The fact that a starting quarterback has yet to be named leaves many wondering if Penn State has a clue as to how this season will pan out. Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin are in the midst of a very competitive battle deep into the off-season. With the season starting in a few weeks, one of these two players will be held responsible for leading this team in the 2011 season.
With a clear disadvantage coming from, arguably, the most important position on the field, Penn State’s upcoming season could be a season to forget.
But that’s not the only thing that has left this Penn State team with a queasy feeling.
There will be no Evan Royster this season after he graduated and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the NFL Draft. Without the school’s all-time leading rusher, Penn State will have to rely on two inexperienced players to replace their campus legend.
Originally, Stephfon Green, who is a senior this season, was expected to compete for the starting gig this year, but after some disciplinary issues forced him to miss offseason practices, Green’s future with Penn State could very well be over.
"He's had some problems with me," said Paterno. "I doubt he'll be back ... I think it's best for him and the team if he steps away for a while."
Those are not words that suggest Green will be back this season, which leaves sophomore Silas Redd and senior Brandon Beachum, who has just 52 carries in his career, the responsibility of replacing Royster.
Redd is capable of doing so after a tremendous freshman campaign in which he tallied 437 yards and two touchdowns on 77 attempts, including his most impressive outing against Northwestern – amassing 131 yards and one touchdown in the November contest.
But he is more of a “change of pace” type of back, which is why questions of whether or not he can handle the brunt of the carries have surfaced. Beachum, who is coming injury, will play a major role this season, especially if Redd is unable to handle the load.
The absence of Green will hurt this team more than people realize. Having a senior running back that has found success in prior seasons would have done wonders for this offense; without him, though, the offense is left with inexperienced players at both the running back and quarterback positions.
There are plenty of questions surrounding this Penn State team, such as how Paterno is recovering from his blow on the sidelines by one of his own players. But in all seriousness, this team’s success will greatly hinge on the play of both their quarterback(s) and running backs.
But all is not a lost cause in State College. They have one of the more experienced wide receivers core in the Big Ten, led by Derek Moye, and a secondary that is considered one of the best in the nation, led by safeties Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay.
This will certainly be an interesting year for the folks in Happy Valley.