Penn State Nittany Lions 2010 NCAA Football Preview

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Penn State Nittany Lions

Big Ten Conference


2009 Record: (11-2, 6-2)

2009 Bowl: Capital One Bowl vs. LSU (W 19-17)

Coach: Joe Paterno (394-129-3 at Penn State, 394-129-3 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Galen Hall

Defensive Coordinator: Tom Bradley


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Evan Royster, RB, 1,169 yards

Passing: Kevin Newsome, QB, 66 yards

Receiving: Derek Moye, WR, 785 yards

Tackles: Drew Astorino, S, 62

Sacks: Jack Crawford, DE, 5.5

Interceptions: Nick Sukay, S, 2


Other Key Returnees: G Lou Eliades, LB Bani Gbadyu, CB D’Anton Lynn, DT Ollie Ogbu, OT DeOn’tae Pannell, WR Chaz Powell, G Johnnie Troutman, K Collin Wagner, C Stefen Wisniewski, WR Graham Zug

Key Losses: LB Navorro Bowman, QB Daryll Clark, DE Jerome Hayes, LB Josh Hull, OT Dennis Landolt, LB Sean Lee, DT Jared Odrick, OT Ako Poti, TE Andrew Quarless, CB A.J. Wallace


Despite all the talent around him, the importance of quarterback Darryl Clark cannot be understated. Clark gave Penn State a consistent passer, another rushing threat and a smart player who knew how to win games. The battle for his replacement is an interesting one as sophomores Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin failed to secure a starting job in the spring. Those two will likely fight it out right up until the opener on September 4th.



Luckily the new quarterback will have Evan Royster and Stephfon Green in the backfield. Royster is the feature back after rushing for 1,169 yards last year, but Green is certainly a capable rusher in his own right. Add bruising redshirt freshman Curtis Dukes to the mix in short yardage situations and the Nittany Lions have plenty of talent to take the pressure off of their inexperienced quarterback. The return of receivers Derek Moye and Graham Zug should help too. Moye and Zug were Clark’s go-to targets. Former wide receiver Chaz Powell is moving to corner with the hope that sophomores Curtis Drake and Devon Smith can help fill the void. Yet, the offense may struggle for a while due to some major rebuilding and reshuffling of the offensive line. Stefen Wisniewski is moving back to guard and three year reserve Quinn Barham will likely step into the very important left tackle spot.



The defense was anything but a weakness last season, but the group loses a lot of talent. All three starting linebackers were drafted, but this is linebacker U after all and Penn State has good reason to feel safe at that position. Nathan Stupar, Bani Gbadyu, Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges may not be household names, but they are the next in line of great Penn State linebackers. The front four will miss Jared Odrick, but Ollie Ogbu and Devon Still can clog the middle while Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore attack from the ends. The secondary will have the least amount of turnover with three starters returning. Safeties Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay were a big part of the Lions superb passing defense and corner D’Anton Lynn is an underappreciated corner.


The Bottom Line:

The defense may not be as good as they were last year without Sean Lee, Navorro Bowman and Josh Hull in the middle, but they should still be one of the better defenses in the Big Ten as long as the inexperienced linebackers can live up to the hype. The real concern is at quarterback and on the offensive line. Penn State won ugly in 2009 and that means the running game has to move the chains and the quarterback has to play smart. With questions on the line and at quarterback, those things will not come as easily in 2010…at least not immediately.


2009 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 169.77 (41st in nation, 5th in conference)

Passing Offense: 237.15 (39, 5)

Total Offense: 406.92 (37, 2)

Scoring Offense: 28.85 (52, 5)

Rushing Defense: 89.85 (6, 2)

Pass Defense: 184.62 (24, 3)

Total Defense: 274.46 (9, 2)

Scoring Defense: 12.23 (3, 1)

Turnover Margin: .46 (26, 3)

Sacks: 2.85 (10, 1)

Sacks Allowed: 1.31 (25, 2)