Penn State Football: WR Moye thinks he's ready at last to make giant strides

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State wide receiver Derek Moye has excellent speed, reliable hands and an even better attitude.

He hopes to blossom into a big-time playmaker for the Nittany Lions this fall.

"I still have a lot of work to do, but I hope this is my year," Moye said yesterday after the White beat the Blue, 21-16, before a record crowd of 76,500 fans in the annual spring game at Beaver Stadium.

"I can be a playmaker. I just have to work on being more consistent and catching the ball."

Moye, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound redshirt sophomore from Rochester High School, is among a whole new group of wide receivers now that three of the best wideouts in school history -- Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood -- have departed.

Moye was one of three starters for the Blue team yesterday, joining redshirt junior Graham Zug and redshirt sophomore Chaz Powell. Redshirt junior Brett Brackett and senior James McDonald started for the White squad.

"Derek Moye has a combination of size and speed that you don't see very often," Brackett said.

Brackett and Zug had touchdown receptions yesterday, while Moye had two catches for 29 yards.

"I think he's improved tremendously over a short amount of time," said quarterback Daryll Clark, who wore a red, no-contact jersey. "He's going to be one of our go-to guys. He's a bigger target, very fast and he can catch."

Moye played in 10 games last season. He had three catches for 71 yards and one touchdown. Moye has shown plenty of explosiveness and quickness this spring.

"He has a chance to be good," coach Joe Paterno said.

In other news, Paterno said that troubled outside linebacker Navorro Bowman recently flunked a random drug test administered by the school.

"Sometimes, we tested him and he was positive, and we were aware of that," Paterno said.

Bowman, who did not suit up yesterday, admitted last week to smoking marijuana and was given an additional year of probation by Centre County Judge Bradley Lunsford.

Lunsford told Bowman if he violates his probation again, he will be sentenced to six months in jail.

Paterno said he will meet with Bowman -- a first-team All-Big Ten pick last year -- next week to decide his punishment.

"I don't want to over-react," Paterno said. "He's been a pretty good kid. But, on the other hand, he's got to solve his problem, and we'll see how we work it out next week."

The decision regarding Bowman could impact what position fifth-year Sean Lee from Upper St. Clair plays this fall.

"I will play wherever they need me," said Lee, who was held out of the game yesterday while recovering from a torn ACL. "But I want to play with Navorro."

Paterno said oft-injured redshirt sophomore free safety Nick Sukay from Greensburg Central has made great progress.

"This is the first time we've had him more than 5 or 6 days in a row at practice, and he's getting better," Paterno said. "Whether he's going to be good enough to beat out somebody in our secondary, I don't know yet."

NOTES -- Freshman quarterback Kevin Newsome completed 9 of 13 passes for 71 yards and one touchdown, while Clark was 10 of 13 for 123 yards. Newsome also had two carries for 7 yards. ... Sophomore outside linebacker Michael Mauti captured the Jim O'Hora Award as the most-improved defensive player; Zug the Red Worrell Award as the most-improved offensive player; and Brackett the Frank Patrick Award, which honors the top junior. ... Redshirt sophomore linebacker JonDitto (Gateway) recovered a fumble and had four tackles. Redshirt freshman linebacker Mike Yancich (Trinity) also had four tackles.

Ron Musselman can be reached at .


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