QB: Pretty much a mystery at this point. It’s likely a battle between sophomore Stephen Bench, who barely saw time last year (Never dug this strategy of not benching McGloin in garbage time, especially knowing he wouldn’t be back next year), and JuCo sophomore Tyler Ferguson. Christian Hackenberg is basically a lock to redshirt, and has said numerous times he’d be willing to do so. So it’s a choice between three raw QBs with no experience. Just like the fun times of 2010! Except this one (hopefully) won’t be incompetently handled. The youth here bodes well for the future, but is a question mark for a team losing its most important leaders.
HB: Zach Zwinak likely starts over Bill Belton here. Belton is serviceable, but had some fumbling problems and never got into the game plan much as the season went on for reasons unknown. Akeel Lynch is a young, quick back who serves as the only solid depth at this point. Although seeing as how Zwinak was fourth string before week four (or something like that) last year, maybe another hero will rise in case of injury.
FB: Whoever it is, it isn’t Michael Zordich. We need the Zordstache.
WR: Allen Robinson kicks ass, but after Brandon (Moseby-)Felder, there’s a lot of inexperience. BOB has been positive about most of their progress, so this likely won’t be a problem. Unfortunately, it won’t be a positive either.
TE: But that’s why you have a gazillion tight ends to make up for it. Between Matt Lehman, Kyle Carter, and Jesse James, there’s enough to get good blocking and awesome receiving. Add in that you’ve got five-star TE Adam Brenneman redshirting, and you almost want to dub PSU “Tight-end U,” until Ohio State fans claim they’ve always been more deserving of the title and get upset about it.
OL: It’s good most of the starters have some experience and have moved around on the line some, but depth is meh.
DL: Deion Barnes was Big Ten freshman of the year, and Anthony Zettel was strong filling in on the line. The tackles, however, have little experience, so it may be a weaker front four than Larry Johnson Sr. is used to dealing with.
LB: How do you replace Paul Posluszny? You promote Dan Connor. How do you replace him? Sean Lee. Who’s next? Bowman, then Gerald Hodges and Mike Mauti. Who comes after them? Unfortunately, Mike Hull or Gerald Hodges may not be future PSU greats, but will definitely be fine replacements. After that, depth is spotty and lacking play time. For once, linebackers may not be a strong suit for PSU (Oh hey, like 2010 again!).
DB: Losing Stephon Morris hurts, but there’s good experience and improved talent to make the secondary a plus for the defense. Adrian Amos and Jesse DellaValle should be fine starting at CB, and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, Ryan Keiser, and Malcolm Willis should improve at safety. Depth isn’t strong, though.
K: Sam Ficken was on fire at the end of last season, so I hope he’s gotten better this offseason.
P: Alex Butterworth didn’t have a good season last year, so hopefully he pulls himself together this year.
Overall, it’s a likely tougher season this year than last year. The lack of depth is pretty killer, but right now there is enough talent to keep some hope alive. Lots of questions still linger, like how well the team will respond to the departure of Ted Roof, or who will be the leaders this year. The sanctions really start to hit this year, so blech.