Morelli OnLion: The Wide Receivers

While the dog days of summer are here, we’re still talking Penn State football and getting ready for the 2010 football season.

In this week’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll take a closer look at the Penn State offensive line, have another Moment to Remember and another question for Penn State athletic director Tim Curley.

Breaking down the Lions: Wide Receivers

This week, we take a closer look at Penn State’s wide receiving corps.

Last season’s batch of wide receivers made fans forget about Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood.

Well, almost.

While last year’s batch of wideouts wasn’t nearly as productive as the Three Amigos, there were plenty of highlights.

Derek Moye, an honorable mention all-Big Ten selection, led the Lions with 48 receptions for 785 yards and six touchdowns and averaged a gaudy 16.4 yards per reception.

Derek Moye is back for another season as PSU's go-to receiver.

Graham Zug was more than solid, racking up 46 receptions for 600 yards and seven TDs. In the end, he may just be the route-running possession receiver on the team.

“I think we have very talented receivers, and they’ve done a lot of good things, but they haven’t caught the ball consistently,” coach Joe Paterno said. “Now, I think part of that is some of the defensive backs are knocking them around a little bit.”

With Chaz Powell moving to the PSU secondary, there is a receiver position open. Paterno has plenty of bodies to choose from, including Devon Smith, a sophomore, who is a burner. Justin Brown proved that he has big-play capability. Last season, he had five receptions for 78 yards and averaged 15.6 yards per catch. Curtis Drake is another player to keep an eye out for. He had eight receptions for 98 yards, rushed the ball four times for 24 yards and completed a pass for 14-yard score against MSU. Electric freshmen like Brandon Moseby-Felder and Shawney Kersey are also possibilities at wideout.

Moment to Remember No. 8

Our No. 8 Moment to Remember is the implementation of the STEP program.

Shock waves rolled across Nittany Nation in the fall of 2009 as Penn State Athletics and the Nittany Lion Club confirmed the introduction of the Nittany Lion Club Seat Transfer & Equity Plan.

STEP was to be implemented in two phases over 18 months and would provide current and new Nittany Lion Club members who purchase football season tickets the opportunity to transfer, retain, upgrade or relocate their seats.

Under STEP, fixed, minimum donating amounts were affixed to four color-coded areas of Beaver Stadium. How much a Nittany Lion Club member wants to donate to the NLC and how many Nittany Lion Club points a member possesses affects where that member is able to buy season tickets.

A detailed study of Penn State Athletics finances convinced the administration that without STEP, Penn State Athletics would no longer be able to operate in the black sometime around 2017 or 2018. Nor would the athletic department be able to continue operating as a financially autonomous unit.

Questions for Curley: Part VI

In today’s question for Penn State athletic director Tim Curley, we ask about what’s next for the university in regard to construction.

GD: Penn State recently started construction on a new softball stadium. What’s the next project on the horizon?

TC: Well right now we’re completing a golf locker room for our men’s and women’s golf teams and then the softball project should be done by the next softball season. So those are the two big ones. As we move forward, we’re going to work real hard on an addition to the intramural building for student fitness. We’re going to look at the Natatorium and the indoor tennis complex will be the next three projects that move forward here in the next 3-5 years, and then the West press box over at the stadium would be on that list. And then, any other projects where we can find complete donor support for them, where a donor or donors come forward, those projects can move quickly as well pending private support, but right now, the three that I mentioned along with the West press box would be the four that we’re focusing on right now.

Chris Morelli is an award-winning writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics. He is also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at morellionlion@gmail.com.

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