The Blue White game is a great way to look at the position battles going on across the board and gauge where each offensive and defensive unit is in their development 15 practices in to the new season. As we touched on earlier the quarterback position battle took center stage, but there was a lot more going on that met the eye at this past weekends scrimmage. Lets take a look at the guys fighting for a spot on the field outside of the quarterbacks.
For the most part the defense looked like it was farther along in it’s development. That was to be expected and considering that the offense has to deal with a rotating offensive line as well as finding a quarterback, it would be a bad sign if the defense wasn’t farther along. Some of the most noteworthy performances on the defensive side of the ball came from Eric Latimore, Nate Stupar, and Derrick Thomas. Latimore had his way with Left Tackle Quinn Barham all day and spent most of the day running around the backfield being a pain picking up 2 sacks. Latimore is supposed to have a lot of upside, and this could be his year to unleash it.
Nate Stupar seems to be setting himself up for a great year, after finally getting a shot at linebacker he took full advantage leading the team in tackles and an interception. Stupar has been a beast on special teams with several blocked punts and key blocks on punt returns. It isn’t a question of if Stupar will make an impact at the linebacker position, it is just a matter of how soon.
Maybe the nicest surprise of the day came in the form of an unflappable Derrick Thomas. Thomas was a lock on the cornerback position all day and wouldn’t bite on pump-fakes or double moves. They set him up to fail more than once, and he responded every time with solid defense. On the whole Penn State could have two lock-down corners in Thomas and D’anton Lynn. Locking up the outside will be a big part of finding success on the defensive side of the ball.
There wasn’t a whole lot going on over on the offensive side of the ball. Evan Royster and Green got enough carries to warm up the legs and then sit on the sidelines. Curtis Dukes and Silas Redd picked up the ball after that and both looked impressive. Dukes has the truck power that takes 5 guys to take him down and could be a good goal line back, an area Penn State has had issues with as of late. Redd has some nice moves and was able to avoid a tackle or two. It isn’t very likely that all 4 backs will see the field, but it wouldn’t be surprising if another back was added to the rotation. My guess is Dukes. Royster has moves and Green has speed, so Dukes would be nice complement with his power. What will actually happen remains to be seen, but it is nice to see that the running back position is as deep as ever.
Oh gosh, Colin Wagner his a nice 46 yard field goal, which was nice to see. Punting on the other hand..that needs some work, thanks to an underage Penn State is looking to anyone who can kick the ball up and forward 40 yards. It is safe to say that Graham Zug is not the choice.