Indiana’s porous defense sets up nicely for Penn State tight ends - The Daily Collegian: Football

Logout|My Dashboard

Indiana’s porous defense sets up nicely for Penn State tight ends

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 3:14 pm, Thu Oct 3, 2013.

Everything was set up so nicely.

Arguably the deepest position offensively (or on both sides of the ball, for that matter), Penn State’s tight ends were expected to replicate last season’s stellar campaign with a productive 2013.

With a true freshman quarterback, another year in Bill O’Brien’s system and increased attention on reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year Allen Robinson, the stable of big-bodied pass catchers should have remained an imposing and reliable presence in the Nittany Lions’ offense.

That hasn’t been the case so far. Not in the slightest.

Zero touchdowns and just one catch in the red zone is all the group has mustered through four games.

Senior Matt Lehman’s season-ending knee injury in the season opener certainly hurts. Penn State’s top receiver from a year ago not named Robinson, tight end Kyle Carter, has dealt with nagging injuries in the early going. Jesse James has created some plays down the field, but blue-chip recruit and freshman Adam Breneman has seen an equal amount of field and sidelines.

But one breakthrough performance can put the trio in the right direction, and Indiana presents the perfect opportunity for that on Saturday.

The Hoosiers can sling the ball around the field offensively, but they stop the run about as well as Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Johnny Cueto handles the big stage.

Strolling in at 115th in the country out of 123 teams, Indiana has been porous at best against decent rushing attacks. Their average was brought down in the loss to Navy, who threw the ball five times and logged 70 rushes for 444 yards. That’s Navy’s style. But, even a balanced, traditional offense like Missouri dropped 280 rushing yards on the Hoosiers.

Penn State’s three-headed rushing attack of Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch should have similar success. The trio posted 278 rushing yards against Kent State, a team that has defended the run slightly better than the Hoosiers this season.

What does this mean for James, Carter and Breneman?

If Penn State can establish the run early, which shouldn’t be a tall task, the play-action passing game will be a ripe option.

James understands the importance of building a foundation running the football.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore said the team is succeeding in the running game, causing linebackers to creep up and, consequentially, allowing the tight ends to sneak off the line and make a dent in the intermediate play-action passing game.

And against an Indiana defense that’s coming off a lapse in pass defense against Missouri (two receivers with more than 100 receiving yards, one with 77), Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg shouldn’t have an issue making an impact with a handful of targets.

They have the personnel to do so with James, Carter and Breneman. This is a group that was second nationally in receptions among tight ends in 2012.

Their role hasn’t diminished; the unit just needs something to go their way.

Indiana’s defense should do the trick.

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

NFL Draft Coverage

DaQuan Jones' father reacts to son's drafting
Posted: May 12, 2014

DaQuan Jones' father endured many hardships while raising his son, but it all paid off Saturday as the Tennessee Titans drafted DaQuan.

Comments (0)
Glenn Carson, Garry Gilliam sign deals as undrafted free agents
Posted: May 10, 2014

Former Nittany Lions Garry Gilliam and Glenn Carson signed with NFL teams after going undrafted. 

Comments (0)
Former Nittany Lions find NFL homes
Posted: May 11, 2014

Forget about Silas Redd and Khairi Fortt? Two NFL teams didn't

Comments (0)
NFL Draft Recap
Posted: May 11, 2014

Three former Nittany Lions were drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Comments (0)
Tennessee Titans draft DaQuan Jones in the fourth round
Posted: May 10, 2014

DaQuan Jones becomes the second Penn State player to get drafted as the Tennessee Titans selected him.

Comments (0)
Math meets football: Twitter adores John Urschel
Posted: May 10, 2014

Shortly after the Baltimore Ravens drafted John Urschel with the No. 175 pick in the fifth round, fans and teammates took to Twitter to discuss their thoughts.

Comments (0)
Fans, teammates react to Allen Robinson getting drafted
Posted: May 09, 2014

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected wide receiver Allen Robinson with the No. 61 overall pick in the second round. Robinson watched as 10 wide receivers were picked before the Jaguars ended his wait.

Comments (0)
Jacksonville Jaguars draft Allen Robinson in 2nd round of NFL Draft
Posted: May 09, 2014

The Jaguars ended wide receiver Allen Robinson's wait as they selected him with the No. 61 overall pick in the second round. 

Comments (0)
John Urschel's diary: Draft day arrives
Posted: May 09, 2014

John Urschel continues his journal series for the Associated Press with his newest post: Draft Day. 

Comments (0)
Matt McGloin's moxie running dry in Oakland?
Posted: May 09, 2014

With the Oakland Raiders selecting Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr with the No. 36 pick in the second round, the Matt McGloin era in Oakland might be coming to an end.

Comments (0)