Chaz Powell was pegged to play safety at Penn State.
The redshirt freshman had three tackles in the Blue-White game this spring and was targeted for a backup role this fall. But then the coaching staff huddled, changed its mind and moved Powell to wide receiver.
The move paid off Saturday when he went 55 yards for a touchdown the second time he touched the ball in the third quarter against Coastal Carolina.
Powell was a running back and receiver in high school at Susquehannock, so the transition hasn’t been all that difficult.
"He had about four plays that we had him work on," coach Joe Paterno said. "I told him, 'Chaz, I want you to be good at four plays. Nobody knows what they are going to be.' He doesn't have to know the whole offense. This week, we can give him a couple more. But it is obvious if he can get the ball in the right spot and give him a step, he's a tough kid to catch."
Powell’s versatility is a big bonus. He can line up in the backfield, in the slot or spread out wide, much the same way Derrick Williams does. Powell has met regularly with starting quarterback Daryll Clark to review the terminology and plays.
"It's a little hectic, but I'm coming around," Powell said.
Some notes and nuggets from Penn State’s 66-10 pasting of Coastal Carolina Saturday:
- Derrick Williams’ 89-yard kickoff return in the second quarter was the first of his career. He also has two punt returns for scores – against Temple in 2007 and Notre Dame a year ago.
- Penn State had five players making their first career starts – quarterback Daryll Clark, tailback Evan Royster and wide receiver BrettBrackett on offense (the Lions opened in a four-receiver set) and middle linebacker Josh Hull and outside linebacker Bani Gbadyu on defense.
- Four true freshmen played for the Lions, including Brandon Beachum, Jack Crawford, DeOn’tae Pannell and Michael Mauti.
- Derek Moye, Joe Suhey, Andrew Szczerba, Stephfon Green and Brent Carter all registered the first catches of their career.
- Evan Royster’s three rushing touchdowns were a career high and the most by a Penn State tailback since Tony Hunt turned the trick against Temple in 2006.
The Lions are 53-11 in non-conference games since starting Big Ten play in 1993. Oregon State will visit Beaver Stadium next Saturday.
By Ron Musselman