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Penn State Football: Replacing Gesicki Looks To Be A Group Effort

by on August 23, 2018 11:40 AM

Probably the single biggest challenge facing Penn State isn't replacing any single player, but the fact all of the players getting replaced were household names.

It would be one thing to plug in a new tight end, running back or receiver after a run-of-the-mill career starter finally graduates. But Penn State is replacing a handful of players that were known for big plays, flashy moments, historic efforts and remarkable consistency. Saquon Barkley might be the biggest absence, but the likes of DaeSean Hamilton and Mike Gesicki aren't far behind.

Fortunately for James Franklin, the business of finding a new Gesicki, or someone like him, comes with the luxury of having a handful of options.

If you need any indication of this, just talk to him at practice. Two weeks ago it was Jon Holland leading the way, this week, it's someone else.

"(Danny) Dalton, from the beginning of camp to the end, has really come in with a blue collar mentality and just keeps chipping away at it," Franklin said, "but I don't know if we're ready to decide [on the starter] right now."

Of course having a bunch of similar options doesn't automatically a good thing. It's very easy to have a bunch of average players fighting for the same job. Nevertheless, it doesn't sound like this is a product anything other than quality.

"(Nick) Bowers has done some really good things, Holland has dome some really good things, Dalton has probably had the most consistent camp, and then Freiermuth is a guy that looks like he's going to factor in, so we'll see," Franklin added.

"I don't know if we're at a point where we have the answer there yet. The answer is probably going to be a combination."

In reality there are worse things if you're Penn State. Having a host of tight ends working through the rotation is going to give everyone experience, and in the end it seems likely whoever gets the majority of the time will only increase the quality of blocking at their position. If Gesicki was guilty of any faults, his protection efforts left something to be desired.

Ultimately whoever ends up taking the majority of the snaps will try their best to replace 57 catches, 563 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns.

And whoever does will be reminded of how good their predecessor truly was, and how hard it can be to replace a player that made the hard things look so easy.

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