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Nittany Lions defense may need to lead; at least early on

Written by Craig Rhodes and Penn State Athletics | Aug 11, 2019 10:13 AM
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(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons (11) closes in on Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey (12) after he released a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Bloomington, Ind.

(University Park) -- The Penn State Nittany Lions have begun final preparations for the 2019 college football season.

The Lions have some big shoes to fill on offense with the loss of star running back Miles Sanders -- now with the Philadelphia Eagles -- and star quarterback Trace McSorley -- now a Baltimore Raven.

The defense may be the teams strength and until the offense finds it's groove, they may need hold down the fort.

Though still young as a team overall, the defense does return experience at many positions and are led by two of the best in the Big Ten in defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and linebacker Micah Parsons of Harrisburg.

Defensive Coordinator Brent Pry says Parsons is one of the most versitile athletes on the team.

"Micah did a lot of things in high school with the football ... returning kicks, playing tailback, he blocked a lot of kicks. There's a lot of things that Micah can do. It's our job as his coaches to make sure that we don't just throw him in the fire and we don't put too much on his plate," Pry said.

There's been talk about allowing Parsons to return kicks this year.

Penn State opens their season Saturday, August 31 against Idaho at Beaver Stadium.

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