Archive: August, 2011
It’s been more than 21 months since Brandon Beachum ran out of the tunnel and onto the field at a packed Beaver Stadium, but he is back and feeling better than ever.
“I hope it will be like I never left but I’m sure it will be pretty much overwhelming,” Beachum said on Wednesday. “(It will) probably even be a better feeling than it was the first time I actually ran out (as a freshman) because I kind of feel this is like my rebirth into football.”
Beachum’s return comes after a longer-than-expected wait. The running back tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a home game against Indiana on Nov. 14, 2009. He worked his way back and thought he was ready to play last season, but the coaches decided to tag him with a medical redshirt him instead.
The second day of Penn State conference calls took place on Wednesday. No earth-shattering news came out of them, but some players had interesting things to say, nonetheless. Below are are some notes from the conference calls.
-Defensive end Eric Latimore (Middletown, Del.) said he is “ready to go” after a wrist injury kept him out of the last eight games of last season. The 6-foot-6, 277 pound senior is listed as the first-team left end. Latimore, who is related to Philadelphia basketball legend Sonny Hill, has 4.5 sacks in three seasons. His best season came in 2009, when he played in every game, starting five, and had 21 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
-First-string left guard DeOn’tae Pannell said he has dropped about 25 pounds since the beginning of the winter and now weights about 308 pounds. The senior said he brought a different intensity into offseason workouts and “if you just eat right, you can still eat as much. So it isn’t as hard as it sounds.” Pannell played in each of his first three years in Happy Valley, starting sparingly. He said one of his goals is to start 12 games in 2011.
For a three-month span last fall, Andrew Szczerba couldn’t even lift five pounds in the weight room. Now, he is back in his expected role as starting tight end for Penn State.
Szczerba, a Wilmington, Del. native, had back surgery last October to remove cartilage from a bulging disc that was pinching a nerve. After a long and slow rehab, he participated in full-contact drills at the start of the preseason and said he feels so good he often goes through practice forgetting he even had the surgery.
Two winters ago, Szczerba started feeling pain in his lower back. He tried to push through but it progressively got worse. He sat out winter workouts for a couple weeks and felt great again, so he practiced the entire spring of 2010. The disc that had been causing his back pains worsened. He even began to have nerve pain down his leg.
Penn State wide receiver Shawney Kersey, a former star at Woodbury High School, has come full circle in a little less than a year.
After playing in the first two games as a redshirt freshman last season, Kersey intended to transfer and received a release in late September from his scholarship. But after about a week of further deliberations, he returned to the Nittany Lions and saw action in eight more games.
After a strong pre-season, the 6-foot-1, 198-pound wideout was listed as a starter on the depth chart Monday that followed the end of pre-season practice.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Tuesday that his two quarterbacks, junior Matt McGloin and sophomore Rob Bolden, will play in Saturday’s season opener against Indiana State, but added he hasn’t yet made up his mind who will start.
“Both of those kids have done very well,” Paterno said at his first weekly teleconference of the season. “Both worked hard this summer and had really good pre-seasons. I’m not a guy that likes to play two quarterbacks but I think I’ll play both of them on Saturday.
“They’re both ready to play and have done everything we’ve asked them to do. Both can take our football team and get us playing as well as they can play offensively.”
Highly touted defensive tackle Jarron Jones, who gave Penn State a “soft” verbal commitment in April before retracting it in July, committed to Notre Dame on Monday night.
"I'm taking my talents to #southbend," Jones tweeted.
Scout.com ranks Jones, listed at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, as a five-star recruit and the second-best defensive tackle in the country. Rivals.com gives Jones four stars and ranks him the seventh best at his position. He is a senior at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y.
Penn State wide receiver Justin Brown said he does not know whether Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin will start at quarterback against Indiana State on Saturday. The depth chart released Monday evening listed the starting quarterback as Bolden “OR” McGloin
"When I know, you'll know,” Brown said in a Tuesday morning teleconference. “You might know before me actually."
Brown said he doesn’t think it matters when they find out about the starting quarterback because the receivers have caught balls from both of them. They will be ready either way, he said.
Video: Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti talks about his preparation for the 2011 season.
The release of Penn State's first depth chart since the start of pre-season practice still does not resolve the identity of the No. 1 quarterback.
The depth chart, released Monday on the team’s web site, had the quarterbacks listed as Rob Bolden “OR” Matt McGloin. Both players have battled since the start of camp. Coach Joe Paterno is expected to address the issue at his first teleconference of the season on Tuesday, but it is not anticipated he will name a starter.
The other unresolved positions were at fullback (Joe Suhey or Michael Zordich) and right guard (John Urschel or Johnnie Troutman).
With Penn State’s season opener just six days away, it’s getting close to decision time for coach Joe Paterno. Who will be the Nittany Lions starting quarterback when they play Indiana State on Saturday?
Will it be Matt McGloin (1,548 yards, 14 TD, 9 INT in nine games in 2010), the confident redshirt junior who played well at times down the stretch but struggled with decision making? Or Rob Bolden (1,360 yards, 5 TD, 7 INT in 10 games), who won the starting job as a true freshman at the start of last season before he was pulled in favor of McGloin in November.
The decision could come at any time. On Tuesday, Paterno is expected to address the media at Beaver Stadium and participate in a Big Ten coaches teleconference. The 84-year-old coach is also expected to be a guest on Penn State’s weekly radio show on Thursday night. Last year, the announcement to start Bolden was not made until the Wednesday night before the first game, and it came by way of an athletic department-issued press release.