What Kyle Carter's injury means for PSU

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
3:35
PM ET
With Kyle Carter's dislocated wrist, Bill O'Brien plans to follow the mantra he's talked about all season: "Next man up."

That means Penn State's game plan won't change much, but the tight ends will still likely see fewer targets as a group. Redshirt junior Matt Lehman and true freshman Jesse James will split time at the TE-F position, but they have a different playing style than Carter.

Carter is a quick, athletic player with the best hands on the team and sometimes lines up as a receiver, while Lehman and James have size on their side. Lehman is 6-foot-6, and James creates matchup problems at 6-7.

Matt McGloin likes to say Penn State has enough talent so different players can lead the team in receiving different weeks. But the quarterback has definitely followed a pattern this season.

Whenever Carter is in the lineup, McGloin throws to the tight ends twice for every three passes he tosses to the wideouts. But when Carter missed the Purdue game, he targeted the tight ends just once for every three times he spotted an open wideout.

That shouldn't come as a surprise. Carter has been McGloin's No. 2 option all season. And when Carter missed the Purdue game, McGloin seemed to look more toward his emerging No. 3 target, wideout Brandon Moseby-Felder.

Without Carter, Moseby-Felder had a career game with a team-high six catches for 129 yards as Penn State's offensive production remained steady. The redshirt junior receiver should be called on more against Indiana and Wisconsin as a result.

Against Indiana, at least, Carter's absence might not be felt as much. The Hoosiers' run defense is the third-worst in the country, and Penn State is likely to be more focused on pounding the ball with Zach Zwinak than attacking them through the air.

Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter

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