For a few months now, one of the biggest sources of optimism for Penn State fans when pondering expectations for the 2017 season has been the state of the offensive line (quick, go back to your 2015 self and let them know things will get better).
Everyone knows about the struggles the unit has had since having its depth depleted as a result of 2011. But 2017 finally looks like the year in which they'll be all caught up. There are legitimate competitions for multiple spots on this year's line, between multiple talented players who have shown flashes greatness on the field. This truly could be the season in which the trenches on the offensive side become a real life strength for Penn State as they once were.
The coaching staff seems to agree.
JF: The thing we're most excited about... is the offensive line... Has a chance to be one of the better OLs in the Big Ten.— Sean Fitz (@seanfitz247) July 25, 2017
Franklin: "With the talent that we're surrounding Saquon Barkley with [on the O-Line], it's going to be tough to stop him."— Onward State (@OnwardState) July 25, 2017
With Ryan Bates, Brendan Mahon, Andrew Nelson, Connor McGovern, Chasz Wright, Steven Gonzalez, Michal Menet, Michael Miranda, and others all proving that they deserve playing time, it's hard to disagree.
What do you think? Will 2017 finally be the year for the Penn State offensive line to complete the transition from black hole-to weak spot-to average-to strength?
You can watch the entire Franklin press conference here.