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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Offensive line coach Matt Limegrover joined the Penn State weekly assistant coaches conference call this afternoon to talk Pittsburgh and the current state of the offensive line.
Fourth-ranked Penn State is set to host the Panthers Saturday at Beaver Stadium in a 3:30 p.m. kickoff, broadcasting live on ABC.
Listen in and catch up on a few notes from Limegrover's Q&A session.
A Seasoned Group
Simply having a group of seasoned student-athletes is exactly what Limegrover likes most about the offensive line right now.
"Even our young guys," Limegrover said. "Ryan Bates is a veteran now, he started every game last year. Connor McGovern as a true freshman last year wasn't even in the starting lineup for this game last year, the experience he has gained. Steve Gonzalez, people don't realize that Gonzalez and Chasz Wright, going into last year's fall camp were both listed at three. I think just the experience in big games and what it takes to prepare each week."
Looking at the Panther
It's perhaps the seventh time Limegrover has been in position to take a look at a Pat Narduzzi defense, with past Big Ten stops connecting the two. For Limegrover though, the one thing he has always known and respected about a Narduzzi-led or influenced defense, is that they are always well coached.
"They don't do a ton of things, but what they do is - it's kind of the old line, I think it was Bruce Lee who said, I don't fear the man who practices 10,000 kicks once, I fear the man who practices one kick 10,000 times," Limegrover said. "That's kind of the way they are."
First Time Out
Of the 13 freshmen (10 redshirts, 3 true) to take the field in their first collegiate debut Saturday, all three redshirt freshmen on the offensive side of the ball were offensive linemen. With varying levels of experience during their redshirt year, Limegrover noted that Will Fries was perhaps the most familiar on the field, followed by Michal Menet, with Alex Gellerstedt entering a whole new experience.
"I think with Will [Fries] and to a little bit of a lesser extent with Michael [Menet], because of the experience they had last year, traveling each week and for the most part being with the two deep and working what we were doing each week to prepare for the opponent, I think that gave them a leg up even though that was their first game experience," Limegrover said.
Earlier this week Franklin noted that he was initially a bit uneasy when McGovern made the move to center, mentioning he was unsure how a normally more reserved individual would handle a more vocal responsibility.
"I think as with anything, confidence is a great thing, it will buoy you, it will always you to get out of your comfort zone the more comfortable you feel," Limegrover said. "I think that's where Connor is right now as opposed to really at any point last year. He kind of had a kid brother complex last year, Brian [Gaia] kind of took it upon himself to lead Connor around last year, make sure he was in the right spots, doing the right things and I think Connor feels really comfortable with his role now. He doesn't have to be the vocal leader of that group, having guys like Brendan Mahon and Andrew Nelson in the room, they are the vocal leaders being the older guys. It's now more of an even plane with Connor."