"It was a good session -- a lot of hard-hitting and aggression. Some guys, especially the younger ones, were visibly tired though which didn't sit well with [the coaching staff]," according to one observer.
The scrimmage had good and bad elements through the session. The session kicked off at 11:00 a.m. and worked some Drill 6 (7-on-7) with a majority of time spent on full 11-on-11 sets.
As one observer said, "The hope is that guys progress a ton during the spring and they are in mid-season form, but that's not realistic with every player and unit." Saturday's session had some sloppy play, but the coaches were working to clean up the "messy play."
Here are some highlights and notes from Saturday's scrimmage:
- An "aggressive" defense "came to play," and managed to contain the offense from making a lot of big plays on the day. The defensive line in particular "was getting good pressure on." The defensive line saw a rotation of:
- Devon Still continues to draw rave reviews and comparisons to Jared Odrick for his ability to pick up double teams.
- The offensive line "is getting better, but "is still showing weak points." Some observers are quick to point out that the defensive is usually ahead of the offense at this point, but one observer said, "That's just an excuse." The offensive line primarily looked like:
- Observers feel the line is making progress, but still has work to do. Pannell has seemed more comfortable at guard, although there is still disagreement whether Wisniewski stays at right guard or goes back to center eventually. Observers feel Johnnie Troutman is too important to the interior to play a backup role.
- The staff is trying to shore up the tackle positions which is why they have been rotating guys in. "It's a concern, but it's only the spring so they aren't panicking -- they just need the best pocket protection for the QBs to help give them time and additional confidence."
- The linebackers saw Bani Gbadyu, Nate Stupar and Chris Colasanti with the bulk of the first team, although Mike Yancich had "a good day." The offense had "issues running at Gbadyu," and observers feel the outside is a "better position for him."
- With the quarterbacks, Kevin Newsome got a lot of throws in, but split reps with Matt McGloin. Observers we spoke with are split on who should be in the No. 1 spot currently. "McGloin's more consistent with his passes -- Kevin can't short-arm his delivery. But he's so athletic, he has a great set of legs and uses them well on [play breakdowns]. He just needs to be smart protecting himself."
- The offense put together some nice drives, but "stalled short" on a few thanks to some "disruptive" defensive play and "offensive miscues." The quarterbacks were "getting the chance to work on play breakdowns since the D was getting good penetration."
- All-in-all the receiving unit received strong reviews; observers feel that the progression of guys like Curtis Drake and Justin Brown "are making things easier on the quarterbacks." Brown made some nice grabs, but the coaches didn't like that the receivers "were chasing balls."
- In terms of the tight ends, Andrew Szczerba was running first team. "He's got good hands, but the coaches want him to get aggressive off the line." Observers like Gary Gilliam's size and strength. He's got good hands, but struggled with some blocking. Kevin Haplea is still third team, but "improving his blocking and has been pulling in balls nicely."
- One observer graded the scrimmage as a "B," saying that the units that were expected to excel did so, but there are still unanswered questions with the offense in particular. Observers liked the overall intensity, but said the coaches were not pleased with some guys "dogging it."
- Penn State has two more practices scheduled for Monday and Wednesday with Spring Practice concluding on Saturday with the Blue-White Game.
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