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Ben State Football: With All The Rehash, Don't Forget These Stories

by on September 19, 2016 2:20 PM

For the past few weeks, I like nearly everyone else have been caught up in the 540th edition of all things Paterno related.

In truth, it's one of those stories you don't exactly cover because you really want to spend your time getting a migraine trying to describe a complex situation with the appropriate amount of nuance, but it comes with the job. Or at least it comes with my job. Or at least I've decided it comes with my job.

And through all of this it can get pretty easy to forget about the actual football and the actual stories unfolding in front of everyone in real time for the first time. This column in particular  is a reminder that having a strong opinion about Joe Paterno isn't a requirement for talking about Penn State football in 2016. If anything talking about Paterno is just a distraction, which is probably why -among a few other reasons- the whole thing seemed unnecessary in the first place.

So instead of using this week's column to break down one of my opinions that truly holds minimal value in Week 3 of the season, it seems like now is as good of a time as any to remind everyone, myself included, about the stories worth talking about for the first time instead of the stories getting rehashed for the millionth time. This team is actually pretty likable with a lot of little narratives unfolding every week, don't forget about them.

Mike Gesicki is happy again:

Amazingly after a season of "what ifs" and dropped passes Penn State's overly athletic tight end is catching the ball with one hand, grabbing passes in traffic and picking up blocks when his number hasn't been called. It's hard to blame him for being so much happier, but if it was possible for a 6-foot-6, 252 pound human to remind you of a puppy, that would be Mikes Gesicki. If anything embodies the improvements this team has made, it's him, and it is fun to watch.



Trace McSorley is pretty good:

For a kid who allegedly didn't bring the same physical tools to the table as Christian Hackenberg it's pretty hard to find much to object to.

Penn State will be a better team when the center/quarterback exchanges don't result in a game of hot potato, but other than that it looks like McSorley's arsenal is pretty diverse. That's not to say he's destined to break all of Hackenberg's records, but it's safe to assume that McSorley isn't getting weighed down by the challenges that come with replacing an All-Time quarterback. He doesn't have any game-winning drives to his name yet, but that will probably come with time. If nothing else he's making a name for himself in a year where nobody would have blamed him if he struggled.

DaeSean Hamilton:

From his drop against Pitt to a recovered onside kick to seal the game against Temple, Hamilton's season has been a story each week. The move from the outside to the slot has reinvigorated one of Penn State's better receivers all-time and given a new lease on life. It isn't that Hamilton has been anything other than a reliable target during his career but there are enough ups and downs that his latest season at Penn State has been a dramatic one to watch unfold so far. He's an easy kid to root for and with a million receivers and new faces on this team it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. Don't forget about DaeSean.

This offense:

They're scoring lots of points, gaining lots of yards and Joe Moorhead is perhaps the best thing to happen to the Penn State football program since they built Beaver Stadium. Maybe a bit of hyperbole but Penn State has gone from a team that is painful to watch to a team that is even entertaining in defeat. It remains to be seen if that holds up in conference play, but there's little reason to think that it will be any less entertaining no matter what happens. I for one, am all aboard for Penn State football shootouts.

This defense:

Seven starters hurt or limited last week against Temple makes this a more interesting and enjoyable story for the neutral observer than it does you the Penn State fan, but it's still a major storyline. The Nittany Lions could very well be down to two sophomores and a walk-on at linebacker this weekend against Michigan and for the foreseeable future. The defensive line is young but talented, the secondary is full of veterans and potential rising stars. How Penn State does the rest of the way could very well come down to the defensive side of the ball, and that group's status is seemingly changing on a regular basis.

Blake Gillikin:

Penn State's punter is very good at punting. That's the whole story.

Tyler Davis:

He never misses field goals. That's not even hyperbole, he has never missed.

Saquon Barkley:

This is self explanatory. Penn State's defending "He is why we're watching this team" champion is going to retain his title.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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