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Nittany Lions Deliver 2018 Schedule Posters

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football spanned State College Thursday evening, spreading out to distribute the newly released 2018 schedule poster. Dividing members of the team between downtown State College and Beaver Stadium Gate A, the Nittany Lions greeted fans, alumni and friends with about 5,000 rolled posters.

"We're headed downtown to hand out posters and give back to the community, talk to people and connect with fans," junior linebacker Cam Brown said moments before boarding the bus.

The iconic Penn State blue buses departed the Lasch Football Building around 6:30 p.m. dropping various members of the team off at their locations, including College and Beaver Avenues bustling with Arts Fest attendees.

Making their way through the streets, the Nittany Lions paused for pictures and autographs, passing out posters along the way.

The 2018 poster features a calendar-style look, placing opponent logos on game day dates with scripted reminders for known kick off times, various weekly events and themed games.

It's a welcome surprise for members of the team, who saw the poster in a team meeting before breaking to board the buses.

"It's different than the old posters," Brown said. "It's not as basic with the dates underneath. It's kind of - I don't want to say fully interactive, but it's really nice."

Summer Sound Bites
Lift for Life saw many veteran Nittany Lions talking about player-led practices providing ample time for position groups to learn and mentor each other. That's exactly what it's like for the offensive line.

"As a whole unit we're getting bigger, stronger, faster," sophomore Will Fries said. "We're all working on technique and building our chemistry. The young guys are stepping up pushing the older guys and the older guys are stepping up to teach the young guys. Everyone's working really well together." 

Both Penn State Penn State director of performance enhancement Dwight Galt and linebacker Koa Farmer made note of the speed and athleticism coming from the linebackers to date. Brown could only agree when asked about the group, especially with the addition of a few well-prepared freshmen.

"The young guys came in and they were ready to work and they are fast," Brown said. "The older guys, we've just gotten faster."

Penn State Hosts Lift for Life

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When Nittany Lion letterman Scott Shirley received the call that his father was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer during his time at Penn State, he and his family used every bit of the six months his father was given to live to travel the country visiting different doctors for options.

Ultimately met with few options due to lack of funding for rare disease research and medications, Shirley turned toward his teammates for support.

"This is the 16th year which is pretty wild," Shirley said on a bright Saturday afternoon at Holuba Hall. "I was just talking earlier, this was born out of Penn State, out of the culture at Penn State really, whenever I was facing some adversity with my dad's diagnosis with a rare disease and my teammates rallied around me and said we're Penn State football, let's do something."

Shirley is the executive director and founder of Uplifting Athletes, which over the course of its existence has grown into 22 chapters, all of which have combined for a credited $400 million economic impact. For Shirley though, without Penn State, there would be no Uplifting Athletes.

"To see where it has grown now it's awesome, and kind of a testament to the guys in this program, how it has been passed through the generations of guys who have come through and how serious we all take it," former Penn State Uplifting Athletes president Trace McSorley said.

Although the senior quarterback is no longer president, new co-presidents Ryan Bates and Steven Gonzalez are well aware of just how embedded the cause is within the fabric of the Penn State football program.

"Coming in as a freshman, I didn't really know what Lift for Life was or what it meant," Bates said. "Being a part of Penn State football, Lift for Life is what we do. It's part of our culture and it's part of who we are. Coming in this year, me and Steve [Gonzalez] taking on the role of being co-presidents, it means a lot."

Fans flocked to Penn State's Holuba Hall Saturday afternoon for the annual event, which featured all of the usual competitions, culminating in a few rounds of tug-of-war, before an autograph session for all in attendance.

Prior to getting started, a few Nittany Lions took time for a media session, offering an update on summer progress as Penn State heads toward training camp.

Summer Schedule
It's been a busy month of training for the Nittany Lions as McSorley noted the schedule features workouts with two additional player-led structured sessions per week. That's not counting any voluntary individual work too.

