Notebook: Who are the 'Supa Six'?

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
10:30
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It started out as a joke and ended with a hashtag.

Early last season, six of Penn State's Class of 2011 recruits began calling their close-knit group the "Supa Six," and the nickname recently caught on. They're now ending their tweets with #supasix, and fans have embraced the nickname.

Three redshirt freshman are part of the group: Deion Barnes, Kyle Carter, Donovan Smith. And three sophomores: Adrian Amos, Bill Belton and Allen Robinson.

[+] EnlargeBill Belton
AP Photo/Keith SrakocicPenn State sophomore RB Bill Belton, who is one of the 'Supa Six,' is also regarded by teammates as one of the team's toughest tailbacks to bring down.
Just don't ask their teammates to embrace it. Even if the six are all starters.

"I don't really care what those guys do," said quarterback Matt McGloin. "As long as they play good Saturday, they can call themselves whatever they want."

Barnes, who leads the team in sacks (3), said the group -- ahem, Supa Six -- worked together in the offseason. He knew the extra work would pay off, "but we didn't know it was going to happen this fast."

Offensive guard John Urschel was also quizzed this week about the Supa Six. He seemed slightly confused and then answered in such a way that his eye-rolls could be heard over the phone.

"I'm not really on top of this Supa Six thing, to be perfectly honest," he said. "I think they have T-shirts or have a sign with their hands. I'm not really up to speed."

With the six already committed to finish their careers at Penn State, expect to hear a lot from them for two more seasons. All of them will likely finish their careers as three-year or four-year starters.

Hardest to tackle? Mike Hull was asked, in practice, to name the tailback who is the toughest to bring down. He thought for a moment but then came up with two -- and it wasn't two of the heavier players.

"Bill Belton's pretty tough because he's so shifty," Hull said. "So, whenever you're in the open field, it's pretty tough. But Derek Day brings an X factor because he can run you over, too. They're surprisingly physical."

Best defense: Temple's defense is ranked No. 45 in yards allowed, one spot ahead of Ohio, but two Penn State players believe this weekend could be the offense's toughest test of the early season.

McGloin and Urschel voiced some concerns with an Owls defense that has the most experienced secondary they've seen so far.

"We have our work cut out for us this week," McGloin said, "and we're trying to watch as much football this week and prepare for, probably, the best defense we've played so far."

Philadelphia connections: Seven Penn State players hail from the Philly area -- Anthony Alosi, Mark Arcidiacono, Joe Baker, Barnes, Pete Massaro, Carl Nassib and Pat Zerbe.

Temple coach Steve Addazio pointed to Barnes as the type of player he needs to recruit.

"You're hoping to get a few of those guys, and that'll happen," Addazio said. "That's part of the growth of where we're at. ... There's so much talent surrounding Philadelphia, and those are things we're trying to get done."

Biggest player surprise: What player has most exceeded expectations this year? According to Urschel, the answer is linebacker Ben Kline.

"I'd say that Ben Kline has been doing a great job for us," he said. "He's been doing a phenomenal job for us on special teams. ... He's been a very good player for us, very physical player. He's been making some plays for us; he's going to be one of our great linebackers in future years."

Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter

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