TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Penn State notebook: QB competition won't heat up any time soon

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Bill O'Brien talks with quarterback Steven Bench during the game against Temple on Sept. 22, 2012, at Beaver Stadium in University Park.

College Football Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Scott Brown
Monday, March 18, 2013, 11:36 p.m.
 

UNIVERSITY PARK — Spring seemed as far away Monday as the Aug. 31 opener against Syracuse, and the snow that blanketed Penn State's campus forced the football team inside as it started preparing for the 2013 season.

Sophomores Steven Bench and Tyler Ferguson zinged passes in Holuba Hall during Penn State's first spring practice, as each attempts to become the answer to the biggest question facing the Nittany Lions.

Who will replace record-setting quarterback Matt McGloin will be decided in the heat of August, coach Bill O'Brien reiterated, not the bluster of March. And there is a chance neither quarterback will be tabbed to run O'Brien's complex offense, even though they will split time with the first-team offense this spring.

O'Brien said prized freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg will get an opportunity to compete for the starting job during preseason practice. O'Brien all but grimaced when asked if it would be ideal to redshirt Hackenberg, something that is done with most freshman.

“You bring these guys in, and unless they're injured, you're going to put them into the mix and let them compete, and you're going to play your best players,” O'Brien said.

Thin spots

Penn State has depth issues at several positions, including tailback, linebacker and defensive line.

Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and freshman Akeel Lynch are the only scholarship players practicing exclusively at tailback. A linebacking corps that lost starters Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges and reserve Mike Yancich to graduation is also without Ben Kline (shoulder) this spring.

O'Brien is high on freshman Nyeem Wartman, who received a medical redshirt after injuring his knee in Penn State's second game of the season. Wartman has the inside track to join Canon-McMillan graduate Mike Hull as Penn State's starting outside linebackers, with Glenn Carson manning inside linebacker.

O'Brien also is looking forward to seeing how defensive tackles such as Kyle Baublitz, Austin Johnson, Derek Dowrey and Brian Gaia try to fill the void left by the graduation of Jordan Hill and James Terry.

O'Brien has kept an eye on Dowrey and Gaia since former center Matt Stankiewitch praised the two last season.

“I remember him saying Gaia and Dowery were strong guys that can hold the point of attack, and that was good coming from an All-Big Ten center,” O'Brien said.

Injury update

Tight end Kyle Carter (wrist) and strong safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (shoulder) will take part in spring practice but will be held out of contact drills.

Tight end Adam Breneman, a highly coveted recruit who enrolled in January, has been cleared to practice but O'Brien said the freshman will be monitored closely.

Breneman missed his senior season at Cedar Cliff after tearing his ACL last June.

Staying put

Miles Dieffenbach started at left guard last season, and he is staying there even though an updated roster released last Friday listed the Fox Chapel graduate as a center.

O'Brien said there was simply a misprint on the roster.

Ty Howle opens spring practice as the No. 1 center, with Angelo Mangiro and Wendy Laurent also vying to replace Stankiewitch. Mangiro has been hampered by a hamstring injury, O'Brien said.

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Penguins trade Sutter to Canucks, sign free agent center Fehr
  2. Inside the Steelers: Ventrone suffers right ankle injury
  3. Videos spur dozens to protest outside Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood
  4. Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
  5. Victims of sexual violence getting better information about offenders’ status
  6. Famous African lion reportedly killed by American hunter
  7. Judge lets New Kensington Ten Commandments monument stand
  8. Indiana County hazmat crews treat nearly two dozen workers for cadmium exposure at Homer City plant
  9. Pittsburgh a finalist for World Junior hockey event
  10. Football coach Loughran settles in at Fox Chapel
  11. Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring