Player Spotlight: DeOn’tae Pannell
In his final season with the Penn State football team, offensive guard DeOn’tae Pannell is looking to make a statement on the field.
Pannell, who measures in at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, has been a mighty force on the Penn State offensive line. In his first three seasons with the team, he was able to show how important he is to the Nittany Lion offense.
Pannell was one of only four true freshmen to see playing time during the 2008 season. Pannell played in eight games at left tackle and saw action on 89 snaps.
In 2009, Pannell started the first four games of the season at right tackle, while also developing his skills at left tackle and guard. Pannell suffered an ankle injury midway through the season, missing two games, but he was able to come back and start the last two games of the season at left guard.
Penn State was ranked third in the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed in 2009, and Pannell contributed to that, making it difficult for opposing defensive players to gain access to the quarterback.
In 2010, Pannell played in 10 games, but only started two of those. He played left guard in both of the games that he started.
Pannell again helped Penn State defend against sacks; only 12 sacks were allowed throughout the season, ranking the Nittany Lion offense second in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation. Now in his senior season, Pannell is looking to help the Nittany Lions achieve greater offensive success.
In last week’s game against Iowa, Pannell was ready to increase his intensity and help Penn State defeat a team that has seemingly been undefeatable in the past few years.
“Coach Paterno really got after us last week,” Pannell said. “He challenged us to kind of go out and make a statement and be tougher and take the game away from the other team, and I think we were able to accomplish that.”
Coach Paterno’s words did not fall on deaf ears. Pannell helped the team come out on top with a 13-3 victory over Iowa, and he is looking to help keep that momentum alive in this week’s game against Purdue.
“We need to be able to control the line of scrimmage again,” Pannell said. “I think if we can do that, then we can have success in every game from here on out.”
Pannell, who is not immune to the media’s criticism of the Penn State offense, also knows that it is important for them to come out and show what they are capable of, and that includes making big plays when they are in the red zone.
“We just need to put up points,” Pannell said. “Not three points, not turnovers, not penalties that are going to kill drives. If we can score more in the red zone, that will help our defense out a lot and make it better for us in the long run.”
“I think we’re on the right track. Nobody’s satisfied yet because we have yet to play, you know, a really, really good game. So I think we want to keep improving and keep building on the success we’ve been having.”
Pannell will be firmly situated on the offensive line and looking to help the Nittany Lions record another victory when the Purdue Boilermakers travel to Happy Valley on Saturday, October 15 to take on Penn State in their homecoming game.
Breanna Jacobs is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact her, e-mail: email@example.com.