Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Early Spring Scrimmage

The Lions had an early scrimmage this weekend in which we got a little peak at the the depth chart as it stands today. The CDT has the story, however, what does it all mean?

The CDT relates that Clark looked good throwing both short routes and deep balls very accurately. Great. I am glad. The simple fact of the matter is that Clark should be an accurate passer and he should look really good in spring practice when he is the only player wearing a red jersey. What is interesting is how the rest of the QBs on the roster looked.

This is what the CDT had to say about Kevin Newsome:

Working with the second team for all but a few snaps, true freshman Kevin Newsome had an up-and-down afternoon. His passes, thrown with a three-quarter, sidearm motion, had zip but often missed his intended targets. He seemed jumpy in the pocket, though defensive linemen from both the first and second-team defenses gave him little time to throw. Newsome looked much more comfortable — and more efficient — as a ball carrier, displaying good patience, vision and speed with a low-to-the- ground style.

I am not surprised that Mr. Newsome looked "jumpy" as this was his first time in a game-like situation with players with college speed and size bearing down on him. All this without the benefit of a red jersey. I think that is enough to make anybody "jumpy". Regardless of how he felt in the pocket I am more concerned with the description of his delivery: sidearm. As players get bigger and bigger the proper mechanics will help to keep the ball away from the paws of defensive linemen. I know that there have been plenty of successful QBs who haven't had perfect mechanics; however, it certainly doesn't help. Newsome's ability to run the ball is, of course, what we were all excited about when we recruited him. Also, while the kid's mechanics may not be perfect, athletic freakishness cannot be taught. Better passing mechanics can be worked out over the next year. Let's not forget that Newsome is only practicing right now because he enrolled in school early. This extra spring package certainly gives him a lot of extra experience with the offense to try to become the back up QB.

Matt McGloin also took several snaps.

Redshirt freshman walk-on Matt McGloin showed the difference between a freshman and a player with a year of college experience, even if that experience came on the scout team. Though he lacked the arm strength of Clark and Newsome, McGloin was accurate on short balls and deep balls, at one point connecting with fellow walk-on and Philipsburg-Osceola alumnus J.D. Mason for considerable gains on consecutive plays.

This is what I want to see out of McGloin. He doesn't have to be flashy, but the Lions definitely need a guy who can come in and throw the ball accurately when the team needs him too. A better understanding of the offense --- as well as accuracy --- seems to point to McGloin being the back up QB for the 2009 season. It is impossible to comment on McGloin's ability to run the ball, however, should he not be as effective running as passing it would be interesting to see Newsome come in to run a limited "Wild Lion" package at some points.

Zug, Moye, and Brackett all saw a lot of snaps at WR. WR is a position that the Lions really need to develop nicely this spring after the departure of the most productive WR corps in Penn State history. Now, every one of these guys is going to have to show us significant development if the Lions want to be as productive through the air as they were last year. One interesting thing to note is that every one of these guys is over six feet tall, in fact, Brackett and Moye are 6' 6" and 6' 5" respectively. How interesting will it be to go from a decidedly undersized group of WRs to a very large group of players. Jump Balls here we come!

Needless to say, the newly assembled OL will have to play very well for PSU to have a great season. I am not expecting a dominating year from the OL as they are young but they are particularly young on the left side of the line.

The firstteam offensive line included sophomore DeOn’tae Pannell at left tackle, redshirt freshman Matt Stankiewitch at left guard, Stefen Wisniewski at center, junior Lou Eliades at right guard and Dennis Landolt at right tackle.

A lot of folks are complaining about the 2009 schedule as it is very heavy on the cupcakes early in the year. However, that schedule will be a giant help to a very young offensive line and give them an opportunity to get some consistency up front. With a little experience this crew could start to play some good ball when PSU gets to the meat of its schedule.

Ahh spring, a time of unbridled potential and possible delusion.

I just can't wait for the Blue/White game!


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