Penn State Football: Nittany Lion Secondary Ready to Prove Itself
There is a saying in football that states if you don't know a defensive back's name, that means he's doing his job right and the ball is never getting thrown his way. For any team, a strong secondary can be the the difference between a good defense and a great one. Big plays never develop, defenders are locked on to receivers, and quick hands are at the ready to snag down and intercept any errant passes.
For Penn State the secondary will be a mixture of experience and youth as younger faces look to step up their game while some veterans look to anchor down the unit. Here's a look at Penn State's defensive back unit for the 2013 season.
Adrian Amos (Junior Eligibility): Moving over to safety lets Amos roam the field and highlight his versatility in the secondary. In theory Amos is one of the few players on the Nittany Lion squad that could leave early for the NFL if he has a strong season. Amos finished the 2012 season with 44 tackles and two interceptions. While Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges didn't play the same position as Amos their play often overshadowed equally impressive performances meaning 2013 could be the year Amos finally shines in the spotlight. Amos' move to safety puts 2012 starter Stephen Obeng-Agyapong second on the depth chart.
Malcolm Willis (Senior Eligibility): Willis played in 10 games last season amassing 45 tackles and a fumble recovery. While Willis is listed alongside junior Ryan Keiser on the depth chart, it's hard to imagine that Willis won't get the starting nod. This could mean he shares time with Keiser though, who also made appearances in all 12 games last season. Keiser's jump up the depth chart to sharing the top spot likely says more about Keiser's spring than any possible steps backwards by Willis. Because of this it's a safe bet that O'Brien goes with the more experienced veteran to open the season.
Jordan Lucas (Sophomore Eligibility): Lucas paid his dues on special teams last season and impressed coaches with his physical abilities. After a strong spring Lucas saw himself jumping DaʼQuan Davis on the depth chart. While Lucas is still a bit of an unknown for fans, his ability to jump Davis on the depth chart and the praises that his coaches have given him all spring should mean Penn State fans are in for a surprise this year.
Trevor Williams (Sophomore Eligibility): Williams made the switch from receiver to cornerback this offseason as Penn State looks to get another athletic player on the field. The move made sense given Penn State's depth at receiver and Williams' athleticism. As Penn State battles depth issues deep into the sanctions, finding ways for players to help will be key for O'Brien and his staff. Williams' move to corner is an example of one such move. At 6-foot-1, Williams is also the tallest member of Penn State's secondary.