Penn State offense could look a lot like '05

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
CHICAGO -- Many don't know what to make of the Spread HD, the futuristic-sounding, somewhat mysterious offense Penn State will run this fall.

Will the Nittany Lions line up four wide every time? How much read option will they use? Will running backs Evan Royster and Stephfon Green be on the field at the same time? How will the new starting quarterback -- Daryll Clark or Pat Devlin -- impact the system?

Penn State senior center A.Q. Shipley has an easy solution for the confused masses. Pop in a DVD of the 2005 season, one that ended with an Orange Bowl victory.

"It's going to be very similar to '05," Shipley said. "You'll see a lot of similarities in the way Daryll plays in relation to Michael Robinson. From an offensive line perspective, I don't think it plays too much of a difference in what we do, but in terms of receivers, running backs and the whole scheme of things, it's going to be a lot like 2005, spreading it out."

Clark took most of the reps with the first team in spring practice and enters training camp with a slight edge over Devlin. He has only 36 career pass attempts but played a big role in rallying Penn State to an Alamo Bowl victory against Texas A&M last December.

Though comparisons to Robinson are a bit premature, Clark has already established a presence in the huddle.

"He plays with a lot of swagger," Shipley said. "Even though he hasn't played too many downs, when he has, when he comes in, he does a great job, commands respect, commands the huddle. He's never settled for being the second-string quarterback. As a quarterback, you need to have him as a leader. Regardless of if he has the title of captain or not, he's going to be every bit the leader as the rest of us."

Penn State was run-heavy in 2005, finishing 14th nationally in rushing offense (212.8 ypg). Robinson led the way, winning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors, and running back Tony Hunt added 1,047 rushing yards.

Clark has the versatility needed to run the system, and Green's explosiveness gives the spread a new element.

"If you can get Stephfon to the outside, it's game over," Shipley said. "We're excited about both of those guys."