On the mend from a ligament tear of the right knee that knocked him out of last January's Orange Bowl, Posluszny has been held out of contact during the spring for precautionary reasons. The senior captain did not dress for the Coaches Clinic Scrimmage April 8 and expects to be on the sideline for the Blue-White Game, too.
“If they really wanted me to, I'm pretty sure I could do a full-go practice,” Posluszny said. “But they're just being real cautious right now. … [But] it feels great. I'm definitely good to go.”
Throughout the spring, Posluszny has participated in drills specific to the linebackers. When contact starts, he turns his attention to running sprints and working on agility. He is wearing a heavy brace on the knee “as a precautionary measure.”
Not being involved in contact has been difficult for a player known as one of the hardest hitters in the nation. He joked that with no outlet for his aggression, “I go home and beat up my roommates instead.”
On a serious note, he added: “I've been out of contact for a long time now; I'm starting to get a little antsy, especially when everyone else is smacking around.”
But the time on the sideline has given him the chance to watch and teach young linebackers like sophomore Sean Lee and redshirt freshman Jerome Hayes. Like Posluszny, Lee is from the Pittsburgh area, and as a true freshman last season he replaced the Butkus winner after Posluszny went down in the Orange Bowl.
Lee is keeping Posluszny's starting outside linebacker job warm while the veteran skips contact drills this spring.
“He's like a brother to me, especially going through this whole process,” Posluszny said. “I was really proud of him for the way he stepped in in the Orange Bowl. We've grown closer throughout this whole process.”
Lee is one of many new faces who figure to make an impact on a defense that loses seven starters. With that in mind, Posluszny, the program's first junior captain in nearly 40 years last season, intends to be more of a vocal leader in 2006. He also wants to be a more cerebral player.
“I've been able to watch all of our defensive plays from last year [on tape],” he explained. “And when you go through with a pen and paper, your realize how many mistakes you made.”
He also realized that to improve as a linebacker, he had to bulk up. After finishing last season in the mid 220-pound range, Posluszny is noticeably bigger this spring, tipping the scales at a ripped 238. He said he has not detected any loss in speed with the extra bulk. In fact, he intends to be even faster in 2006 than he was in 2005.
“I can't wait to get started in the summer, because that's when we do a lot of speed training,” he said.
In the meantime, he'll be skipping this weekend's Blue-White Game, knowing in the back of his head much more important action waits.
“Once the fall comes around, I'll be good to go,” Posluszny said.
Want to keep up to speed with Penn State football throughout the off-season, including complete coverage of spring ball, junior recruiting and the NFL Draft? Subscribe to a Fight On State Total Access Pass now at this link.