We came into this season knowing the following about Penn State's offense:
- The offensive line lost four starters, including two now playing in the NFL, and a veteran backup. OL recruiting in 2011 & 2012 was fair at best.
- First year of a brand new coaching staff and offensive system
- Lost top two receivers in Allen Robinson (97 catches, 1,400+ yards, 6 TD, 1st team All-Big Ten) and Brandon Moseby-Felder (28-312-3). Adam Breneman (15-186-3) suffered an injury in preseason requiring a redshirt and Richie Anderson (13-111) also left the program.
- Returning freshman phenom QB Christian Hackenberg
- Penn State is the second-youngest team in FBS
- 2014 would be the worst year re: scholarship reductions with 62 total scholarship players
- We wonder why the offensive line can't establish any sort of running game or consistent pass protection.
- We question if James Franklin, the program's savior as recently as six weeks ago, can develop a quarterback or put together an effective offensive gameplan.
- We pine for Bill O'Brien, a great coach and leader who happened to inherit a seasoned stable of offensive talent to use in his aggressive, pro-style offense, who surely could find some way to put points on the board with this group, right?
- We scoff at the idea that maybe Herb Hand, regarded as one of the better offensive line coaches in college football, is doing all he can with what he has.
- We wring our hands over Christian Hackenberg's sophomore slide, dissecting his performance in an unrealistic vacuum created by understandably lofty expectations.
As Mark Emmert's dull knife finally cuts deep, the meat of the Penn State fan base seems to be marinated in denial and frustration rather than belief and patience.
The sanctions may have ended, but like any other force of destruction, the recovery process won't happen overnight.
And, with four games to play and bowl eligibility far from a certainty, We Are...exactly who we thought we would be when this season began.
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