Penn State Football: 'Supa Six' Have Been Solid Through Three Games
A week before Penn State’s season ever began, defensive end Deion Barnes sat together with five of his teammates at a campus radio station.
Barnes was staring intently at the microphone, as if it would help him answer the question.
“To be on national TV,” Barnes said quietly. "For the kids from the neighborhoods I’ve been in, to be able to see that, to be able to do what I can do, that’s what pushes me. I think that’s what I’m on this earth for.”
Barnes is a member of the “Supa Six,” a self-given title to a close knit group of Nittany Lion underclassmen who were about to embark on a season that would see all of them play major roles early on.
“There’s no pressure,” tailback Bill Belton said, adjusting the New York Yankees fitted hat tightly over his forehead. “At the end of the day, it’s just football. I’ve been playing football all my life, I’m not going to make it seem like it’s some crazy math problem or science project, it’s just football at the end of the day.”
Three redshirt freshmen, defensive end Deion Barnes, tight end Kyle Carter, offensive tackle Donovan Smith and three sophomores, wide receiver Allen Robinson, Belton and cornerback Adrian Amos created the name, one that has become synonymous for the strength of the now 1-2 Penn State football team.
For many who self-ascribed greatness in sports, the harsh reality of the world often hits them before they ever have a chance to live up to the name. But for some, the dream becomes a reality sooner than even they expected.
Diving across the goal line, Belton snuck past a defender to the first touchdown of the Bill O’Brien era. Popping up from the ground in jubilation, Belton turned to look for his teammates, Carter and Robinson both awaited him a few steps away, all three jumping in the air as Smith slowly took up the rear slapping heads all the way back to the sideline.
While Belton looks to recover from a high ankle sprain suffered later in that same game, the rest of the Supa Six have taken up the slack where he left off.
Of Penn State’s eight offensive touchdowns on the year, only two has come from a non Supa Six member. Robinson’s five-catch, three-touchdown, 136-yard performance against Navy elevated him to the top of the Big Ten as Barnes and Amos combined for 26 tackles, three sacks, and three forced fumbles over the first three games. Carter finds himself second on the team behind Robinson in receiving, and Smith is recovering from an injury, looking to earn back his starting spot on the offensive line.
It’s production that even O’Brien, a man who prefers to celebrate the team rather than the individual, cannot ignore.
“They designated themselves the “Supa Six," O’Brien said Tuesday, the emphasis of Supa coming with a slight eye-roll. “I don’t know about that, but that’s a really good core of players there.”
Three games deep into a 1-2 season is a bit early to crown the Supa Six truly “Supa”, but O’Brien might call them whatever they’d like if they continue to play so well.