1) We've Got a Quarterback: "It always helps to have a quarterback. I don't care whether it's little league, high school, college or the NFL. If you have a quarterback, you've got a chance. We feel very, very good about the quarterback we have in our program right now."
Those were James Franklin's words during his introductory press conference, when he basically said that this is going to be Christian Hackenberg's team. After his stellar freshman year, Hackenberg established himself as the best young quarterback in America not named "Jameis." Playing in Penn State's new multiple pro-style offense, Hackenberg should thrive, especially with another year under his belt. It certainly helps that he has all the talent in the world, and is so good that he can compensate for whatever deficiencies there are among the team's wide receiving corps.
Hackenberg burst onto the scene during his freshman year, rewriting the Penn State freshman record book and setting the groundwork for what could be the greatest career for a quarterback in school history. With another year under his belt -- another year of understanding the little intricacies of college football and getting assimilated to the speed of the game -- Hackenberg should take another step forward, and may be able to keep Penn State in a game or two that it has no business winning because he's just that good.
2) And a Few Awesome Running Backs: Penn State's best unit is almost undoubtedly its running back corps. Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch are all awesome. Zwinak has rushed for 1,989 yards the past two years, Belton has established himself as an awesome change of pace back who can make an impact in the passing game, and Lynch is the darling of the Penn State football community, someone who average an insane 6.0 yards per carry.
The trio will take pressure off of the entire offense -- namely Hackenberg and the patchwork offensive line -- due to the fact that all three are really, really good. It also helps that all three are different kinds of running backs, each with a skill set that compliments the other two. Zwinak's power, Belton's speed and Lynch's versatility can (and will) work together to give the offense a bunch of different looks. If the team wants to go with a more traditional look, it can use Zwinak. Spread things out or even use the wildcat, and it can use Belton. Make everyone happy, then Lynch will get the call. There are options!
3) The Tight Ends are Still Dope: Kyle Carter. Jesse James. Adam Breneman. Mike Gesicki. That's three guys who are essentially big wide receivers, and Jesse James, who is about as big as LeBron. Add in Brent Wilkerson doin' thangs here and there, and Penn State's group of wide receivers goes five deep, and is among the best units in America.
This unit will help Penn State in two ways. Number one is that it can (and will) act as a safety blanket for Hackenberg, which will lead to the group putting up silly numbers and take the pressure off of the inexperienced wide receiving corps. That second thing is the second way they'll help: Penn State's wide receivers are still really inexperienced. Aside from Geno Lewis, all of them will need time getting used to the speed of the college game. Helping them ease into their jobs while making sure the passing game isn't complete and utter shite will be Penn State's tight ends. I dunno. I think Penn State's gonna be fine.