Penn State held its second intrasquad scrimmage Thursday and their were positive and negatives.
The offense managed to score four touchdowns, while the defensive created one turnover. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was not happy with his unit, posting on Twitter that he thought the defense took “a step backward.”
Here’s some points of interest from the scrimmage itself:
- It appears that redshirt freshman Matt Stankiewitch has a strangle hold on the starting left guard spot. Stankiewitch, a Blue Mountain graduate, impressed me with his play in the Big 33 game last summer and was said to be one of the players who made the biggest strides during this past winter’s workouts. Sophomore Johnnie Troutman, the one-time projected starter, has fallen all the way to the third team and appears to have purchased some property in Joe Paterno’s doghouse.
- A.J. Wallace is still running with the third team as he tries to get out of Paterno’s doghouse for cutting classes this summer. Sophomore D’Anton Lynn has played with the first team in Wallace’s absence and appears to be taking advantage of that opportunity.
- True freshman cornerbacks Stephon Morris and Derrick Thomas continue to earn playing team with the second unit and each has showed their strengths during the preseason practice. Thomas has a better technique at this point, while Morris plays with great confidence and tends to gamble a bit, something he might have to control if he wants Paterno’s trust.
- Daryll Clark and Evan Royster didn’t see much action during the scrimmage, but that was only a precautionary measure to make sure neither player got dinged. There’s really no need for them to be full participants and it gives other players like Kevin Newsome and Brandon Beachum, who has shown good power but continues to need work on his patience, chances to show the coaching staff what they got.
- Newsome hooked up with fellow true freshman Justin Brown for a touchdown on a fade route. Newsome seems to have grasped the concept of remaining calm in the pocket instead of taking off at the slightest sign of pressure.
- Brett Brackett, Derrick Moye, Chaz Powell and Graham Zug have established themselves among an inexperienced wide receiver group, but keep an eye on true freshmen Curtis Drake and Shawney Kersey. Brown is physically the most impressive PSU freshman WR, but Drake could fill the role played by Derrick Williams and Kersey’s rare combination of size and speed could really open the playbook.
- True freshman Devon Smith had the play of the scrimmage when he took a swing pass, made a cut and blew away everyone on the defense for an easy touchdown. Smith is super small at 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds, but the kid can absolutely fly. I cringe at the thought of what might happen should he take a hit from a 6-3, 230 linebacker, but I’m not sure there’s one of those who could catch Smith.
- Sophomore tight end Andrew Szczerba dressed for the scrimmage, but had a red jersey with a cross on it so he did not participate in any live drills. No worries though as it appears Szczerba suffered a minor injury to the shin on his right leg.
That’s it for today. In the first scrimmage the defense was ahead of the offense and on Thursday it seemed to be the other way around. Only 15 days to kickoff against Akron.