Open Practice Observations (11.07.18)

By Matthew Filipovits on November 7, 2018 at 7:44 pm
Nov 3, 2018; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the best way to move on from a tough loss is just to get right back to work. That's exactly what the Nittany Lions did ahead of this week's Wisconsin game. Here are our takeaways from Wednesday's open practice.

  • Trace McSorley did practice. He had a brace on his knee and did not run at all, but he looked good throwing the football.
  • Sean Clifford and Tommy Stevens split reps with the second unit. They ran a few plays with Stevens as a running back while Clifford was at quarterback.
  • Will Fries and Ryan Bates flipped sides. Penn State has had a lot of trouble at right tackle, so having your best offensive lineman over there could be the best option. Of course, that could leave the left side vulnerable, but with Bates's experience, if Fries is more comfortable on the left side, this could be an intriguing solution.
  • Jahan Dotson ran with the first time offense. He led receivers with two catches last week at Michigan.
  • Justin Shorter ran mostly with the twos but I did notice he had one rep with the first team. He can still play three games and maintain his redshirt. More on those redshirts on RLR on Thursday.
  • Ricky Slade ran with the second team offense. We haven't seen much of the freshman in nearly a month.
  • Juwan Johnson was dressed but he did not practice, at least while the media was there.


Being from the same area as Alex Hornibrook, John Reid feels he has a familiarity with the Wisconsin quarterback. The corner spoke about how he's preparing to play against a guy he's squared off with a few times before. 

"(Hornibrook) went to Malvern which is kind of right there so I've kind of played against him before in high school. It's definitely a lot different, it's been a good amount of years now but just looking at their tendencies, the style of offense they're running, the plays they're looking to make...Just seeing their tendencies and where they like to throw and all that."

One of the big (positive) stories of the second half of the season has been Jahan Dotson. The freshman has become a reliable target for both Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens. James Franklin seemed to know that the freshman would be able to contribute since the beginning.

"He came in and had a lot of ability right away in terms of just naturally being able to catch the ball and body control. That's something that at the wide receiver position, you hope that's something they have...He's picked things up pretty quickly and he's just one of those guys that (the level of competition) doesn't really seem to faze him. It's not too big for him."

It's hard to bounce back from a 42-7 trouncing, no matter who it is. Although everybody is undoubtedly disappointed by the outcome in Ann Arbor, John Reid has liked the way the team has bounced back this week. 

"We stick to our process. Once the game is done, we did our critiques and fixed what he needed to fix, it's on to the next game. That's been entirely our focus. We're playing this week practice by practice, just been happy about that. We need to stick to our standard."

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