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.
Troy and UAB announced a future home-and-home football series in early May. Then another earlier this month. In between, future games versus Missouri (HERE), Iowa (HERE) and Army (HERE) were added as well. Late last week, Troy was at it again as the football program confirmed yet another home-and-home, this one with UMass.
Friday, Troy announced yet another future matchup. According to a release, the Sun Belt Conference school will square off with Nicholls State Aug. 30 of 2025. The matchup with the FCS opponent will be played at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy.
The two programs, former conference rivals, are very familiar with one another. From the school’s release on the renewal:
Troy and Nicholls State have a long history dating back to 1973 and continuing through Troy’s years as a member of the Southland Conference. The Trojans have enjoyed the upper hand with a 20-6-1 advantage in the series including four straight victories before the series halted in 2001.
After landing a couple early on in the offseason, Georgia State football finds itself on the wrong side of the portal this go ’round.
According to 247Sports.com, offensive tackle Connor Robbins has placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. While he didn’t confirm it on his personal Twitter account, the Georgia State football player did retweet the report.
The 6-9, 310-pound lineman will be leaving the Panthers as a graduate transfer.
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
Robbins was a three-star member of the Georgia State football Class of 2017. He was the highest-rated signee for the Panthers that cycle.
Robbins took a redshirt as a true freshman. The past two seasons, the Florida native played in 15 games. Most of that action, though, came on the point-after and field goal units.
In the third season under Shawn Elliott, GSU went 7-6 this past year. It was a five-win improvement from the 2-10 record the year before. In Elliott’s first season, the Panthers went 7-5. The seven wins are the best-ever for the Georgia State football program since moving to the FBS level in 2013.
Tulane confirms signing of Georgia Tech transfer Ajani Kerr
The Power Five transfer train has officially made yet another stop at the Tulane football program.
In late March, Ajani Kerr entered his name into the NCAA transfer database. Three months later, Tulane confirmed in a release that the Georgia Tech defensive back has officially signed and been added to the football roster.
Kerr comes to the Green Wave as a graduate transfer. This coming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.
Kerr was a two-star member of Tech’s 2016 recruiting class coming out of high school in Georgia. After redshirting as a true freshman, Kerr played in 29 games the past three seasons. Five of those appearances came in 2019.
In that action, Kerr had been credited with 66 tackles (55 solo, 11 assisted) and one fumble recovery.
Kerr is one of four Power Five transfers to join Tulane football this offseason.
Not surprisingly, it will pay handsomely for Clemson and Georgia to open up next season’s slate.
In February of this year, both Clemson and Georgia announced that the two football programs will kick off the 2021 season against each other. The game will be played at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Sept. 4.
According to information obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald, “[e]ach school will receive the greater of $4 million or 45 percent of the event’s net revenue” for the non-conference, neutral-site affair. The Banner-Herald added that “[p]art of the event’s revenue is expected to be generated by media rights, ticket sales and sponsorships.”
The fact that each school will receive at least $4 million will help to offset the cost of getting this game on the schedule. To make room for the non-conference matchup, Clemson canceled a previously-scheduled tilt with Wyoming while Georgia did the same with one against San Jose State. Because of the cancellation, Clemson will pay Wyoming $1.1 million and Georgia will cut San Jose State a $1.8 million check.
That said, it’s the cost of putting on such a quality matchup. One that has been and will continue to be must-see TV for the foreseeable future.