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Penn State Football: Paris Palmer Out For Season, Fries And Menet In Mix

by on November 15, 2016 3:20 PM

Penn State offensive tackle Paris Palmer will miss the remainder of the season according to head coach James Franklin. Palmer left the game after the Nittany Lions' opening drive of the game and was later seen on the sideline in street clothes with crutches and his left leg in a brace.

"We do have a little bit of an injury situation going on now, kind of throughout the whole year," Franklin said on Tuesday. "We've lost Brendan Mahon, as you guys know, he hasn't been playing last couple weeks. We'll see how that goes. We lost Paris Palmer for the season, Andrew Nelson for the season. Chance Sorrell's career has ended."

Franklin also announced on Tuesday that linebacker Jake Cooper will miss the rest of the season as well with injury, he joins Nyeem Wartman-White and Jan Johnson as the third linebacker to see his season end with injury. Speedster Brandon Polk and tight end Nick Bowers will not see the field again this season either.

And the news doesn't stop there, freshman Connor McGovern, who left the Indiana game late with an injury may very well be a last minute decision too.

To sum it all up, a known injury report on the line:

  • Palmer: out
  • Nelson: out
  • McGovern: day-to-day
  • Mahon: day-to-day

"It's too early in the week to make that decision," Franklin said of McGovern." We have all week long to figure that out. Obviously, it also helps with it being an 8:00 night game on the front end...It does give us a little bit more time to get some guys healthy and ready to go. So it's too early to say on that."

The result is nothing short of a complicated mess on Penn State's offensive front, with Palmer out for the year that moves Ryan Bates to the left tackle spot for good with Chasz Wright likely taking over on the right side of the line. If Mahon is back Bate could move back inside to his original guard position alongside center Brian Gaia.

Assuming that McGovern and Mahon are out, the best guess at an offensive front be as follows:

  • Bates, Gonzalez, Gaia, Dowrey, Wright

If McGovern is healthy:

  • Bates, Gonzalez, Gaia, McGovern, Wright

If both Mahon and McGovern are healthy there are a few options, the first more likely as it is closer to the intended rotation.

  • Mahon, Bates, Gaia, McGovern, Wright
  • Bates, Gonzalez, Gaia, McGovern, Mahon

If anything else happens it may result in the debut of two freshman who Penn State has been trying desperately to redshirt all year in five-star talent Michal Menet and Will Fries.

"I did bring Michal Menet and Will Fries into my office," Franklin mentioned. "That conversation went really well. Both those young men and their families are perfectly comfortable with us doing whatever we have to do to win and put the team first, so that conversation went really well."

"On a side note, it also was great just to see those two guys sitting in my office, was because they look beautiful. They've gotten big and strong, and matured. Sometimes I think when you see them with the rest of the guys like I do, it's just a bunch of big human beings. You don't realize. You're kind of up close to them, and they're two good-looking young players that we're excited about their future."

"So we are not, at this point, doing anything. Will Fries would be the guy that's a little closer to Michal Menet, not from a readiness standpoint, but just our real need is at offensive tackle. Michal Menet could play tackle, but he's probably more suited inside and Will outside. So we'll see how it plays out. You'd love to keep those guys as red shirts if you possibly can. But the way this thing is playing out, you never know. We want to be prepared for it. So those guys will be up with varsity and get a bunch of reps."

Penn State's offensive front might be able to get away with a few mistakes and learning curve issues this week though, the Nittany Lions are facing a struggling two-win Rutgers team that will be far from the hardest test Penn State has faced all year. That doesn't mean the Scarlet Knights will just roll over, but it does give Penn State the luxury of at least a very brief break in an otherwise tough schedule.

What the line looks for sure by Saturday night is anyone's guess, but it's safe to say the Nittany Lions are facing yet another injury plagued unit in what could be the most crucial two game stretch for the program in the past decade. The steaks as a result, are unusually high.

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