Penn State cornerback D'Anton Lynn will likely see his streak of 30 straight starts end when the Nittany Lions open Big Ten play at Indiana Saturday. The senior was knocked out of last weekend's home victory over Eastern Michigan when he sustained burners in both arms after making a hit.
Lynn was hospitalized for a few hours before leaving the medical facility under his own power. Though the long-term prognosis is good, PSU lists him as doubtful for the trip to Bloomington.
So who will defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Tom Bradley turn to to replace Lynn should he be unable to play?
The most intriguing prospect is true freshman Adrian Amos, who had been running second behind Lynn on the depth chart. Amos stepped in when Lynn went down against EMU and made a pair of tackles. For the season, he has four stops.
Asked specifically if Amos would be the man to replace Lynn, Bradley shrugged as if it wasn't sure.
It just depends on what kind of offense we're seeing, he said.
Amos is going to be a good football player for us, he works hard, Bradley added. (The Hoosiers) do a lot of things on offense, checks and things going on. For Amos, that's going to be difficult for him. Having D'Anton in there, he's almost like another safety. He gets all that stuff.
There is another dynamic at work here, too. Lynn manned the boundary corner, or short side of the field. Meanwhile, veterans Chaz Powell and Stephon Morris have split corner reps on the open side of the field.
As Bradley explains it, the boundary corner has more contact than the open corner, especially in run support. At 6-foot-1, 208 pounds, Lynn is built to handle the abuse. Powell is a big corner, too, checking in at 6-1, 206. But Morris is a diminutive 5-8, 184.
So why not just move the experienced Powell to boundary corner?
Chaz has a bad shoulder, Bradley explained. He's playing with a bad shoulder that's strapped up.
Run support on the boundary corner is tougher. So Chaz's tackles are different tackles than D'Anton has.
Morris played both corner spots in the spring and preseason.
So we've got a guy who has some experience there playing the run, Bradley said.
But he also has Amos, a sturdy 6-0, 205-pounder who starred as a safety at Calvert Hall College High in Baltimore last fall. As a senior, Amos had 78 tackles and three forced fumbles, so he clearly is not afraid of contact.
He also has a good nose for the ball. Amos had four interceptions during his final high school season. In his first game at Penn State -- against Indiana State in the 2011 opener at Beaver Stadium -- he notched his first collegiate pick, returning it 49 yards.
If Amos doesn't start against pass-happy IU -- which leads the Big Ten with 148 aerial attempts -- at the very least he figures to see more playing time. Teammates are confident he can handle whatever role Bradley throws at him.
He'll be fine, linebacker Gerald Hodges said. He's one of those good athletes who are just rare. You're not going to find many freshmen who can come in and play right away at a big-time school.
He's going to do what he's got to do to get it done. He's real competitive.