The Penn State football program enters 2011 with one of the best quarterback battles in the country. Junior Matt McGloin and Sophmore Rob Bolden will compete for the starting job. Bolden is the better long term option who became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Joe Paterno last season. Bolden was denied a transfer by Paterno in January. He passed for 1,360 yards before McGloin replaced him. McGloin had a hot start but had a disaster of a performance against Florida in the Outback Bowl. He threw 5 interceptions.
The Lions lost All American guard Stefen Wisnieski to the draft. If they address the concerns on the line they could have a lot of potential to be good on offense. Silas Redd has the makings of a superstar at Penn State. They also have a great receiver in Derek Moye. PSU returns WR Moye, WR Justin Brown, T Quinn Barham, G Johnnie Troutman, T Chima Okoli, and QB Bolden.
The defense returns 6 starters with DT Devon Still, DE Jack Crawford, LB Michael Mauti, CB D'Anton Lynn, CB Stephon Morris, and S Drew Astorino. They need to find a pass rush to help there outstanding secondary. Otherwise there strongest spot on defense gets canceled out by it's biggest weakness. Eric Lattimore returns from season ending surgery last year. Every year it seems Paterno puts a strong defense together.
Special teams Penn State returns Anthony Ferra as their punter. He was also the kickoff specialist. In 49 kickoffs 19 were touch backs. Kicker may be an issue for the Lions however. Freshman Sam Ficken is likely starting as kicker. How the freshman handles the job will be key since PSU should be in some close games.
The Big Ten schedule is never an easy one. Nebraska joining the mix makes it even tougher. Anything better than a 7-5 record for Penn State is a stretch. They will find wins hard to come by with Alabama, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin all on the schedule. Temple is a trap game. I see the team finishing with an 8-4 record since I like Bolden's ability. They could upset Iowa or Ohio State. They should finish 3rd in the Leaders division.