NITTANY NOTES: Secondary Snapshot

One of the units of major interest the Nittany Nation this preseason is the secondary. With the departure of seniors like Anthony Scirrotto, Tony Davis, Lydell Sargeant and Mark Rubin, get an exclusive look at how the unit is lining up from our often imitated, never duplicated and sometimes borrowed Nittany Notes.

With two practices under their belts as of Wednesday morning, the Nittany Lion defensive coaches have been working to assemble a two-deep they feel comfortable with having to replace the likes of Mark Rubin, Anthony Scirrotto, Lydell Sargeant and Tony Davis.

"There's some concern around the corners given their limited experience. The safeties seem to have a good amount of talent stepping up, though," an observer explained.

Though practices are closed, fans are clamoring to know what is going on with the retooled secondary. Here is what we have heard from observers coming off another session that focused primarily on "light position drills" in helmets on Tuesday.

The initial two-deep:

Cornerback
D'Anton Lynn
Derrick Thomas

Strong Safety
Nick Sukay
Andrew Dailey

Free Safety
Drew Astorino
Cedric Jeffries

Cornerback
Knowledge Timmons
Shelton McCullough

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

Where is A.J. Wallace?

Currently Wallace is practicing with the team, but has been seeing his reps with the third team after a demotion due to some academic issues. "He's got to screw his head on — the team needs him," an observer said.

How is Lynn looking?

"He's showing some promise. He's got some legs and is getting tighter on coverage. He's working on his transitions, pulling tight on routes. He gets loose sometimes, which allows the faster veterans to create separation, but I like the progress he's showing out of the gate," according to another observer.

Where is veteran defensive back Devin Fentress? In the spring Fentress was backing up Knowledge Timmons at the right corner position. However, earlier today we broke that he is no longer with the squad.

What's up with freshman SS Gerald Hodges?

He's running third team right now but observers expect him to move up as he get more comfortable. "He has great speed and impressive athleticism," one said. "Though he has good instincts overall, he still gets lost in drills sometimes. But he'll be fine."

How are the other safeties progressing?

"Astorino is not the biggest guy, but he has really emerged. He's showing he's real dependable in coverage — getting more consistent," as one observer put it. "Sukay is also emerging. The good news is he's probably on the healthiest streak of his career — hopefully I didn't just jinx anything.

"As for the backups, Jeffries has shown solid athleticism. He's got some endurance, but he's still working on getting those instincts to be second nature. Your feet almost have to be moving before you see the ball in the air. Dailey has some good size, but he's probably a step slower than Sukay and has not been as sharp in read drills."

FightOnState.com is the exclusive home to the BEST content and community covering Penn State football.

-30-


Fight On State Top Stories