Last night the Big Ten Network aired their Penn State preview. The show was taped live in Happy Valley during practice. I highly recommend watching it if you get a chance. I'm sure the BTN will rebroadcast it over the next couple of weeks. Here are my impressions from the show.
- Last night was my first look at Robert Bolden, and I have to agree that the kid looks the part. Nice footwork. Good delivery. Plenty of zip on the ball. Given time to learn the playbook, he's going to be a stud.
- Kevin Newsome did not impress me. His footwork was a bit sloppy, and his delivery looked a bit slow. I was also a bit concerned about his effort. It just seemed like on some of the drills he wasn't focusing on trying to be perfect. I think he'll make a fantastic wildcat quarterback, but I don't see him getting the majority of the game snaps.
- Matt McGloin was okay. Good mechanics and footwork, but I felt the arm strength was lacking. Having said that, he might be the best option until Bolden gets up to speed.
- The wide receivers looked really good in the few drills I saw. Mike McQueary was throwing balls to them from about ten yards away. The kids had to turn around and find the ball quick. Let me tell you, Mike still has a gun. He was rifling those balls in there, and I don't think I saw more than one ball dropped.
- They showed the running backs doing some footwork and contact drills, but I can't say there was much to see there. Gary Dinardo and Howard Griffith commented that Dukes, Green, and Redd looked really good from what they observed off camera. They were really impressed with the depth at running back.
- Devon Still is going to kill somebody this year. My advanced condolances go out to their parents.
- They showed the linebackers doing some drills that didn't really show what they are capable of, but Gerald Hodges stood out as a guy who is in fantastic shape. He drew a lot of praise from the commentators. They also commented that Mauti still looks a step slow as he's recovering from his knee injury last year.
- Didn't get to see much of the secondary, but D'Anton Lynn stood out as one of the better corners in the drill I saw. Chaz Powell was looking really aggressive. Stephon Morris was sitting out and watching. This was filmed last week just after he had the stinger in his shoulder. Reports are that he should be back to practicing later this week.
- They showed some running drills where the offensive line and running backs worked against the defensive line and linebackers. In the early going it was the second team offensive line on the field and the running backs were getting swallowed up. Dinardo and Griffith started going negative saying this was not a good sign. But then the first team offensive line came in and Stephfon Green promptly busted off a 12 yard run behind Wiz. I think Silas Redd then had a solid four or five yard run on the left side. But I did note that Hodges absolutely tossed Quinn Barham aside on one play and dropped Royster for a loss.
- They interviewed Joe Paterno near the end, and I have to say he is looking really old. I was away on vacation during the Big Ten media days, so I didn't get to see his performance that had everyone talking. Last night was really the first time I've seen him standing, walking around, and talking since the Capital One Bowl. He's lost a lot of weight in his face, arms and legs, but he's still carrying around a big pot belly. Whenever you saw him walking around, somebody was right next to him almost as if they were there to catch him if he started to fall. I also noticed this during games last year. Dr. Sebastonelli was always a few steps away from Joe on the sidelines. During the interview last night his mouth was agape, and his speech was more slurred than usual. But then he supposedly had some dental work done in the offseason, so maybe there was some nerve damage related to that. At times he just gave the impression of looking disoriented. At the end of the interview he stood up and turned around like he was looking for the exit while the camera was still rolling. Then he remembered he had a headset on and started fumbling to get that off. All the while Dinardo and the other commentators were trying to talk to him so he's looking at them, and then looking for the exit. Then he's looking at them and looking for the exit. For goodness sakes, someone tell Joe just stay in your chair and smile until the red light on the camera goes off.
The overall impression from Dinardo and Griffith was positive. They liked the defense a lot, and they liked all of the running backs and wide recievers. The quarterbacks and offensive line are the obvious concerns. For those who missed it, I'm sure the BTN will be rerunning the show through the weekend.