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Notes & Observations: Penn State’s 8/21 Practice

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Some thoughts on the final media availability before Penn State begins preparation for App State.

Patrick Koerbler - BSD

PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS

  • Despite there being heavier rain around 5:00 p.m., Penn State was still outside for the end of practice around 6:50 p.m. The field was in good condition so it wasn’t a surprise that James Franklin wanted to expose his squad to a wet field. Obviously in the Big Ten, there’s a good chance Penn State will see some unfavorable weather throughout the season.
  • Tommy Stevens was in sweats and was still using crutches. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spot Shane Simmons, who was also using a walking boot last Saturday.
  • When the media was let in, Penn State was working through a two-minute drill with mostly backups. Sean Clifford was in on offense with the offensive line left-to-right being Desmond Holmes, Mike Miranda, Zach Simpson, CJ Thorpe, and Will Fries. Daniel George and I think Mac Hippenhammer were in at wide receiver, while Jon Holland was in at tight end.
  • Defensively, I wasn’t able to make note of every player, but I saw Jayson Oweh, Nick Tarburton, Ellison Jordan, Jarvis Miller, Micah Parsons, Zech McPhearson, and Jonathan Sutherland were in.
  • The defense clearly got the better of the offense. On one play, Clifford scrambled out of the pocket for a few yards, but was quickly met by Oweh on the sideline. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Oweh can move. Defensive line coach Sean Spencer noted after practice that Oweh has flashed during camp, but is still a very raw player.
  • The team also worked on, I think, long snapping at the very end. I say “I think” because we couldn’t exactly see what was going on because the entire team surrounded the drill blocking the view.

POST-PRACTICE NOTES

  • End of practice, the team was treated to Rita’s Italian ice, which is a cool gesture. The media, unfortunately, was not given any.
  • Robert Windsor and Antonio Shelton stuck around after practice to work on the sleds. Shelton specifically stayed throughout the entire media portion, which was a good 15 minutes of extra work. Big kid.
  • Doesn’t seem like any of the tight ends have separated themselves from the pack. Franklin said that Penn State will use a number of guys there this year. Mentioned that Danny Dalton had the most consistent camp, while Pat Freiermuth is someone who will factor into things too.
  • Despite Ryan Buchholz’s retirement, Franklin doesn’t seem worried about defensive end at all. He praised the unit and said they have had a strong camp.
  • On that same note, Spencer said that Shareef Miller and Yetur Gross-Matos are your likely starters at defensive end come September 1. Not a huge surprise that Gross-Matos is getting the nod but newsworthy nonetheless.
  • Spencer also said that Kevin Givens could see some time at defensive end depending upon the opponent. He specifically mentioned Wisconsin as a game where Givens could be utilized on the outside.
  • Miles Sanders mentioned a bunch of freshmen who played well in the most previous team scrimmage — Ricky Slade, Justin Shorter, Jahan Dotson, Daniel George, Micah Parsons, and PJ Mustipher were some of the names he brought up. While it’s not surprising for veterans to praise the younger guys, I get the sense the buzz about the 2018 class is very legitimate.
  • In regards to a true freshman running back making the adjustment to the college game, Sanders said that the toughest part of the adjustment for him was blocking. Not so much the physical aspect of it, but more so the ability to read the defense pre-snap to know where the blitz is coming from and what his responsibility is.
  • If you didn’t see, Bruce Feldman was at practice tonight. He’s clearly impressed by Ricky Slade.