2008.......The Year of the Lion?

Brad GilliamContributor ISeptember 21, 2008

Coming into the season, Penn State fans were excited that head coach, Joe Paterno, was implementing the Spread HD offense. So far, it is doing wonders and the fans are enjoying it. The Nittany Lions are the third best team in the nation in scoring averaging 52.8 points/game and are 4-0 heading into Big Ten play.

QB, Daryll Clark, has come into the season with a lot of hype and he is living up to. He already has nine total touchdowns (seven pass, two rush). His ability to evade and run are impressive, but his arm is proving to be his ace. Many critics thought that he was the normal "running quarterback".

As a Penn State fan I enjoy watching Clark play. He has a little bit of everything. He can throw the ball, he can evade tackles, and when he has to he steps on the gas and run. Even though he has only one interception, he still needs to improve his game. In the first four games, he has made a few head scratching plays, which need to be corrected.

Daryll Clark isn't the only star on the Penn State offense. The running back duo of Evan Royster and Stephon Green are a force to be reckoned with. They have combined for 671 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Also, the wide receiving trio of Jordan Norwood, Deon Butler, and Derrick Williams have jumped out to an excellent start. Norwood is the playmaker of the three making spectacular plays for the Nittany Lion offense.

The defense for Penn State has been very thin to start off the season losing many players to injury or suspensions. Sean Lee is out for the season after injurying his knee over the summer. Chris Baker and Phil Taylor were kicked off the team because of an on campus fight.

Also, Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma were suspended after police found marijuana in their apartment. Despite these distractions and losses, the defense has stepped up in a big way allowing only 40 points in the first four games.

Big Ten play starts Saturday and Penn State faces Illinois at home. This game should show us if the Nittany Lions are for real this season or not. Now that Ohio State was blown out by USC, this is the opportunity for PSU to put themselves on the BCS map.

I expect this team to be similar to the 2005 Orange Bowl team. They have the Spread HD offense and a very solid defense. I don't see why they can't do it. If they get past Illinois, the Big Ten will take notice.