, observers wonder who things will shake out.

"It's a real concern, since there are a lot of guys who have the ability but many haven't seen meaningful time in these roles. The depth is a big issue the coaches are trying to address," according to one observer.

Currently the two deep for the secondary is:

Strong Safety
13 Andrew Dailey (RS-So.)
10 Nick Sukay (RS-So.)

Free Safety
28 Drew Astorino (RS-So.)
7 Cedric Jeffries (RS-Jr.)

Right Corner
4 Knowledge Timmons (Sr.)
20 Devin Fentress (Sr.)

Left Corner
8 D'Anton Lynn (So.)*
12 Evan Lewis (RS-Fr.)

Wallace had been sidelined through Wednesday's practice with a hamstring injury.

    Safeties

  • Astorino is a "real bright spot" for the secondary as the starting free safety. "He's tough, aggressive, has great instincts and really wraps up well," according to one observer. The redshirt sophomore has emerged as a "go-to leader of the secondary."

  • Jeffries has been backing up Astorino at free safety this spring. "He's got the athleticism, but his instincts are an issue — he hesitates on reads, which [the staff] is trying to work on with him in drills."

  • Dailey is batting Sukay at strong safety. Dailey has a size advantage in the battle with a "major experience advantage," having seen reps in 12 games last season.

  • Observers feel Sukay has the overall edge in the race for starting strong safety, though. As one observer explained, "If he can just show that he's more durable than he has been."

    Cornerbacks

  • Penciled in as a starter, Wallace did not practice Wednesday due to a nagging hamstring injury. "Bottom line is that Wallace has to toughen up and play through these tweaks. He's too quick to pull up and step aside," one observer said.

  • Timmons has shown improvement on his coverage, but observers indicate he has to tone down his ego a bit. "When he makes a play you hear about it for a week after. He's a trash talker, but he needs to elevate his consistency to get in line with his talking."

  • Lynn has shown promise at corner. "He's had some impressive plays. He's quick, but I want to see if he can maintain his speed out there to cover the fast wideouts." Lynn was starting to see reps against Chaz Powell to test his quickness before Powell was sidelined recently with an ankle injury.

  • Fentress is a veteran as a redshirt senior, but at 5-10, 169 pounds, "he's just small." Observers like his quickness, but the size of the wideouts has caused him "some real challenges."

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