Federoff's critical job proves to be a snap
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Larry Federoff has to pinch himself every now and again.
The fifth-year senior walk-on from Hopewell High School has a hard time believing he is playing football for Penn State after starting his college career at Division II Edinboro.
"I remember when I told people I was transferring from Edinboro to Penn State to play football [in 2006], they said, 'You mean Penn State Beaver,' " Federoff said, laughing.
Federoff is not a household name in Happy Valley, even for the most ardent Nittany Lions fans. But he has an important role on the team, serving as the long snapper for punts.
"Nobody knows who the long snapper is unless there's a bad snap or a mess up," he said.
Fortunately for Federoff, all his snaps to punter Jeremy Boone last season were successful. But Federoff injured his shoulder against Iowa and missed the last three games. He is fully recovered and has resumed his snapping duties in spring practice.
Federoff, 5 feet 11, 236 pounds, also has been doubling as the Lions' No. 2 fullback behind starter Joe Suhey, a redshirt sophomore.
"I think I'll probably get the blocking fullback role this year," said Federoff, who has two carries for 2 yards in his career. "Joe is more of an H-back, a pass-catching fullback. I think I'll be more of a traditional fullback, going in on short-yardage, third-down plays and goal-line situations."
Federoff didn't join the football team until his junior year of high school. He didn't start his first game until he was a senior.
"I didn't know what I was doing, so I basically went to Edinboro to learn how to play football," he said.
Federoff appeared in 10 games for coach Lou Tepper's Fighting Scots in 2005. After that season, former Lions All-American linebacker and Hopewell graduate Paul Posluszny encouraged him to transfer to Penn State.
Federoff sat out the 2006 season, played in nine games for the Lions in '07 and 10 games last year before being injured. Federoff said he didn't get serious about long snapping until last summer.
"I snapped every day with my dad and friends catching the ball and I won the job snapping for punts in the fall," he said. "You just have to be steady and have the nerves to go out there and snap the ball in front of 110,000 fans and not screw up."
Nick Sukay from Greensburg Central Catholic had a stress fracture in his right foot last spring, then broke the thumb on his right hand the first week of preseason camp. He re-injured his right foot a few weeks later, tried to play through the pain, but eventually had surgery and sat out last season.
During the Coaches' Clinic scrimmage Saturday at Holuba Hall, Sukay, a 6-1, 208-pound redshirt sophomore, was working as the No. 2 strong safety.
Redshirt sophomore Andrew Dailey, a former linebacker and wide receiver, is running No. 1, but Sukay is pushing him for the starting job.
"Nick's got a good chance to be a pretty good player if we can keep him healthy," defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said.
Fifth-year senior offensive tackle Nerraw McCormack sprained the MCL in his knee this week and is expected to miss the rest of spring drills. McCormack, who played two seasons at Nassau Community College before enrolling at Penn State, had been battling sophomore DeOn'tae Pannell for the starting job at left tackle.
First Published April 10, 2009 12:00 am