Junior defensive back Adrian Amos entered the season at safety, where we had been told was his "true position" since he arrived in Happy Valley. Due to depth issues, Amos played corner during his first two years with Penn State at a pretty high level but was supposedly only scratching the surface.
Then, in the summer, we learned that Amos was practicing all over and might play in either the safety or corner spot, as well as linebacker, potentially.
Despite his move to safety, he still couldn't just be a safety. Position changes are difficult enough to take on without having to learn other roles in addition to the new primary position, and that was apparent early in the season as Amos adjusted to playing safety on the fly.
Of course, he wouldn't just get to play safety, even on Saturdays.
If Penn State could take Adrian Amos and clone him three times, they'd have a real solid secondary.— Drew Balis (@drewBbalis) November 9, 2013
Sophomore Trevor Williams, who hails from the same high school as Amos, also switched positions in the offseason. Williams' move from wide receiver to corner was a big reason why Amos was able to move back and play safety.
But Williams wasn't quite ready.
After struggling for the first half of the season, defensive coordinator John Butler finally broke down and moved Amos back up to corner to replace the struggling Williams.
So far, the results have been good. Amos' switch has allowed Jordan Lucas to move over to the "field corner" position where he has more safety help and less run responsibility. Meanwhile, Amos looks like he never missed a beat, resuming his role as a physical corner on the other side of the defense.
PSU CB Adrian Amos came to play today...Had a solid game against Illinois, too...Different player at CB than at S....More comfortable.— Bob Flounders (@BobbyFlo7) November 9, 2013
Unfortunately, in order to create better depth at corner, Butler had to sacrifice some talent at safety. Senior Malcolm Willis is having a down year, and his former running mate Stephen Obeng-Agyapong is playing primarily linebacker these days due to depth issues at that position.
Who Butler is left with at safety includes Ryan Keiser and Jesse Della Valle. Both are hard-nosed veteran players, but neither is physically equipped to be starting in the Big Ten.
What it boils down to is a lack of athletes to go around in Butler's secondary.
Luckily, the coaching staff has spent quite a few scholarships over the last year and a half on secondary help, and some of those players should be ready to contribute next season.
Maybe 2014 will be the season that we get to see Amos play his "true position." And only that position.