By Mark Beech, SI.com
After trouncing Coastal Carolina last week, Penn State gets its first crack at an actual BCS team today. Oregon State may have disappointed against Stanford in its opener, but the Beavers' aggressive, pressing defense is going to be a challenge for a Nittany Lion team looking to establish an offensive identity.
Much has been made about Penn State's "new" offensive look this season, and it was kept mostly under wraps during last weekend's 66-10 blowout. Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno calls it the "Spread HD," and -- curiously -- promises that it will incorporate more of a pro-style passing attack with elements of the wishbone. Sounds to me like Paterno doesn't really want anybody to know what the Nittany Lions are up to.
Whatever. The guess here is that, with the more mobile Daryll Clark replacing Anthony Morelli at quarterback, the offense in Happy Valley this fall will look strikingly similar to the option-based attack that worked so well in 2005, when quarterback Michael Robinson led Penn State back to BCS glory. One difference -- and this may be what Paterno is getting at -- will be the talent on the field at the receiver positions. With Deon Butler, Jordon Norwood, and Derrick Williams, Penn State has a raft of explosive options in the passing game, and may run more four-receiver sets this year as a result.
Indeed, "options" may be the best word to describe the offense. Along with Clark and the wideouts, the Nittany Lions are also loaded at running back, with Evan Royster and speedy redshirt freshman Stephfon Green (who's reportedly got 4.25 speed). Playing behind a solid and experienced offensive line, all those "options" are likely to see plenty of touches in both the running and the passing games. Oregon State just might go crazy trying to cover all those guys ... at least, that's the hope here in State College.
And just to tie the game into current events, here's a clip that isn't likely to help Barack Obama at the polls in Happy Valley come November.