The Nittany Lions are more than halfway through their 2016 training camp, and with Penn State just 2 weeks away from their first game against Kent State, the team and coaching staff is still working out final details. Here’s a link roundup on the latest from Penn State football training camp.
BTN visit to PSU’s training camp
In case you missed it, the Big Ten Network paid a visit to the Penn State football camp last week, reporting from Happy Valley on Monday. BTN’s Tom Dienhart shared his initial thoughts in two articles here and here on everything from the QBs, offensive line, impressive linebackers, improving defense, running back strength and more.
Watch the brief BTN behind the scenes video at last week’s camp for highlights.
Progress for the Penn State defense
In 2016, Penn State is returning linebackers Nyeem Wartman-White, Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda, with BTN’s Dienhart calling the crew one of the best sets in the Big Ten.
BTN’s Gerry Dinardo feels that the newcomers to the defense have what it takes (Kevin Givens, Parker Cothren, Evan Schwan, Ryan Buchholz, and Shareef Miller), but just need a little more development.
BTN Camp Tour #PennState Hard to replace last years D Line but that group is deep and talented but has to develop. 1st D looks good— Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) August 14, 2016
Penn Live’s Greg Pickel reported on the defensive line, including reaction of returning starter Garrett Sickels on how the younger players are doing, including Givens. Read more on Sickels from 247Sports’ article last week.
Hear more from outside linebacker Jason Cabinda, who spoke to BTN Monday after practice.
General updates on the PSU offense
BTN liked what they saw from the talented group of safeties, wideouts, receivers, running backs and wideouts.
BTN’s Gerry Dinardo commented on improvements in the offensive line, RB, QBs, and the offense overall, going as far to say this:
BTN Camp Tour #PennState RB and WR very good, O line certainly improved, QB play will be better than last two years -offense will be better— Gerry DiNardo (@gerrydinardo) August 14, 2016
Who’s starting on the PSU offensive line ?
The o-line is still getting set, but it’s close. Veteran Andrew Nelson was playing right tackle in camp, although his spot hasn’t been confirmed by coaching staff. Redshirt freshman Ryan Bates, who is likely to start at guard this season, is making great strides according to offensive line coach Matt Limegrover, who spoke with 247 Sports and Sean Fitz last week.
Limegrover on Bates’ performance:
Brendan Mahon and Brian Gaia are likely the rest of the four of the five to hold offensive line spots.
There’s still an open spot with competition between Connor McGovern and Michal Menet, who have seen some practice at guard spots in camp last week, and it appears that Derek Dowrey and Noah Beh may be competing for the last open spot as well, according to what Penn Live’s Bob Flounders and State College.com’s Ben Jones saw at practices.
The PSU running game; AKA, Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley has been sharing reps with Andre Robinson, Mark Allen and Miles Sanders, and focusing on some extra stretching and ice a little more than last year to get through some hitting at closed practices. Read more from The Morning Call.
Even with limited time on the field during the practices that were open to the media, BTN’s Tom Deinhart saw enough to say that Barkley may be the best running back in the conference.
PSU QB competition continues
Penn State has not yet named a starting quarterback, with Trace McSorely and redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens still competing for the quarterback job.
Tom Dienhardt liked what he saw from both of Penn State’s athletic, solid QBs.
BTN analysts spoke more about the QB competition here.
Final thoughts from the PSU players
Saquon Barkley, Andrew Nelson and Garrett Sickels spoke after Wednesday's practice about the camp grind in general, depth (especially at the offensive line), and how the younger players are doing on the o-line and d- line.