Balancing everything is key, while McSorley and the rest of the leaders from each position work together to identify what two player-led sessions will include. 

"A lot of it is me and the other guys on offense, talking with Miles [Sanders], Juwan [Johnson], asking what do you guys want to work on today, how do you want to approach it," McSorley said. "Then talking with guys on defense like Amani [Oruwariye], Nick [Scott], Koa [Farmer], asking them what they want to work on, do they want to get more 7-on-7 or 1-on-1, or just more individual drills and things like that."

The goal of course is hitting the ground running when it comes to training camp, as well as bringing the incoming freshmen up to speed as quickly as possible. For someone like Bates, it's a critical time for the newcomers to learn from the veterans ahead of their first training camp experience.

"The offensive line will work on kick sets, run blocking, we work on everything really," Bates said. "I think that's big for some of the freshmen. Some of the freshmen, they might have played tackle in high school and they are coming in playing guard, or playing guard and now tackle. It gives them the opportunity to pick up the little things. We teach them the proper kick set, proper footwork and everything and I think some of them take it for granted, but it's a big contribution to the progress going into camp."

Speaking of Freshmen ...
Penn State director of performance enhancement Dwight Galt noted that almost all of the incoming freshmen have impressed him with the kind of shape they are in upon arrival.

"This is a good class," Galt said. "These kids are serious. They've been well prepared, not only physically in the weight room and running but also for what it's going to take to be successful here. It's really been neat to train them."

Galt also called the progress Penn State's early enrollee's made this spring as simply phenomenal.

Looking at the Linebackers
When asked to assess the group, linebacker Koa Farmer didn't hold back, calling his unit the most athletic and explosive since he's been at Penn State.

"We have me, Cam [Brown], Jarvis [Miller], Dae'Lun [Darien], Micah [Parsons], I think we're just athletic," Farmer said. "The game of football is obviously changing but our unit, the linebacker unit is, since I've been here, even with Mike Hull and Brandon Bell and all those guys, to this day, we've been the most athletic unit. You'll see when we run on the field. It's going to look like we're moving like safeties."

A Visit to the Hershey Children's Hospital

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HERSHEY, Pa. - Penn State football took Wednesday afternoon off from summer workouts and boarded buses headed to the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. A special visit that has now become an annual event, it's a day nearly every Nittany Lion looks forward to in the offseason.

"I love this visit. It's a great experience," two-time football THON dancer Charlie Shuman said. "It's one afternoon that we get to take off and come down here. It really ties into the THON experience when we get back at school. I think coming here is awesome."

Upon stepping off the buses, the Penn State energy is palpable as the team is greeted by smiling hospital staffers before splitting into small groups. While some groups spread out to visit individual families in their rooms, members of the team also passed through a high-five tunnel into the Tree House Cafe.

"This has kind of become a tradition for us," Penn State head coach James Franklin said. "We started this in year one and wasn't really sure how it was going to go and it's turned out to be a win-win. It's turned out to be a positive, I hope for the kids in the hospital and I know it's been a positive for our program."

Surrounding families and patients with smiles, the Nittany Lions spent the afternoon simply spending time and having fun.

"It's just the reactions, when you walk into a kid's room and they are huge Penn State football fan and their eyes light up," Shuman said. "You sit there talking for three minutes but you know it made their day and they had such a positive experience. That's what really makes it."

In just a short stretch of time, it's these moments that allow families facing unthinkable challenges to take a break from the fight for an uplifting smile.

"Really it's ultimately about coming here and trying to make a difference in these families that have real challenges," Franklin said. "I think sometimes we think the morning workouts or the afternoon workouts, running in the heat at 94 degrees, schoolwork, or all the other responsibilities - I think our guys spend time focused on how hard their situation is and then you come here and you say my situation is not hard. These are real challenges." 

For senior Nick Scott, it's a humbling experience, one that true to Franklin's message, brings on a different type of perspective.

