Just four weeks ago, Chaz Powell entered the 2008 preseason competing with Anthony Scirrotto for playing time at free safety.
So when the coaching staff made the decision to switch him to the offensive side of the ball – an offense that already has an extraordinary amount of fire power - they must have seen some serious potential.
On Saturday, Powell gave the 106,577 in attendance at Beaver Stadium a glimpse of what the coaches knew he could do. Midway into the third quarter with Penn State dominating Coastal Carolina 52-7, the Nittany Lions were again driving up the field.
On a 2nd-and-6 from the Penn State 45-yard line, quarterback Pat Devlin dropped back and handed the ball to a streaking Powell toward the sideline. Within moments, Powell had broken past the Chanticleers' secondary and was headed for the endzone.
"I came around the corner and saw my block from our receiver," Powell said. "Graham Zug made a great block, and then I cut out to the corner. All I saw after that, I saw the green – I saw the touchdown. It was like, I gotta get there."
In his first game ever, Powell's impact was instantly felt. The 55-yard breakaway seemed to prove the decision to move Powell to offense was a good one.
When asked about the Powell's run, Coach Joe Paterno responded as though Powell had been playing offense all along.
"It's obvious when you can get the ball in the right spot and give him a step, he's a tough kid to catch," Paterno said.
Paterno explained that the Lions' coaching staff is making sure not to overload the redshirt freshman too soon, though.
"He had about four plays we had him working on." Paterno said. "I told the staff. I said, you let him get good at four plays."
Clearly, he already has one play down pat.
Still, Powell is itching for more carries and time on the field. After his performance Saturday, the staff is certainly going to continue to include Powell in a playbook with which he is becoming ever more familiar.
"I'm still in my playbook every day. Learning what I gotta do so whenever they put me in there, I go and do the job."