A team that only throws when it has to may not seem like a get-well opponent for Penn State’s secondary, but that is exactly how senior cornerback Stephon Morris is viewing Navy.
“This Navy game is going to be a big confidence boost for us, especially if we get up on them early,” Morris said.
Translation: Navy, which averaged less than 90 passing yards last season when it had an experienced quarterback, could serve up a few interceptions if it falls behind early in the Saturday game at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State defensive backs have yet to make an interception this season, and they are on the spot due to the Nittany Lions’ inability to get off the field.
Penn State is allowing a third-down conversion rate of 61.1 percent, which is as astounding as it is abysmal, and Morris said that is all on the secondary.
“They’re pretty much throwing seam routes, going at the safeties, attacking the middle of the field,” Morris said. “That’s not the linebackers or d line’s problem. I would say it’s a secondary problem.”
One solution to the Nittany Lions’ woes on third down could be playing starting cornerback Adrian Amos at safety in passing situation. The sophomore has the size and physicality to match up with tight ends and bigger wide receivers that run seam routes, and Morris said he expects to see Amos shuttling between cornerback and safety in the coming weeks.
One player Penn State fans won’t see the rest of the season is wide receiver Shawney Kersey.
The redshirt junior left the team for personal reasons, and Morris said the two are close since they were in the same recruiting class. But with Penn State in what Morris called a “must-win opportunity,” he was in no mood to ponder what impact Kersey’s loss will have on the team.
“All I know is the train can’t stop rolling,” Morris said. “Whatever Shawney’s doing I wish him the best but he’s not a main focus at all. He’s not part of this team so it don’t even matter.”
– Scott Brown