NITTANY NOTES: Summertime Blues

Get the latest news and notes from Penn State's summer workouts as the NIttany Lions prepare for the 2010 season in the latest edition of our exclusive insider report.

The Nittany Lions have been in the summer stretch of off-season workouts in recent weeks. Here are updated news and notes from the program.

  • The players have been getting in some Drill 6 work, "shooting for three or four times per week." The work has been focused on "routes and timing." As one observer said, "The repetitions helps the QBs with their timing and delivery. The wideouts get to work their runs and hands."

  • Observers feel like the off-season work is helping QBKevin Newsome as much as anyone. "When I have seen him he's been more focused. He's pretty laid back and likes to joke a lot. But he's been more serious. He was in the locker room and one of the guys said, 'New, why so serious?' One of the wideouts was with him and said, 'It's his to lose, baby.' He's got his game face on."

  • While many still anticipate a preseason battle to continue between Newsome and Matt McGloin, freshman quarterback Paul Jones has "been pulling it together." Observers feel that he's getting more comfortable with his "delivery and leading receivers." Not everyone is sold that Jones is out of the race. "Ideally, there's no doubt the coaches would love to redshirt him to let him have the time to get stronger, faster and more comfortable," an observer said. "But he's making progress and improving, so keeping him in the stable may be tough."

  • In terms of receivers, two young guys who have a lot of fans within the program are Shawney Kersey and Curtis Drake. "[Kersey] is so quick, and he is strong and agile. I mean passing drills and Drill 6 are so basic, but he makes some great grabs." As another observer said of Drake, "Quick and cunning -- he's tough to cover."

  • The veterans Graham Zug and Derek Moye are generating confidence in the receiving unit. "They're two great go-to guys; they have the guys focused and excited. I think if you toss in [Brett] Brackett and you have some great leadership there. Some of the best the unit has seen in recent years."

  • Perhaps the biggest focus of this time of year is conditioning and running. The players have been running "a lot." They'll get in sprints and varying distance speed runs like 110s and 300s. These are generally timed based on positions with the splits generally looking like:

    Group A: WR, DB, RB
    Group B: LB, FB, QB, DE, TE
    Group C: OL, DL

  • Earlier this week the players who made all of their earlier summer runs got the opportunity to skip the 300s scheduled. "It's just a reward they'll give to the guys pushing themselves."

  • The players have also been regularly lifting, as often as five days per week with each day typically focusing on a different area of a player's physique. Many player have early (about 6 a.m.) lifting sessions. Several guys have been impressive in the weight room. Among the players who have received strong weight-room praise have been Gerald Hodges, Curtis Dukes, Moye, Stefen Wisniewski, James Terry, Devon Still, Michael Mautiand Khairi Fortt. "There are a lot of guys who kill it with lifts. They just go all out and they have a great work ethic - J.T. [strength coach John Thomas] doesn't have to push or sit on these guys."

  • The players are already talking about Lift For Life, set for Friday, July 9 from 2:00-7:00 p.m. in Holuba Hall. "It's a big pride thing and has really become a major competition among the players, and some of those guys like to [trash] talk about the event."

  • While the bulk of impact guys have been at Penn State with some periodic weekends off for breaks, there are some key veterans who have been allowed to head home to work out for a portion of the summer, including Evan Royster and Chaz Powell. "Guys like that who have put so much in have earned it and they don't need to take any summer courses at this stage. The coaches aren't worried that they'll be home on the coach with a bag of chips." The veterans who have been home are expected to head back to campus for the second summer session."

  • Speaking of which, the majority of PSU's Class of 2010 will arrive on campus Sunday and receive their dorm assignments. They'll begin working out with the team and taking classes when the second summer semester begins next week. Registration is Tuesday and classes begin Wednesday.

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