If you’re reading this, you are no doubt aware we are down to just 2 days before what should be a cool, but dry, Blue-White Game this Saturday in Beaver Stadium. You are also aware of the fact this is the 4th installment of our “what to watch” for previews for the action. On Monday, it was redshirt freshman receiver Eugene Lewis. Tuesday took a look at 6 true freshman that will see their first action at Penn State. Yesterday, it was a look at the intriguing options at running back. Today, we will flip over the defense, and a talented, but young, and not deep, corps of linebackers.
PSU is already playing Saturday short at linebacker, with Ben Kline out all spring, recovering form shoulder surgery. Kline was, and still is, expected to compete for a starting spot, alongside likely starters Mike Hull and Glenn Carson. His biggest competition is going to be Nyeem Wartman. Nyeem of course gave us all a brief glimpse of his ability last season, including a blocked punt against Ohio, before being knocked out with an injury. He picked up a medical redshirt, and has a great opportunity to see significant time this fall. He reminds me a lot of Hodges with his overall athleticism. I am very anxious to see how he looks after having a full spring getting first team reps.
Mike Hull was last year’s big revelation on defense, showing a knack for making big plays, and always being around the ball. He’ll be counted on much more this fall, both as a player, but also as a leader. Carson was was something of an unsung hero last season, playing the role of “the other guy” to the big names. Like Hull, expect him to become more of a leader off the field, and a bigger factor on it. Those leadership qualities won’t be terribly evident on Saturday, nor do I expect either to play much.
Beyond Hull, Carson, Wartman, and Kline, there is not a ton in reserve. Gary Wooten, a redshirt freshman out of Miami could be the first guy up. Incoming freshman Brandon Bell would seem to be in line for playing time as well when he arrives on campus this summer. The legal troubles of Zayd Issah loom large as well. Depth is going to be an issue all over the field in the coming seasons, but linebacker this year would seem to be the first spot to feel the brunt. Because of that, expect to see a number of walkons and other “lesser” names during Saturday’s game, in an effort to keep the guys PSU will rely on this fall healthy.
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