The Nittany Lions are just about a week away from the close of spring camp and things are starting to come together.
While the coaches are still moving some guys around, roles are beginning to fill out and reps are being doled out accordingly.
Several players will be out for the Blue-White Game on April 12, so expect to see plenty of new faces, including some lesser-known walk-ons.
Don't fear, though: There will be plenty of familiar faces when the 2014 Nittany Lions are unveiled to the public.
It's hard to believe that Hack has only been on campus for about 10 months at this point.
After going through his first offseason in a collegiate weight lifting program, the sophomore-to-be is up to 235 pounds, feels stronger and recently ran a 40-yard dash in 4.73 seconds.
Hackenberg mentioned several receivers who've had good springs -- including walk-on Gregg Garrity Jr. Only non-scholarship WR he mentioned— Josh Moyer (@ESPNJoshMoyer) April 3, 2014
On his progression, Hack recently had this to say to the media:
I feel like I've gotten stronger. I went through my first weight training progression. I feel like the ball's coming out a little better, I ran the fastest 40 I've ever run at this weight. I feel good right now, just continuing to tune up the tools and be the best player I can be.
He also showed his maturity and leadership when asked about the offensive line, which according to many is a struggling unit:
They're working really hard, doing a fantastic job. It's hard for them because they're learning all new protections, blocking schemes. New guys are stepping up, filling holes. Their progression has been impressive. Donovan, Mangiro, Alosi, those guys have been around a while and they're taking leadership roles. I just have to be confident in them, which I am.
In addition to Miles Dieffenbach being lost to an ACL injury and Andrew Nelson missing time with a bum knee, Audrey Snyder of PennLive.com reported that Adam Breneman will now miss the rest of spring practice with a deep bone bruise in his knee.
Breneman will miss the rest of spring ball for precautionary reasons (bone bruise) & is expected to be back at full speed for training camp.— Travis Johnson (@bytravisjohnson) April 3, 2014
Safety Malik Golden suffered a minor hamstring injury and coaches are keeping an eye on Ben Kline and DaeSean Hamilton to ensure they don't re-injure themselves.
Don't expect to see either of them in the spring game.
Wooten Turning Heads
There may be some more depth at linebacker than previously expected, as Gary Wooten appears to be coming on strong and making a case for playing time.
Mike Hull with more praise for fellow linebacker Gary Wooten. "He's made huge strides. It's unbelievable." #PennState— York Daily Record (@YDRPennState) April 3, 2014
According to Jeff Rice of 247Sports.com, Mike Hull has been impressed with Wooten:
I think Gary Wooten's made the biggest strides. Always around the ball...It's been a huge difference. I think the new staff, with the way they coach and their style has really helped him flourish. He's made huge strides. He's always had the physical tools to be great. He's just putting it all together right now.
If Wooten can play significant snaps this fall, it will go a long way toward solidifying the young linebacker corps.
The new staff will, at times, run a 4-2-5 defense with a linebacker/safety hybrid position. It looks like the first candidates for the job will be Von Walker and Adrian Amos.
Walker has been taking snaps with the linebackers and would allow the secondary to stay intact during the transition.
If Amos moves up into the role, he will have to be replaced at safety—most likely by Golden.
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