Experience Needed: Kevin Newsome Shows Freshman Tendencies

Brandon SeitzCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Kevin Newsome #12 of the Penn State Nittany Lions throws a pass during a game against the Temple Owls on September 19, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Joe Paterno doesn’t seem to ever want to change his ways. And after 44 years of success as Penn State’s head coach, why should he?

The great quarterbacks attending Penn State throughout the years always knew one thing: while being a back-up, they wouldn’t see much action, no matter how poorly the starter played. That might have been one of the reasons Terrelle Pryor chose against coming to Penn State. It was definitely why quarterback Pat Devlin chose to transfer to Delaware last season. Devlin was not given any playing time during the Iowa loss in 2008, despite Daryll Clark’s struggles during the game.

Unfortunately for second-stringer Kevin Newsome, he’s not receiving the vital snaps enabling a freshman quarterback to develop the talent required to compete at the NCAA level. Through the little action he’s seen thus far, his youth and inexperience has been prevalent.

Earlier this season, Newsome’s fumble against Syracuse gave the Orange its only score of the day, eliminating the shutout and numbing Penn State’s stout defensive performance. In the Lions’ sixth game of the year against Eastern Illinois, Newsome was frantic, forgetting to secure the football during his scrambles, fumbling twice in one possession.

Don’t get me wrong, Kevin Newsome is a formidable rusher with a great arm and a lot of room for growth. His scrambling ability is reminiscent of the glory days of Michael Robinson. The only difference is that Newsome runs more like an early Michael Vick, football violently jerking in the palm of one hand, begging for a strip and a resulting disaster against a team more talented than the Eastern Illinois Panthers.

The way to fix this? It’s simple: more reps in real-game situations, which Paterno has been reluctant to allow prior to this past weekend’s game. As a freshman, more experience will give Newsome something to work off of while reviewing tape during the week.

He’s definitely got a similar quarterback on hand in Daryll Clark, who can give his protégé constructive criticism and make him a feared dual-threat. 

Maybe they can even throw in an extra equipment manager who can make sure another helmet is always on hand. Just in case.

Kevin Newsome has the ability to become a phenom at Penn State, but the Nittany Lions’ future at the quarterback position, especially for next year, relies heavily on his real game experience when it counts, not just mop-up duties with a 50-point lead.