User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Depth at linebacker a concern for O'Brien, Penn St

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - There was a time at Penn State, not so long ago, when the loss of a high school linebacker recruit - no matter how decorated - would barely be noticed on the depth chart the following fall.

Advertisement
But not this year at Linebacker U. Not with the Nittany Lions' scholarship roster cut because of NCAA sanctions.

Coach Bill O'Brien will be down a player who had the potential for contributing right away in Central Dauphin linebacker Zayd Issah. Authorities said last week the recruit was facing charges stemming from an alleged scheme to pass fake money at Harrisburg-area fast food restaurants.

O'Brien said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated that Issah he won't be playing at Penn State this fall but eventually could wind up in Happy Valley. Issah's next move ``will be determined by him,'' O'Brien said.

``When you lose a player, it's not a great thing. But again, I'm in the business of helping these young men make the right choices, trying to do what's right for the football program here, and also trying to do what's right in the best interest of Zayd,'' O'Brien said Wednesday before practice. ``Does it hurt our depth for next year? Certainly it does.''

Issah's attorney, Jerry Russo, said Wednesday afternoon he remained in negotiations with prosecutors ``to reach an amicable resolution,'' but had no information on the teen's football future. One that could have involved playing Big Ten football at Beaver Stadium in September.

``We don't think Zayd is a bad kid at all,'' O'Brien said. ``We think he's a young guy that's made a couple questionable decisions, and his next move is something that we're in discussion with his family.''

For now, the first-string linebacker trio is set with two-year starter Glenn Carson in the middle, flanked by new starters Mike Hull and Nyeem Wartman on the outside. O'Brien said all three players have had good springs.

After that, there's a serious lack of experience, and Wartman only played two games last year because of injury.

The only other scholarship player with decent experience, Ben Kline, is limited this spring after offseason shoulder surgery. He's expected to be ready for preseason camp. Gary Wooten is also on scholarship but didn't play last season.

O'Brien doesn't expect to fill Issah's scholarship slot. The positive side for incoming freshmen with the depth issue is the increased chance to play right away. The other incoming scholarship linebacker, Brandon Bell, is expected in State College this summer - along with other scholarship players and walk-ons in the next freshman class who will replenish the roster.

O'Brien also didn't expect to make any position switches - at least at this point - to help at linebacker. Otherwise, it's up to the coaching staff to develop depth from the ``run-on'' program beefed up to add competition for playing time and fill roster spots.

``We don't have the greatest depth (at linebacker). We have some great kids there,'' O'Brien said. ``But as the years go on, that's going to be the issue - how much depth do you have? How well you do with your run-on program? That's the challenge.''

Overall, O'Brien said he feels ``OK'' about depth overall this spring, simply based on numbers. Some positions are better stocked than others. The team only practices with full pads on Saturdays.

``We hit more last spring,'' O'Brien said. ``That was pre-sanctions. We had more guys.''

A position with little experience but good depth is quarterback. The race to replace departed senior Matt McGloin won't be decided until preseason camp, after top recruit Christian Hackenberg joins the team and enters the fray.

O'Brien also mentioned the addition this summer of walk-on quarterback Jack Seymour. For now, last year's backup, Steven Bench, and junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson are splitting first-string reps.

The Nittany Lions went through the seventh of 15 spring practices on Wednesday. O'Brien said before that practice that Bench and Ferguson have performed well but have also been inconsistent.

``They show up every day. They're both bright guys. We enjoy coaching them,'' O'Brien said. ``But it's pretty even right now.''

---

NOTE: O'Brien said Garry Gilliam, who was moved from tight end to offensive tackle, will miss the rest of the spring after what he called a ``fluke calf injury.'' Gilliam was hurt after the first spring workout more than two weeks ago.

---

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Marshall: Tech Trends - Bowls
Rose: Bowl Breakdown - Part 2
Marshall: Big 12 Expansion?
News: 2014-15 Bowl Betting Results
Alabama QB Sims proves critics wrong
Penn State receiver blocks out distractions
Interim coaching present bowl challenges
Winston cleared in FSU conduct case
Report: Former Clemson QB Kelly arrested
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAAFB Hot Streaks
4-1 L5, 62% +1,955 This Year
12-4 L16 Guarantees, +2,131 TY
3-0 Bowl Record TY
+1,793 Net Profits This Year
8-2 L10, 13-4 Guarantees This Year
7-3 Last 10 Over/Unders
15-7 L22, 40-22 L62 Selections
7-3 Last 10 Guaranteed Plays
2-0 Bowls, 30-16 +1,247 Totals TY
3-1 Saturday, 13-5 Guarantees TY
8-3 Record L3 Saturdays
6-2 Last 8 Guarantees
7-4 Record Saturday
3-0 L3 Picks, 11-5 Totals TY
2-0 Bowls, 17-7 L6 Saturdays
7-3 L10 Guarantee Streak
NCAAFB College Football Expert Sports Picks- Poinsettia Bowl- San Diego State Aztecs vs Navy Midshipmen
2014 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 2131
Dave Cokin + 1955
Kevin Rogers + 1793
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 200
Scott Pritchard + 100
Jimmy Boyd + 100
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Dave Cokin 62 %
Kevin Rogers 58 %
Michael Black 58 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 850
Jimmy Boyd + 780
Michael Black + 570
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 1247
Kyle Hunter + 1208
Tony Stoffo + 807
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 1640
Kevin Rogers + 985
Mark Franco + 461
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
2014 VI College Bowl Betting Guide