It seems as if redshirt junior John Reid's poor Week 1 performance against App State is following (read: haunting) him week-to-week, with no real answers about his status being unveiled by James Franklin.
Reid was the projected starting cornerback for the Nittany Lions' defense at the start of the season, but after missing several key assignments versus the Mountaineers that led to late game-tying touchdowns, and appearing relatively out of sorts in the backfield, he's be glued to the sideline in full pads for two-consecutive matchups.
So, what's going on?
It's unclear if Reid sustained any injuries during the App State overtime nail-biter, as Franklin and the rest of the Penn State coaching staff are always very hush-hush when it comes to revealing that type of news. After appearing limited in warmups prior to the Pitt game, he seemed to be full-go this past Saturday prior to the matchup with Kent State, but did not see any action in the game. It's also hard to come up for a real reason Reid's not on the field other than, well, he hasn't earned his spot back yet.
With the solid and steady performances of Amani Oruwariye, Tariq Castro-Fields, who's been starting in Reid's place since Week 2, and Donovan Johnson, the guy who slots in as the third cornerback in the nickel package, Franklin just hasn't needed Reid to return to his position just yet.
Is this an example of a head coach trying to build back the confidence of his previous injured player with a slow process to ensure his mindset is back in the right place? Or is Franklin simply still not happy with Reid's current state and likes how Castro-Fields is playing at the moment? That's the answer we're all looking for.
You'd think that Franklin would at the very least give reps to Reid in the Kent State game that isn't as highly-staked as the upcoming slate on Big Ten conference play to build back his confidence (if that's the issue), especially when you consider many second, third, and even fourth-string depth players got real minutes in the rotation. Illinois looks to be the last chance for an opportunity like that, because not playing for three weeks straight and then staring down the barrel of Ohio State's gun doesn't sound like the easiest transition to make.
This could all be confirmed by Franklin stepping up to the podium, finally being asked to discuss Reid's status, and him saying it's a minor injury still nagging him form the initial week. But that isn't Franklin's style, so...
We'll just have to wait and see.