Spartan Nation 2007 scouting report:  Penn State Nittany Lions

Predicted record:  10-2 (6-2)

Projected Big Ten standing: 4th 

Returning Starters:  OFFENSE:  8 DEFENSE: 6 Lettermen return:  33 

Head Coach:  Joe “JOEPA” Paterno 9-4 Lifetime 363-121-3

Top assistant:  OC Galen Hall

This could be a very special year for the Lions.  I think that they will stumble at UM, and will suffer a home loss to UW, but I also predict them giving Ohio State their only loss of the season when they play host on 10/27.

The Lions are going to be brutal on D.  Yes they lose Paul Posluszny, a multi talented LB that moved on to the NFL but they are loaded all around on their D and they can hit.  One of the marks of this D is that they don’t hit you they try to decimate you.  It is a very similar mindset to what MSU head coach Mark Dantonio wants.

They have a very good QB in Anthony Morelli.  Morelli is 6’4” and has excellent balance.  He is dangerous for defenses because the kid is fearless.  He is a mobile QB, but unlike most QB’s (especially young ones) he stays in the pocket.  He does have an uncanny ability however to know when it is time to run and that puts him in a position to be a game breaker.  He has a decent running game behind him but the Lions will shock some folks by putting the ball down the field this season.

The Lions will have one of the best special teams in the nation.  That really shows you how the Big Ten is evolving.  There are five Big Ten teams that are placing a huge importance on special teams this year when there have been years in the past where they were almost ignored. 

Paterno may be old but his critics fail to understand that what makes him and Bobby Bowden successful (as is any older coach) they have longevity because they have a CEO approach to coaching.  Most of Paterno’s staff has been with him a long time and he trusts them.  That bond of trust with the staff and the coach is so hard to not only acquire but to maintain.  Paterno has done that and although he makes the critical game time calls, he does listen to his staff and his body may be aged but he still is a football genius. 

I have a very good friend who played for Paterno and he told me that, “What makes coach special is that he lets his staff run their position or side of the ball, but he accumulates all of that information and just makes the right decisions.  People that think coach is out of touch are not around the program.  He is coaching no different today compared with 20 years ago.  It is just that people notice it now.”

It should be a good year for the Lions and if they could manage an upset of UM or UW, it could be really special.  We shall see.  One thing that the nation should know by now is that you can’t ever count a Paterno coached team out of it.