For Penn State, it is not hard to look at their body of work so far this season and understand what needs to be improved. The 3-2 Nittany Lions are averaging 30.0 points per game in their victories, only those wins were against Youngstown State, Kent State, and Temple. Against ranked teams, Penn State is 0-2 and has yet to muster more than three points in a game. Preparing for Illinois on Saturday in Happy Valley, head coach Joe Paterno has some ideas for jump-starting the offense.
Newsome is averaging 5.4 yards per carry on the season, though a majority of that damage was in the three wins against non-AQ teams. Still, the sophomore has displayed the speed and athleticism to demand a defenses respect. Newsome may not be able to be the Penn State playmaker himself, but his presence in the game will demand that opponents stay honest, as well as cut down on snaps for true freshman Robert Bolden. Bolden has been effective moving the ball, but has struggled to keep the ball out of the opponents hands. His 1035 yards passing and three touchdowns are greatly overshadowed by the six interceptions on the season.
There's a chance Penn State will insert Kevin Newsome as a change-of-pace Wildcat quarterback Saturday against Illinois.
"We discussed that," Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno said Tuesday. "But Kevin's got to spend a little more time doing his homework. Right now, he's gotten by with his athletic ability."
"But I think there is a place for him," Paterno said. "Maybe we have to use him a little bit more. I don't know."
Newsome's ability to run could particularly help the Nittany Lions out in the red zone. In 18 trips, Penn State has only been able to score six touchdowns, will settling for six field goals, and failing to score at all six times. The threat of Newsome on the ground should spread the defense and give offensive coordinator Galen Hall more flexibility with red zone play-calling.
Newsome is not only multi-talented on the field, but flexes his musical capabilities off the field as well. This is him tickling the ivories before bed checks during training camp.
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