UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Offensive lines are as maligned as any position group in college football, but Penn State’s struggles in the trenches were very real in 2021.
A year ago, Penn State’s O line ranked 122nd out of 130 FBS schools in converting on 3rd and 4th and short. They also gave up the mot sacks in the Big Ten
Experience will not be a buzzword as the Nittany Lions return just two starters on the line, Caeden Wallace and Juice Scruggs. The two have 33 combined starts, but speaking with the media on Wednesday night, offensive line coach Phil Trautwine said Scruggs is one of the best he has coached.
“He knows the offense,” said Trautwine. “You know, he’s a leader. He knows he knows how to communicate and get us on the same page because centers, you know, they usually have to make the calls and get everyone on the same page. And of course, then they also have to staff the ball and you put the best through the program in his hands. So, you know, we we have all the trust in the world in him.”
Penn State may be short on experience but there is talent. Redshirt freshman Landon Tengwall was the top ranked recruit in James’ Franklin’s 2021 recruiting class and 6-6 sophomore Olu Fashanu has impressed his teammates so far.
“I definitely see a lot of Olu in me and Olu’s ways of being like the silent leader,” said Scruggs. “Like, last year, I didn’t really say much and didn’t really talk much. I just do my job and live by example. Yeah, that’s like Olu and he comes out every day does his job, does what you need to do and know he’s going to get the job done.”
Overall, Franklin said he likes where the O-Line is at, both physically and mentally, and after a disappointing year the hope is there is only one place to go: up.