Penn State Football: Five Areas of Improvement for the Nittany Lions

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Oct 25, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Saeed Blacknall (left) catches a touchdown pass over Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Eli Apple (right) in the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Hackenberg has a gun for an arm. The only problem is, he hasn’t been able to use it. Once again, the issues up front prevented the receivers time to get downfield and make plays. Penn State was forced to rely on the short passing game the entire season. This spring, there was hope that would change but aside from the one long pass to Blacknall, the first team offense spent a good part of the day focused on the short game.

Geno Lewis has shown a penchant for making the big play downfield, but his production dropped off significantly as the year progressed. DaeSean Hamilton had a tremendous year as a freshman and will be looked on to continue where he left off. Both Blacknall and Chris Godwin made plays as true freshmen and have the speed to separate themselves.

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A name to remember is DeAndre Thompkins. He was expected to play as a freshman last year, but was redshirted instead. Thompkins speed is unmatched and he could provide the deep threat that has been missing. Another name to keep an eye on is incoming freshman Juwan Johnson. He is tall and fluid and has a knack for the jump ball. Compared to Charles Johnson(some have called him Mini-Megatron), expect to see Johnson vie for playing time early on.

The playmakers are definitely in place to provide the remedy to the lack of a deep receiving threat. Its all a matter of who decides they want it the most and whether or not Hack has the time to make the throw.

Next: Second Top Area Needing Improvement