"We  have a lot of respect for them and their fight," Scott said. "Anytime we can come to an event like this and put smiles on kid's faces, it's phenomenal. Their smiles are very uplifting. The things they fight through on a day to day basis and they are still able to smile and make us feel welcome. It's just motivating and it brings joy to all of our hearts because they do go through a lot. We just have the utmost respect and love for these kids." 

Scott, who danced for 46 hours this year for the first time at THON 2018, also credits his first Penn State football visit to the Hershey Children's Hospital as the spark in his decision to participate in the world's largest student run philanthropy.

"I actually talked about these kids at Hershey hospital when I was doing interviews at THON," Scott said. "Just thinking of them, their sacrifice and persistence, it's something that keeps me going forward whether I'm running springs on the field and remembering what the kids here are going through, or standing for 46 hours without sleep. Those are minor tasks compared to what some kids see on a day to day basis." 

One final group picture closed out the afternoon before the Nittany Lions hopped back on the bus to head home.

As the team headed toward the buses, a few players stopped along the way for one final group hug with 5-year-old Devin Pulaski. 

"You guys are all my best friends," Pulaski said.


Penn State Building on Spring Depth

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football wrapped its 2018 spring season with the annual Blue-White spring game. In the culmination of a series of 15 spring practices, the Nittany Lions took to the field in front of more than 70,000 fans for a final session before breaking until training camp.

There's wasn't exactly anything Penn State head coach James Franklin learned from the final spring practice of the season Saturday, instead focusing on yet another standout spring crowd, in addition to a few final flashes from some promising young talent on the roster. 

An estimated 71,000 packed into the stands at Beaver Stadium, marking the fifth consecutive year the Nittany Lions have drawn 60,000 or more for the spring game.

The energized crowd was treated to a glimpse of the future early with wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer connecting with quarterback Trace McSorley for the first of two touchdown grabs. 

"It felt good," Hippenhammer said reflecting on his first trip to the end zone as a Nittany Lion. "I prepared all spring for that moment and it finally came and I just executed."

Hippenhammer's second touchdown catch came on a 29-yard toss from quarterback Sean Clifford in the fourth quarter.

"This is kind of who Mac is, Mac's a gamer, he happens to make plays in big spots," offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne said. "I can see it in his eyes, especially after that first series where you could tell he was really focused and locked in. When he does that, he's hard to deal with." 

Nearly 400 miles from Beaver Stadium, Penn State baseball was battling with Michigan. A two-sport student-athlete though, Hippenhammer was in Happy Valley instead of Ann Arbor. It's a unique situation in today's typical student-athlete path, but a scenario that Franklin noted is absolutely do-able with the right individual and the correct situation.

"Penn State was a school that I felt would give me the opportunity to play both [sports], Hippenhammer said. "When I got here, coach Franklin had discussions with coach Cooper so I knew it was real."

Part of the agreement between Hippenhammer and Franklin though meant keeping academics in line.

"He crushed it in the classroom and did better than I even anticipated," Franklin said. "Coach [Rob] Cooper had a spot for him and I know he has been really pleased for him. Once spring ball started we shut him down with baseball because he is on a football scholarship and now once spring ball ends he will go back to doing baseball as well as his academic responsibilities." 

Prior to spring ball though, Hippenhammer's day started with football winter workouts bright and early in the morning before heading over to baseball for an afternoon practice following a full day of classes. 

"It's a lot of going back and forth," Hippenhammer said. "You just have to keep a balanced mindset and stay focused. It was a really long day but for me I think it was worth it because my dad always told me to play both as long as you can so I'm just making the most of the opportunity I was given." 

As he has done consistently through the spring season, Franklin gave credit to the blue team's offensive line, consisting of mainly Nittany Lion starters. Offensive line coach Matt Limegrover noted last week that the level of competition drove the group all throughout the spring season. 

Come Saturday, Michal Menet emerged to take a firm hold on the starting spot at right guard.

