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Spring Practice Day 10: Notes and Observations

Penn State football officially hit the double digit mark of spring practice yesterday as the April 20 Blue-White game — the 15th and final installment of spring ball — inches closer. An afternoon thunderstorm washed away some nice State College weather and forced the Nittany Lions inside Holuba Hall, a common theme over the past few weeks. Some notes and observations can be found below:

Pre-Practice Availability

  • During a conference call, senior safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong revealed that he unknowingly played most of 2012 with a torn labrum, suffered Week 3 against Navy. An MRI after the season revealed the full extent of the injury
  • Obeng-Agyapong, up from 205 pounds to 210 pounds, does not expect to play in the Blue-White game but should be ready for summer practice.
  • Linebackers Mike Hull and Glenn Carson have both been impressed by redshirt freshman defensive tackle Austin Johnson, who is in the mix to start next to DaQuan Jones at the other defensive tackle spot.
  • Kyle Carter, the recipient of the offseason Rehab Award, is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a dislocated wrist and torn ligaments. He believes he could play if there was a game today.
  • Carter does not foresee anymore transfers even though players still have the option. “There’s no reason to leave here. We’re all brothers. Coach O’Brien knows how to keep us here.”
  • The injury allowed Carter to focus on his leadership qualities and help young tight ends in Adam Breneman and Brent Wilkerson along in the process.
  • With Michael Zordich gone, the fullback position — and how often the Nittany Lions will utilize one — is in question. Senior Pat Zerbe has seen some reps there according to center Ty Howle.
  • Sam Ficken is working to improve his field goal range and kickoff strength after not hitting a field goal beyond 38 yards last season and only registering 27 touchbacks on 68 attempts.
  • Allen Robinson is up to 217 pounds after playing last season at the 203 mark.
  • Robinson and Adrian Amos, who has been getting some work returning punts, have been very competitive with each other this spring.
  • Bill O’Brien expressed the need to find more special teams players to improve a unit that often struggled last season.
  • The quarterback competition remains even with both Steven Bench and Tyler Ferguson having received 168 reps heading into yesterday’s practice.
  • Malik Golden and Trevor Williams’ switch to the defensive side of the ball has increased secondary depth and — unlike last year — gives defensive coordinator John Butler the option of utilizing nickel and dime packages on defense.
  • The Blue-White game will feature the same offense vs. defense scoring system as last year’s event.

Practice Notes/Observations

  • Bill Belton is dealing with a toe injury and sat out yesterday’s practice, but it does not appear to be serious.
  • Garry Gilliam is out for the rest of spring ball with a strained calf.
  • Safety Ryan Keiser was in position to intercept a Bench pass but saw it go off his hands.
  • Bench quickly recovered by finding Robinson for a touchdown on the following play.
  • Eugene Lewis caught a nice pass from Ferguson down the right sideline later on.
  • O’Brien spent much of the time watching the quarterbacks and wide receivers and overall seemed pleased.
  • Amos continues to see work at safety during drills.
  • Strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald wore pants for the second consecutive open practice.

Click here for a photo gallery from Bobby Chen.

About the Author

Drew Balis

Drew is a senior marketing major. This fall, he will be covering Penn State Football for Onward State. He is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and loves THON and Domonic Brown.

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