NITTANY NOTES: Practice Tidbits

Get the lowdown on what went down during the week as Penn State prepared for Syracuse, including one session where the entire team was booted from the field.

Penn State practice observers called it an "up and down week" as the Nittany Lions preparedfor Syracuse in Beaver Stadium on Saturday. The Penn State squad came out with a "sharp" early session on Monday, but "it started draining into Tuesday, and Wednesday they were just flat." In fact, the coaches were so upset with the effort across the team on Wednesday they "kicked the guys" out of the practice session early.

"It sent a loud message," one observer said. Thursday "a lot of guys were in early and had their heads on." Most observers said Joe Paterno was upset with the letdown, but "sometimes [the players] need a kick in the tail."

Here are some news an notes from this week:

  • Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu remain at the first team defensive tackles this week. The second team saw a red jersey rotation made up primarily of Devon Still, Chima Okoli, Tom McEowen and true freshman Jordan Hill. Hill did not play in the season-opener.

  • The starting ends remained Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford, with Jerome Hayes playing a situational role as a stand-up end with the first team. The bulk second-team of reps went to Kevion Latham and Sean Stanley. As one observer said of Stanley, "He's been really coming along. Not quite there yet, but he's got determination. He's got to get his shed technique down."

  • Linebacker Navorro Bowman saw limited action in practice and was closely watched by the staff and trainers. He is said to be looking comfortable, but it's expected that the staff will hold him out of Saturday's game to allow him to fully recover from the groin pull he sustained against Akron. No final decision has been made on that front, though.

  • Nate Stupar, as expected, stepped in to pick things up with Bowman's reduced rep load. Stupar previously had seen his practice reps at both weak and strong OLB, but this week has been focused on Bowman's strong side.

  • The offensive line didn't see any major shifts this week with the primary starting lineup as:

    RT: De'Ontae Pannell
    RG: Lou Eliades
    C: Stefen Wisniewski
    LG: Matt Stankiewitch
    LT: Dennis Landolt

  • On the left side of the line, Johnnie Troutman has progressed from third to second team at guard and Mike Farrell continues to see second team tackle reps.

  • Freshman center Ty Howle switched numbers from 53 to 60 after James Terry moved from right OG to DT recently, opening up No. 60 on the offensive side of the ball.

  • The defensive front seven focused on "pressure drills" this week to "get a good surge and make [Syracuse QB Greg] Paulus have to get rid of [the ball] quickly." Observers indicate the staff feels that Minnesota found success with this which "shortened pickups and forced mistakes."

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