The Biggest Disappointments of 2006: #1 - The Offensive Line

At the beginning of the season Penn State fans drooled when they looked at the weapons on offense. A blue chip quarterback throwing to three speedy receivers and a bruising tailback that rushed for 1000 yards in 2005. We all had visions of tagging 35 points on everyone.

When everyone outside of the program told us the offensive line was a liability, we scoffed at them. Afterall, that's what they said in 2005, and everything turned out ok then. Of course, we had a mobile quarterback that could avoid the rush, and often had to back then. This year we found out if you don't have such a quarterback, you better have a good offensive line.

In the running game, Tony Hunt was often left to get tough yards on his own. While the running game worked well against Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Tennessee they really struggled to run the ball against Akron, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

In the passing game they did an average job of protecting Anthony Morelli. As a unit they were 47th in the nation in sacks allowed, but further review points out they were at their worst against the best defenses they played. Of the 23 sacks they gave up, 16 came against Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Their inability to protect the quarterback and create open running lanes for Tony Hunt severely hampered the entire offense. Defensive backs were able to sit back and play the passing game. According to Paterno, the offensive line's struggles prevented the offense from attacking the middle of the field making things even worse.

With Levi Brown and Robert Price graduating and Chris Auletta leaving the team it appears the Nittany Lions will have to rebuild their offensive line for the third year in a row moving forward.

Previous Disappointments of 2006
#2 - Kevin Kelly
#3 - Anthony Morelli
#4 - Jim Shaw
#5 - Derrick Williams

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