PENN STATE: Four Days and Counting

Whether it's on offense or defense or special teams, thee are plenty of players on Penn State's roster that present daunting challenges this weekend. continues its day-by-day preview of this weekend's match-up with "Four Names to Know" off Coach Joe Paterno's roster…

Aaron Maybin, DE – Maybin has emerged as one of the nation's best pass rushers this season, totaling 11 sacks, 16 ½ tackles for loss and three forced fumbles in the season's first 10 games. Maybin was named to the Big Ten's All-Freshman team a year ago, and he's made a huge jump this season and is leading the conference in sacks, ½ sack ahead of IU's Jammie Kirlew. He's recorded at least one sack in eight out of 10 games, and he was recently named as one of 15 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive player. Coach Joe Paterno occasionally laments the fact the 6-4, 236-pounder has had a hard time adding weight, but he's explosive off the snap and will give IU's offensive tackles fits all afternoon. The Hoosiers figure to once again be without their most athletic offensive tackle in Rodger Saffold, so expect IU to utilize a tight end to help out eight Justin Pagan or Mike Stark as they try to keep Maybin from terrorizing IU's quarterback.

Josh Gaines, DE - Gaines was one that got away, a Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Northrop H.S. grad who is now a fifth-year senior starter at Penn State. A third-year starter, Gaines has totaled 27 tackles, seven tackles for loss and four sacks while rotating with Maybin and Maurice Evans at the defensive end spot. He played a very big role in Penn State's 36-31 win over IU a year ago, totaling a then-career high seven tackles and a sack. He's also one of the Nittany Lions' defensive co-captains.

A.Q. Shipley, C - The Nittany Lions' 6-1, 297-pound center anchors an offensive line that has paved the way for tailback Evan Royster and the running game, which averages 222 rushing yards/game and has scored 31 times on the ground. As good as they've been at run blocking, Shipley and his fellow linemen and its also been exceptionally good in pass protection. Penn State quarterback Darryl Clark has been sacked only eight times all season, ranking the Lion offensive line in the top 10 nationally for least sacks allowed. Shipley was a first-team All-Big Ten choice in 2007, and he's a candidate for the Rimington award this season as the nation's best center. Shipley has started 36 straight games at center, but actually arrived at Penn State as a defensive tackle. He split time between the two positions as a freshman before settling in as the team's starter in 2006.

Derrick Williams, WR/KR/PR - The one-time National High School Player of the Year hasn't had the sort of career that many had anticipated when he first arrived in 2005, but Williams is still a player to be concerned about in the passing game as well as on special teams. He ranks second on the team with 32 receptions for 358 yards and a touchdown, but it's on special teams where he's of tremendous concern. He has three returns for touchdowns this season, running back a punt 63 yards for a score to go along with kickoff returns of 94 and 89 yards. He has 4.4 speed in the 40 and is projected to be a first or second round NFL Draft pick next spring. Indiana's challenge will be to keep him from adding to his highlight reel tape in this weekend's match-up in Happy Valley.

What's coming up:
On Monday - Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday Four Names to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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