Spring Practice Primer: Penn State Nittany Lions

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

College football never ends, and during the next few weeks teams will be getting ready for the 2013 season in their spring practice sessions. Here's a look at the Penn State Nittany Lions and what they'll be working on this spring.

Alabama and Virginia Tech will play for the
Allen Robinson will be his new quarterback's best friend. (USATSI)

Spring practice begins: March 18

Spring game: April 20

2012 record: 8-4

Returning starters: 13 (eight offense, five defense)

The Least You Need To Know About Penn State This Spring

-- This should be quite the quarterback battle. If you had any doubt about how good Bill O'Brien is with quarterbacks, they were erased when you saw Matt McGloin morph into an entire new player last season. Now McGloin is gone, and the competition to replace him should be a good one. Steven Bench has a bit of a head start since he was on campus last year, but the Nittany Lions brought in junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson this semester for a reason. Then there's the guy who hasn't been mentioned, five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Hackenberg won't arrive until the summer, but he's the quarterback of the future in State College; the only question is when that future will begin.

-- Allen Robinson needs a complement. Thanks to transfers, Robinson emerged as Penn State's top receiver last season. At times, it felt like he was Penn State's only receiver. He finished with 41 more receptions and 565 more yards than the next Nittany Lion, and it would be nice for another receiver to emerge. Incoming tight end Adam Breneman should see the field, but it looks like the battle will be between Brandon Moseby-Felder and Eugene Lewis.

-- New students at Linebacker U. Both Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges are gone. Not only were both good players, but Mauti was the heart and soul of the team last season. While Mike Hull will step right into his new job, with Glenn Carson at middle linebacker. The final starting role will be a battle between Ben Kline,and Nyeem Wartman.

-- The defensive line needs new blood as well. Jordan Hill and Sean Stanley are both gone, and new players will have to step up to replace them. The good news for a defense that loses a lot of starters is that a player like Deion Barnes returns. Barnes led Penn State in sacks and tackles for a loss as a sophomore last season and should continue to improve.

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