News and Notes from the Football Team
Slightly more than a week away from the opening kickoff versus Youngstown State on Sept. 4th, the Nittany Lions are beginning to gel, position battles are steaming up and leaders are beginning to shine.
Joe Paterno will look to improve on his 394 career victories while facing a gauntlet of a road schedule. He will take his Nittany Lions south Sept. 11 to square off versus Alabama, the defending national champions and top ranked team in the country. Oh, and they also sport last year’s Hesiman trophy-winning running back.
Just three weeks later Penn State travels to Iowa to play the No. 9 ranked Hawkeyes to kickoff the Big-Ten portion of the schedule. Highlighting the season will be the Nov. 13 matchup at Ohio State. The No. 2 ranked Buckeyes’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor is Sports Illustrated’s favorite to win the Heisman trophy for the 2010 season.
To combat the brutal schedule, Penn State will have to rely on an unproven, unexperienced quarterback. The battle for the starting quarterback position has been a hot topic all offseason. Last week, freshman Paul Jones was told he will redshirt in 2010, leaving the position open to sophomore Matt McGloin, sophomore Kevin Newsome, and freshman Robert Bolden.
Early reports say the freshman Bolden has shown the most upside during preseason practices, while Matt McGloin possesses the needed composure and leadership skills. It seems as if Newsome has been inconsistent and mediocre, but has more athleticism than the other two candidates. Given that the offensive line is also unproven, the coaching staff may be forced to rely on Newsome’s quick feet.
Rumors have been flying about this QB derby, but it still seems the coaches are truly undecided. The next two weeks of practice will go a long way in telling who will get the nod for Youngstown State.
Good news for the quarterbacks, though, is that wide receivers Derek Moye and Graham Zug have reportedly taken over as leaders on the offensive side of the ball. Moye and Zug, who are 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-5 respectively, are two of the tallest wide receivers in the Big 10 and will give the new quarterback, whoever he may be, a huge target to hit.
They have also helped groom a stable of young, fast wide receivers below them on the depth chart. Since Curtis Drake broke his leg two weeks ago, players like Devon Smith, Brandon Mosbley-Felder, Shawney Kersey, and freshman Alex Kenney have been bright spots on the offense and will likely contribute this fall.
- Drake’s leg remains the biggest concern on the injury report, but freshman running back Silas Redd sprained his MCL last week but could be on the field by Youngstown State
- Drew Astorino, who had more tackles in 2009 than any other returning defender, suffered a minor injury to his arm; it was nothing serious and won’t sideline him
- Sophomore cornerback Derrick Thomas missed a week of practice with a shoulder injury
- Senior center Doug Klopacz suffered an ankle injury, but likely won’t be out long
- Tight end Andrew Sczerba is still not practicing due to a back injury