Countdown to Blue-White / 26 Days: Does Adam Breneman Redshirt His Freshman Year?
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Even with that in mind, highly touted freshman tight end Adam Breneman enters spring camp at a position overflowing with talent. That makes some fans wonder: Should Breneman be redshirted and saved for down the road?
In 2012, tight ends caught passes from Matt McGloin for a total of 75 receptions. That mark is good enough for almost 30-percent of the 272 total passes caught last season. Junior Kyle Carter came in second on Penn State's reception list with 453 receiving yards and a productive 12.6 yards a catch. Teammates senior Matt Lehman --who was recently granted a scholarship-- and sophomore Jesse James pulled down 39 catches and amassed eight scores between them.
When it comes to Breneman's redshirt it's a matter of balancing the present talent on the roster with the opportunities he would have to produce numbers on the field. A redshirt would give him time to learn the offense under O'Brien without the pressure of producing huge numbers out of the gate.
"At the tight end position you have basically what we call a Y, which a Y is a bigger guy, a good in line blocker, runs intermediate routes, short to intermediate routes." O'Brien said about tight ends in his system. "His number one job is to block, and then his second job is to run short intermediate routes and be open. He's got to have good hands, he's got to be smart. He'll be involved in protections. He'll be involved in a lot of different things in the offense."
"Then we have the position that we call the F position, and the F position is more of what we call a move guy, a little bit better pass receiver than he is a blocker, has good hands, is smart," O'Brien said.
"You know, one of the things about the tight end position in our offense is that second to quarterback, it's really the hardest position to learn because we do so many different things with them."
At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, the Camp Hill native weighs in 10 pounds lighter than Carter but two inches taller. Lehman and James both tower over most of the roster at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7 respectively and are 10-to-15 pounds heavier than the other tight ends. With the emergence of all three as top tier talent, Breneman would essentially have to play perfect football out of the gate to produce better numbers than what Penn State is already getting from Carter and Co.
With three well established tight ends already in operation a redshirt would open up more playing time in Breneman's first active season at Penn State. It would also give him an extra year of bowl eligibility by the time the NCAA sanctions pass.
Even so, depth, and the ability to roll out top level talent play after play has its benefits. Breneman's playing time his freshman year will have a lot to do with O'Brien's vision for the offense this season and his plans moving forward. As the second year head coach keeps those types of thoughts to himself, we can only contemplate the options.
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