"I think staying healthy has been a huge thing for me to be able to develop my skills and techniques every day," Menet said.

As both Franklin and Menet noted postgame, dealing with nagging injuries early in his career set him back. Now fully healthy, it was Franklin who noted Menet is now one of the more improved Nittany Lions from the end of the season to now. 

"We think he has the ability to play all three inside positions, right and left guard as well as center, we think he may have a really bright future at the center position as well with his quickness," Franklin said. "He creates some flexibility, which is what we are trying to create throughout our program, guys that can play multiple positions, solve problems for us, but overall I have been very, very impressed with him really since the end of the season."

Looking at the offensive line as a whole though, Menet noted the Nittany Lions have built on strengthening the finishers mentality, which on occasion plagued Penn State in 2017.

"I think everybody is really buying into all the techniques and fundamentals that coach Limegrover has been teaching us," Menet said. "I think we've been taking strides every day." 

If Franklin had to name a player of the game Saturday though, he'd look to cornerback Zech McPhearson, who finished with three pass breakups and two tackles.

"We've created a lot of depth and competition at that position so it's exciting," Franklin said. "He's a guy who I think has really kind of showed since the end of the season that he means business and is going to factor in for us this year."

That business-like mentally all started when McPhearson shifted his mindset following the end of the season. He wanted to play. 

The work doesn't stop with spring ball though, as McPhearson noted this offseason is going to be very big for the emerging Nittany Lion. 

"In the offseason I definitely want to get stronger, maybe get a little bigger but keep working on my speed," McPhearson said. "I feel like that helps me a lot driving on routes and things like that." 

It was of course hard to miss what looked like a second James Franklin on the field Saturday. Instead, it was Penn State alum, actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key who joined the Nittany Lions as a guest coach.

"I really, really could not be more appreciative of you guys asking me to come and guest coach," Key said postgame. "The welcoming spirit and atmosphere of this university is the same as it was when I attended and I think for the most part I can see that the players are spry and dedicated and I look forward to the fall." 

More from Key below. 

Spring Ball Postgame: Players

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football hosted its annual Blue-White spring game Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. Catch up with a few Nittany Lions following the final spring session.  

Zech McPhearson

Mac Hippenhammer

Michal Menet

Spring Ball Postgame: James Franklin

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football hosted its annual Blue-White spring game Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. Catch up with Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin following the final spring session. 

2018 Blue-White Gameday

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RELATED LINKS: Parking Information & Lot Closures I Blue Roster I White Roster I Spring Practice Central

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football is set to cap its 2018 spring season with the annual Blue-White spring game Saturday afternoon. In the 15th and final spring practice of the season, the Nittany Lions will take to Beaver Stadium for a 3 p.m. outing with live coverage on the Big Ten Network.

In a different place than perhaps any spring season under the head coach of Penn State head coach James Franklin, the Nittany Lions have a mixture of depth and veteran experience, all responsible for driving yet another productive slate of practices. 

On the heels of a second consecutive 11-win season though, what's next for Penn State following a series of departures that has more than 10 former Nittany Lions headed toward the upcoming NFL Draft is especially intriguing. 

Among the intrigue of course is the addition of six early enrollees, a vital group who arrived in Happy Valley at just the right time to work their way into the mix at a variety of critical-need positions. 

"I'd make the argument that this is where the mid-semester guys are so valuable because without them, it would obviously change the way we would run the game and the way we run spring practice," Franklin said earlier this week after breaking down the format of the spring game.

Released yesterday, Penn State's blue and white rosters feature mostly one's on the blue squad with two's and three's competing for spots assigned to the white team.

While Franklin described Saturday's Blue-White game as one final opportunity for total team evaluations, it's whole new game day experience for Penn State's newest Nittany Lions.

The Nittany Lions took spring practice 12 to Beaver Stadium last weekend, as all six early enrollees passed through the tunnel under a completely different circumstance.

