Penn State notebook: Offensive line shuffle continues |

Penn State notebook: Offensive line shuffle continues

Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) passes against Temple on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in University Park.

UNIVERSITY PARK — Donovan Smith returned. Angelo Mangiro moved again. Miles Dieffenbach played more.

Penn State’s offensive line Saturday continued to be in flux, but it began to resemble what coaches thought it would during the offseason.

Mangiro, a junior, got the nod at left guard, the third position at which he has started this season. He started the first seven games at center but moved to tackle for two games when Smith was sidelined because of injury.

Wendy Laurent played the first series at center. When Dieffenbach entered the game for the second possession, Mangiro moved back to center. He also played right guard.

Smith played the entire game. Dieffenbach (offseason torn ACL) played most of the game after making his season debut last week at Indiana. Brian Gaia made his ninth start at right guard, and Andrew Nelson returned to right tackle — he had been filling in for Smith at left tackle the past two weeks.

Derek Dowrey and Brendan Mahon also saw time on the offensive line, which used several different combinations.

“We’ve had a lot of guys who got a lot of experience early on in the season,” Mangiro said. “That’s huge for our program and huge for those guys and their development. Then Miles coming back is great with his leadership and his savvy.”

Another freshman starts

With Trevor Williams unavailable because of injury, Christian Campbell became the fifth true freshman — eighth freshman overall — to start for Penn State this season.

After not appearing in the first two games, Campbell has been a regular backup cornerback — and special teams ace — since. He started ahead of Grant Haley, the nickel back most of the season, but they split reps in the base defense.

Receivers Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall have served among the Lions’ top four wideouts. Tight end Mike Gesicki is another true freshman who regularly plays. He started the Maryland game when Penn State opened in a three-tight end set.

Marcus Allen has taken over as the starting free safety in recent weeks. He had been the lone true freshman to start on defense, although linebacker Jason Cabinda and Haley have played extensively. Nelson, Mahon and receiver DaeSean Hamilton are redshirt freshmen who have started often.

“I like freshmen. I like freshmen that come in that make plays,” coach James Franklin repeated three times while looking and gesturing to a balcony that overlooks the postgame news conference. Prospective recruits and their families gather there.

Nittany notes

Linebacker Mike Hull moved into 10th place on the career Penn State tackles list. … Junior receiver Matt Zanellato did not play. He does not have a catch this season. Linebacker Von Walker returned after not playing at Indiana. … Temple’s eight first downs were the fewest by a Penn State opponent since FCS Indiana State had eight in 2011.

— Chris Adamski

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.