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Penn State Football: Practice Notes From Ohio State Week

by on October 24, 2012 7:13 PM

Three days.

That’s what stands between now and Penn State’s showdown with unbeaten Ohio State on Saturday at Beaver Stadium (5:30 p.m./ESPN).

Per usual, Penn State players wore shorts and shells during Wednesday’s practice. A bunch of them, including Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, Eric Shrive and Matt McGloin, have indicated they are headed up to Nittanyville after practice to check out the scene.

A record 140 tents and more than 1,000 campers are stationed outside Gate A to grab the best seats. An all-stadium WhiteOut is scheduled, and the latest forecasts call for temperatures in the upper 40s with a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday night.

It will be the best home atmosphere to date, and it’s against what many within the program are calling the season’s toughest challenge up to this point.

Before last week’s 38-14 victory at Iowa, McGloin called the week’s practice the best of the season. Has that carried into this week?

“We’re practicing extremely well this week,” McGloin said. “So far we have our heads on right. We’re focused and are practicing hard. We understand what’s at stake and doing our best to get going here.”

Eugene Lewis has been mimicking Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller in practice all week, and the freshman wide receiver looks good. Wednesday, the scout team showed the defense a read option look. On one play, Lewis found a seam toward the near sideline and picked up a seven- or eight-yard gain. Linebacker Mike Mauti, in pursuit, gave Lewis a pretty mean shove to the turf toward the end of the run.

No major injuries to report. Nyeem Wartman, the freshman linebacker who blocked a punt Sept. 1 against Ohio, practiced Wednesday with a black brace on his left knee. O’Brien said Wartman could play Saturday if needed. Wartman sprained his knee and suffered a bone bruise Sept. 8 at Virginia.

Besides that, nothing substantial outside of typical bumps and bruises that materialize over the course of a season. Running back Bill Belton still had his ankle wrapped Wednesday, but as Saturday’s 100-yard performance at Iowa showed, he’s as healthy as he’s been since the preseason. Left tackle Donovan Smith still wears the large white cast on his right hand, as well.

“I felt great,” Belton said. “I’m continuing to do things to keep my body right.”

“It's not easy, because it's harder to punch and get your hands inside and things like that,” O’Brien said of Smith’s cast . “But he's a really good athletic, tough, big player, and I think he's done a good job with that thing and hopefully that continues on Saturday night.”

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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