"I went up to Coach Franklin and I said this is what I committed here for," linebacker Micah Parsons said. "Even with the fans not there, I just imagined them from when I was a recruit and it was just insane."

For tight end Zack Kuntz, it was special moment among the early enrollees as they gazed around before eventually finding each other on the field, this time for practice instead of a visit.

Ask any Nittany Lion early enrollee and they'll describe the process of transitioning from a high school senior to a college freshman as anything but easy.

"They've all done very well," Penn State defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry said. "They work, they want to do right. They want to do everything they can to compete with the old guys. They want to play. That's why they enrolled early. They want to play in the fall, they don't want to redshirt."

The willingness from the group to compete at the highest level from winter workouts on through spring ball has been both obvious and impressive to staff members to teammates.

"About a week before I came here, Coach Pry said winter workouts are pretty tough but I was thinking it would be like a normal hard work out that I've been through," Parsons said. "That first one was probably one of the most intense workouts I've ever been through in my life." 

Parsons can remember his first few winter workouts where he often finished last. Progressing through the winter, he worked his way toward the middle.

"I think I stayed right in the middle all the way until the last winter work out," Parsons said. "I came in and I didn't get any sleep the night before because I was thinking about the last winter work out. I said to Coach Pry, I'm going to come in top five in this 400 lap."

Fueled by his work ethic and a desire to earn his spot from the very beginning, Parsons finished in the top four.

A quick glance up at the record holders listed the wall inside the Lasch weight room already has Parsons on it. Listed under linebackers, a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash in winter 2018 - Parsons, M.

In the thick of spring practices, there were still wake-up call moments, learning to adjust to the speed and tempo of the collegiate game and of course, an experienced offensive line. 

"I came in off a blitz and Chasz Wright, a fifth-year senior, 346 pounds, I was running across the middle a little high, but not too high, and I tried to come in and he just knocked my block right off," Parsons said. 

In his transition from Mike to Will linebacker though, Parsons soaked in everything from his teammates, learning best by listening. 

"As a young guy you just listen and learn," Parsons said.

For someone like Kuntz, he listened when his veteran teammates told him find time for the JUGS machine.

"I try to get 100 balls before practice, 100 balls during practice from reps and everything and 100 balls after practice," Kuntz said. 

His only problem? 

Being the only early enrollee on the offensive side of the ball doesn't always match his schedule with his fellow newcomers. So Kuntz opts to work alongside his lifting partner, junior tight end Danny Dalton.

Within the first week of arriving on campus Kuntz met with the quarterbacks to begin learning the offense, taking points from quarterback Trace McSorley before putting them into action on the field. 

"Coming early I knew it was going to be a challenge but I knew it was going to be an advantage as well," Kuntz said. "Being able to get reps right away, I'm learning it by physically doing it. If I do something wrong, now I know if I'm in that situation again, this is what I do should do instead of what I did before." 

Come Saturday, both Parsons and defensive end Nick Tarburton will represent the blue team. Kuntz, along with safety Isaiah Humphries, cornerback Trent Gordon and linebacker Jesse Luketa are all slotted on the white roster.

Blue-White Format
Penn State's Blue-White game features the Nittany Lion roster split into two teams (blue and white) with quarterbacks wearing the opposite jersey color of their team. With regular scoring, all four quarters will be 11 minutes in length with a running clock, and the final 2:00 of each half at game timing. Stoppages will occur for penalties and change of possession. Each team will have two timeouts per half at 45 seconds each, with an additional 1:30 timeout at the first change of possession after the 6-minute mark in each quarter. There will also be a 2:30 break at the end of the first and third quarters.

Autograph Session Returns
Penn State fans will have the opportunity to receive autographs from their favorite Nittany Lions Saturday from 12:15 - 1:05 p.m. outside five stadium gates at Beaver Stadium. Team posters will also be available while supplies last.


