Nittany Lions must settle on QB

The Sports Xchange

--Who will be the quarterback? Incumbents Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden struggled mightily last season, Paul Jones hasn't yet played due to academic troubles and Danny O'Brien chose to transfer to Wisconsin instead of Penn State. Bill O'Brien's new offense needs a leader and it could take the Nittany Lions the entire spring and summer to find it.

--C Matt Stankiewitch and G John Urschel are the only returning linemen with any significant experience. Many of Penn State's big fellas have made strides in the weight room under new strength coach Craig Fitzgerald but must prove they can turn it into results on the field.


--RB Bill Belton -- The compact speedster showed promise as a Wildcat quarterback and slot receiver as a true freshman in 2011. A few pounds heavier, he'll now get some work at tailback behind starter Silas Redd.

--CB Derrick Thomas. One of the most talented defenders on Penn State's roster the last few years should benefit from the departures of D'Anton Lynn and Chaz Powell and what Bill O'Brien calls a "clean slate" after spending most of his early career in Joe Paterno's doghouse.

--DE Pete Massaro. One of the high-motor players line coach Larry Johnson loves is back on the field about a year after tearing an ACL. Massaro is one of the few defensive ends with game experience but will have some rust to shake off this spring.

"You have a quarterback in New England that was there for 12 years. That's a little bit different than a 21-year-old guy who is just learning the offense here at Penn State. We'll put in the core, put in the basics of it, then we'll build on it in training camp." -- Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, on bringing the New England Patriots' offense to Penn State this spring.

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