IOWA CITY, Iowa -- For one Penn State coach, this made two trips to Iowa in as many weeks. During the off week, quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher took a trip out to a place called Council Bluffs, right on the Nebraska border.
He was looking for, perhaps, the Nittany Lions' next starting quarterback.
Fisher stopped in at Iowa Western Community College to check on quarterback Jake Waters, a junior college recruit who is garnering attention from major programs across the country.
With Penn State set to have just one scholarship quarterback -- Steven Bench -- on the roster for spring practice, the Lions are in need of someone to be able to contribute right away.
Fisher extended a scholarship offer to him before heading back to State College.
In seven games for the country's top-ranked junior college team, Waters has completed 73 percent of his passes for nearly 2,000 yards and 24 touchdowns.
If he were to pick Penn State, he would enroll for the spring semester with two years of eligibility remaining and compete with Bench and possibly verbal commit Christian Hackenberg for the starting job in 2013.
Whereas the former coaching staff all but avoided recruiting junior college players, Bill O'Brien and his staff must be open-minded because of the upcoming scholarship limitations.
It's an important avenue for us, said Lions assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Charles London. We're already exploring options there, and we'll continue to do so.
Redshirting receiver Eugene Lewis made his third straight travel roster, suiting up for the Lions against Iowa.
Though Lewis is not expected to play this season, he still has had plenty of chances to prove himself to the coaching staff in practice and with the scout team. He drew praise from O'Brien this week during the coach's weekly radio show.
He's a great kid, O'Brien said. I'll tell you, we've got a bright future at the wide receiver position. He's working hard. He gets the (scout team) player of the week almost every single week. He's done an excellent job there.
This week, Lewis simulated top Hawkeyes receiver Keenan Davis while going up against the Lions' first-team defense.
O'Brien said he was also doing well in his normal position drills.
In our 1-on-1 drill on pass routes, he's really showed a lot of improvement from the beginning of the season, O'Brien said. Obviously he's paying attention in meetings, and he's a fun guy to be around.
Lewis was one of 10 true freshmen to make the trip and one of five who is on track for a redshirt.
Coming off of the bye week, the Lions were missing just two players in Valley View linebacker Nyeem Wartman and guard Mark Arcidiacono, who has missed the entire year with a foot injury.
One of the few visible issues remaining is the right hand of Donovan Smith, who started at left tackle despite sporting a very large club of a cast for the second straight game.
O'Brien confirmed this week that Smith's hand is broken, adding to the redshirt freshman's ailments since the start of camp.
He's a gifted special athlete, offensive line coach Mac McWhorter said. To his misfortune and our misfortune, he's really been banged up this year. And now his hand is in a big club and … he's struggling little bit with that. He's trying to fight through that.
Check off another NFL connection for Penn State in the O'Brien era. Like their professional counterparts, the Lions donned pink gloves, wristbands and chin protectors in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It's believed to be the first time Penn State wore pink since the 19th century, as the team's original colors were pink and black.