Penn State Football: Why Nittany Lions Are Not Too Far Away from Dominating B1G
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To paraphrase the noble Mark Twain, the report of Penn State's death has been an exaggeration. Penn State remains a steady football machine and is preparing to make a run in the Big Ten in the not-so-distant future.
Wisconsin has had the upper hand in the Big Ten each of the past couple of years. Ohio State is expected to return to dominant form by 2013. The question is, how far away is Penn State from restoring the roar in Happy Valley? Maybe they are not as far away as you might think.
If nothing else, Penn State should be considered a wild-card team in 2012 when it comes to the Big Ten. Wisconsin is the obvious choice for the Big Ten Leaders Division, and Michigan has been tabbed by many to be the Legends and possible Big Ten favorite this season. Penn State has to work through a coaching transition that brings a new-style offense, which relies heavily on the tight end position.
Going off of recent seasons, the tight end position has actually been a weak spot on the offensive side of the football, so there is reason to believe that Penn State will take some time to adjust to the new system implemented by Bill O'Brien.
But if it catches on quickly, watch out.
O'Brien has already secured the verbal commitment of Adam Breneman, the nation's top tight end prospect and considered the top recruit in the state of Pennsylvania. Though a torn ACL will cause Brenaman to sit out his senior season of high school football, the future remains bright and prosperous.
Paired with a talented quarterback recruit, Christian Hackenberg, and a 2013 class that is shaping up quite nicely, Penn State's recruiting concerns may be put to rest in the Sandusky aftermath. With a new coaching staff has come a breath of fresh air for all involved.
Breneman has a chance to play as early as his freshman year and he could make an immediate impact. If Silas Redd decides to stick around for his senior season then Penn State's offense will have two very talented players at key positions, as well as what many fans hope will be a seasoned Paul Jones under center.
Many seem to feel that with O'Brien leading the offense on the sidelines and with an easier flow of communication, the improvements in the offense might be seen immediately. If they are, offensive concerns will turn to offensive aspirations in a hurry, and that means Penn State would be on track to make a push for the Big Ten championship.
Will that happen in 2012, or should 2013 be the target date to focus on? Either way, Penn State is not about to drop in to college football oblivion any time too soon.
Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast, managing editor of Nittany Lions Den and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your Google+ circle.
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