There have been over 800 coaching changes in college football since 1966. None of those changes have taken place in State College, Pennsylvania. For the 46th season, Penn State will be coached by Joe Paterno when the Nittany Lions take the field this afternoon to face the Indiana State Sycamores.
Sophomore Rob Bolden will get the start for the Nittany Lions, but don’t read too much in to that. Expect Bolden and Matt McGloin to see a relatively equal number of snaps or offensive possessions, with the player with the best performance likely to be named the full-time starter before next week’s big match-up against Alabama.
No matter who is taking the snaps, they’ll have the luxury of handing off to sophomore tailback Silas Redd, who has fans salivating over the possible future of the running game. The Connecticut native not only studies running back film on YouTube of the legends such as Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and more, but he has a tremendous work ethic. Wake up at 5 a.m. and you will see all kinds of tweets about getting his morning work out in. So we know he at least is working his thumbs.
What do we know about Indiana State? Besides the fact they are most known as Larry Bird’s alma mater, not too much. After doing some scouting, and by that I mean asking an Indiana State fan what to expect, it looks as though Indiana State could be using a variety of offensive play sets. The truth is, it should not matter what they try throwing at Penn State because this defense has some potential to be pretty decent.
Sophomore Glenn Carson, from Manahawkin, N.J will be anchoring the middle of the linebackers after a strong spring and summer regimen and working himself in to the starting lineup. Having Carson in the middle of the field, where so many great linebackers have played at Penn State over the years, Michael Maui will remain on the weak side, his more comfortable position. Gerald Hodges will take the strong side. The secondary looks to be a real strength on this team, with Drew As Torino, Danton Lynn, Chas Powell and Nick Sulky all retuning in the backfield. The question will be how well the guys up front do.
Jack Crawford will be a key player for Penn State. If he can rebound from a less than impressive season in 2010 then it will have a tremendous effect on the rest of the line, including allowing to free up Devon still in the middle from being double teamed. Jordan Hill out of Harrisburg is a rising player on the line and could have a pretty good game in the season opener.
Overall, look for a typical Joe Paterno game, which is to suggest that there won’t be anything fancy unveiled and the play style on both sides of the ball will be pretty vanilla, as opposed to Peachy Paterno. With a huge game coming up next week, it would be unlike Paterno to reveal too much in week one against what is deemed a vastly inferior opponent. Can’t give Nick Saban’s staff anything extra to prepare for, not with that defense in Tuscaloosa.
Penn State and Indiana State kick off at noon from Beaver Stadium.
Kevin McGuire covers Penn State and college football nationally for Examiner.com. Follow his Penn State coverage on Twitter @PSUExaminer.