Penn State football was back on the practice field on windy Wednesday evening. Here our are observations.
- Tommy Stevens and Sean Clifford split reps with the second unit. Clifford is yet to have an incompletion this season while Tommy Stevens has appeared in only one game after being injured for the start of the season.
- Chasz Wright split reps with Will Fries as the first-team right tackle. The duo rotated heavily early in the season before Fries took control of the job.
- The Nittany Lions ran a two tight end set with Jonathan Holland and Pat Freiermuth. Nick Bowers also got some snaps in a solo package.
- A good number of receivers including KJ Hamler and Juwan Johnson stayed late after practice and caught some balls from Trace McSorley.
The Nittany Lions desperately need help at defensive tackle. James Franklin thinks a guy like PJ Mustipher could take advantage of the increase in playing time and set himself up for a strong finish to the season.
“Whenever you’re playing freshman on the O-line or D-line it’s challenging but every game (Mustipher) plays, every practice he’s out here, the time he spends around our coaches and is in the playbook and around the veteran players and things like that, he’s getting better. He’s getting better every single day. He’s playing with better leverage, he’s playing with better hand placement, he’s playing with better technique and fundamentals. He’s going to just continually kind of chip away at it.
Garrett Taylor has had somewhat of a breakout season in his first year as a starter. At the halfway point, the junior seems pleased with how he’s performed in his new role.
“I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now. I’m getting better with each and every game…I think I’ve grown the most in probably my run fits. I think that was the hardest transition for me as a safety. Just being able to see the guards pull and keying off of the tackles and stuff like that, so I think I’m getting a lot more comfortable.”
Losing is always tough and while it may feel like a consolation prize to some, James Franklin thinks the program is ahead of schedule.
“I know right now when you say this people kind of look at you like you’re crazy but I think for what we’ve done up to date I think probably most people would say we’re ahead of schedule. I know after the last couple of weeks people don’t want to hear that but I think that’s probably the reality of it…I’d say we’re ahead. Obviously, this season is going to be interesting as it plays out to really kind of be able to determine that but I would say overall ahead.”
Stick with Roar Lions Roar throughout the week as we get you ready for what will hopefully be a Penn State bounce back against Indiana. The two teams are set to kick off at 3:30 ET from Bloomington.