Scouting Penn State Offense

It will be a little weird watching the Gator defense going up against the Penn State offense Saturday night, considering that the Nittany Lions will be under the direction of offensive coordinator Galen Hall. The 70-year-old assistant coach was Florida's interim head coach for eight straight wins in 1984 and served as the Gators head coach through the mid-point of the 1989 season.

Galen Hall gave the Gators five solid years on the sidelines and guided the program through NCAA sanction ravaged seasons without a single losing campaign.

Hall's Penn State offense is pretty much like Hall himself, unpretentious reliable and steady. Penn State averages 25 points a game, but failed to reach that number in all five of its losses. Like Florida, each loss came to a team that went to a Bowl game. Their best wins are over Michigan and Northwestern. Their worst loss is a 33-13 blowout to Illinois.

Penn State is balanced, running the ball 52 percent of the time. The Nittany Lions gain 143 yards a game on the ground and 231 through the air. Most of the time they line up with a single back with three wide receivers with a TE/H-Back. They've turned it over just 16 times.

Quarterback duties have been shared by Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden. McGloin has taken over the job late in the season and is expected to get more of the playing time against the Gators. Each has completed 58 percent of his passes for over 1,300 yards. The big difference between the two is in their TD/INT ratio where McGloin (13/4) has been much better than Bolden (5/7). Neither is much of a runner.

Evan Royster, is however a heckuva runner. The senior is State's All-Time leading rusher and is close to 1,000 yards on the year (188-916, 4.9, 6 TD). He is a strong tackle-to-tackle type runner. Silas Redd (69-424, 6.1, 2 TD) gives them speed off the bench.

Are you ready for another story about tall WR? Derek Moye (48, 16.8, 7) is 6-5 and Brett Brackett (37, 13.4, 5) is 6-6. Justin Brown (31, 14.2, 1) is comparatively small at 6-3. They have excellent depth. They rarely throw to the TE/H-Back who is there to block.

The offensive line is solid allowing just 12 sacks on the season. The best of the group is right guard Stefan Wisniewski who is an All-Big Ten performer. If you recognize the name his dad, Leo played in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and his uncle Steve was a Pro Bowler with the Raiders. Both starred at Penn State as well.

Overall, this is a good offensive team that will try and power the Gators and throw downfield off play action. Down and distance is a big deal in this game as the Gators must force Penn State to throw on its terms. Considering Penn State's excellent pass protection and Florida's mediocre pass rush its run defense that holds the key for the Gators on Saturday.


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