One thing is for sure heading into Penn State's first game of the season against Ohio this afternoon (12 noon on ESPN).
That is the Bobcats have not seen much tape on starting running back Bill Belton, starting wide receiver Allen Robinson, or much of any of what will be a totally different offense in 2012, quite literally a different offense.
Leading rusher from a year ago Silas Redd is at USC and leading wide receiver Justin Brown is playing for the Sooners in Norman, OK.
Now, that's the glass half full approach to the cast of characters that will make up the Nittany Lion offense this season. It would also make sense to say that this new PSU offense will be making maybe the most important debut of all-time with a shaky quarterback by the name of Matt McGloin at the helm.
McGloin has had some bursts of capable football in him over the last two years, but never against a high-caliber opponent. However, Bill O'Brien, who most sports knowledgeable people know has worked with Tom Brady made the decision pretty quickly to name McGloin the starter, meaning McGloin must be doing something right.
Another sure thing is that the Ohio Bobcats are not a "cupcake" opponent. Coached by former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich, who was 58-19 as the Cornhuskers head man from 1998-2003, the Bobcats certainly pose a threat to defeat Penn State today.
Last year, Solich led the Bobcats to a 10-4 record including the school's first ever bowl win at the Famous Idaho Bowl. The 10-win season was Ohio's first since 1968.
The threat starts with dual threat quarterback Tyler Tettleton (rushing - 166 for 658 yds (4.0), 10 TD, passing - 267 of 415, 3302 yds, 28 TD, 10 INT).
Tettleton has the ability to run and throw the football with success on anybody, but there is no doubt this is the most skilled defense he will play against this season.
"This is an excellent football team. This is Coach Solich's eighth year with the program, and this is probably his best football team. This is a team that was in the MAC championship game last year and has huge aspirations for this year," said O'Brien. "Offensively, it starts with their quarterback. This guy is an excellent athlete, Tyler Tettleton. He can run, he can throw, he's definitely a dual-threat guy, and he just poses a lot of problems. He's definitely somebody that we have to do the best we can to contain."
The Nittany Lions front seven is as good as they get in the Big 10 this season. Pete Massaro, Sean Stanley, and Deion Barnes are solid at the defensive end positions with DaQuan Jones and standout Jordan Hill (Outland Trophy watch list, best DT in the country) anchoring the inside.
Then of course comes the power of the PSU "D", the linebacker group, which is one of the best in the country. Gerald Hodges is a First Team Pre-Season All-American and he is joined by Michael Mauti and Glenn Carson with Mike Hull also expected to see a lot of time at the middle linebacker spot.
The next group is the arm of the Penn State defense that has been criticized the most from college football analysts. The reason being the Nittany Lions are simply not deep in the secondary. Adrian Amos and Stephon Morris are talented corners, but if they get hurt the next best options are true freshman. Malcolm Willis has also been hampered by a leg injury, but is expected to start today. The second safety spot will be played by Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, who is inexperienced at the position.
"I feel good about the secondary, and now I'm looking forward to watching those guys go out and play again against an excellent quarterback in Tyler Tettleton and a corps of receivers and tight ends that are really good football players at Ohio," said O'Brien. It'll be a great match-up, and I just really want our guys to go out there and do their best and play as well as they can."
If the Nittany Lions can get constant pressure on Tettleton from the onset with the combination of what is sure to be a fanatical crowd, then Ohio will have a pretty tough afternoon at Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions first game comes down to how well Matt McGloin and the offense execute Bill O'Brien's game plan. O'brien, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator will be prepared for whatever Ohio throws at the Lions, but can the offense bring it all together? That's the question on the minds of the Nittany Lion faithful and the answer will come today.