NITTANY NOTES: Linebacker Lineup

Where are the linebackers lining up out of the gate in preseason practice? Find out here and get some answers to some pressing 'backer questions in our exclusive Nittany Notes.

Penn State kicked off preseason practice Monday on the outdoor grass field between Lasch Building and Holuba Hall.

Though practices are closed, fans are clamoring to know what is going on with the deep, talented linebacker corps. Here is what we heard coming off a session that focused primarily on "light position drills."

The opening two-deep:

Outside Linebacker
Sean Lee
Nate Stupar

Middle Linebacker
Josh Hull
Michael Mauti

Outside Linebacker
Navorro Bowman
Bani Gbadyu

We went to some observers to get answers to early questions about the linebacker situation.

How do you expect the two-deep to shake out?

"There are always a ton of factors to consider," one observer said. "Vandy [position coach Ron Vanderlinden] has a ton of talent at his disposal. So, he'll shift guys around. They already have given Bani [Gbadyu] a look at the stand-up [defensive] end role. They'll give Sean [Lee] a look inside and out. That's probably the biggest debate right now — they love Sean's speed and athleticism on the wing, but they love his head for the middle."

As another observer told us, "Mauti is really emerging and is going to push for time. Vandy may have to get more of a rotation in, but he tends to like to have a base unit of guys. It's a good problem to have. The big question is where Seany ends up since they'll build the unit around him for obvious reasons."

How is Sean Lee looking

"He's chomping at the bit — no, foaming at the mouth — he really wants to get into contact drills badly. Remember he was held out of contact this spring and hasn't hit anyone in over a year," one observer explained.

As another said, "He looks great. The proof is with the pads, but physically he's ready and there's never been any issues with his state of mind. He's one of the most positive players this program has ever seen."

Where would you play Sean Lee, inside or out?

Two observers said inside, while three said outside.

As one observer who likes Lee inside said, "I love what he could do to quarterback the defense — he spent a year on the sideline and he wasn't just wearing a headset; he was in on the plays, in the coach meetings. I mean he was a coach. He understands how to read the shifts and adjustments and could really help out the front seven."

Another observer who would like to see Lee outside explained, "He's too good to not have out there. He could basically shut down his flat. I think he gets caught up in traffic in the middle — let the guy run free. Free Seany (laughing)!"

Is Lee wearing a brace on his surgically repaired right knee?


Where is Chris Colasanti in all of this?"

The staff is said be considering redshirting the junior to be, who was the second-team middle linebacker behind Hull last season. But no final decision has been made on that front yet. is the exclusive home of the BEST content and community covering Penn State football.


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