2009 Penn State Nittany Lions College Football Team Preview
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
National Rank: 8
Head Coach: Joe Paterno
Offensive Coordinator: Galen Hall
Defensive Coordinator: Tom Bradley
Last League Title: 2008
Conference: Big 10
2008 Record: 11-2, 7-1 in Big Ten (tied for 1st)
Sports Book: ATS 7-4-1
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (107,282)
Odds to Win the BCS Championship: 42-1
QB Daryll Clark had a great year last season and he may be the best QB in the Big 10 this year. He is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation and how he goes the Nittany Lions go. He may need to use his legs more this season, as the Nittany Lions lost 3 of their starting WR’s. They have a new WR corps that last season had a grand total of 29 receptions. However, the Nittany Lions do have 2 legit TE’s in Mickey Shuler and Andrew Quarless.
With the inexperienced WR’s Penn State may run the ball more, which is not bad since they have 3 good RB’s in Evan Royster, Brandon Beachum and Stephfon Green. Royster has a ton of talent and he may be a 1st round NFL pick if he plays to his potential. The offensive line is a concern, as there are three new starters.
Keep an eye on Clark and the new WR’s. If the WR’s can step it up and perform the Nittany Lions will have a well rounded offense, but if they do not Penn State will have to run often and opposing teams will stack the line to stop them.
Returning Offensive Starters
Daryll Clark (QB Sr)
Evan Royster (RB Sr)
Dennis Landolt (T Sr)
Stepfen Wisniewski (C Jr)
Penn State plays a 4-3 defense that plays out of many different fronts and brings pressure on the QB from all over the field. Once again the Nittany Lions have a stellar LB corps led by Navorro Bowman. DE Jack Crawford came to the U.S. from England to play basketball, but played football and he has a very explosive first step and a knack for getting to the opposing QB.
The front line has no problems, but the secondary is a concern since they have to replace all 4 starters. There are some great talents in the defensive backfield. S Gerald Hodges is a big hitter and highly touted coming into college. The young secondary will be led by playmaker CB A.J. Wallace.
Defensive Returning Starters
Jared Odrick (DT Sr)
Ollie Ogbu (DT Sr)
Navorro Bowman (LB Sr)
Jeremy Boone returns as the starting punter. He was rock solid last season leading the Big 10 averaging 43 yards per punt. K Kevin Kelly is gone so Collin Wagner, a former walk on player, will take Kelly’s kicking duties even though he is untested. The punt return duties are up for grabs, but the kickoff return unit will be good with Stephfon Green and Chaz Powell.
The Bottom Line
The Nittany Lions have a great chance to repeat as Big 10 champions, as they have a pretty easy schedule and they are STACKED. The new WR’s have to step up and perform so other teams don’t have the luxury of just focusing on the run game. The secondary also has many new faces, but luckily the Big 10 is not a conference that features many great aerial attacks.
Besides a weak early season schedule the Nittany lions play the two toughest Big 10 teams at home in Iowa and Ohio State. The game against Ohio State at home is their 3rd to last game of the season and may determine the winner of the Big 10 conference this season.
10/3/09 at Illinois
10/10/09 EASTERN ILLINOIS
10/24/00 at Michigan
10/31/09 at Northwestern
11/7/09 OHIO STATE
11/21/09 at Michigan State