Some observations following Penn State coach Bill O’Brien’s teleconference Thursday…
– Sounds like Allen Robinson has emerged as the No. 1 wideout, but also keep an eye on Shawney Kersey.
I heard Kersey had a great summer and that he has the kind of athleticism to excel in an offense where receivers will get more opportunities to run after the catch. O’Brien said six or seven wide receivers are in the rotation right now and you’ve got to think Kersey lines up opposite Robinson on Sept. 1
– I’m wondering how far Curtis Dukes’ academic issues have set him back. O’Brien did not mention Dukes when discussing tailback depth even though he is Penn State’s leading returning rusher.
Derek Day, Zach Zwinak and true freshman Akeel Lynch were named by O’Brien as players vying for time behind starter Bill Belton.
Dukes sat out of spring drills to concentrate on his grades.
– The kicking game is going to cost Penn State at least one game this season, making kicker/punter Anthony Fera as big a loss as Silas Redd.
O’Brien seems pleased kicker Sam Ficken but neither Alex Butterworth nor Matt Marcincin has stood out as they vie to replace Fera.
“They really have to be a lot more consistent and I think that’s still an ongoing battle there,” O’Brien said.
– It’s baffling that an offensive tackle could be sidelined by a hamstring injury as long as Donovan Smith has, but Penn State needs the redshirt freshman to get on the field.
Smith is a prototypical left tackle, and he will be one of the key on a line that returns only one starter from last season. The Nittany Lions do have nice insurance at tackle with Adam Gress able to play both tackle positions as well as Mike Farrell.
Farrell is going to see a lot of playing time this season and O’Brien said the senior is having a good camp.
– O’Brien doesn’t talk about defensive end Deion Barnes. He gushes about the redshirt freshman and the first-year coach did so again Thursday using the word “excellent” in describing Barnes.
Barnes will get plenty of playing time even with Pete Massaro and Sean Stanley set as the starting defensive ends.