Reports from Penn State's annual Coaches' Clinic scrimmage are filtering in from all over the state, and you already know the two big areas of concern -- quarterback and offensive line. And the situation on the line seems even more jumbled than we could have imagined. Your two big, basic headlines:
Kevin Newsome's scrambling ability may eventually be the deciding factor in the QB competition.
The Wilkes Barre Times-Leader's Derek Levarse has a ridiculously comprehensive summary of the lineups used and drive summaries, but here's his ultimate take of the quarterbacks (and referring to a long Newsome scramble that thrilled the assembled crowd):
Well, we saw the QB dilemma laid out clearly today. McGloin looked to be the sharper passer, completing more of his throws, including a few very nice spirals. Newsome struggled at the start of the afternoon but improved a bit as the scrimmage went on. But he's very plainly a huge threat with his legs. That 26-yard scramble he had was as good as you'll see from a college QB, making guys miss and working into the open field for a big game.The question -- from now until September -- which will help Penn State's offense more?
A more troubling detailed analysis from Mark Brennan in the Altoona Mirror:
As the second-teamer behind Clark last season, Newsome figured to have an edge over McGloin this spring. But other than being the first quarterback to see snaps with the first team Saturday, Newsome did little to distinguish himself. He was extremely erratic during Drill 6 (7 on 7), overthrowing or under-throwing nearly every pass. He opened the actual scrimmage by leading the first-team offense against the first-team defense, hitting on only 1 of 4 passes but also scrambling for a first down on a drive that eventually stalled.
Later, leading the second-team offense against the first-team defense, he fumbled a snap (but recovered) and then missed wideout Brett Brackett. Facing third and 16 from his own 29, he made his best play of the day, avoiding the blitz and scrambling for 26 yards. He followed that with a quick strike to tight end Garry Gilliam and later hit tight end Brennan Coakley to the 2-yard line. Newsome then ran option, pitching to early-enrollee tailback Silas Redd for a 2-yard TD. Newsome finished the day 3 of 9 for 38 yards, no scores and no picks.
McGloin nearly gained more yardage on his first pass. Leading the second-team offense against the second-team defense, he fired a bomb to reshirt freshman wideout Shawney Kersey, who made a sprawling catch for a 34-yard gain. He was 5 of 9 for 56 yards on the drive, which ended on Collin Wagner's 34-yard field goal. Later, McGloin led the first-team offense vs. the second-team defense and was even more effective. He completed his first two passes, both to senior wideout Graham Zug, for a total of 57 yards. He finished the day 8-of-17 for 118 yards and no TDs. It should be noted that McGloin did not face the first-team defense Saturday.
The offensive line is a potential mess.
And isn't this the last thing you wanted to hear after the debacles against Iowa and Ohio State last season? Keeping in mind that this is spring football and offensive line depth charts are partially useless, this configuration is...odd:
LEFT GUARD: DeOn’tae Pannell; John Urschel; Mark Arcidiacono
That's right, the starting offensive line featured Quinn Barham at left tackle and Doug Klopacz at center. For the past two springs, Penn State fans have been wondering if Klopacz could eventually crack the starting lineup. Perhaps this is finally his year. If he can it done, it allows Wisniewski to move back to his best position -- right guard.
The Barham-at-RT news is noteworthy, but especially because it prompts the reader to wonder, "hey, where the hell are Eric Shrive and Adam Gress?" As you can see, they're on the third team (and Shrive is at right guard). Also interesting -- Matt Stankiewitch at center instead of guard, Mike Farrell showing up at second team right tackle, and under-the-radar recruit John Urschel already at second team left guard.
(But again, remember. It's spring. The coaches are looking for combinations that work, and it's not an easy job.)
Links for your perusal and approval: