September 1, 2012 at 11:37 AM
With fans taking pictures on a patch of grass where a statue of Joe Paterno once stood and a banner plane hauling a message that reads "Oust Erickson/Trustees" around Beaver Stadium it certainly isn't the typical football Saturday at Penn State.
But football is back and the Nittany Lions open a new chapter under Bill O'Brien today at noon. And while fans are filled with a little anger — some at the NCAA, some at Penn State's administration, and some at the media — there is more of a sense of anticipation from the Lion faithful to watch their team just get on the field after a turbulent offseason.
Though Penn State has faced some cupcakes in recent season openers, make no mistake about it, Ohio is no slouch. The Bobcats had a 10-win season in 2011, and O'Brien said earlier in the week he thinks this year's Ohio team is the best coach Frank Solich has had in his eight years at the school.
Here are some things the Lions need to do if they want to get O'Brien his first career victory.
1. Contain Tyler Tettleton
Tettleton's name is probably one not many Penn State fans are familiar with. But if he torches the Lions' defense, it will be. Tettleton, Ohio's quarterback, threw for 3,302 yards, rushed for 658 more and accounted for 38 total touchdowns in 2011. Penn State's front seven is better than any Ohio faced last season, and if it can keep Tettleton in check, it will greatly slow down the Bobcats' attack.
2. McGloin and receivers need to be on same page
The Lions lost their three top receivers from a season ago, and now the likes of Allen Robinson and Shawney Kersey have been forced into larger roles at the wideout spot, whether they are ready or not. And for as much as quarterback Matt McGloin and his receiving corps has practiced together, they haven't been his "go-to" guys in a game setting. In a new offense, it will be vital routes are run crisply and both McGloin and his receivers know where the others are going.
3. Don't try to be a hero
What player doesn't want to be the guy to score the first touchdown or make the first big play in the O'Brien era? But players shouldn't be taking high risks to make it happen. The first big play and touchdown will come, Penn State players just need to stick to the gameplan and let it happen.