Like Lightning Onward State offered some updates from summer camp, but a quote from Penn State’s likely new starting quarterback really stuck out: “You’re going to see one of the quickest, fastest Penn State football offenses that you’ve seen in a long time,” according to Sean Clifford. With players like KJ Hamler and Ricky Slade leading the way, it’s easy to understand how this could come to be. Speaking of Slade, the true sophomore offered some interesting tidbits on how the offense will be quite different from a year ago, when a young and battered unit lost its explosiveness that had come to be expected.
Rave Reviews Dwight Galt, one of the nation’s very best strength and conditioning coaches, is giving some high praise for the Nittany Lions’ work in the weight room this offseason. According to Galt, Jesse Luketa, Jaquan Brisker and Rasheed Walker have made major progress as they seek to win position battles this summer. Penn State legend Jack Ham also has high praise for Luketa and the rest of Penn State’s up-and-coming linebackers.
A Very Nice Honor Sports Illustrated has ranked defensive end/destroyer of all things in the backfield Yetur Gross-Matos as the 69th best player in all of college football- pretty darn good when you consider he is one of approximately 13,000 FCS players. However, Gross-Matos may grow unsatisfied with 69 and look to move up to an even better position.
Center of Attention Michal Menet entered Penn State as a five-star prospect, a major turning point after several seasons of woeful play along the offensive line. He seemed destined to see action as a true freshman, but it turned out Menet was able to sit and learn during his first year in Happy Valley. That time to develop is now paying off as Menet returns to anchor the offensive line.
Gould-en It appeared as though Robbie Gould would be heading back to Chicago to fix the franchise’s kicking woes that cost them dearly in 2018. Gould will now stick with the 49ers and earn a hefty payday.
Odds and Evens Penn State is currently at +4900 to win the National Championship next year. That slots them between Michigan (I’ll believe it when I see it) and Nebraska (??) in the Big Ten, in terms of their odds . The sportsbooks on these listings should see some changes as the season approaches but currently Penn State sits pretty far from the championship favorites, Clemson.
Safety Dance In my book, no one improved more throughout the 2018 season than Garrett Taylor. As Taylor returns to lead the secondary, he’ll prepare to join a growing list of Penn State safeties who have found success in the NFL. Taylor will be joined by Notre Dame transfer C.J. Holmes, whose move from running back to safety could see similar results to Nick Scott, who is now with the Los Angeles Rams.
Too Much of a Good Thing As college football season winds down, I find myself more and more interested in the NFL as the playoff chase heats up and games become much more meaningful. However, by this time many superstars and impact players are on the injured reserve list. This is a major reason why an 18-game schedule, that the NFL has been pushing for years, is such an abysmal idea. Even if they were to cut the preseason to just two games (which they should, regardless), there’s just no good way to make an extended season work without the quality on the field greatly suffering.