Game week is finally here. Penn State released the depth chart (Warning! - .pdf file) for the Florida International game this week and there are a few surprises. Let's take a look.
Let's start with the offense where everything pretty much looks as planned. Austin Scott is the starting running back, and this year he has shed the "or" between him and Rodney Kinlaw.
The top three wide receivers are Williams, Butler, and Norwood. Not much of a surprise there, but some people were hoping to see Chris Bell crack the top three. Bell finds himself listed fourth along with Terrell Golden. Perhaps Joe is keeping him under wraps setting his coming out party against Notre Dame or Michigan?
Andrew Quarless does not appear on the depth chart. Nor does Willie Harriott on defense. Mickey Shuler and Jordan Lyons will share the duty at tight end.
The only surprise on the offensive line is Lou Eliades beating out Rich Ohrnberger at left guard. The rest of the line is Cadogen at left tackle, Shipley at center, Shaw at right guard, and Landolt at right tackle. The junior college guys, Poti and McCormack, are listed third at the two tackle positions.
Daryll Clark has officially beaten Pat Devlin out for the backup quarterback job.
Switching to defense we find a few more surpises. The biggest surprise to me is Aaron Maybin listed as a starter at right defensive end. Adding to the surprise is linebacker Jerome Hayes listed as his backup. Hayes will probably play the standup defensive end position similar to what Tim Shaw did last year. It looks like the coaches are focused on getting a lot of speed for that outside pass rush. Josh Gaines is listed as the starting left defensive end with Maurice Evans as the backup. I thought Evans would have beaten out Gaines, especially since Gaines briefly landed in Joe's doghouse back in the spring. But apparently that's not the case. It doesn't matter much though. I imagine both guys will rotate in and out and see pretty equal playing time.
The defensive tackle position looks a lot better than it looked last week. Chris Baker is listed as the starter so it appears he will not sit as a result of the apartment fight. Phil Taylor is listed as the back up so I guess he's healthy enough to play afterall. Chris Rogers takes one for the team and moves inside to help out at tackle. That gives us five bodies inside. Much better than two which is what we thought the situation was last week.
Tyrell Sales has won the vacant outside linebacker job. Navarro Bowman will be his backup. But when a freshman pushes a junior that hard you have to wonder how long it will be until he claims the job as his.
Anthony Scirrotto is listed as the starting safety so it looks like he's going to play. Tony Davis will be the other starting safety. Backing these guys up are Jason Ganter, a fifth year legacy recruit, and Mark Rubin, a converted wide receiver that sat out all of 2005 with an injury. I'm not feeling good about our situation if either Scirrotto or Davis get hurt. I would feel a lot better if I saw Spencer Ridenhour's name there.
Lydell Sargeant will start at corner opposite of Justin King. His battle with A.J. Wallace was one of the most watched through the off season. I guess the coaches felt better putting in an experienced junior rather than a sophomore that split time with the offense last year. I'm sure both guys will see a lot of playing time and I suspect by mid season the job will be Wallace's for good. The coaches probably just want to see him get extended time in a real game situation first.
Jeremy Boone is listed as the starting punter ahead of freshman Ryan Breen. Boone will also handle the holding duties for Kevin Kelly. Kinlaw and Wallace will handle the kickoffs and Derrick Williams will handle the punt returns.
I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some football.