Scouting Report: Penn State

Michael Robinson started slow last year, but by the end of the season he was not only the unquestioned leader of the team, but was also the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Not bad for a guy who had started at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver prior to 2005. Robinson was a fifth year senior last year however and won’t be back leaving a big hole at quarterback and in the leadership department.

Replacing Robinson will be the highly touted Anthony Morelli. Morelli was recruited by the Lions the same year the Irish signed Brady Quinn, but has yet to make a start for Penn State. Many thought he would take over as the starting quarterback last year, but Robinson beat him out and he threw for just 155 yards as Robinson’s backup.

Team Capsule

Head Coach: Joe Paterno (354-117-3, 41st Year)
Offensive Coordinator: Galen Hall (3rd Year)
Defensive Coordinator: Tom Bradley (7th Year)
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (107,282)
Conference: Big Ten
Returning Lettermen: 35 (13 offense, 20 defense, 2 special teams)
2005 Record: 11-1
2005 Bowl: Orange Bowl – Win, Florida State 26-23 (3 OT)
Series History: Tied 8-8-1

Morelli is not nearly the pure athlete that Robinson was and will not be able to come close to the 932 yards rushing Robinson had last year. Morelli is more a pure pocket passing quarterback and could be a more accurate quarterback, but has very little experience in real playing situations and will be making his first road start in Notre Dame Stadium.

Running Back
Tony Hunt ran for a career high 1,047 yards last year but he won’t be winning any foot races or making too many defenders miss anytime soon. Hunt is a north-south runner who will try to bull someone over before trying to make them miss. He is steady, but unspectacular.

His backup will be Austin Scott. Scott was a very highly rated running back coming out of high school, but effort has been an issue throughout his career. When he wants to play, he is an outstanding back and filled in for Hunt in the Orange Bowl and ripped off 110 yards against a good Florida State defense. Scott has more moves and speed than Hunt, but Hunt will be the every down back.

Brandow Snow returns as the fullback for the Lions and is one of the best in the country.

Wide Receivers
Penn State will boast probably one of their best wide receiving corps in the last decade or so this year with a group of speedy youngsters. Sophomores Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood, and Deon Butler give Penn State a ton of speed at their top three receiver positions.

2006 Penn State Schedule

9/02/06 – Akron
9/09/06 – @ Notre Dame
9/16/06 – Youngstown State
9/23/06 – @ Ohio State
9/30/06 – Northwestern
10/07/06 – @ Minnesota
10/14/06 – Michigan
10/21/06 – Illinois
10/28/06 – @ Purdue
11/04/06 – @ Wisconsin
11/11/06 – Temple
11/18/06 – Michigan State

Williams was the top prep wide receiver in 2004 and was having a great freshman year last year before breaking his arm in the Michigan game. Williams is s deep threat and the most talented wide receiver on the roster for the Lions. Butler was a former walkon who led the team with 37 receptions last year as a red shirt freshman while Norwood added 32 of his own also as a red shirt freshman.

Penn State used the spread formation quite a bit last year and with their undersized receivers (Norwood and Butler are both 5’10” and Williams is 6’0”) should use the spread often this year as well.

Offensive Line
Levi Brown would have easily been a first day draft pick had he left for the NFL this past year, but he decided to return for another year. Luckily for Penn State he did as he is the only returning starter along an offensive line that will be getting an overhaul this year.

Brown is a lock for All American this year, but finding four other starters won’t be as much of a lock for Paterno and his staff. Center A.Q. Shipley played some center as well as some defensive tackle for Penn State last year and will man the center position this year. Reports out of Penn State this Spring were very positive for Shipley at center, but questions remain at both guard positions and at right tackle.

Penn State averaged 5.1 yards a carry last year behind a veteran offensive line but with four new starters look for that number to drop significantly this year. The Irish will be in a similar situation next year but while the Irish hauled in the best offensive line class in the country last year, Penn State was not as lucky in recruiting two years ago and will have major questions to answer along the offensive line this summer.

Defensive Line
Tambia Hali is a major loss at defensive end for Penn State. Hall led the Big Ten in sacks last year and was a first round draft pick by the Chiefs. Hall simply won’t be replaced. Penn State has no one on their roster who can step in a fill that void. Jim Shaw should step in take over for Hall, but won’t be able to replace the 11 sacks Hall had last year.

