September 10, 2011; State College, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions cornerback Adrian Amos (4) returns a kick off in the second half in the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Beaver Stadium. Alabama defeated Penn State 27-11. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

Bill O'Brien Says Bench Pushing Jones, Amos to Play Many Roles

Following Tuesday’s practice, Bill O’Brien spoke candidly about the depth chart, injuries and concerns for the upcoming season. Here are some of the highlights from the media session, with my opinions in parentheses:

O’Brien says scouting reports are complete for the first three opponents (Ohio, UVA, Navy). Also admits that he has been watching OU film since he took over job. 10-4 team, “well coached.” (Advantage: BOB. Those coaches don’t have real film on this Penn State team)

Derek Day currently the number two running back, Dukes is improving. (Could be using this as an effort to push Dukes, Lynch. Neither was with team in the spring.)

Freshman QB Steven Bench is pushing PJ Jones for backup QB spot. (Very good news. Bench=Underrated?)

WR Allen Robinson has stepped up in camp. (I don’t really have anything to add here…)

O’Brien says McGloin has a good grasp of the offense. (I’ve heard really good things coming out of camp about Matt.)

Shawney Kersey missing time with ankle injury, freshman Trevor Williams getting reps with 1st string, in his place. Eugene Lewis running with the 2nd string. (Slightly surprised Williams is ahead of Lewis.)

Adam Gress and Mike Farrell battling for starting RT spot. Donovan Smith back healthy at LT.

Nyeem Wartman seeing reps at second string middle linebacker. (Called it!)

Expect Adrian Amos to play every position on defense except on the line. (Very intriguing. Eager to see new defensive schemes.)

Evan Lewis, Akeel Lynch, Bill Belton and Adrian Amos getting some action returning kicks. (Can’t imagine starting RB and best DB play special teams.)

Malcolm Willis getting healthy, other starting safety, Fagnano, still being bugged by leg injury. (THIN secondary)

O’Brien not particularly comfortable with the punting situation, though Butterworth is improving.


From the sounds of things, expect several freshmen to see snaps this season, some could come very early. Jesse James, Lynch, Bench, Trevor Williams, Lewis, Golden, Wartman, Da’Quan Davis, Jake Kiley and Jordan Lucas could all see snaps before the conference schedule begins.

For all of the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Lead Editor Tim Tolley on Twitter.


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