Three Things We Learned from the Season Opener
It sure was a nice, easy win for the Nittany Lions on Saturday. They walked all over the Idaho Vandals, defeating them 79-7. They scored the most points in a game since 1991, when they tallied 81 points against Cincinnati. With the game being such a blowout, we were able to get a feel for the 2019 team and see a lot of players, as well. Fortunately, that allowed us to learn some notable things about this team in just sixty minutes of action. Let’s get into the three things we learned from Penn State’s victory on Saturday.
1. This May Be The Fastest Team James Franklin Has Had at PSU
Obviously, James Franklin came from Vanderbilt and the SEC and whether we like it or not, everybody will clamor about the speed of that conference. So, when Franklin started recruiting at Penn State, he targeted speed and athleticism as his priorities. Now, in his sixth season, his recruiting practices are showing on the field as this is the fastest team he has ever had at Penn State. It does not matter the position or the position of that player on the depth chart, just about every player that came into the game on Saturday had speed and athleticism. That kind of talent will win some football games.
2. Jordan Stout Will Be a Weapon
Virginia Tech couldn’t find a place for this kid? Stout made his debut in blue and white on Saturday and had legitimate reasons to be named player of the game. In the first quarter, he banged a 53-yard field goal to give the Lions a 6-0 lead. He also caused a touchback on every one of his kickoffs. With the Lions scoring 79 points, Stout had a lot of opportunities to kick off and he executed every single time. Jake Pinegar still handled some kicking duties on Saturday. But, even if Stout’s role is a long distance field goal kicker and a kick off specialist, then that is a weapon that Penn State has not had in a long time.
3. This is the Most Depth Penn State Has Had in Years
When a sophomore backup safety is a captain of your team, that speaks to the depth this 2019 team has. It seems like at just about every position, the 2019 Nittany Lions have two or three players that can fill in for a starter and be a solid contributor.
Offensively, Franklin has the ability to rotate players at just about every position. They can rotate four running backs without skipping a beat. They have plenty of talented receivers to rotate into the game. The tight ends are a much deeper group behind Pat Freiermuth. James Franklin also has Steven Gonzalez, Mike Miranda, and CJ Thorpe as three guards he feels are all worthy of starting.
On the defense, young players with talent can come in and play defensive line such as Jayson Oweh. The linebackers were missing Cam Brown in the first half and still did not miss a beat. In the secondary, I mentioned their backup safety in Jonathan Sutherland being a captain, they go two deep at both safety spots. On the corners John Reid and Tariq Castro-Fields have those spots locked down, but have experienced depth behind them in Donovan Johnson and young studs such as Keaton Ellis and Joey Porter Jr.
Hopefully, we will learn more about this team on Saturday against Buffalo. But, for now, these were three things that we certainly learned about Penn State last weekend.