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Penn State Football: Alex Kenney is Looking to Find his Role in the Offense

by on August 13, 2012 6:37 AM

Racing down the Hersheypark Stadium sideline, senior Alex Kenney returned a kickoff 97 yards for a State College touchdown.

While the Little Lions fell, 24-7, in the 2009 PIAA AAAA state title game to La Salle, Kenney's explosive ability and quickness that helped guide State College to a 12-3 record was evident in every step of the 97-yard return.

As a senior, Kenney ran for 1,175 yards, had 475 receiving yards and totaled 29 touchdowns, while also grabbing 12 interceptions, returning three of those for scores. Many opponents would see the next play coming but were unable to stop the shifty 6-foot, 200-pound receiver who would clock a 10.6 100-meter dash that same year.

At Penn State, Kenney's role has been much quieter. After being redshirted in 2010, Kenney recorded one tackle and returned a kickoff for 16 yards in the win over Indiana State last season. Beyond some time at cornerback, he has been buried behind a mountain of talent at his position.

But between the graduation of Derek Moye, the departure of senior Devon Smith and the transfer of senior Justin Brown to Oklahoma, Kenney's time to shine has come, something reflected in Bill O'Brien's depth chart which lists Kenney as the top slot receiver on the roster.

"It (the spring) has been going very well, it's been a lot of work, Coach Fitz is working us hard," Kenney said at last week's media day. "I'm excited to get out on the field and start playing football.

"I dreamed about an opportunity to play, but I never thought it was going to be like this, but an opportunity is an opportunity and I'm just going to make the best of it."

For Matt McGloin, finding a go-to receiver is going to be a whole new challenge as none of the players slotted to start this season have seen substantial playing time. While Kenney has the experience from his high school days of being the catalyst of an explosive offense, he is looking to fill whatever role he is asked to fill.

"I'd like to contribute in any way possible," he said. "So whatever the role the coaches decide for me I'm gonna try and do and work my hardest to do it to the best of my ability."

As far as losing Brown, the obvious leader in the receiving corps? No hard feelings and no adjustments in preparation either.

"It's just business as usual, Justin made a business decision and I wish him all the best in the future," Kenney said. "We're just getting down to work with the people that are here to be the best that we can be."

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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