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Offensive Line and Green-Lit Freshmen Updates

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After naming McSorley starting Quarterback, James Franklin had a few other announcements to make

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Trace McSorley Named Starting Quarterback

In case you missed it, Trace McSorley was named as the starting quarterback after Wednesday afternoon’s practice. The decision came after a full spring of competition, as well as the majority of the preseason. As the team begins to turn their sight toward Kent State in just 9 days, having the starting quarterback finalized will allow McSorley - and the offense - to settle in. Here’s the reaction from the quarterback himself:

And from linebacker Jason Cabinda:

BONUS: First official use of the word “moxie” in relation to Trace. McMoxie 2.0!

Offensive Line Taking Shape

While naming the starting quarterback was a big step forward, another question remains on the offensive side of the ball - who will be tasked with protecting McSorley as he runs Joe Moorhead’s new offense? While Andrew Nelson and Brian Gaia had put their names down in ink as starters at tackle and center, respectively, the rest of the line has seemed pretty nebulous. That is, until yesterday afternoon, when a preliminary starting five were named.

“I think we feel pretty good about how that’s playing itself out right now,” [Coach Franklin] said. “You have Nelson at right tackle, Dowrey at right guard, you’ve got Gaia at center, Bates at left guard and Mahon at left tackle is where it sits right now.”

Franklin went on to elaborate that some things are still moving around, but it seems as if these five will be your starters on September 3rd. While it will be a cause of some consternation for fans that four of five linemen will be returning from a group that gave up 39 sacks in 2015, the experience of the starters cannot be understated. Naming the starters will allow the line to begin to gel, and Coach Limegrover has shuffled players around from the positions they played last year. Additionally, some of the young blood is starting to trickle its way into the line in the form of Ryan Bates. On a related note . . . .

Three True Freshmen Green-Lit to Play against Kent State

Three freshmen have been given the green light to play against Kent State, including OC/OG Connor McGovern.

“Obviously (he) is in a different situation because he came in as a freshman but had graduated early (from high school),” said Franklin. “McGovern came in a powerful, strong guy. He’s already over 300 pounds.”

In addition to McGovern, running back Miles Sanders and punter Blake Gillikin have also been given the go. Sanders will bolster an extremely talented - if young - stable of running backs, including Mark Allen and Andre Robinson. On special teams, Gillikin will look to improve Penn State’s underwhelming-at-best punting from the last two seasons.

Worth noting is that another true freshman offensive lineman - Michal Menet - is currently in “yellow” status. It’s been clear since he arrived on campus that he would push to play this year, but if the aforementioned offensive line performs adequately, James Franklin would certainly love to keep his redshirt on. If, however, the line continues to be a liability, expect Coach Limegrover to continue to tinker to find the best five linemen possible.