Spring Ball Top Performers: Running Backs

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's spring season has nearly come to a close, culminating with tomorrow's Blue-White spring game. In the final position by position look at the Nittany Lions this spring, check in with Nittany Lion running backs coach Ja'Juan Seider for a closer look at who is standing out. 

For Seider the running backs have all made strides this spring, but it's the older Nittany Lions like Miles Sanders and Mark Allen who are leading the way.

"The older guys are playing like older guys, taking pride in working on the little things like technique and footwork, all of that stuff," Seider said.

Earlier this spring it was Sanders who noted the process of stepping into more of a leadership role was something he's actively working toward.

"Miles is a guy who we are leaning on and he's doing a great job of stepping up and trying to be a leader," Seider said. "He'll call at night and say, 'hey coach I could have done this,' which is important because that's what you want to see with an older kid who has growth potential."

Seider noted Sanders has taken the increased leadership responsibilities off the field too, spending more time going through film and taking time to study all aspects of his game.

"It's encouraging to see him taking on that aspect of the game because that shows me this kid is really developing and working on being that back we want him to be," Seider said. 

Looking toward the younger Nittany Lions, Seider has been impressed with the strides Journey Brown and Johnathan Thomas have made, but is more impressed with just how much the group has continued to lock in on their new position coach. 

"They are taking to coaching which is important and gravitating to me, a new coach coming in, and it's been fun seeing those guys buy in," Seider said.

Spring Ball Features: Wade Making Strides at Safety

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - This time last year Lamont Wade was nearly finished with his first spring season, set to take the field at Beaver Stadium for his first Blue-White outing.

Seated inside the fueling station at the Lasch Building nearly 365 days later, Wade paused for a moment to look back.

"Coming in it was real rough," Wade said. "Being in high school one week and then literally next week, next month, being in the college system, it's really great seeing how much I have changed from then."

In a span of time just shy of year, Wade is bigger, stronger and mentally tougher too. The result of a ferocious winter conditioning effort - one where Penn State assistant athletics director for performance enhancement Dwight Galt described him as a piranha in a small pool in a media session on max out day.

"Coming in, like I said, it's real rough," Wade said. "Sometimes you're up and down about it. You're not sure and when something gets hard and you might want to give up. Getting older you realize you don't really have the option."

Wade is older, yes, but things aren't exactly easier. Instead, what now comes easier is more in learning how to deal with change, like understanding lifts and workouts, eating better and even something like switching positions.

At the start of spring ball, Penn State head coach James Franklin listed off a variety of position changes across the roster. Among the moves, Lamont Wade from cornerback to safety. 

When asked about the move, Franklin noted the Nittany Lions are in good shape depth-wise at cornerback. In Wade's case it's perhaps an opportunity for Penn State to replace a few question marks at safety with exclamation points.

"Lamont is a football player and although he's not the longest guy in terms of height, he's put together," Franklin said. "He'll hit you, and we just felt like it probably played to a little bit more of his strengths." 

Since arriving back on campus for Penn State's NFL Pro Day, former standout safety Marcus Allen asks Wade the same series of questions every time he sees him.

"He asks me how I like it, how it's going so far," Wade said. "I just let him know and he lets me know all of the upsides of playing safety, what was hard about it and what came naturally."

For Wade, it's a certain toughness and aggression that happens to come easy for him.

"It's one thing safeties have to have," Wade said. "I feel like my aggression comes natural. I feel like my instincts come natural even though there's a whole different step playing safety. You're kind of pushed into a captain role because you're starting to make more calls out there. You have to make sure other people are in alignment too."

Outside of a natural aggression, there's of course the added emphasis on communication, something Wade says started at cornerback. Looking over, getting the call and flying into action.

"At safety, you have to not only get the call to yourself but get the call to the man to the right, to the left and in front of you," Wade said. "Just making sure everyone is straight and taking accountability is one of the biggest things."

One of three true freshmen to start in 2017, Wade played in 12 games, finishing the season with three pass breakups and a forced fumble, which came on a kickoff return at Rutgers.

