PSU Spring Football: Looking for stability, identity at key positions

Penn State Opens Spring Practice
Offensive line is one of the top priorities this spring. Photo: Kevin McGuire, via Flickr.

With spring practice in full bloom in State College, the heat is on for some key positions in 2012.

Head coach Bill O’Brien is giving everyone on the roster a clean slate to work with, and he has said he will not be taking into account anything done on film before he arrived as the new head coach.

Here is a look at five of the top position battles this spring.

Quarterbacks

We might as well start with the headliner here—the quarterback competition.

Rob Bolden has started each of the last two seasons as the starting quarterback, but Matt McGloin has ended each of those seasons starting games under center. Will either of these players grab the position from the start and hold on to it for a full season?

The big question is whether or not Paul Jones can make a push for the starting job.

After sitting out the past two seasons with a red shirt season and being academically ineligible for his second, Jones will finally get a chance to make his case. He is eligible as of now for Penn State and many feel his upside is greater than that of Bolden and McGloin.

Bill O’Brien said the starting quarterback may not be named until he night before the season opener against Ohio, so there will be plenty of time to prove something form all three candidates.

Offensive Line

Penn State’s offensive line has been a relative weak spot the past few years it seems.

In 2012, the unit returns just one starter from the previous season—Matt Stankiewitch—so there are plenty of spots available in the fall.

New offensive line coach Mac McWhorter is already bringing new drills to the team in hopes of duplicating some of the success enjoyed at Texas under his watch.

Veteran players have generally had the upper hand in these kind of situations at Penn State, but look for some of the younger players to get their fair looks this spring as well.

Redshirt juniors Nate Cadogan, Adam Gress, Eric Shrive and John Urschel will look to move in to starting jobs for the fall, but redshirt sophomore Miles Dieffenbach should make a push for consideration as well.

 

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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