After a 27-10 loss to Temple, Penn State might already pondering some major changes as they try to pick themselves up heading into the rest of the season.
Burying the game tape of the loss to a team they haven’t lost to in a very long time might be a nice act of ceremony and bringing the players closer together, but it’s not going to be the thing that helps them put this season back on track.
James Franklin is supposed to be the one that takes Penn State out of the sanction era and back to the front stage of the Big Ten and College Football. The first season wasn’t a very good one (7-6, 2-6 in the Big Ten) but they did win their bowl game against Boston College, something that always help cultivate hope and confidence, even if the next game is eight to nine months away.
Penn State allowed 10 sacks as the legend of Christian Hackenberg remains dormant because what most think is an awful offensive line, although it just might that Hackenberg isn’t the quarterback that was promised and hyped up to be.
Franklin said the best thing over the last few days after the loss have been seeing his wife and daughters. He also regrets saying the five offensive linemen in the loss were the best the team has right now. It means reevaluating the roles and abilities of guys on reserve, which means likely giving interior lineman Wendy Laurent another look this week, possibly freeing up Angelo Mangiro to move to one of the tackles. Mangiro slid from center last season and played right tackle with Andrew Nelson switching to the left side when former starter Donovan Smith was hurt. Laurent played center in Mangiro’s place and played well.
Guard Derek Dowrey and sophomore tackle Chance Sorrell might get more time on the field as well. Facing Buffalo at home might not seem like the most daunting of opponents, but giving up 27 unanswered points to Temple means Penn State can’t look down on anyone.
It’s not just going to be the offensive line that changes. The whole offensive approach, which means less I-formation, more moving the pocket and running the ball, could be coming. Hackenberg looked better under Bill O’Brien, who used an NFL-inspired system, and we might see Franklin, who got the job thanks to his success at Vanderbilt and is known for his player development and recruiting, shift more towards that kind of offense as well, knowing he can’t afford another debacle and another abysmal season in-conference.