2010 Big Ten Season: Why Penn State Is Looking Like Pretenders

Robert DoughertyContributor ISeptember 20, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Robert Bolden #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Every year for the last five years, the Big Ten has been mainly decided by Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. Iowa has come up the last two years, but this year, Penn State is well out of the running. It is extremely difficult to see how this team could win at either Iowa or Ohio State. We just will not score the points in these crucial games.

I was sitting in my seat at the Penn State vs. Kent State game, and one thing was very clear, our offense does not have the play makers to compete. Derek Moye is a great wide receiver, but on some plays we are having Moye, Brett Brackett, and Graham Zug on the field at once. Who is going to burn them deep? Justin Brown, and Devon Smith are potentially good players. However, Smith is afraid to get hit (also is not much of a target), and we have not really seen enough of Brown to know how good he can be. 

Our running back position I am much more happy with. Evan Royster does not look like the Royster we had seen his Sophomore and Junior seasons. However, with Stephon Green and Silas Redd, we have very quick, and deceptive backs behind him. If Royster struggles, we have the players behind him who can pick up his slack. 

I like the look of Robert Bolden, but his decision making needs to really improve. His poise in the pocket is something I like, and he has a strong, mostly accurate arm. Robert has the look of a player who could really do some damage in the coming seasons. However, this year, he is a target which teams can exploit because of his inexperience.

Our defensive line is not as good as I was anticipating this season. I thought that Devon Still and Olie Ogbu would be able to plug up the middle. However, it has not looked like that this season. Also, what has happened to Jack Crawford? He seems to have disappeared and is not performing near his potential, or what we had expected of him this season. Eight tackles and one sack through three games is not nearly good enough for our most talented defensive end. 

The linebacker position has been tough to watch this season as well. Chris Colasanti looks solid in the middle, however, Stupar and Gbadyu have just not been good enough. We have talented young line backers in Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, and Khairi Fortt. However, Hodges is out until at least Illinois with a bone chip in his Tibia. Mauti saw a lot of game time, and he looked like a very good option, but there are still holes here for Penn State.

Secondary wise, there is only one negative. Nick Sukay is not fast enough, and if he read the game better, I would say he would be good enough. However, he constantly is getting caught out of position, and because he lacks speed, he can never make up the ground he vacated. Lynn, Morris, and the young Derrick Thomas have all looked like good corners. Drew Astorino gets exposed more, but that is more because of Sukay than his own talents. Andrew Dailey looks like a good young safety as well.

This season just looks very suspect for us, and I feel there is to many holes for us to get to even nine wins. Michigan looks like a real threat, and do not count out Temple this weekend. We need to see drastic improvement for this team to be Big Ten contenders. Until our linebackers get sorted, our offense gets an identity, and Nick Sukay gets dropped from the team, it's hard to see how we can win more than eight games.