Monday, June 20, 2011

Penn State Nittany Lions 2010 Review

Penn State Nittany Lions
2010 Record: 7-6 (4-4), Tied 4th Big Ten
2010 Bowl Game: Outback Bowl, Lost to Florida 37-24

     The Nittany Lions were expected to stumble some last season, as they were essentially starting over on offense with the exception of the RB position. Daryl Clark had departed at QB after a very solid career, and it was time for a little bit of a rebuilding process. Joe Paterno was being pushed some by folks to give it up, and of course, he wouldn't. So many things were going on, yet the Lions were still competitive for the most part.
     The QB situation was not great, and PSU went through two of them without finding a solid answer within either player. Sophomore Matthew McGloin wound up being the better of the two, as he passed for 1548 yards and a 7/5 TD to pick ratio. I know, not great, and it was even more sketchy when you consider his completion ratio of just 54.9%. Robert Bolden wasn't very good at all, and has been in and out of transfer conversations since last year. Bolden passed for 1360 yards, while his ratio was inverted at 5/7. He was just a shade more accurate at 58%, but He never seemed to gain control of the offense.
     Evan royster probably had the the most quiet season by a star RB in years, and the instability at the QB position really effected his ability as defenses keyed in more on his game. Royster was still solid, but was hardly the game changer that he had been the two seasons before when Clark was the QB, Royster rushed for 1014 yards and 6 TDs, but for whatever reason, the staff only saw fit to have him carry the ball 16 times per game, which was not nearly enough. Silas Redd looks as if he will be the heir apprent at RB, as he rushed for 437 yards and two scores as a freshman last fall.
     Derek Moye was one consistent contributor at WR, despite all of the instabilities at the QB position. Moye posted a line of 53-885-8, and was by far the leader as a junior. Moye was huge, averaging over 16 yards per catch. Four other Lion receivers caught at least 20 passes, led by senior Brett Brackett (39-525-5). He was followed by Justin Brown (33-452-1), Devon Smith (27-363-1), and Royster out of the backfield (25-202-1).
     Defensively, Penn State was solid against the pass, but had tendencies of giving up the big play against the run, which is explainable with so many great RBs in the conference last season. The Lions gave up only 187.9 yards passing, but did allow 164.6 yards rushing per game, which was problematic.
     Penn State boasted five defenders who averaged over 5 tackles per game, and seven defenders who broke 50 tackles for the season. Senior LB Chris Colisanti was the leader, as he piled up 112 tackles as just the latest product out of LB U. He was followed by D'Anton Lynn (75), Nathan Stupar (73), Drew Astorino (70), and Michael Mauti (67). Malcolm Willis and Bani Gbadyu both broke 50 tackles with 54 and 50 respectively.
     Penn State applied decent pressure up front, but were victimized, as I said, by the run at times. Devon Still was the only defender to reach double figures in TFLs last fall with 10. He was followed by Ollie Ogbu with 8.5, Colasanti with 8.5, and Pete Massuro with 8. Still also led Penn State with just 4 sacks on the season, as the Nittany Lions only recorded 17 sacks all season.
     Astorino and Chaz Powell were the only defenders making plays on the football in the passing game as well, as they both reached 5 passes defended. The Lions only defended 33 passes as a team, while the offense had 55 defended against. Nick Sukay and D'Anton Lynn tied for the team lead with 3 picks each, but the team only intercepted 10 passes on the season, while giving up 17. With pressure lackingup front on opposing QBs, Penn State only forced one QB hurry all season as well.
     Collin Wagner was very good in the kicking game, as he hit on 20 of his 25 FG attempts last season. The senior also hit on all 34 of his PAT tries, but now moves on. Anthony Fera took care of most of the punting duties as a freshman, and he averaged 41.41 yards per punt on the year, which is not bad. He did miss two games due to injury, and was replaced by Alex Butterworth, who was not nearly as good, averaging only 38.08 yards per punt. Powell was solid on kick returns, averaging 23.95 yards per return. He returned one for a score in the seasoning opening 44-14 win over Youngstown State. Devon Smith averaged over 14 yards per return on punts.
Final Notes
     Penn State definately took a step back last season, and this season likely won't be much better. JoePa has now turned 83, and he is still moving forward as coach at Penn State, but it has become painfully obvious that he is still just a figurehead for the program, and probably does very little actual coaching. The talent level here is wel below the big boys in the conference, so if you don't expect miracles, you may be ok with what's going on here. How long will that mentality last?

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