Matt McGloin and 5 Players That Must Step Up for Penn State in 2012
Transitioning from a coach that was there over 50 years to a totally new system is never easy for any team. Throw in the fact that the team is faced with damaging sanctions and a highly negative public image, and that task becomes near impossible. That’s what is facing the 2012 Nittany Lions.
The current team has had to learn a new coaching style and deal with horrible off-field issues all spring and summer. Now, in the wake of losing several players to transfer, including their best offensive player, Penn State has to do all it can to put a quality product on the field.
Obviously, the loss of running back Silas Redd is a huge loss to the offense. Kicker/punter Anthony Fera, who is predicted to be one of the top in the country, left this week for Texas. Returning receiver Justin Brown has left to become an Oklahoma Sooner
There are five returning players who will be instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions make the upcoming season as successful as possible. Veteran leadership will be needed in leading the team through the firestorm that they will face all season.
The remaining core of players will have the burden of an entire university and fan base on their shoulders.
While not many experts are predicting great things for this team, there is a chance that they could do more than expected.
Bill Belton: RB (Sophomore)
With the departure of Silas Redd, the Nittany Lions are left with a huge hole at the running back position. Converted wide-out Bill Belton is expected to get the majority of the carries in 2012.
Belton is a speedster who showed flashes of his ability while running the Wildcat last year. Belton also impressed coaches and fans during the 2012 Blue White game.
Belton has the ability to be a major playmaker for this offense.
Gerald Hodges: LB (Senior)
Hodges is a Big 10, All American linebacker who makes plays all over the field. Hodges has the combination of size and speed that will bode well for him at the next level.
The hard-hitting linebacker will have to have a huge year in order for the Nittany Lions to find success this season.
Michael Zordich: FB (Senior)
Penn State has always been an advocate of using the fullback for more than just blocking. Zordich is a hard running fullback who has a knack for catching balls out of the backfield. He can gain the short yardage when called upon.
In order for the Nittany Lions to stay in games this year, they are going to have to have a solid running game that can get first downs when needed. Zordich should play a major role in that.
Michael Mauti: LB (Senior)
Senior linebacker Michael Mauti has been a team leader both on and off the field this year. Mauti spoke in front of the media and answered questions about how this team can move forward from the scandal.
Mauti is a force in the middle of the Lions defense and is the defensive playmaker that other teams envy. Mauti is on the watch list for the Butkus Award, given out to the best linebacker in the country. His tackling ability is sure to give teams trouble this year.
Matt McGloin: QB (Senior)
No player will be more instrumental for the Nittany Lions' success this year than senior quarterback Matt McGloin. After splitting snaps last year with the departed Rob Bolden, McGloin is the man this year.
He has a strong arm that can change a game with one throw. McGloin will have to cut down on the turnovers this year and learn to better manage the offense. If he can, Penn State could surprise many doubters this year.