Jones to play tight end and other Penn State notes

The other day I wondered how bad Paul Jones had to be at quarterback to be passed on the depth chart by true freshman Steven Bench, who didn’t inspire confidence with his play on Saturday. Well, it turns out that Jones is so bad at quarterback that Bill O’Brien is going to have him practice as a tight end.

“Bench was the number two quarterback. Jones is going to play some F-tight end for us and he’ll still play quarterback. We do that at practice and next week we’ll keep playing Paul at both positions. He is doing a heck of a job and that’s why I went with Bench as the No. 2 quarterback.”

With Kyle Carter, Matt Lehman and Gary Gilliam, Penn State is not lacking depth at the tight end position. If O’Brien is going to play Jones at a position that I’ve never heard him associated with before, why not defensive end? You can never have too many pass rushers! The team could also use help at safety…

It’s hard to blame O’Brien for moving Jones. He didn’t recruit the kid, so I suppose he can do what he sees fit. This does imply that the previous regime missed big time on both Bolden and Jones, who were both hyped quarterbacks in the 2010 recruiting class.

Sam Ficken is still the Penn State kicker

Despite his awful 1-for-5 field goal performance on Saturday (not to mention the blocked point after), O’Brien insists that Sam Ficken is still Penn State’s field goal kicker.

“We’ll have to go back as a staff and talk about it but Sam (Ficken) is our kicker. We need to see what things we can do to help Sam get better. Again, it’s not all on the kicker; we had some plays in the red area we could have called better, I could have called better plays, we could have executed better, so it’s never always on the kicker. It’s a team sport and we have to figure out other ways to improve.”

Yeah, O’Brien said what the head coach has to say in this situation. I’m just hoping that this was more of a fluke and that Ficken has been kicking better in practice. Remember, the Saturday before against Ohio, O’Brien opted to go for it on fourth down from the 30-yard line. That doesn’t show a ton of confidence in Ficken, but then again, O’Brien has been very aggressive with his fourth down play-calling even in situations that wouldn’t call for a field goal.

Matt McGloin is just fine

According to McGloin, his arm injury is much less severe than it looked when he couldn’t move it at the end of the first half.

“Unfortunately it was the same spot (second hit), you’re going to have days like that, it happens. It’s bruised up and a little swollen, nothing that ice and Motrin can’t fix.”

Just a little bruise. Thank goodness, because Bench really didn’t look like he knew what he was doing out there. I don’t want to be too hard on the freshman — if Jones was even close to a competent quarterback, Bench would be third string — but it will be very hard for Penn State to win a game this season if McGloin misses significant time.

Derek Day has a shoulder injury

Bill Belton was considered day-to-day but he didn’t play against Virginia. Derek Day got the start, but he left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.

“I just felt something went wrong in my shoulder,” Day said. “It started burning a little bit. I knew something wasn’t right.”

That allowed my boy Curtis Dukes to finally have the running back job all to himself. Dukes ran for 30 yards on 10 carries, which was only slightly better than Day’s 47 yards on 18 carries. I’m still going to be smoking the Dukes pipe, however, until someone can prove that there’s a better option at halfback.

Freshman defensive back Jordan Lucas got in trouble

Jordan Lucas was caught consuming alcohol, which is bad, because he’s under the age of 21. There’s no word yet on what the consequences of this will be, but Penn State was desperate enough at corner to play freshman Da’Quan Davis, so from a football perspective this is bad. Lucas had been contributing on special teams.

Also, linebacker Nyeem Wartman has some kind of knee injury. He’s the guy who blocked the punt against Ohio, so the Lions will take a hit on special teams.

Follow me @apy5000 and look for more tomorrow when I review O’Brien’s Tuesday press conference.

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