Jay Alford will be the only returning starter along the defensive line. Alford started all 12 games last year and had 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Alford will be the leader of the group and will be joined in the middle by Ed Johnson. Johnson missed all of 2005 while being expelled for violating team rules. Johnson is a solid tackle and has experience.

The Lions also have some good freshman coming in this year including Maurice Evans at defensive end. Evans had a great performance at the Army All American Bowl and could challenge for a starting spot by the end of the season.

Had Paul Posluszny not hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of the Orange Bowl, he would be getting ready for Training Camp right now. Instead, he is back for another year at Penn State and will give Penn State a great group of linebackers.

Without Posluszny, Penn State would be replacing an All American and Butkus Award Winner. With him however, they return all three linebackers from a very good defense. Dan Connor and Tim Shaw were both starters a year ago for Penn State and both recorded 76 tackles.

Connor missed some time due to disciplinary reasons, but played in 9 games and registered 76 tackles. He was very highly rated coming out of high school and should have a monster year if he stays out of trouble.

Penn State returns no starters from last year’s talent secondary and the potential replacements have exactly 0 career starts combined. Justin King played some wide receiver after Derrick Williams’ injury last year as a true freshman, but moves back over to corner this year and will start. King is a very talented corner who could be one of the best in the Big 10 this year.

The other positions are a little less clear. Sophomore Tony Davis should start opposite of King but had just four tackles as a red shirt freshman last year. Nolan McCready, Donnie Johnson, Spencer Ridenhour, and Darien Hardy will battle for the safety positions.

This group is extremely inexperienced and facing a passing attack like Notre Dame’s in the second game is going to be an extremely daunting task for them. By season’s end this unit could be pretty good, but with only a tune up against Akron before they travel to South Bend, they could have some major growing pains.

Special Teams
Kicker Kevin Kelly had a big freshman year before his struggles in the Orange Bowl. If he can forget about those struggles and focus on improvement this off-season he will be a very dangerous kicker for Penn State after setting a freshman record with 99 points last year.

At punter, Jeremy Kapinos returns after averaging 41.3 yards a punt last year with nearly 1/3 of his punts landing inside his opponent’s 20.

In the return game, the Lions are solid. Derrick Williams returned kickoffs before his injury and should assume that role again this year. His speed makes him a very dangerous return man.

Last Meeting

Scoring Summary

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
06 psu 6 0 0 10 16
nd home 3 3 3 8 17

Scoring Detail

Quarter Team Details
1st nd recap mini Craig Hentrich 26-yd FG
06 psu mini Richie Anderson 1-yd run (Kick blocked)
2nd nd recap mini Craig Hentrich 31-yd FG
3rd nd recap mini Craig Hentrich 37-yd FG
4th 06 psu mini VJ Muscillo 22-yd FG
06 psu mini Brian O’Neal 13-yd run (Muscillo kick)
nd recap mini Jerome Bettis 3-yd pass from Rick MIrer (Reggie Brooks pass from Mirier)

Team Statistics

06 psu mini nd recap mini
First Downs 14 17
Rushes/Yards 40/107 53/180
Passes 7/28/1 12/24/1
Passing Yards 131 164
Return Yards 113 21
Total Yards 351 357
Punts 6/36.0 4/39.0
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 3/2
Penalties/Yards 2/10 4/32
Time of Possession 26:18 33:42

Individual Stats

ND: Brooks 23-78; Bettis 14-68; Lytle 3-35; Becton 2-5; Zellars 1-3; Mirer 10-(-9)
GaTech: Anderson 23-73; O’Neal 6-30; McDuffie 1-12; Archie 2-1; Collins 5-(-9)
ND: Mirer 12-23-1, 164 yds; Hentirch 0-1-0-0
GaTech: Collins 7-28-1, 131 yds
ND: I Smith 4-59; Dawson 2-39; Bettis 2-24; Jarrell 2-13; Griggs 1-17; Mayes 1-12
GaTech: McDuffie 3-46; Drayton 2-29; T Thomas 1-46; O’Neal 1-10

