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Army Snap Counts: Depth Not Passing the Test

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Penn State's depth is being tested and so far it hasn't been getting the job done.

Maybe the defense was confused by every Army player having the last name "Army."
Maybe the defense was confused by every Army player having the last name "Army."
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Penn State is a little bit banged up on both sides of the ball, and Saturday was a worrying sign of what that could mean. Obviously Army plays a different style of football than the Nittany Lions are going to be seeing throughout the rest of Big Ten play, but that's of little comfort after a game like that.

Offense

Pos. No. Class Offense Snaps %Snap
QB 14 Junior Christian Hackenberg 53 100%
LT 73 Junior Paris Palmer 53 100%
LG 53 RS Junior Derek Dowrey 53 100%
RG 72 RS Junior Brian Gaia 53 100%
RT 70 RS Sophomore Brendan Mahon 53 100%
C 66 RS Senior Angelo Mangiro 37 70%
WR 12 Sophomore Chris Godwin 36 68%
TE 87 RS Senior Kyle Carter 36 68%
WR 5 RS Sophomore DaeSean Hamilton 35 66%
TE 11 RS Junior Brent Wilkerson 35 66%
RB 24 RS Freshman Nick Scott 31 58%
TE 88 Sophomore Mike Gesicki 31 58%
WR 13 Sophomore Saeed Blacknall 19 36%
C 55 RS Junior Wendy Laurent 16 30%
RB 8 RS Freshman Mark Allen 11 21%
RB 20 RS Freshman Johnathan Thomas 10 19%
WR 7 RS Junior Geno Lewis 8 15%
WR 10 Freshman Brandon Polk 7 13%
WR 3 RS Freshman DeAndre Thompkins 5 9%
TE 86 RS Junior Albert Hall 1 2%

The main development in this game was the injury to senior center Angelo Mangiro, who went down with an apparent leg injury in the third quarter and did not return. He was replaced by Wendy Laurent, with mixed results. Hackenberg was sacked multiple times in the second half, and though Laurent wasn't directly responsible for them, it's fair to wonder whether or not line communication with Mangiro out of the game had something to do with them.

Akeel Lynch and Saquon Barkley did not play after suffering injuries last week against San Diego State. Mark Allen started the game, but the bulk of the carries went to Nick Scott, who had a good touchdown run in the first quarter. We also saw the debut of redshirt freshman Johnathan Thomas in this game.

The tight ends were used heavily in this game with the passing game struggling. There was even an instance of a four tight end set, where walk-on Albert Hall (who until this point was only playing on the field goal unit) was put in the game on a 3rd-and-2. Hackenberg was again inaccurate throwing short passes and the receivers had instances of drops and falls while running their patterns that contributed to the offensive's ineffectiveness. Saeed Blacknall is definitively seeing more playing time than Geno Lewis at this point.

Defense

Pos. No. Class Defense Snaps %Snap
S 28 Sophomore Troy Apke 57 100%
MLB 40 Sophomore Jason Cabinda 54 95%
S/CB 5 Senior Jordan Lucas 46 81%
OLB 42 RS Freshman Troy Reeder 41 72%
CB 10 Senior Trevor Williams 41 72%
DE 95 Senior Carl Nassib 36 63%
DE 90 RS Sophomore Garrett Sickels 36 63%
DT 98 Senior Anthony Zettel 36 63%
DT 99 RS Junior Austin Johnson 36 63%
CB 15 Sophomore Grant Haley 34 60%
CB 29 Freshman John Reid 34 60%
OLB 25 Junior Von Walker 30 53%
OLB 43 Freshman Manny Bowen 26 46%
DE 52 RS Sophomore Curtis Cothran 21 37%
DE 19 RS Freshman Torrence Brown 21 37%
DT 91 Senior Tarow Barney 20 35%
LB 33 Freshman Jake Cooper 16 28%
DT 41 RS Sophomore Parker Cothren 15 26%
S 6 RS Junior Malik Golden 12 21%
DT 93 RS Freshman Antoine White 7 12%
CB 1 Sophomore Christian Campbell 5 9%
MLB 38 RS Senior Ben Kline 3 5%

Brandon Bell did not play after getting banged up last week, and Von Walker started in his place. He split snaps with freshman Manny Bowen at Bell's spot. Troy Reeder may have been injured late in this game, Jake Cooper was in his place on Army's final drive of the game with the score 20-14. And Jason Cabinda left the field briefly with an injury, being replaced by Ben Kline in his first  appearance of the season.

Penn State is back to a full "first unit" vs. "second unit" strategy on the defensive line, and the second unit struggled against the triple option. Both Army touchdowns occurred with the second unit defensive line on the field, with A.J. Schurr's 56-yard touchdown run coming on the first play of that drive after the first unit left the field. The triple option is obviously a different animal from typical offenses, but it is a concerning trend to have seen them allow long drives when they've been on the field together. It should be noted that defensive end Evan Schwan missed this game after getting injured on the first series last week.

In the secondary, Jordan Lucas did not appear to be fully healthy and did not play after getting run over by Schurr on the long touchdown run. Troy Apke was the only defensive player in on every snap. Malik Golden saw limited action with the triple option essentially negating the need for the nickel package throughout the game. At corner, we've seen a consistent rotation develop with Trevor Williams, Grant Haley, and John Reid more or less splitting playing time. It is encouraging to see young guys like Haley and Reid hold their own there with Williams and Lucas both set to graduate.