Penn State’s biggest fear on the defensive side of the ball came to fruition just a few plays into the 2013 series when Mike Hull limped off the MetLife Stadium field. The PSU defense’s almost complete lack of depth at linebacker was being exposed just minutes into the season. While safety turned linebacker Stephen Obeng-Agyapong has filled in admirably in Hull’s absence, and will likely continue to see time at the position, getting arguably their most talented linebacker back headed into Big 10 season is huge for the Lions.
Hull really emerged in last season’s 3rd game, becoming something of a 3rd down specialist for former defensive coordinator Ted Roof. That role expanded throughout the season, but Hull’s ability against the pass especially, was crucial for a defense that couldn’t get off the field early last year. Fast forward to 2013, and it doesn’t take long to think that a healthy Mike Hull against UCF last month would have possibly been enough for PSU to get the stop or two they needed on defense to pull out the win against a good Knights team.
With PSU hitting the road to Bloomington this weekend, and facing arguably the Big 10′s most potent offense, Hull’s return could not have come at a better time. After this weekend’s game against Indiana, Penn State faces another talented offense from Michigan, before having another off week to prepare for a huge challenge in Columbus.
Follow VBR Lead Editor Matt de Bear on Twitter for the latest on Penn State