Wade had a significant role one special teams last season, something he credits to helping him tremendously.

"I played a lot on special teams," Wade said. "My role increased on special teams throughout the season. Special teams is a part of the game, they say if you start on special teams, you're a starter."

This spring though, Wade is back at square one, or starting right back at the beginning if you ask him.

"It's a new position, so I have to take new strides," Wade said. "I've played safety for probably two games in my whole high school career so it's completely new to me." 

It's a humbling experience, but one Wade is determined to see through, setting his spring goal to get fully comfortable at safety. 

"I'm a sophomore, in my second year but honestly it feels like I am a freshman again because it's a whole new position with whole new techniques," Wade said. "I know the play book but it's going out there and adjusting."

Come Saturday, Wade will have one final opportunity to go out and get adjusted. Represent the white team in Penn State's annual spring game, he's listed alongside a spring ball standout in Jonathan Sutherland and current early enrollee Isaiah Humphries, to name a few.

For new position coach Tim Banks though, when it comes to Wade he knows, he'll be ready to go when it's time to.

"Lamont's excited, he loves to play football, it's important to him," Banks said. "Obviously with a new position, there's a learning curve he has to get through but he is a willing participant. He's really working hard."

Spring Ball Top Performers: Linebackers, Quarterbacks

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's spring season has nearly come to a close with Saturday's annual Blue-White game marking the final practice of the spring season.

Ahead of the weekend, Penn State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne and defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry paused for closer look inside spring ball.

Talking quarterbacks and linebackers, both Rahne and Pry also give a quick snapshot of a few Nittany Lions stepping forward on both sides of the ball.

There's no question the Nittany Lions have plenty of roles to replace defensively, beginning with the situation at linebacker

As Penn State head coach James Franklin noted early this week, when it comes to filling a priority position in the middle linebacker spot, it all comes down to trust and consistency. 

For Pry though, spring ball has been an opportunity to get a variety of Nittany Lions plenty of snaps at multiple positions. The results so far having been promising. 

"Cam Brown has started off very well," Pry said. "Jan Johnson is very steady. Ellis Brooks has made some flashes. Jake Cooper has shown flashes."

Among the younger group, Pry like many, is pleased with the transition Micah Parsons has made since arriving to campus as an early enrollee.

His biggest surprise in the room though is Jarvis Miller, who has shown progress at outside linebacker.

"Jarvis has always had abilities and a skillset but hasn't been able to play with them," Pry said. "He is comfortable. He knows his position. He's doing some good things out there."

Outside of the linebackers, Pry only echoed the earlier picks of a few previous position coaches. 

In the back end, there's Jonathan Sutherland and Garrett Taylor, led by the leadership of newly elected captain Nick Scott. Among the cornerbacks, Pry also noted he and the staff have been continually impressed by Donovan Johnson.

"Defensively overall, we have some guys up front who are getting a lot of reps for the first time in their career and doing some good things," Pry said. "Obviously there are your steadies in there, Kevin Givens, Shareef Miller and those guys. At the same time Antonio Shelton is really having a good spring. A guy we'll be counting on who is in competition for significant playing time."

On the offensive side of the ball, for Rahne there's no better place to start than with quarterback Trace McSorley, who has only continued to lead with the same confidence he has had since taking over as Penn State's starting signal caller.

"He has such command of the offense, not only the schemes but also the timing of everything," Rahne said. "He makes great throws. He does everything physically. He's a great player, really happy to coach him."

While pleased with all of Penn State's quarterbacks, Rahne also noted sophomore Sean Clifford has done some good things with an increase in reps this spring.

"I'm happy with what Sean is doing really from the mental side and being able to consistently put together big plays," Rahne said.

Outside of the quarterbacks, much like Franklin, Rahne is pleased with the progress the entire offensive line has continued to make. 

"I think they have been blocking very well, getting movement," Rahne said.


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