Four-down territory: Another injury at Penn State

Already without receiver Curtis Drake for the rest of the spring due to a fractured left tibia, Penn State lost defensive end Pete Massaro with a reported left knee injury during practice on Friday. The 6-4, 264-pounder, who started the final 11 games last season and recorded 37 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, could miss an extended period of time if multiple reports are correct about the seriousness of the injury. The Nittany Lions didn’t receive the type of production they’re used to from the defensive end spot in 2010, but Massaro was expected to be a big part of the improvement of the front four in the fall. He entered the starting lineup in Week 3 last season after Jack Crawford was injured and remained a starter even when Crawford returned. A serious injury would be a real tough break for the soon-to-be redshirt junior, who missed the 2009 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the spring game. Expect defensive ends Eric Latimore and Jordan Hill to get increased reps as the Nittany Lions work toward their spring game.

Bret BielemaICONBret Bielema and the Badgers appear to be opening up the 2011 season in primetime.

Wisconsin’s season opener against UNLV could be shifted to Thursday night, September 1, after originally being scheduled for Saturday, September 3. The Las Vegas Sun reported on Sunday that the Badgers’ game against the Runnin’ Rebels at Camp Randall Stadium would be aired on ESPN in primetime and that the deal should be reached by the middle of this week. The network needs to give the final stamp of approval, but both schools and their respective conferences have agreed to the change. Wisconsin defeated UNLV 41-21 in last year’s season opener at Sam Boyd Stadium. With classes in Madison not starting until the following day on Friday, Badger students certainly will be geared up for this one.

With starting right tackle Jarvis Jones undergoing surgery on Saturday to repair a torn patella tendon, an injury that will sideline him for about six months, Daryl Williams will get a chance to assume the starting role in Jones’ absence. Josh Aladenoye will also compete to fill the spot, but coaches were really impressed with the development of Williams throughout his freshman year last season, according to Jake Trotter of The Oklahoman. The 6-5, 270-pounder is behind Aladenoye on the depth chart, but his chance to get on the field consistently should come sooner rather than later. Because of his combination of size and strength, Williams has been projected to take over at left tackle for Donald Stephenson in 2012. He has been compared to former Sooners All-American Trent Williams.

After two scrimmages at LSU, head coach Les Miles intimated that junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger is a little behind veterans Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee in the battle for the starting quarterback gig in Baton Rouge. “Jarrett Lee is having a very good spring,” Miles said. “Jordan Jefferson is playing his best football. Zach Mettenberger is getting the offense and making some nice throws. He's a talented guy, but the two veterans have the advantage with the understanding of the offense. After time, Zach will compete with his advantages. Right now, the experience of the veterans is showing.” Mettenberger did toss two scores in the team’s latest scrimmage, so the Tigers certainly have one intriguing competition taking place on the practice field this spring.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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