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

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Nov 15, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions center Angelo Mangiro (66) during the second quarter against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Temple 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Last, but not least, we are down to the elephant in the room. The offensive line. The struggles up front have been analyzed and beaten around for the better part of a year now. The school of thought coming into spring was that the unit had nowhere to go but up. Although there were definitely some strides made between the end of last season and the Blue and White game, the offensive line is clearly still a work in progress.

The most glaring stat from this past Saturday was the 5 first half “sacks” that Hack took. New addition at left tackle, Paris Palmer, a juco transfer, showed some great technique and ability, but was also overpowered on several occasions. Adding some weight to his huge frame is priority #1 between now and August.

Andrew Nelson seems set at right tackle, and returners Angelo Mangiro, Brendon Mahon, and Brian Gaia have turned a years experience into a solid inside presence. If Palmer can’t add the weight, redshirt freshmen Chance Sorrell and Brendan Brosnan are ready to step in.

Sterling Jenkins, Ryan Bates, and Steven Gonzalez are all 4* commits who could offer some level of depth in the upcoming season. Graduate transfer, Kevin Reinholdt, from Stanford, presents a very intriguing option either at center or one of the guard spots.

Make no mistake about it. The success, or failure, of Penn State football in 2015 revolves around the boys up front. An improved O-Line will give Hack time to set his throws and help keep him upright. It will open holes for the running backs and playmakers that just weren’t there last year.

Penn State has seemingly weathered the storm. There is always room to improve in all facets of the game, but coming up with a distinct 5 was not nearly as easy as it had been the past few years. A favorable schedule, and cleaning up some loose ends have the Nittany Lions on the verge of climbing back into the rank of contender in year two of the James Franklin era.