Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the Penn State season with what you need to know.
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players | Key Players, Games, Stats
– What Will Happen, Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Penn State Previews 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
2018 Record: 9-4 overall, 6-3 in the Big Ten
Head Coach: James Franklin, 6th year, 45-21
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PENN STATE OFFENSE
– Even with six starters gone, the offense has to be better at keeping things moving. The third down conversions weren’t there, which is part of the reason why Penn State was last in the Big Ten in time of possession, and it all contributed to the scoring being way too inconsistent. The Nittany Lions scored 222 points in the first four games, and 219 in the final nine.
– It’s not like Tommy Stevens was expected to be the next Tom Brady, but it seemed like the quarterback succession plan was in place with Trace McSorley done and his backup ready to take over. But Stevens pulled off a shocker and chose to transfer, and while it would’ve been nice to have landed Georgia transfer-turned-Ohio State-starter Justin Fields, now it’s up to sophomore Sean Clifford – most likely – to be the new star of the show after a nice offseason. Fortunately for him and the offense …
– The receiving corps will be fine with a little bit of time. Third-leading receiver Juwan Johnson chose to take off for Oregon, but KJ Hamler is back after leading the way with 42 catches and averaging 18 yards per catch, and TE Pat Freiermuth returns after making 26 catches with a team-high eight scores.
It’s a youth movement overall – but a talented one – to go along with the addition of Florida State grad transfer George Campbell to piece together a group that should at least match the production of last year’s corps.
– So who’s the next star running back? Miles Sanders wasn’t Saquon Barkley, but he managed to run for 1,274 yards and nine scores before leaving to become a Philadelphia Eagle. Former star recruit Ricky Slade is a home run hitter who averaged 5.7 yards per carry with six scores – it’s his turn now. True freshmen Devyn Ford and Noah Cain might need a little time, but both are too good to keep out of the rotation.
– The line lost OT Ryan Bates and OG Connor McGovern off of the right side to the NFL, but three starters are back and there’s enough overall versatility to play around with the lineup. The line won’t be the big problem is was not all that long ago, but the pass protection has to be far better.