Backup kicker leaves Penn State

Penn State players and coaches have said they're sticking with Sam Ficken as their kicker despite his brutal outing last week at Virginia. The Nittany Lions now don't have many other options.

Ficken's backup, freshman Matt Marcincin, has left the team for personal reasons, it was first reported by the Centre Daily Times and later confirmed by the school. Now, normally, a backup kicker leaving the team is hardly newsworthy. But these are not normal times for Penn State.

Ficken went just 1-for-5 on field goals and missed an extra point in the Nittany Lions' 17-16 loss at Virginia. While Bill O'Brien said Ficken would remain the starter, he also said there would be a kicking competition each week in practice.

With Marcincin gone, there is only one other placekicker on the roster: Kevin DiSanto. The position was thinned when incumbent kicker/punter Anthony Fera transferred to Texas this summer, using the NCAA exemption to become immediately eligible. The Centre Daily Times reports Penn State will hold open tryouts for kickers next week.

And, of course, all player departures from Penn State make news right now. Marcincin was not a scholarship player, however.

The best thing that could happen is for Ficken to bounce back and have a good game this week against Navy. Then no one will think much about kicker depth again.