NCAA FB

Position switch fuels Penn State's Gilliam

Share This Story

   
 

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)

What highlighted Garry Gilliam's first game at a new position on offense was his quick transition to defense.

Not that the former 265-pound Penn State tight end who is now a 303-pound right tackle thought it was anything out of the ordinary.

Syracuse cornerback Brandon Reddish had stripped Penn State receiver Allen Robinson of the ball at the Orange 27-yard line and had only a lumbering Gilliam to elude to score a touchdown that would have given the Orange a 16-10 lead late in the third quarter at MetLife Stadium last Saturday.

Gilliam got the angle on Reddish, though, and ran him down at the Penn State 27. The drive died when Syracuse kicker Ross Krautman missed a game-tying 43-yard field goal and Penn State went on to win its season-opener 23-17.

''My teammates definitely said stuff about the tackle,'' Gilliam said Wednesday. ''I didn't think it was that big of a deal.

''If you want to contribute, you have to do those things.''

Gilliam contributed very little in 2010 and nothing in 2011. A season-ending knee injury against Iowa in 2010 extended through the next year when an infection related to the surgery sidelined him.

He made eight starts at tight end last season, but finished with just seven catches for 65 yards. Urged by first-year coach Bill O'Brien to become a tackle, Gilliam put on nearly 40 pounds and won a close competition with fellow tackle Adam Gress to start the opener.

His key play Saturday failed to surprise his high school coach.

''That just kind of really demonstrated his versatility,'' said Bob Guyer, Gilliam's coach at Milton Hershey (Pa.) School. ''I really wasn't surprised he was able to make that transfer on that play and make the play in space. It's his versatility and his skill set.''

Gilliam no longer catches the ball. He helps the Nittany Lions move it.

That was difficult against Syracuse, which routinely clogged running lanes with seven or eight defenders in the tackle box. Penn State ran for just 57 yards on 38 carries, but its offensive line was able to protect freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg and enable him to throw for 278 yards and two scores. That was enough for Gilliam to award himself a passing grade.

''My first game was probably easier than I thought it would be,'' he said. ''After the first drive, I got the confidence and continued to play well. I think for my first game, I did all right. The main difference is I'm on the field longer now than at tight end. I'm in for an entire drive.

''I like that a little bit more and I kind of get into a rhythm.''

Penn State faces Eastern Michigan (1-0) on Saturday in its home opener. Establishing a consistent running game tops Gilliam's list of goals.

''We want it to be a big part of our offense and we have to open holes,'' he said. ''As the season progresses I have no doubt that our running game will get better.''

Tagged: Syracuse, Penn State, Garry Gilliam

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash