Underclassmen learn from Penn State seniors, special teams experience - The Daily Collegian: Football

Welcome!
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Underclassmen learn from Penn State seniors, special teams experience

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 1:00 am

With Penn State’s Senior Day on Saturday against Nebraska rapidly approaching, the focus of this game week is obvious.

Speaking extensively about the Nittany Lions’ senior class in his weekly press conference Tuesday, coach Bill O’Brien noted how the group has embraced the responsibilities as leaders.

One of those tasks includes bringing along the younger players.

“The biggest thing to me is that they understand the word ‘teamwork’ and working together,” O’Brien said emphatically of his seniors. “They embrace the younger players.”

The impact of these seniors on the underclassmen has been noticed by O’Brien, and perhaps consequentially, as last weekend’s game against Purdue showed, some of the underclassmen have made significant progress.

Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has obviously seen quite a bit of action under center this year, and tight end Adam Breneman caught his first career touchdown against the Boilermakers.

But on both sides of the ball, there were several players reappearing or emerging for the first time as real contributors.

Offensively, Geno Lewis caught three passes for 19 yards and saw a few more targets go his way.

Lewis hauled in just two passes combined in the four games prior to Saturday’s decisive win over Purdue.

After the game Lewis attributed his progress as a route runner to leaders in the receiving corps, including senior pass catcher Brandon Felder.

On defense, freshman outside linebacker Brandon Bell saw significant time in the absence of Ben Kline (out for the season). Bell had three tackles.

Redshirt freshman Malik Golden, who played receiver last year, also saw some snaps in the secondary.

In the case of Bell and Golden, they’ve been on the field for almost every game this year, but not in that capacity.

Instead, the two have had to prove their worth on special teams, and O’Brien took notice of their efforts.

“I think as a young player, that’s where you really earn the right to play on offense and defense,” O’Brien said postgame. “That’s what we did. We moved them up.”

That’s what it’s all about for most underclassmen — paying your dues.

Many members of the current senior class had to do the same thing, earning playing time along with the respect of teammates and coaches doing the little things, namely on special teams.

And as this senior class departs, younger contributors will take on larger roles next year and for years to come.

In terms of these next two games, they’ll continue their progression, but players like Lewis, Bell and Golden have years of potential to look forward to.

And in O’Brien’s eyes, they have the proper grounding from the senior class rubbing off on them to the hard work put in on special teams in order to succeed.

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Connect with us


Football Columns

My View: Title IX is a scapegoat for college football’s role in decline of NCAA men’s sports
Posted: March 05, 2014

In this article, I argue that Title IX is a scapegoat for the true culprit for the decline in men’s non-revenue sports: the exorbitant spending on football programs by schools which fruitlessly pursue a mirage of revenue.

Comments (0)
In the midst of uncertainty, Penn State needs stability — whether it's Bill O'Brien or his successor
Posted: December 31, 2013

If Penn State brass is out shopping for a new coach in the coming weeks (or days), its representatives need to identify who could also be using this job as a way to boost their personal brand.

Comments (7)
Penn State football: given ‘new normal’ in Happy Valley, 7-5 record even more impressive than 2012 results
Posted: December 02, 2013

There wasn’t a grand reveal to honor Penn State’s season on Senior Day, nor will there be a Maxwell Coach of the Year award waiting for coach Bill O’Brien come winter.

Comments (2)
Purdue coach Darrell Hazell unwise giving Penn State bulletin board material
Posted: November 18, 2013

Hazell thought earlier last week that Penn State’s running game wasn’t on par with Iowa and Wisconsin. Bill O’Brien proved otherwise.

Comments (0)
If Jameis Winston deserves the benefit of the doubt, so does the woman who said she was sexually assaulted
Posted: November 15, 2013

Media, fans and those pesky pundits are responding in a typical way — they’re perpetuating the idea that sexual assault can be the fault of the victim by blindly criticizing a typical 11-month investigation.

Comments (4)
In recruiting ratings, the analysts tab the five-stars, but lower than that? It’s shades of gray
Posted: November 14, 2013

Rating Division I football prospects is a serious business that garners a great deal of national attention. So we had to ask: are these ratings indicative of how a player will perform in college?

Comments (0)
Column: Penn State football once again shows down doesn’t always mean out
Posted: October 13, 2013

A Penn State win appeared hopeless at several points in Saturday’s game against Michigan. But resiliency once again led coach Bill O’Brien’s squad to victory.

Comments (0)
Lions face a gut check in Michigan
Posted: October 11, 2013

The second-year coach said this week it’d be crazy to think Saturday’s all-stadium White Out on ESPN at night is a normal contest.

Comments (0)
Penn State football isn’t perfect, and that’s OK
Updated: October 08, 2013 - 12:00 am

Yes, a Joe Paterno-coached team never lost to Indiana. And no, Penn State didn’t play or coach its best Saturday in a loss to the Hoosiers. But come on, Internet. Settle down.

Comments (0)
Penn State didn’t play horribly Saturday --- it just didn’t play complementary football in a loss to Indiana
Updated: October 08, 2013 - 2:17 pm

While football seems like a game distinctly separated into offense and defense, the two indirectly go hand-in-hand. The units aren’t on the field at the same time, but one affects the other in a major way.

Comments (0)