NITTANY NOTES: Spring Into Action

Football is back. Friday marks the kickoff of Penn State's spring practice session. Get a series of news and notes about the squad as its continues its preparations for the 2010 season.

Friday is the first spring practice session for the Penn State football squad. FOS was able to tap into our program observers for some notes heading into spring action.

  • Friday's practice is the first of 14 that will occur over the next few weeks leading up to the April 25 Blue-White Game, which will mark the end of spring drills.

  • The initial practice session is slated to see no contact or pads and will conducted in shorts and T-shirts. The players focus on individual position drills, agility and footwork.

  • Head coach Joe Paterno was scheduled to have a press conference Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., just before practice. But it has been pushed back until next Wednesday.

  • The initial sessions of the spring period are generally used by the coaches to assess what they have to work with in terms of personnel and depth. A lot time in the first few practices is dedicated to gauging the progress the players have made during the winter workouts — "in the weight room, in informal drills and at the training table," an observer explained. As another observer said, "The staff is limited to 15 (spring) practice sessions (by the NCAA), so they have to understand what they have to accomplish quickly." While the strength and speed coaches closely monitor each player's physical condition through winter workouts, and position coaches have small windows in which to work with their players, it is difficult for the coaches to get a real feel for where the players are football-wise until they get to work with them more in spring drills.

  • The lines are expected to focus on footwork and agility sets early on, getting some bag and tackle dummy drills in to test "their basics."

  • Not surprisingly, the quarterback position has seen a winter race among Kevin Newsome, Matt McGloin and Paul Jones. See our recent Drill 6 report for an assessment of their progress.

  • Generally, the team "is in good shape" heading into spring ball health-wise. Freshman tight end Kevin Haplea is recovering from a bout with mono that kept him out of winter work for three or so weeks. He has since been cleared to play and is focused on getting his weight back up from the 245 pounds he currently is at. Safety Drew Astorino will also miss spring work in order to focus on his left shoulder rehab after getting surgery on Jan. 15. Cornerback Chaz Powell will likely be eased into action after dealing with a hernia issue in the off-season. Linebacker Mike Mauti and running back Brandon Beachum are both expected to skip spring drills while recovering from ACL injuries. Mauti will likely be back in time for the 2010 season while Beachum is probably looking at a redshirt for '10.

  • There are a few initial position shifts penciled in that the coaches will take a close look at. Among them are Powell from wideout to cornerback, Gary Gilliam from defensive end to tight end and Chimaeze Okoli from defensive tackle to offensive tackle.

  • Also, here is an initial breakdown of players who have see fluctuations in their weights of five pounds or more since the start of last season. This is based on PSU's spring roster:

    Jack Crawford: -6, 256
    Lou Eliades: +5, 310
    Mike Farrell: +26, 298
    Stephfon Green: +5, 197
    Ty Howle: +5, 289
    Kevion Latham: +6, 254
    Eric Latimore: +6, 270
    Michael Mauti: +7, 231
    Tom McEwoen: -8, 288
    Matt McGloin: +8, 204
    Kevin Newsome: -5, 220
    Ollie Ogbu: -7, 285
    DeOne'tae Pannell: -13, 300
    Devon Still: -11, 294
    Nathan Stupar: +10, 236
    Nick Sukay: +5, 213
    James Terry: -16, 303
    Johnny Troutman: -13, 309
    Brandon Ware: -6, 341
    Stefen Wisniewski: -5, 297
    Mike Yancich: -6, 223
    Graham Zug: +5, 183

  • In terms of the early enrollees and the one grayshirt for the Class of 2010, here is how they initially measure up:


    Kyle Baublitz: 6-5, 255
    Glenn Carson*: 6-3, 200 (grayshirt)
    Khairi Fortt: 6-2, 225
    Evan Hailes: 6-1, 290
    Kevin Haplea: 6-4, 245
    Paul Jones: 6-3, 220
    Silas Redd: NA, 190
    Dakota Royer: 6-1, 210

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