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Carson adding speed to his game

One of the new drills in Penn State's Lift For Life challenge was one that required players to carry and stack sandbags, one at a time, from one line to another about 12 feet away.

Glenn Carson had already completed his part of the relay, but one of his teammates had done a poor job of stacking his bags; one was leaning off the others. Carson saw it, swooped in, fixed the stack, then jumped back out of the way -- quickly.

It's been a theme of the summer for the junior middle linebacker.

"Speed improvement has been very big for me," Carson said. "(Fitzgerald) has emphasized speed improvement every single day, and I think that my speed is definitely developing and getting better."

Carson quietly had a productive season in 2011, his first year as a starter. He made 74 tackles and saved his best play for Penn State's best opponents, recording 11 tackles against both Alabama and Ohio State.

Listed alongside Khairi Fortt atop the depth chart in the middle at the end of the spring, Carson will head into 2012 with the confidence that can only be earned on game days.

"Just playing experience," he said. "It's a big thing being on the field in big-time games. Just getting experience. You learn so much from being out on the field, then seeing it on tape and really diagnosing what you did wrong and what you did right, and it really helps you develop into a player."

Carson wants to be able to play faster as he gets faster. He said the adjustment to Ted Roof's new defense has been made easier by Penn State's retention of longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden.

"I think all the linebackers that were here are really comfortable with Coach Vanderlinden, and it really helped the transition for the linebackers," he said. "We still have that familiar face in the room. The biggest part is coaching styles. A lot of guys have to adjust to coaching styles. For us, it's been an easier transition having Coach Vanderlinden still there."

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