Pennsylvania State University Nittany Lions v. University of Pittsburgh Panthers
Saturday, September 10, 2016
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Score: Penn State (39), Pittsburgh (42)
Notable Prospects Entering the Contest
Penn State Offense
Deasean Hamilton, WR, Junior, #5: Hamilton is more gifted than his production is going to let on; the QB play for the Lions continues to make a mess of their skill player assessments. Hamilton has a pleasant blend of size, burst and fluidity to his game; he easily rolls into breaks and does well for himself to separate in various route patterns. Hamilton flashed most in this contest with his strength and balance after the catch; on a number of occasions he shrugged off tackle attempts to pull away and gain extra yardage. Hamilton is a smooth athlete who is a bit under the radar in terms of his NFL prospects.
Penn State Defense
Nyeem Wartman-White, OBLB, RS Junior, #5: Wartman-White returns in 2016 after missing nearly all of 2015 with a knee injury (suffered vs. Temple). Wartman-White failed to inspire during his effort vs. the Panthers; he had some lapses in eye discipline and did not regularly gain ground against the run to shoot gaps or attack runs. He had an adequate level of lateral mobility; he was able to influence plays between the hashes. Yet the inconsistencies in attacking the LOS showed up on a number of occasions and resulted in him getting beat into the boundary. Wartman-White did do a nice job of communicating before the snap; he appeared to be a key cog in getting the Lions lined up and that’s a valuable role for a LB. I’ll be interested to see what Wartman-White’s functional athleticism and initial explosiveness looks like in Week 12 vs. this Week 2 contest.
James Conner, RB, RS Junior, #24: It was great seeing Conner back in the mix for the Panthers offense; he did not disappoint. Conner ran physical between the tackles and was patient behind the LOS to allow blocks to develop. He also looks to have a leaner body composition this year in comparison to 2014/2015. While Conner is never going to be a burst back, he did have a number of chunk runs and was able to generate yardage after contact with leg drive and balance. Conner’s strength has always been working with his numbers square to the LOS and this weekend was no exception. He has build up speed and left an early touchdown on the field due to a lack of quick acceleration. Conner’s physical running style helped wear out a PSU defense, he never wavered down the stretch; which you like from a hammer style runner. Conner is quickly gaining ground as a staple of the Pitt offense.
Adam Bisnowaty, OT, Senior, #69: Bisnowaty is highly regarded by a number of scouting services at this point and I thought this was a better effort from him than I saw in a majority of scouted contests last season. Bisnowaty is still prone to some false steps out of his stance that concede some leverage against defenders he’s set up to beat in the pre-snap alignment. But his short area movement skills are a nice balance and compensation at the college level. He is going to need to continue to add polish with his feet in order to sustain that same functional movement ability advantage against NFL competition. Bisnowaty did well this past week with his hands to sustain blocks longer and helped pave the way for James Conner to run free into the second level.
Dorian Johnson, OG, Senior, #53: Johnson is a converted Offensive Tackle but looks much more at home on the interior of the Panther OL. Johnson was very physical when able to get his hands on bodies in traffic; regularly latching on and generating push at the point of attack. His efforts in pulling and working across the formation came across as somewhat clunky and disjointed; I don’t see him (same as I did over the summer) projecting particularly well to a zone heavy running system that would ask him to work out onto the second level or perimeter to get out in front of runs. Johnson has enough lateral mobility to cover ground well in slide protections, which he continued to illustrate against Penn State. I would like to see him anchor cleaner and not throw so much weight forward into his toes when pressing and locking out in pass protection.
Scott Orndoff, TE, Senior, #83: Orndoff was a pleasant surprise. Coming into the contest I was aware of Orndoff but he really flashed against the PSU defensive ends and LBs as an all-around player. Orndoff’s best efforts came as a receiver; where he cleanly accelerated off of the LOS and was able to find gaps in zone coverage. His touchdown reception in the first quarter stands out; as he sold a stalk block before slipping out into the back corner of the endzone in the red area. Orndoff has nice hands and cleanly caught four receptions against the Nittany Lions. Orndoff has now totaled 9 receptions in two games, just four less than he hauled in during the course of the 2015 season. As the Panthers continue to progress, Orndoff figures to be a player that is going to help fill the void of Tyler Boyd as a MOF and intermediate receiver. Orndoff’s blocking was practical if not dominant; he moved well in short areas to cross face and seal lanes.
Matt Galambos, OBLB, Senior, #47: Galambos is a truck between the tackles; He’s aggressive flowing into the teeth of the POA and was effective in walling off inside gaps as a run defender. Galambos does have a bit of a lag when he’s isolated in space; he doesn’t showcase a natural confidence in his movement skills to be able to mirror quickly. As a result, there were times when his pursuit angles were broken by premature breaking down in space. Galambos hustles and looks to put hits on the pile; he’s got the feel of an enforcer in the MOF. There’s much more leg work required here but as a supplemental LB for a gap responsibility defense there looks to be a foundation here to work with. He’s likely not someone I will favor in a 3 down role but this was an initial taste of his skill set.
Best Players on the Field:
James Conner, RB; Saquon Barkley, RB, Sophomore (Penn State); Quadree Henderson, WR, Sophomore (Pittsburgh)
Trace McSorley, QB, RS Sophomore (Penn State)