Notre Dame – Penn State Series History

Notre Dame – Penn State Series History

Season Site Coach W/L/T ND Rank Opp. Rank
1913 A Harper W, 14-7 n/a
1925 A Rockne T, 0-0 n/a
1926 H Rockne W, 28-0 n/a
1928 N * Rockne W,9-0 n/a
1976 N ** Devine W,20-9 15
1981 A Faust L, 21-24 NR
1982 H Faust L, 14-24 13
1983 A Faust L, 30-34 NR
1984 H Faust W, 44-7 NR
1985 A Faust L, 6-36 NR
1986 H Holtz L, 19-24 NR
1987 A Holtz L, 20-21 7
1988 H Holtz W, 21-3 1
1989 A Holtz W, 34-23 1
1990 H Holtz L, 21-24 1
1991 A Holtz L, 13-35 12
1992 H Holtz W, 17-16 8

* Game waslayed in Philadelphia
** Gator Bowl

Penn State Three Year Results

2003 Results

Temple W, 23-10
Boston College L, 14-27
@ Nebraska L, 10-18
Kent St. W, 32-10
Minnesota L, 14-20
Wisconsin L, 23-30
@ Purdue L, 14-28
@ Iowa L, 14-26
Ohio State L, 20-21
@ Northwestern L, 7-17
IIndiana W, 52-7
@ Michigan St. L, 10-41

2004 Results

Akron W, 48-10
@ Boston College L, 7-21
UCF W, 37-13
@ Wisconsin L, 3-16
@ Minnesota L, 7-16
Purdue L, 13-20
Iowa L, 4-6
@ Ohio St. L, 10-21
Northwestern L, 7-14
@ Indiana W, 22-18
Michigan St. W, 37-13

2005 Results

South Florda W, 23-13
Cincinatti W, 42-24
Central Mich W, 40-3
@ Northwestern W, 35-29
Minnesota W, 44-14
Ohio St. W, 17-10
@ Michigan L, 25-27
@ Illinois W, 63-10
Purdue W, 33-15
Wisconsin W, 35-14
@ Michigan State W, 31-22
Florida State W, 26-23 (3OT)

Penn State Depth Chart

Penn State Depth Chart

Offense Defense
QB 14 – Anthony Morelli (Jr) DE 99 – Jim Shaw (Sr)
15 – Paul Cianciolo (So) 87 – Chris Rogers (So)
RB 26 – Tony Hunt (Sr) DT 13 – Jay Alford (Sr)
33 – Austin Scott (Sr) 53 – Steve Roach (Sr)
FB 30 – BranDon Snow (Sr) DT 95 – Elijah Robinson (So)
34 – Matt Hahn (Jr) 92 – Ed Johnson (Sr)
WR 02 – Derrick Williams (So) DE 47 – Josh Gaines (So)
04 – Terrell Golden (Jr) 86 – Mike Lucian (So)
WR 03 – Deon Butler (So) OLB 31 – Paul Posluszny (Sr)
24 – Jordan Norwood (So) 45 – Sean Lee (So)
TE 44 – Patrick Hall (Sr) MLB 20 – Tim Shaw (Sr)
89 – Jordan Lyons (So) 52 – DOntey Brown (So)
LT 67 – Levi Brown (Sr) OLB 40 – Dan Connor (Jr)
79 – Chris Auletta (Jr) 46 – Tyrell Sales (So)
LG 76 – Gerald Cadogan (So) CB 11 – Tony Davis (So)
64 – Rich Ohrnberger (So) 21 – Knowledge Timmons (Fr)
C 57 – AQ Shipley (So) FS 06 – Donnie Johnson (Sr)
60 – Patrick Weber (Jr) 37 – Spencer Ridenhour (So)
RG 65 – Robert Price (Sr) SS 24 – Nolan Cready (Sr)
58 – Greg Harrison (So) 07 – Anthony Scirrotto (So)
RT 78 – John Shaw (Jr) CB 01 – Justin King (So)
71 – Mark Farris (Sr) 25 – Devin Fentress (So)
Special Teams
K 23 – Kevin Kelly (So) KR 01 – Justin King (So)
P 36 – Jeremy Kapinos (Sr) PR 07 – Anthony Scirrotto (So)

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