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Penn State Football: Film Study For Michigan Not As Easy As Usual

by on October 12, 2017 12:15 PM

As Penn State prepares to face Michigan next weekend in a game that will set the course of the rest of the season, there is a small but somewhat meaningful problem facing the Nittany Lions.

There isn't a lot of great film on the Wolverines.

Consider this, Penn State generally likes to look at the previous four games when it comes to film. That's in a perfect world. Early in the year that isn't always possible or very helpful. Teams playing easy non conference opponents, or simply still finding their stride early in the year.

For example, Michigan played Michigan State in what amounted to a hurricane last week. Before that Air Force and a triple-option attack that doesn't give you much insight into beating the Wolverine defense.

Oh and Michigan has a new quarterback after Wilton Speight was hurt two weeks ago. He's out for the year and so too the film he's in.

"You’re usually going back to the bowl game anyway. You’re going back to your game last year with them, so I think really at this point in the season, a lot of time it’s like that where you don’t have four really good games to use," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "It may be a three-game breakdown because you may say you want to use the bowl game, but if you look they’ve really changed from last year."

That's the issue that will make this weekend's game between Michigan and Indiana so crucial for Penn State. It's a rare chance early in the year to see a team face a mutual opponent. That film will be valuable, because all things being equal the Hoosiers will face the most recent for of the Wolverines.

And after so much turnover from last year's team, it's a chance to finally get a grasp on that vaunted Wolverine defense.

Don Brown, their defensive coordinator, is big into their personnel obviously and does a great job," Franklin added. "So they’re playing a little bit different when it comes to personnel packages this year than they were last year."

It may not change the outcome of the game, but as Franklin and his staff return from recruiting this weekend and begin to break down Michigan film, they'll find there just isn't a lot of useful film to watch. 

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