Scouting Penn State

A central PA perspective on Pitt-Penn State with broadcaster Steve Jones

The Fan Morning Show
September 05, 2018 - 11:23 am
James Franklin & Trace McSorley

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- Steve Jones is the radio voice of Penn State football and basketball and took some time to join The Fan Morning Show with Colin Dunlap, Chris Mack and Jim Colony on Wednesday to discuss the penultimate meeting (at least for this series) between Pitt and Penn State coming up on Saturday night at Heinz Field. 

Jones was impressed by Pitt's offensive performance in its 33-7 win over Albany in Week 1.

"Number one, I really like Kenny Pickett," said Jones. "I've said this after watching him at the end of last year and I've told people everywhere I've gone. I've said, 'hey look, Pitt's got a quarterback. I mean this guy can play.' I think getting Taysir Mack to transfer in from Indiana and the ability to play right away, that's a big plus. He helps a lot. Getting Tre Tipton back, he really helps. And then you add in some of the other pieces they've put in, they've become a really good and effective passing game. Pickett has the ability to move and can get his team out of trouble, he can make a play downfield because of his movement, I'm really impressed by that." 

On the other hand, Jones was startled by the rocky start the Penn State secondary got off to against Applachian State. 

"They should be better than they are because those guys are all veterans back there," said Jones. "Even though Penn State replaced four senior starters last year, those guys all played because James Franklin plays a lot of people on defense. With [Amani] Oruwariye, John Reid who's back, Nick Scott, they played a lot of football, they played almost as many snaps last year as the guys they're replacing."

"I thought that would be one of the strengths of the team going in would be the secondary because of that presence. They have to get better." 

An up-and-comer to watch out for on the Penn State side? Redshirt freshman KJ Hamler. 

"You could just tell, especially in the second half of last year in practice, that he was a guy who had all the potential to be a big play guy," said Jones. "Down the road, this a guy that can become a punt return threat as well. He's the kind of guy you want to get the ball in his hands as often as possible. The kick-off return he had to set up the game-tying touchdown [last week], he took that thing like seven or eight yards in the end zone and you could hear everyone in Beaver Stadium screaming, 'No, no, no!' and then at about the 20 yard line screaming, 'Go, go, go!'"

"That's the kind of player he is, he has injected a big play element into not only the kick return game but also into the offense as an opposite to Juwan Johnson."

What about that Heisman candidate quarterback Trace McSorley the Pitt defense will have to deal with? 

"Confidence without arrogance. That's Trace McSorley. Confidence without arrogance," said Jones. "He has a command of everything around him. You can see it at times when the play breaks down, sometimes a younger quarterback will take off and run. He keeps his head up the entire time and he's always looking to make a pass play out of it."

"Now, there are moments where he probably should pull the ball and run because he is such an effective runner and I think that's something James [Franklin] has pointed out to him as well. He's always looking to make a play downfield. We're in this world of analytics and what we're losing right now are people who have a real feel for their jobs. He has a real feel as to how to play the position of quarterback." 

You can hear the entire interview with Penn State play-by-play voice Steve Jones on The Fan Morning Show below.          

 

               

       

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