For Joe Paterno and the Lions, the start of the 2008 season can't come soon enough. They have gone through numerous off the field distractions, including Paterno being hospitalized for dehydration. The team needs to be able to put these distractions behind them and prepare for the upcoming season.
Both the offensive and defensive lines will be returning for the Lions which will provide much needed stability, experience, and depth to the team.
This is an important factor which has been missing for the past decade at Penn State. Even through the winning season, there were questions surrounding both the offensive and defensive lines.
Another strength for the Lions is a strong receiving core that are hungry to end their glorious careers on a high note. Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood, and Deon Butler will have their chance to leave a strong and lasting legacy at Penn State and to also join the ranks of previous greats.
Despite the solid offensive and defensive lines and a strong receiving corp., the team still has questions to address.
One question heading into the season will be who will be the first person to get off the bus (be the starting quarterback) the first game against Coastal Carolina. The two front runners for the job are Senior Daryll Clark and sophomore Pat Devlin.
Clark is a mobile quarterback with the ability to run a more dynamic offense while Devlin is more of a drop-back passer with a strong accurate arm.
For Joe and the Lions to be successful, Clark needs to be the man running the show this season.
Another question facing the Lions is how will they replace the injured Shaun Lee and other starters on the defensive side of the ball?
Lee, after his injury, has become a coach for Joe and has been bringing the younger linebackers up to speed on what it means to be at Linebacker U.
Another question on defense is can Anthony Scirrotto get back to his 2006 form after a less than spectacular season in which he suffered from off the field issues?
For Joe and the Lions, the defense comes with the most questions and the offense only has one question—who will win the starting quarterback job?
With Clark's mobility and an array of weapons at his disposable, Clark should be leading one of the Lions' most dynamic and dangerous offenses. An experienced and strong offensive line will provide holes for the backs and protection for Clark.
The Lions also have a group of young running backs who are led by Evan Royster and explosive red-shirt freshmen Stephfon Green, who dazzled the crowd at the blue and white game.
Heading into the 2008 season, Joe and the Lions have the same number of questions, but at different places.
The major question is how quickly can the Lions answer these questions before the start of the Big Ten schedule?
Another question is can the Lions break form and win away from Beaver Stadium in big games?
For Joe and the Lions there are many questions, but there are answers that can come from young players waiting for the chance to prove themselves.