Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Penn State spring wrap
By ESPN.com staff
2009 overall record: 11-2
2009 conference record: 6-2 (T-2nd)
Offense: 7, defense: 5, kicker/punter: 1
RB Evan Royster, WR Derek Moye, WR Graham Zug, G Stefen Wisniewski, DE Jack Crawford, DT Ollie Ogbu, S Nick Sukay
QB Daryll Clark, TE Andrew Quarless, LT Dennis Landolt, DT Jared Odrick, LB Navorro Bowman, LB Sean Lee, LB Josh Hull, P Jeremy Boone
2009 statistical leaders (*-returners)
Rushing: Evan Royster* (1,169 yards)
Passing: Daryll Clark (3,003 yards)
Receiving: Derek Moye* (785 yards)
Tackles: Josh Hull (116)
Sacks: Jared Odrick (7)
Interceptions: A.J. Wallace (3)
1. Linebacker depth should be OK: It's never easy to replace three starters at one spot, but Penn State is called Linebacker U. for a reason. Nate Stupar, Mike Yancich and Gerald Hodges all did some nice things in the Blue-White Game, and fan favorite Michael Mauti returns from an ACL injury this summer. Penn State can't expect the same production it received in 2009, but linebacker shouldn't be the team's chief concern this fall.
2. Defensive line looks fine: The D-line has been Penn State's most consistent unit in recent years, as coach Larry Johnson mass-produces elite players. First-round draft pick Jared Odrick leaves a major void inside, but Ollie Ogbu and Devon Still both boast some good experience there. The coaches had to like what they saw from defensive ends Eric Latimore and Kevion Latham in the spring game, and don't forget about Jack Crawford, who could have a monster 2010 season.
3. Jones is a factor at quarterback: Joe Paterno might want you to believe that freshmen don't exist, but you can bet he noticed Paul Jones in the Blue-White Game. Jones, an early enrollee, was the Nittany Lions' top quarterback in the game, tossing two touchdown passes to Shawney Kersey. If Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin don't separate themselves early in fall camp, Jones deserves a longer look.
1. Quarterback questions: Newsome and McGloin didn't do much to ease the anxiety of Penn State fans in the spring game. McGloin had two interceptions and nearly had a third, and Newsome completed only 5 of 12 pass attempts. There's a long way to go before the season, but Penn State needs to see more progress from these two or the prospect of starting a true freshman quarterback will become a likelihood.
2. Finding an O-line combo: Penn State did some shuffling along the offensive line this spring, and it showed in the Blue-White Game. The line struggled to protect the quarterbacks or open holes for the running backs. All-Big Ten selection Stefen Wisniewski should be fine at right guard after switching back from center, but the coaches need to settle on the other four spots so the group can build some chemistry before September.
3. Punting situation: You know there's a potential problem when a wide receiver (Graham Zug) is working as the second-team punter. Penn State's punting situation could be resolved when Anthony Fera gets out of the doghouse and back on the practice field, but the Nittany Lions can't afford a major dropoff following the departure of standout Jeremy Boone. A good punter can be a young quarterback's best friend, and Penn State needs one in 2010.