2009 record: 11-2, 6-2 (2nd-tie in Big Ten)
2009 bowl: Beat LSU 19-17 in Capital One
2009 final AP/coaches' ranking: 9/8
Coach: Joe Paterno (392-127-3, 44th year)
Offensive coordinator: Galen Hall (7th year)
Defensive coordinator: Tom Bradley (11th year)
Returning offensive starters: 7
Returning defensive starters: 5
Location: State College, Pa.
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (grass; 107,282)
Last league title: 2008
2010 schedule: [view]
2010 roster: [view]
2009 statistics: [view]
Offensive: There are weapons at nearly every position, but much uncertainty at quarterback. With the departure of All-Big Ten selection Darryl Clark, the job seemingly falls to the backup, sophomore Kevin Newsome, the only quarterback on the roster who has completed a pass in a game. Newsome isn’t necessarily a sure thing, though, so the depth chart bears watching. Elsewhere, Penn State is in great shape. Senior Evan Royster has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and he’s on pace to become the school’s all-time leading rusher. The receivers are excellent, a collection of tall, physical and quick players. The leaders are junior Derek Moye (6-foot-5, 198) and senior Graham Zug (6-2, 183). Three starters return on the offensive line, including senior guard/center Stefen Wisniewski, one of the nation’s best players.
Defensive: There will be three new starting linebackers at Linebacker U. Senior Bani Gbadyu has the most experience, logging three starts in 2008 and five more last season, but the other candidates are largely untested. Up front, Penn State will miss Jared Odrick, the Big Ten defensive player of the year, but there are potential stars in junior defensive end Jack Crawford and senior defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu. The secondary, by far, is Penn State’s defensive strength. Three starters return, including junior cornerback D’Anton Lynn, who has all-conference potential.
Specialists: Senior place-kicker Collin Wagner was 15 of 22 on field-goal attempts, but there are serious doubts about his range (1 of 5 from 40 yards or longer). Sophomore Russell Nye is the new punter. The return game was subpar last season, so there’s nowhere to go but up.
Coaching: The enduring Joe Paterno (392-131-3) enters his 45th season as head coach, bearing down on his 400th career victory. One decade ago, there were cries that Paterno had outlasted his stay. It was time for a change. But, as usual, Paterno, 83, has outlasted his critics. The only thing missing is one more national championship.
Heisman hopefuls: Royster is a name that will be mentioned if Penn State has a successful season.
Next up: No. 23 Notre Dame
CFT: The University of Miami has come under scrutiny for alleged NCAA infractions, but one unnamed Hurricanes assistant coach says the SEC gets away with far more unreported violations.
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