Penn State Football is set to kick off its 2023 season in just two days. Yes, we have made it and football is back!
Under the lights in Beaver Stadium at 7:30pm on NBC, I couldn’t think of a better way to start what should be an exciting and potentially special season. With kickoff quickly approaching I’d like to share some random thoughts and things to watch come Saturday night.
Penn State Football: Random Thoughts ahead of Week 1
What if Drew Allar and the offense drop 50 on WVU?
Safe to say if this would happen the hype would become that much bigger.
USC dropped 56, albeit on San Jose State, in Week 0, but some across college football think with new clock rules these high scores will become less common.
I’m Not saying 50 points is a guarantee but with some big plays from the run game and the pass game is it out of the question? I don’t think it is.
Will this game be close come halftime?
It definitely could be.
Week 1 games are always full of question marks and jitters. New QB, first start, prime time, national TV. We’d all be nervous. My hope is that if the game is close at halftime the Nittany Lions show separation and why they are the 7th ranked team in the country.
I’d advise the entire fanbase to not overreact if the offense and possibly Allar look less than sharp in the first 2 quarters. It’s week 1 take a deep breath, give it some time.
How’s JB Nelson look?
Following the medical retirement of Landon Tengwall, JB Nelson is poised to takeover the starting job at LG.
A big physical guard that has garnered some high praise from James Franklin during fall camp. The loss of Tengwall hurt, and you feel for the player and his family, but the depth Franklin and offensive line coach Phil Trautwein has built within that unit gives me hope.
Penn State Football finally has the depth along the offensive line to truly have a next man up mentality without a huge drop off in talent. Keep an eye on RG Saturday night.
Does the defense allow West Virginia to run the ball and control the clock?
My gut says no, they don’t allow this, but if they would it keeps WVU in this game longer than they should be.
Personally I think this defense could be the best in the Big Ten this year. Second year under Manny Diaz, bigger at the defensive tackle position according to Franklin, and a LB and secondary core that I’d be willing to put up against almost any group in the country.
If this defense gives up more than 17 points Saturday night, I’d be disappointed.
Who will be Drew Allar’s favorite target?
This could be a number of different names, but for now I’ll stick with the tight ends and say Theo Johnson and Tyler Warren are his safety nets.
The two he trust the most to start the season. Mismatch night mares for most defenses, I am hopeful utilizes them more in the passing game than I feel he has in years passed.
Does this mean I think Keandre Lambert Smith or Harrison Wallace couldn’t be trues go to guys? No it doesn’t. However, those two on the outside will need to show me they can be a WR1 before I say they are the go to on a critical play.
Year two of Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen, what’s it look like?
Simple answer, like last year but better.
I think the only running back room in the country that has a better duo is in Ann Arbor. The two sophomores were phenomenal as freshman, and I think that continues while improving throughout 2023. Could PSU have two backs that rush for over 1,000 yards each? I think they could, and maybe by week10. Expect big big things from #10 and #13 on Saturday night.
Other things to watch?
Abdul Carter of course. Wearing the famed No. 11, the sophomore could end up being the best linebacker in the country by years end.
Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac. Penn State led the Big Ten in sacks last year. I’d expect them to be close if not the leaders again this year. Watching last year felt like Robinson was always just a split second away from sacks on almost any play. And don’t forget about Dani Dennis-Sutton. The highly recruited edge rusher played well last year. I expect a bigger role and more production from him this year.