Yo, Adrian! Sophomore Amos Key Cog in Thin Penn State Secondary
Enjoy watching Adrian Amos this season. Enjoy watching him play safety. Enjoy watching him play cornerback and enjoy watching him if he returns kicks or punts. He'll likely do some of that, too.
Few are better on Penn State’s roster than the sophomore, who is poised to be one of the most versatile defenders used in Ted Roof’s multiply aggressive scheme.
"You can expect Amos to be in any position on defense except the defensive line,” coach Bill O’Brien said.
“The type of athlete he is, I definitely think he can do it, like Eric Berry did at Tennessee, he definitely can be that type of player,” said senior cornerback Stephon Morris, comparing his teammate to the former fifth overall pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2010 NFL Draft. “Just having a tweener like that who can play both, that’s definitely better for us.”
And that should both excite and scare the hell out of O’Brien. A breakout season for Amos bolsters Penn State’s chances for a successful season. It also opens the dam for a cascade of phone calls and recruiting pitches after the season, when coaches can resume the poaching of PSU’s roster the NCAA supplemented with the sanctions levied against the program.
Players are free to transfer to any school and immediately be eligible until preseason practice 2013.
But let’s stay with the 2012 season. Everybody knows depth is the MO for the PSU secondary this year. Four starters from last year graduated. Two players the coaching staff counted on for depth (Curtis Drake and Derrick Thomas) left the team for personal reasons. And heading into Penn State’s first game week, safeties Malcolm Willis (ankle) and Jake Fagnano (hamstring) are hurting some.
Morris said he’s been playing both cornerback positions and rotating in at nickelback. The staff has a few options with how to align the rest of the defensive backfield.
Amos can play opposite Morris at corner and leave Willis and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong at safety. If Amos lines up at safety, you might see freshman Da’Quan Davis sub-in at corner or redshirt sophomore Jesse Della Valle.
Another name O’Brien and Morris said to look for is freshman Jordan Lucas. Matchups will likely dictate where Amos starts each week, Morris said.
Saturday's season opener against Ohio presents the first test for the new-look secondary in quarterback Tyler Tettleton, a dual-threat passer who completed more than 64 percent of his throws last year for 3,306 and 28 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 658 yards and 10 more scores.
It's also the first chance to watch Amos.
“The kid is gifted at safety,” Morris said. “He’ll definitely be one of the best safeties in this conference, but he can be one of the best corners in this conference as well. The kid is gifted. I don’t really know what his position is, so you can call him a true defensive back. But the kid, he’s crazy.”