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Notebook: Tight ends primed for breakout

8/26/2012

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Kyle Carter let out a laugh. He had no idea how many formations the Nittany Lions had installed. The tight end had long since lost count.

"The playbook's about two inches thick, maybe three," he said with a smile. "It's real complex."

Besides quarterback Matt McGloin, Carter said the tight ends' playbooks were the biggest. They're expected to know blocking assignments and passing routes in a slew of different packages.

As a result, Carter said, he hasn't gone a day without studying.

"I'm starting to really get into it now so it's second nature," he said.

Carter appears to be the top receiving target at tight end, but he said he'll split time with at least three others. Garry Gilliam will start at TE-Y, while Jesse James and Matt Lehman will rotate in. Every member of that trio is 6-foot-6 and taller.

True freshman Brent Wilkerson could also see time.

Breakout wide receiver: Allen Robinson hasn't gone a week without gaining praise.

After an OK spring, cornerback Stephon Morris said the sophomore wideout exploded onto the scene and has become a tricky receiver to cover.

"He can make all his routes look the same and that's what I love about him," Morris said.

Tackle rotation: According to center Matt Stankiewitch, three offensive tackles have been rotating in the two starting spots.

Mike Farrell, Donovan Smith and Adam Gress have been practicing with the first- and second-teams, Stankiewitch said. Still, it's believed Smith will start at left tackle while Gress gets the likely nod at right.

Confusing offense: Defensive end Pete Massaro said it's been a bit trickier battling the offense this preseason.

"You have to think a lot more," he said. "Coach O'Brien's a smart guy, and he's always looking for a way to run misdirection plays. ... I think it definitely takes a little more intelligence to play against a Bill O'Brien-coached offense."

Linebacker Glenn Carson agreed.

"I really like the play-calling this year," Carson said. "And I think as a linebacker it can be very tricky with the play-actions and stuff like that."

Super strong: Sophomore Adrian Amos has impressed most of the roster. And Morris was no exception.

"That boy's built," he said. "He's pound-for-pound one of the strongest on the team. You can look for him to make a whole lot of plays in the secondary or at linebacker."