Penn State Nittany Lions
Head Coach: Bill O’Brien 2nd ….8-4
Nittany Lion Offense
“In a Word”…potential…Let’s be honest…if you were not surprised by Penn State’s 8-4 record in 2012..raise your hand…nobody, that’s what I thought…a lot of that success had to do with a senior starting QB and coach O’Brien, the guru behind a lot of Tom Brady’s NFL success….but Matt McGloin is gone…so the challenge now becomes can the coach do the same thing with a hot shot true freshman Christian Hackenberg…I think yes, but it will take some time. There is some reason to be excited. The Lions bring back seven starters on this side of the ball. The line should be improved from 2012…size is certainly a benefit…the tackles both weigh in over 320, the guards at 298 and 300 and the senior center, Ty Howle is 295….girth baby, girth. HB Zach Zwinak was impressive last season..1000 yards in just over 200 carries and 6 TD’s…he should be a reliable option when the Nittany Lions need to run the ball….which will be often with a freshman QB. PSU finished 4th in the Big Ten in total offense in 2012…look for that to drop a bit….Oh yeah…don’t forget the best WR in the Big Ten is here…6’3” 204 pound junior Allen Robinson is a game-changer…his numbers will go down in 2013, but he has fantastic hands and catches almost everything thrown in his direction…however, be aware that a lot of the success he attains may be a result of O’Brien and his coaching ability….I’m just sayin.
Nittany Lion Defense
“In a Word”…sneaky…six starters come back to a unit that finished 4th in the conference in total defense…most of that due to the fact that the Nittany Lions led the Big Ten in sacks, red zone defense and was 3rd in turnover margin by forcing 22 turnovers…they were a very aggressive and opportunistic unit….the question is can new DC John Butler keep this going?…I think it all begins with sophomore DE Deion Barnes…the kid led the team with six sacks, 10 TFL’s and forced three fumbles…DT DaQuan Jones needs to improve…he will get more playing time in 2013 so there is a good chance he will, but it needs to happen quickly for PSU to be a threat. Gone are the leaders of the PSU defense…and by that I mean proven LB’s Mike Mauti and Gerald Hodges…Glenn Carson is back, but he needs a lot of help for the PSU LB’s to hold their own. Look for some bumps, bruises and other growing pains with this unit as they try to find their identity throughout the season. As we all know, if your LB’s aren’t making plays, then it puts a lot of pressure on your secondary to atone for those botches…and the Nittany Lions secondary might be able to do that. Three starters come back to a portion of the pass defense that helped it rank 8th in the conference in 2012..looking at the numbers…makes me scratch my head a bit…led the conference in sacks but 8th vs the pass?…which could mean a lot of things..but only four teams gave up more passing yards…so the coverage must get better, because I doubt the pass rush will be as good in 2013….
Penn State 2013 Schedule
The Nittany Lions toughest nonconference game will be their first one…a neutral site game at Met Life Stadium vs Syracuse…then three straight homers vs Eastern Michigan, Central Florida and Kent State..a bye before the Big Ten schedule starts..then at Indiana, homecoming 5pm start vs Michigan…another bye…they then travel to Columbus, host Illinois, travel to Minneapolis, host Purdue and Nebraska and finish at Wisconsin..it is one of the toughest last two weeks in the conference in 2013 (Iowa may have the toughest final fortnight) a .500 season with this schedule would certainly be a step backwards as far as records go, but I think with a freshman QB, a new DC, four Big Ten road games vs teams that are expected to go bowling this season….it should be considered a successful season….I may be in the minority there, but I would consider it a very nice season.
Penn State Could’s Should’s and Will’s
Penn State could finish with their first unbeaten nonconference record since 2009.
The Nittany Lions should be out of division title contention before Halloween.
PSU will beat a team that they have no business beating….maybe two teams.
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