Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Young Linemen Fill Voids

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Young Linemen Fill Voids

Article excerpt


Pete Massaro's name has been on Penn State's injury list the past three games, the prognosis bouncing from possible to out to possible for Saturday. Sean Stanley missed the Temple game because of an ailing back.

Their injuries could have thrown the defensive-end position into disarray. Next in line, according to the depth chart, were two players who had three tackles between them coming into this year: sophomore C.J. Olaniyan and redshirt freshman Deion Barnes. Olaniyan now has eight tackles and ties for the team lead with two pass break- ups. Barnes has nine tackles, a team-high four tackles for losses and three sacks and was named Big Ten Conference freshman of the week for his performance against Navy.

"I know that young guys are in there, the potential that they have, and they're really stepping up to the plate early in their careers," defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. "As an older guy, it's really encouraging for the defensive line."

Olaniyan flashed the makings of a player ready to break out in the spring. He had three sacks in the Blue-White game, a development that helped him believe he would be ready for this season. Barnes entered fall camp with little fanfare, considered a co-backup to Massaro with fellow redshirt freshman Anthony Zettel. After camp, he was considered the co-starter with Massaro.

Massaro had not played since 2010, missing last year with a knee injury. Problems with that knee, as well as a shoulder injury sustained against Virginia, have limited him to minimal action in two games this season.

Barnes demonstrated his readiness in that Virginia game. He had two sacks and a forced fumble. He followed it up with another sack and forced fumble against Navy.

"If you've coached in the National Football League and you know what a good pass rusher looks like, like a Tamba Hali, like a DeMarcus Ware, I'm not saying he is there yet," Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said of Barnes. …

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