Penn State chemistry after years of turmoil, wondering about Lions’ weaknesses and more

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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, Aug. 9. Let’s get started.

Walking in lockstep

Mark Brennan of Fightonstate.com examines the evolution of Penn State’s team chemistry — specifically, how the team slowly bought in to coach James Franklin’s philosophy after the turmoil resulting from the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation scandal and coaching changes through the Bill O’Brien era.

Senior tight end Mike Gesicki tells Brennan that it wasn’t until last fall that everybody found their way to the same page, and another senior, linebacker Jason Cabinda, backed Gesicki up on that.

“You’ve got schematics changing,” Cabinda tells Brennan. “The message changes. So when you’ve got guys who have been through three or four coaches in three or four years in a row, they’re hearing three, four messages. And it’s hard to buy in when you just think to yourself, it’s gonna be a new guy next year.”

Crawling out of the hole

Mark Wogenrich of The (Allentown) Morning Call touches on much the same theme Brennan did when he revisits something Franklin mentioned at media day Saturday — the Lions rallying to beat Minnesota early last October, after the Beaver Stadium fans booed PSU’s players off the field at halftime. “I’m a big believer that you savor all of life’s experiences,” Franklin said. “The only way you really can appreciate and recognize the good is if you’ve been through the adversity and the challenges.”

Talkin’ about practice

The Big Ten Network bus tour rolls through Happy Valley on Wednesday, and Tom Dienhart of BTN.com lists the things he is curious to learn about the Lions. He makes the expected observations about the receiving corps, the secondary and the edge rushers, and also wonders if the Lions can retain the hunger and offensive rhythm they displayed a year ago.

Putting a hat on a hat

John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times takes a closer look at the offensive line, which has gone from the team’s Achilles’ heel to a potential strength. As position coach Matt Limegrover tells McGonigal, “The thing I told the guys is last year you could maybe classify us as we were good — enough. But we’ve got to drop that ‘enough.’ ”

Wondering who’s next

Greg Pickel of Pennlive.com surmises that Aeneas Hawkins, a defensive tackle from Cincinnati Moeller with a 4-star rating by 247Sports, might be the next prospect to verbally commit to PSU’s 2018 recruiting class, which is already 22 strong. Hawkins is scheduled to announce his intentions Wednesday.

Hitting the road

Per Flowrestling.org (and as noted by Land of 10’s Kyle Stackpole), Penn State released a statement saying 125-pound wrestler Nick Suriano has been released from his scholarship, paving the way for the New Jersey native to transfer to Rutgers. Flowrestling.com further noted that at present only Big Ten policy — that intraconference transfers must sit out a year — is blocking Suriano from competing for the Scarlet Knights this winter.

Also in the Land of 10

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