NITTANY NOTES: Monday Review

With Penn State in the homestretch of spring practice, see what the Nittany Lions focused on in Monday's session in our exclusive Nittany Notes.

Monday, the Nittany Lions had their 13th practice of the spring period with a "lighter day" from the full-contact scrimmage they saw Saturday. "The focus today was really on reviewing the scrimmage performance and cleaning up the mistakes the coaches saw," one observer explained.

Here is a rundown of news and notes from Monday's practice:

  • Observers are unclear at this point how the late breaking news on linebacker Navorro Bowman will be dealt with by the coaches. "I don't imagine they are too pleased with it, but I am not sure how they will deal with it," one observer said. Bowman practiced Monday but afterward Paterno warned the team that it would be hearing about an off-field issue.

  • The linebackers and safeties got in "read-react work." The coaches tested them with "some reaction drills and pursuit work."

  • For the safeties, Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay stood out to observers. "Nick has been pretty healthy all spring, although I probably shouldn't tempt fate," one observer said. "He's probably gotten in more work this spring then during the entire rest of his career here [at Penn State]."

  • In terms of the linebackers, Mike "Mauti is just a beast and seems to get better and better. Just when you think he's struggling with an aspect of his game he buckles down and nails it," as one observer put it. "Mike struggled some covering the wing on a few scrimmage sets — taking the wrong angle — so [LB coach Ron Vanderlinden] reviewed it with him and he seemed to pick up his mistake."

  • The defense worked some blitz packages during the practice. "Their getting down assignments and communications on sends," one observer said. "It was a handful for the offensive line. DeOn'tae Pannell got knocked around on a few, but he picked up some nice ones. Lou Eliades "is getting better on the rush and works well with Wiz in the middle."

  • The middle of the offensive line "has some ways to go to handle a full middle blitz," according to one observer. "Sending three guys like [Jared] Odrick, [Ollie] Ogbu and [Mike] Mauti is a hell of a lot to pick up. [Stefen] Wisniewski did OK, but he, Eliades and [Matt] Stankiewitch got lost a few times."

  • Coming off a solid scrimmage performance, backup QB Kevin Newsome had a "decent day." As one observer put it, "He's made progress when he has space to deliver the ball — he's getting the intermediate routes down." Monday the passing game did some red zone work, which "cramped him a bit. He delivered some nice plays, but forced some — he'll learn you can't just rifle it in at the wideout."

  • Wideouts Graham Zug and Derek Moye have both received consistent praise out of recent practices. "Zug for his "dependable hands" and Moye for his "route-running and receiving skills — he could develop into a real threat," an observer said.

  • The tight ends are still seeing a three-deep of Mickey Shuler, Andrew Quarless and Andrew Szczerba. Observers have commented on Quarless stepping up and making plays but are "hesitant to get too excited given his track record. The talent is there. He screws his head on and he could be All-Big Ten."

  • Even with Stephfon Green out, observers like what the running backs have shown of late. Working both one- and two-back sets "[Evan] Royster, [Brandon] Beachum and [Shaine] Thompson have all stepped up and could be formidable weapons for the ground game. I know fans will probably say 'Shaine-who?' But he's showing he has a lot of athletic ability and some determination."

Penn State has one more practice left (Wednesday) before it wraps up the spring period with Saturday's Blue-White Game in Beaver Stadium. is THE exclusive source for original, inside coverage of Penn State football.


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