Penn State Football: Players to Watch vs. Temple
After starting off the season with two emotion-filled losses, Penn State finally tallied one in the "win" column with a 34-7 onslaught of Navy.
Now, the Nittany Lions (1-2) will need to keep their heads on a swivel against a Temple Owls team that will be coming for them this weekend in Beaver Stadium.
Current head coach and former Florida Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has built on the progressive program that former coach Al Golden left behind.
Even though the team went 9-4 last season, the biggest test of the season was left incomplete for the Owls: beating Penn State.
History isn't in Temple's favor considering the Owls have never won a game in Beaver Stadium and their last win over the Lions was in 1941.
Riding a 30-game unbeaten streak, Penn State will look to build on this streak and its season as it tries to reach 2-2.
For that to happen, the Lions' team will need to put in a collective effort, but there will be a few players that will stand out in this contest.
With that being said, let's take a look at a group of Lions who look to make an impact on Saturday.
Deion Barnes, DE
Defensive end Deion Barnes is simply on a roll.
The redshirt freshman turned in a stellar performance against Navy and its triple-option attack on Saturday—enough to earn him Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honors.
Barnes added to his sack total, logging one takedown of the quarterback on Saturday along with four other tackles.
Not only has his stat sheet been impressive, but Barnes has also passed the eye test in terms of clear development on the field when it counts.
He displayed his athleticism and ability to bust up the backfield against Ohio and Virginia, but the knowledgeable discipline the 6'4'' end showed against Navy was something you would expect out of a seasoned veteran.
With a dual-threat quarterback Chris Coyer running the offense for the Owls, Barnes will have plenty of opportunities to prove these acquired and inherited skills once again—and expect him to do so.
Anthony Zettel, DE
While Barnes earned the accolades this week, he wasn't the only redshirt freshman end who impressed against Navy.
Defensive end Anthony Zettel made his presence known on the Lions' D-line via four solo tackles, two of which were sacks.
Coming out of West Branch, Mich., Zettel had offers from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State and USC (via Yahoo! Sports), and could have departed to a big-time program following the NCAA sanctions.
However, Zettel stuck with his commitment, and his patience and growth is earning him significant playing time.
And with senior Pete Massaro out this weekend (via Cumberlink.com), count on Zettel getting opportunities to rush the passer and make things happen in the backfield against Temple this weekend.
Allen Robinson, WR
After the departure of Justin Brown, Bill O'Brien and Penn State were left staring at a handful of inexperienced wide receivers, trying to figure out who would step up.
Insert Allen Robinson.
Robinson, a 6'3'' sophomore receiver from Orchard Lake, Mich., came into the 2012 campaign with just three catches and 29 yards receiving in his collegiate career.
However, he's emerged as quarterback Matt McGloin's clear No. 1 target this season, hauling in 24 receptions for 322 yards and four touchdowns this year.
With that, Robinson is currently on pace for 96 receptions, 1,288 yards and 16 touchdowns.
That's absurd, especially for a Penn State receiver.
Look for Robinson to add to his season totals against Temple despite their experienced secondary.
Trevor Williams, WR
Even though Robinson is clearly McGloin's favorite target (as he should be), Penn State is still in need of a reliable and effective second option.
After former starting receiver Shawney Kersey suddenly left the football team, McGloin really could use another young receiver to step up and take the pressure off Robinson.
While some options include Alex Kenney and Matt Zanellato, my bet is on true freshman Trevor Williams.
Williams, a 3-star recruit (via Scout.com) out of Towson, Maryland, has impressed in camp and saw the field quite a bit in the game against Navy.
While he only tallied one catch for 24 yards, expect Williams to take advantage of Temple's secondary zeroing in on Robinson and make a few plays.
Paul Jones, TE
Even though Paul Jones is dropping back to pass in the picture above, the former 4-star (via Yahoo! Sports) quarterback recruit's duties are now at the tight end position.
Jones, a heralded recruit from McKees Rocks, Pa., had much of Nittany Nation drooling at the opportunity to see him run the Penn State offense.
However, things don't always pan out as expected.
With McGloin starting and true freshman Steven Bench earning the No. 2 backup role, coach Bill O'Brien wanted to use Jones and not let him go to near waste as the third-string quarterback.
Considering this and Jones' 6'3'', 258 lb. frame, O'Brien switched him to the "F Tight End."
In O'Brien's tight end-heavy offense, the "F Tight End" is the one that isn't relied on for blocking, but rather getting open downfield and lining up out-wide or even in the backfield.
Even though Jones only caught one ball for seven yards against Navy, his transition is still a work in progress.
While many collegiate quarterbacks may resist switching positions, Jones has been well-receptive to the change and O'Brien feels like this is best for the redshirt sophomore.
O'Brien said in a press conference prior to the Navy game:
Paul and I have a very good relationship, it's very honest, and there was a lot of discussion with his role on the team. He's a 260 pound guy that is athletic and likes to play football.
Even though he may not put up gaudy numbers against Temple, it should be interesting to watch and see how he is implemented throughout the game and in the red zone.