Penn State may have a number of question marks about its team heading into the 2014 season but the one things most seem to agree on without hesitation is the Nittany Lions have no issues under center. Sophomore Christian Hackenberg took some lumps in his freshman season but hit his stride as the year progressed. His season finale performance at Wisconsin offered a mighty glimpse of something special for the next few years in State College. If there is one position nobody is terribly concerned about, it is the quarterback position. That said, new head coach James Franklin should not and apparently will not shy away from trying some new things to mix things up on offense.
Yes, the wildcat will be back in State College this fall if Franklin has anything to say about it (and he does, being the head coach and all).
Speaking at an event Thursday, Franklin was asked about the wildcat and he was prepared to share some details about what could potentially happen. Franklin mentioned receiver Geno Lewis and speedy running back Bill Belton specifically, and for good reason. Lewis has some quarterback experience and Belton offers plenty of speed when healthy and has room to work. The spring game served up some potential plays that could make it to the playbook this fall.
In order for the wildcat to be effective though, Franklin stressed the need to have a threat to pass coming from Lewis or Belton or whomever may be running the offense. Hackenberg will rarely be a threat to run, so having Lewis or Belton give the defense something else to think about will be critical to the success of the wildcat. This is true not just at Penn State, but for any team looking to run the wildcat.
This video of Franklin talking about the wildcat was shared by The Patriot News (PennLive.com);
Bill O’Brien brought some new looks to the Penn State offense each of the last two seasons and really changed the way Penn State’s offense had been operating in a short period of time. He was not afraid to do things that had never or rarely been done at Penn State under former head coach Joe Paterno. When Paterno was fired in the midst of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Bradley and the coaching staff wasted little time in trying a few new things as well, and that included the wildcat a little more frequently.
This is not going to drastically change Penn State’s offensive philosophy. The Nittany Lions should still have a dependable running game and a solid passing game with Hackenberg, a tight-end heavy corp and a respectable stable of running backs, but Franklin is known to mix things up a bit. That applies here as well.
Teldrick Morgan had been a significant part of New Mexico State’s passing game the past two seasons. In 2016, he’ll try to play the same role at a Big Ten school.
Maryland announced in a press release that Morgan, a native of Hanover, Maryland, has transferred to the university and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Terps. As Morgan is coming to College Park as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
The upcoming season will be the wide receiver’s final year of eligibility.
“Teldrick brings a great deal to our program and we’re excited that he’s a part of our family,” first-year Terps head coach DJ Durkin said in a statement. “It’s always great to bring a local kid back home, and on top of that he’s very skilled and brings a wealth of experience to our receivers unit.”
Each of the past two seasons, Morgan led the Aggies in receptions. He caught 75 passes in 2014, although that production dipped to 45 in 2015. A part of that drop was due to a groin injury that cost the 6-0, 195-pound receiver three games, as well as the continued emergence of Larry Rose III (1,651 yards rushing).
Morgan totaled 120 receptions for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns
Some kids/young adults will simply never learn, at least not the easy way. Case in point: Robbie Rhodes.
In June of 2014, reports surfaced that Rhodes had, ahem, “parted ways” with Baylor “for undisclosed reasons.” That move came a month after Rhodes was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence, even as charges were never filed against him. Two months after “parting ways” with BU, Bowling Green announced that the wide receiver had transferred into its football program.
Nearly two years later? He gone. Again.
According to the Toledo Blade, Rhodes has been dismissed from the Falcons football team. The only stated reason was an unspecified violation of team rules.
Rhodes, a four-star 2013 recruit rated as the No. 8 receiver in the country that year, appeared in 11 games as a true freshman for the Bears, recording 10 receptions for 157 yards. After sitting out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Rhodes played in seven games for the Falcons last season, recording three catches for 130 yards.
Rhodes’ departure leaves the Falcons with just two receivers who have caught passes at the collegiate level — Ronnie Moore (third on the team in 2015 with 72 receptions for 954 yards and six touchdowns) and Scott Miller (7-29 last season).
Even as Lyndell Wilson has yet to play a down of college football, the highly-touted 2016 signee simply can’t buy an injury break.
In late March, Wilson announced via Twitter that he would be undergoing surgery in short order to repair a torn labrum in one of his shoulders. Three months later, the linebacker announced via the same social media site that he has to undergo a medical procedure to repair a torn meniscus in one of his knees.
Per Wilson’s tweet, that has since been deleted for whatever reason, the surgery will be performed Tuesday. There’s no prognosis on how much time Wilson will miss, including whether he will be available for the start of summer camp in early August.
While the tweet announcing the surgery no longer appears on his Twitter feed, a retweet and another of his own tweets suggests he has yet another injury hurdle to overcome.
For what it’s worth, the school has yet to address any potential health issues with which Wilson may be dealing.
Wilson was one of five Rivals.com five-star recruits signed by the Tide this recruiting cycle. The Montgomery, Ala., native was rated as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Alabama; and the No. 26 player overall by that recruiting service. 247Sports.com had the 6-1, 235-pound high schooler as the No. 15 overall prospect in the Class of 2016.
Art Briles may be out as Baylor’s head football coach, but he still has some influence over at least one member of his last recruiting class.
Over the weekend, Kam Martin announced via Twitter that he had committed to play his college football for Gus Malzahn at Auburn. The running back chose Auburn over another contender in TCU.
Malzahn and Briles are good friends who, prior to Briles’ dismissal in the wake of the sexual assault scandal in the football program, brainstormed together this offseason. When Martin received a release from his BU National Letter of Intent, he turned to Briles for advice, with his former coach advising him that Auburn would be “a great fit.”
“He helped me — I still have a great relationship with him,” Martin told 247Sports.com. “He just told me Auburn is a great fit for me with Coach Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff. He said if I was going to Baylor and he was there, it would be the same type of vibe (as at Auburn). He told me Coach Gus would take care of me. He said with him, it’s about the player, about the university.
“And shoot, he’s an offensive guru.”
A four-star 2016 prospect, Martin will be eligible to play for said guru’s squad this coming season.