Penn State Football Prepares for Big Ten Opener

Greg LeisterContributor ISeptember 26, 2008

Well, here we are on the eve of the Big Ten opener for the Nittany Lions. The Lions are 4-0 for only the second time since 2000.  Everyone remembers what happened the last time they were 4-0—Orange Bowl! 

I look at Beaver Stadium this week and see the now-famous Paternoville is set up in full force as students wait to get into the big matchup. There are lots of pros and cons to the season so far. Here are just a few that I noticed in my game watching.

Pros

The younger guys are getting quality playing time. Down the stretch this could be very important as we get into the rigorous Big Ten schedule.

Quality backup play on the defensive line was critical during the suspensions of starting linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma.

The offense...Oh, the offense!  It is executing very well—and it is showing a close resemblance to the 1994 offensive juggernaut.  The future looks bright for the rest of the season.

Team confidence is way up.  Fan confidence is way up.  There is a lot of buzz going around State College with the thoughts of 2005's Big Ten title and possibly more. Sports writers are starting to notice the Nittany Lions, too.

Cons

The team really hasn't faced any adversity yet. Yeah, they are 4-0 on the season, but the competition was less than impressive. (Although, after watching the game last night with USC and Oregon State, I have to say the Lions beat a very talented and disciplined Beaver team.)

The starters have yet to play a full game. I think that possibly conditioning and stamina could come into play. It is very doubtful but could happen.

The key injuries to center A.Q. Shipley's backup Doug Klopacz and defensive end Jerome Hayes could be problems. This puts more pressure on Shipley and stresses the need for the rest of the team to step it up.

Remember:  "Roll up your pant legs.  This is JoePa's house."  This is Greg, your PSU correspondent, signing off.

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