Dallastown linebacker Ben Kline is still “day-to-day” in practice as he continues recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
Kline, a redshirt junior, was expected to battle for a starting outside linebacker spot and at least hold down the top backup spot. The Nittany Lions feature only six scholarship linebackers on their roster, including true freshman Brandon Bell.
But coach Bill O’Brien did say he still expects Kline to be ready for the season, including the opener against Syracuse on Aug. 31.
“I believe he’ll be ready to go. We have to do a great job of managing that. That’s a shoulder injury that maybe we have to put a harness on him, but he’s a tough kid. You want guys like Ben Kline on your football team. He’s a smart, tough kid.”
The only other significant injury update involved redshirt freshman tight end Brent Wilkerson, who is still out indefinitely with an undisclosed back injury.
Senior right tackle Adam Gress “got banged up a little bit, but he’ll be fine. But other than that, it’s been pretty good, knock on wood,” O’Brien said. “These guys have done a nice job of practicing physically and staying on their feet.”
Of course, Wilkerson’s injury may pave the way even clearer for Adam Breneman to play as the fourth tight end this fall as a true freshman. Breneman, whose father played tight end at Spring Grove, also is coming off knee surgery a year ago.
“Adam Breneman has had a good camp. Smart player, tough kid, good hands, he can run,” O’Brien said. “Yeah, he’ll be playing.”
Also enjoying a strong preseason is junior tailback Bill Belton, who missed much of last year because of injury and discipline issues. He concentrated on academics through the summer but is cleared to play, O’Brien said.
“He’s had a really good camp. He’s running the ball well, he’s catching the ball well, he’s doing a nice job for us.”