Weight room, workouts get an overhaul

The Sports Xchange

--Penn State made big changes to both its weight room and its offseason workout plan. New strength coach Craig Fitzgerald cleared out the machines and replaced them with squat racks and adjustable dumbbells, and the Nittany Lions switched from high-intensity training (more reps with lighter weight) to Olympic-style lifts. Players say they love Fitzgerald's energy.

--Bill O'Brien retained two assistants from Joe Paterno's staff (Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden), brought in seven others and restructured the coaching staff. In the past, Penn State had one coach (Dick Anderson) work with the centers and guards and another (Bill Kenney) work with the tackles and tight ends. Mac McWhorter is in charge of all of the linemen now, with John Strollo coaching the tight ends. Defensively, John Butler is coaching corners and safeties; in the past, Penn State had a safeties coach and coordinator Tom Bradley coached the cornerbacks.


WR Allen Robinson -- The 6-foot-3 sophomore saw more first-team reps thanks to injuries to Devon Smith and Alex Kenney and made the most of them. He had a game-high 87 receiving yards in the Blue-White scrimmage and should be a factor in the offense this fall.

LT Adam Gress -- After a redshirt season and two years as a reserve, Gress added mass and strength under Craig Fitzgerald's new offseason workout routine and emerged from the spring as the starting left tackle. He still has some improvement to do with his footwork.

RT Donovan Smith -- The 6-foot-5, 310-pound redshirt freshman had a strong spring and wound up pushing senior Mike Farrell out of the starting role by the end of practices. Smith has all the tools; all he's missing is game experience.

DE Deion Barnes -- The redshirt freshman was a handful for Penn State's offensive linemen throughout the spring and should be a key player in Larry Johnson's five-man defensive end rotation this fall.

"You have an NFL guy as our head coach. It's exciting. We're learning not only what to do at the collegiate level but stuff that pro guys are learning too. He's brought in a great staff and it's going to be exciting to see come fall." -- Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin on new head coach Bill O'Brien, formerly of the New England Patriots.

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