Penn State Football Injury Report
Penn State’s injuries have forced the defense to start walk-ons, freshmen, and players from other positions. This is especially true in the linebacking corp.
Nyeem Wartman-White is out for the season with an ACL tear. Walk-on Jan Johnson is out for the season after his first moments of playtime as a Nittany Lion against Michigan.
Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda have missed significant time with injuries and do not have a clear estimated date of return. Cabinda was expected to return this week, but will not suit up due to further complications.
Brandon Smith missed the end of the Minnesota game after a big collision, but is expected to return to play against Maryland.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been through something like this or seen something like this before,” said head coach James Franklin on the linebacker situation.
Franklin has had to take players from other positions to add depth to the linebacking corp, including Koa Farmer and Manny Bowen.
“Manny Bowen has never played a play of Mike linebacker, ever. And he goes in the game, we keep it very vanilla, and he actually plays really well,” said Franklin.
Even though the head coach praised the efforts of those who stepped into the linebacking roles, Minnesota had little trouble weaving their way into the defensive secondary. Safety Marcus Allen’s 22 tackles exemplify how battered the big men were.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of that before,” said Franklin about Allen’s career high performance.
Rumors that true freshman defensive end Shane Simmons was being transitioned to the linebacker spot only amount to an unsubstantial rumor. However, the rumor indicates how desperate the group is for depth.
Even though the players that have fulfilled the needs of the linebacking corp are not playing terribly, Franklin believes taking players from their positions to add depth can be a dangerous tactic.
“You just have to be careful,” said Franklin. “You keep stealing from one position or one area to help another, then you're going to create problems at that position at some point, as well.”
In the defensive secondary, cornerback Christian Campbell looks doubtful to return after suffering a right leg injury. Jordan Smith is expected to have the starting role in Saturday’s matchup against Maryland. Smith made his presence known in last Saturday’s game when he made a momentum shifting interception in the middle of the fourth quarter.
“I’m really proud of Jordan Smith,” said Franklin. “He goes into the game and gets a huge interception when we needed.”
The offense has suffered few injuries. However, junior wide receiver Saeed Blacknall, is expected to return this weekend from his injury that has kept him out most of this season.
Paddy Cotter is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.