We'll have more coverage as the week goes on, but I wanted to get some of my thoughts out there for discussion.
- I don't think yesterday solved anything in the quarterback competition. Newsome looked like he was locking on his receivers and having accuracy issues. McGloin was forcing things and made some poor throws into coverage. He ended up with two interceptions. I wasn't impressed with his arm strength at all.
- Paul Jones looked really good to me. I thought his mechanics looked better than Newsome, and he clearly has the strongest arm of the three. He was also decisive so that's good. But I don't think he has a realistic shot at the starting job. He's just a freshman, so his playbook knowledge isn't that great. Plus the defense he was throwing against was very basic.
- The left offensive tackle situation is a huge problem. I thought Eliades looked okay at right tackle, but Quinn Barham at left tackle did not impress me at all. Eric Latimore had his way with him all day. But the flip side of that is that Latimore looked awesome, so maybe he has had a breakout spring and is set to be a major player on the defensive line.
- The offensive line looked bad in pass protection, but I thought they got a pretty good push in the running game. Which brings us to...
- Penn State didn't run the ball much to give the quarterbacks plent of work, but when they ran I was impressed with what I saw. Curtis Dukes and Silas Redd are going to be superstars. Dukes is a truck and when he gets up to speed it takes at least two guys to bring him down. Redd showed some nifty moves to evade tackles, and then he showed really good burst once he got in the open. I think both of these guys are going to see playing time this season.
- Whoever the quarterback is, he's going to have tons of talented wide receivers to throw to. We didn't see much of Derek Moye, Curtis Drake or Graham Zug yesterday, but guys like Shawney Kersey, Brandon Mosbey-Felder, and A.J. Price looked pretty good. And Gary Gilliam looked really good in place of Andrew Szczerba who didn't play.
- It's no surprise that the defense looked fantastic. No worries there. The defensive line looks solid. Latimore looks like he's really stepping up his game, and Devon Still looks like he will fill in just fine for Jared Odrick. Latimore had two sacks.
- I thought the linebackers looked solid. Nate Stupar looked like Paul Posluszny out there. He led the game with seven tackles, and he had an interception. Bani Gbadyu landed the O'Hora Award as the most improved defensive player, and I thought he played pretty solid. He looks like he's put on ten or fifteen pounds. Mike Yancich and Chris Colasanti also looked good to me.
- The secondary looked good. A few of the second and third team guys got burnt here and there, but overall they played well. I was impressed with Derrick Thomas. They tried to burn him on a pump fake double move in the endzone and he didn't bite.
Overall I think things went about as I expected. The defense is obviously way ahead of the offense at this point, and I think we have to expect that. Not only are they breaking in a new quarterback, they're swapping guys in and out under center on every other series. Things are going to look shakey. But I saw enough positive things in the running game that I think the offense will be ok. They will have to lean heavily on defense and running the ball, which shouldn't be anything new for Joe Paterno. That's why I think ultimately Newsome is going to win out over McGloin. His legs can be a tremendous weapon.