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Countdown To Dublin: Offensive Line Will Have Unconventional Depth

by on August 21, 2014 6:00 AM

Penn State's offensive line is an obvious question mark heading into the season.

That issue has been rehashed about as many times as James Franklin has been asked about the team's uniform changes or lack thereof. 

But as the Nittany Lions head into UCF prep time, it's time for answers to these questions to start to emerge. 

And right now things are still a little foggy on the offensive front.

"We haven't really had the same five guys at the same five spots for multiple practices yet," Penn State coach James Franklin said on Wednesday. "Now it's how do we get the best five on the field complementing each other, playing as a unit … how do we get some consistency there?"

Consistency isn't the only issue Franklin and offensive line coach Herb Hand will have to deal with. Depth across that line will be a weak spot all season with almost 10 different linemen entering the season as freshman with no college football experience. That lack of experience isn't a guarantee that Penn State's line will struggle, but it does make it an area of concern moving forward.

"We won't have traditional depth," Franklin said. "It's not like we'll have a two deep where the left tackle has a backup, the right tackle has a backup. It's probably going to be seven or eight guys at this point that we feel good about and those guys are going to have to be trained at multiple spots."

Down the road that kind of flexibility could be a big asset to have. Former head coach Bill O'Brien often praised offensive linemen who were well-versed in multiple positions along the front. If Hand can get his depth players ready to fill in at multiple positions it could help mask depth issues at any single position.

Ultimately though, it's about getting the best five players on the field on every down. The time remaining to figure out who those five players are is running out.

But as Franklin is fond of saying, it's a process.

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