James Franklin addresses offensive line injuries before contest against Maryland

Story posted November 10, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Alex Rocco

After taking down Indiana 45-14 on Saturday, Penn State returns home this week to take on the Maryland Terrapins.

The Terrapins have enjoyed newfound success in 2022 with a 6-3 record and are not a pushover like they were in recent years.

A win for the blue and white would help continue the momentum it built off Indiana and push toward its first 10-win campaign since 2019.

James Franklin held his weekly media availability Wednesday night, and he gave updates about the offensive line.

Tengwall under the knife

Penn State suffered a major loss on its offensive line as Franklin confirmed with reporters on Tuesday that Landon Tengwall is out for the rest of the campaign.

Tengwall suffered his season-ending injury against Michigan during pregame warmups, and the Nittany Lions had to respond fast, calling upon Hunter Nourzad to start in his place.

On Tuesday, Franklin discussed the impact Tengwall has on the blue and white.

“He's started and played well at guard, well enough for us to win. He's started and played at tackle well enough for us to win,” Franklin said. “He's been a great teammate. He's been a great student. He's been a class act both on and off the field, and I think he's got a very bright future.”

Franklin confirmed that Tengwall has had surgery and will look to be healthy for the 2023 campaign.

Nourzad Returns

Penn State received a huge boost to its offensive line in 2023 as one senior already stated his intention of returning next campaign.

Hunter Nourzad, who has stepped up this year due to injuries, announced on Tuesday he will be using the COVID year of eligibility and return to the Nittany Lions.

“I just really wanted to come back,” Nourzad said.  “I don’t want to have any regrets. I mean, college football is super fun, it’s great. Like, it’s a bunch of people’s dreams to do what I get to do, so kind of taking advantage of that…it was kind of easy, to be honest with you.”

Nourzad recently transferred to the blue and white over the season from Cornell, where he started 20 consecutive games at right tackle and earned FCS All-America honors.

The Marietta, Georgia, native began the year splitting reps with Tengwall at left guard, but Tengwall impressed, and his playing time increased while Nourzad dipped.

Tengwall remained the starter until right before the Michigan game when he went down with a season-ending injury, and Nourzad was forced into the starting role.

Since taking over for Tengwall, Nourzad has played extremely well in pass protection against Minnesota and Ohio State before going down with an injury on the first play against Indiana.

Nourzad later returned as an already banged-up offensive line suffered another hit with starting right guard Sal Wormley heading off the field.

Taking a glimpse into the future, the redshirt senior could earn a full-time starting role at either guard spot or center.

Despite playing tackle with the Big Red, Nourzad’s move inside has been a smoother transition than expected.

“In general, moving to the inside part of the offensive line has improved, so that kind of comes with my hands being quicker because everything just happens faster. My strength has gotten better, my pass protection and using my hands.”

Olu Update

After making his first career start in the bowl game a year ago, Olu Fashanu has emerged as one of the top tackles in this year’s NFL Draft.

Fashanu has been one of the main reasons for Penn State’s improved running game, anchoring the left side of the line.

In 299 pass block snaps, the Waldorf, Maryland, native has allowed zero sacks and has an 84.7 pass block grade, according to PFF.

However, Fashanu went down with an injury late against Ohio State and missed last week’s contest in Bloomington.

Franklin mentioned his left tackle is week-to-week and didn’t practice during the 20-minute viewing period on Wednesday.

Alex Rocco is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email alex.rocco1702@gmail.com.