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Depth Chart Week One: Idaho

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An absence at linebacker and a few notable items dot the first depth chart of the season.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Temple Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Penn State released its first official depth chart for the 2019 season, right before James Franklin held his first of many upcoming Tuesday press conferences.

Some observations from glancing (or squinting if you’re reading this on a phone) at the chart:

  • Ja’Juan Seider wasn’t kidding around when he mentioned having a ‘platoon’ of running backs, as evidenced by the OR listed after each of the four running backs on the depth chart. That being said, I would expect the bulk of the carries to go to Ricky Slade and Journey Brown, at least until PSU builds up a lead. If all goes according to plan, expect to see plenty of Noah Cain and Devyn Ford in the second half.
  • Mike Miranda’s name being listed after the OR under CJ Thorpe’s spot at right guard isn’t that surprising. Mike Miranda’s name being listed after the OR under Steven Gonzalez on the other hand, had me furrowing my brow. This could be interpreted in a few different ways: One being that Gonzo has been struggling enough in camp that Miranda is on his heels, or that Miranda has been lighting it up enough in camp to push for Gonzo’s starting job, or perhaps a combination of the two.
  • Jesse Luketa is getting his first career start at one of the outside linebacker spots in lieu of Cam Brown, who is serving a suspension for the first half as part of his being ejected for targeting in the second half of the Citrus Bowl. Unless PSU is up something like 35-0 at halftime, you can expect to see Cam get some run once he’s available for the second half.
  • Given the glowing reports I had heard/read about PJ Mustipher, I’m kind of surprised there isn’t an OR listed between him and Antonio Shelton. I would still look for him to get plenty of PT, however.
  • No surprise at the kicking spots, as it appears that Jordan Stout has taken over the reins as the kickoff specialist, while Jake Pinegar continues to do extra points and field goals. Here’s to having consistency in both departments in 2019, along with Blake Gillikin’s punting.
  • I’m surprised Micah Parsons isn’t listed on the depth chart at all amongst kickoff returners, given that he had been practicing them with KJ Hamler, and that special teams coach Joe Lorig has said they will never practice something they don’t plan on doing in an actual game. Nonetheless, the prospect of having a pair of speedsters in Hamler and Brown returning kickoffs is an enticing one. It also appears KJ is pulling double duty in the return game, as he is listed as the number one guy on punt returns.
  • While Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney are firmly entrenched as the starting defensive ends, it sure is nice to see them being backed up by a healthy (and bulkier than ever) Shane Simmons and Jayson Oweh, respectively. I almost feel sorry for opposing offensive linemen.

So dear reader, what do you think? Share your comments, questions, and concerns below.