IN FOCUS: Quinn Barham

See how the Penn State lineman is progressing during spring practice drills in our exclusive In Focus series.

Among the most pressing questions for Penn State's offense to address is how the left tackle position will shape up with a young, inexperienced quarterback under center -- be it Kevin Newsome, Matt McGloin or Paul Jones. One of the major moves the offensive staff has made in an attempt to answer this question is to shift former guard Quinn Barham out to the left tackle spot.

Spring reviews have been strong among practice observers, with one trusted source saying Barham has been "among the best of the tackles" in spring drills. Apparently the coaches felt Barham's speed was better suited on the end to possibly contribute at tackle.

The real question is, despite the solid praise, can PSU rely on a relatively inexperienced 6-foot-3, 290-pound tackle manning what is arguably the most important position on the line with comparable inexperience under center?

THE PLAYER

Quinn Barham, OT (6-foot-3, 290 pounds)

Although Barham doesn't necessarily have the height of your prototypical dominating tackle, observers feel that his skills have shown the potential to make up for his atypical stature for the position.

Barham is currently seen the bulk of his recent spring reps at first-team left tackle and is battling Mike Farrell and Adam Gress who have been running second- and third-team respectively.

THE ASSESSMENT

Build: Although Barham is "a few inches shorter than what you generally look for at tackle," he is said to have a good physique and is "put together pretty well." He also doesn't have the wide wingspan the coaches like, but it's "pretty good," as one observer said.

Quickness: Barham is "quick off the snap" and "makes pretty good reads on his assignments." Observers like how he can step out and pick up the rush. In fact, this is the area that has "really helped him impress" in the position.

Strength: Observers generally like his strength and feel he "picks up the rush well." As one observer said, "He's gotten bowled over on some plays -- guys like Jack Crawford and Sean Stanley are tough to bottle up, but he's held his own and gotten better, which is what you look for in the spring."

Footwork: His feet are said to be his best asset for the tackle role. He also is said to have good balance and sets "a wide base." His quick feet allow him to get "out of the blocks, into position and under the rush to help him engage and get a leg up."

Technique: With a solid base and good footwork, Barham's technique have "made up for his height in a lot of cases." He also "uses his hands well," although he's focused on increasing his understanding of the assignments of the role in the zone blocking scheme.

Improvement: As one observer explained, "Quinn will have to get as strong and fast as possible and get super-consistent to keep the starting job and fend off the other guys." Again, his feet and technique allow him to get out

Impact: At 6-6, 300 pounds Mike Farrell has some significantly size on Barham, but not quite his quickness, and although Adam Gress has three or so inches on him Gress is 10 to 15 pounds lighter. "Once Gress adds his size and if he nails down his technique he'll have a big advantage with his height." Until then Barham is making impressions in the position and looks to be the solid front-runner at this early stage. "We'll see what the preseason brings with these guys."

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