NITTANY NOTES: Scrimmage Report

Penn State jumped into scrimmage work Wednesday, its fourth practice of the spring period. Get exclusive notes on the work and who turned heads.

Although the Penn State players are getting a break after four spring practice sessions, the Nittany Lions got a jump on scrimmage work Wednesday. The scrimmage sets were used to test the progress on both sides of the ball and particularly to "see where the offense stands, especially with the passing game and overall line protection."

Here are a series of notes from the scrimmage work including who stood out:

  • The first-team offensive line saw Stefen Wisniewski anchoring at center. Some observers feel that Wisniewski, Lou Elides and Johnnie Troutman are too good together working the the interior of the line to get unseated. "There are concerns obviously with the tackles, so the staff is looking for stability to build off of."

  • The tackle positions saw early rotations with DeOn'tae Pannell, Adam Gress, Eric Shrive, Mike Farrell and recently shifted defensive tackle Chimaeze Okoli. "[The staff] is looking closely to see who can man the rush and handle the outside consistently."

  • The quarterbacks who stood out were Matt McGloin and Kevin Newsome. "Kevin's settling down, he still needs to take care of the little things -- following through and not forcing it." McGloin "was solid, particularly on the intermediate routes." Each quarterback delivered two touchdown passes in the scrimmage work. All the QBs are "working on their awareness, reads and progressions."

  • One running back who received consistent praise was Curtis Dukes. "The guy is like a tank when he hits a hole. He ran over some linebackers -- he is tough to take down and can deliver a hit." Dukes is said to have some great lateral moves and is focused on reading "lane developments," but "he fights for yardage."

  • Overall, the offense looked "decent at times," but disappointed at other times. "They'd put together a nice run down the field and then have a play blown up on a mental mistake."

  • D-end Jack Crawford continues to develop. "He's got the technique down so he's comfortable and he's showing even more aggression on rushes."

  • Another defensive lineman who is really creating some buzz is Devon Still. "Believe it or not, I think he could pick up right where Jared [Odrick] left off. I'm not saying he's at that level, but he is really creating disruptions even on a veteran interior (offensive line)."

  • Wideout Derek Moye continues to "refine his play." As one observer explained, "He's stronger, more confident and understands how to create and keep separation from the coverage." Observers feel he will help accelerate the confidence of the young quarterbacks.

  • Devon Smith saw action, but was sidelined with an ankle injury. The extent is not clear, but observers did not expect that it was too serious.

  • Another receiver who is emerging into a "go-to wideout" is Justin Brown. "He's so strong and fast, but where he's getting dangerous is that he's getting his technique down; setting his hands, looking that ball in." The feeling is that Brown, if he keeps his progression at this pace, "could be a great combo with Moye."

  • Some observers are also keen on what Shawney Kersey has shown at receiver. "[Mike McQueary] is pushing him hard on his basics, but he gets off the line and has good hands. He needs hit the route hard and sharp -- known the measurements and work on handling his coverage. This spring will be telling for him as to whether he's able to get into the rotation."

  • Converted receiver Chaz Powell saw corner reps and is "getting adjusted" back to the secondary. As one observer explained, "He's got to get back into the swing, it's going to take some time. He's got the wheels to keep on a route, but he'll need some time to pick up the coverage fundamentals again."

  • Cornerbacks Stephon Morris and Derrick Thomas received some strong praise for their athleticism. "I think it'll be tough to keep them both off the field," according to one observer.

Penn State is off for the holiday weekend until Monday when they get back into practice drills. is the exclusive home to the BEST content and community covering Penn State football.


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