Penn State Nittany Lions: Johnathan Hankins

The 2012 All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners will be revealed at 7 p.m. ET tonight on the Big Ten Network. We'll post the full lists shortly thereafter as well as reaction.

The four major awards -- Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Freshman of the Year -- will be revealed Tuesday night. We will have our official blog endorsements for each of these throughout Tuesday, so be sure to check in.

To clarify, we don't have official votes for All-Big Ten (not like we cover the league closer than anyone year-round or anything, but we're not bitter), but we will reveal our own all-conference team at a later date.

For now, we're going to give our opinions on some of the key debates surrounding this year's all-conference team.

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McGloin confident, not concerned with OL

November, 1, 2012
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Matt McGloin stepped up to the interview chair and offered his usual, confident smirk.

The clean-shaven fifth-year senior looked as if he had arrived straight from the barber. He relaxed under the bright lights of the media room, in a chair that causes some to stutter and others to grasp at loose thoughts, and appeared as if he was sitting for a job interview -- as the boss.
[+] EnlargeJohn Simon
Patrick Smith/Getty ImagesMatt McGloin was under constant pressure against Ohio State, but says he is better prepared to deal with it against Purdue.

The cocksure quarterback talked about how this Purdue game would be different, how Penn State reflected on its flaws and corrected them. But, when asked how he specifically could respond to another heavy pass rush, that smirk faded slightly.

"Nothing," he said.

"As a quarterback it's not your job to worry about whether or not the defender's closing in on you or who's blocking this guy or who's blocking that guy. ... I definitely believe my linemen are capable of blocking anyone they face. I think we should have some time to throw the ball Saturday."

There was no talk about spending more time in the shotgun, or perhaps leaning heavily on three-step drops. Maybe that's in the game plan, maybe not, but McGloin spoke in an even tone as if he held no doubts the line would improve.

The Buckeyes often brought an extra rusher Saturday, and McGloin seemed to dance in the backfield with scarlet and gray jerseys every other play. Trading Johnathan Hankins and John Simon for Purdue's Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston seems to be a similar challenge -- another where McGloin might be able to do "nothing" -- but McGloin's teammates know their response isn't pinned to the shoulders of their quarterback.

"We have to do a better job of protecting Matt," offensive guard John Urschel acknowledged.

Urschel thought emotions might have gotten to this line, maybe taking their minds off protections or practices. But Bill O'Brien disagreed without elaborating much.

O'Brien said he called upon McGloin and center Matt Stankiewitch earlier in the week, sat them down and emphasized communication. That silent cadence is more detailed this week, O'Brien said, and he's hoping that reinvigorates his passing game.

McGloin just shrugged and reiterated he'll keep doing what O'Brien asks. The new coach has brought the former walk-on a long way, and McGloin isn't worried about other units on this offense. If a receiver drops 10 balls, McGloin said he wouldn't hesitate throwing to him again if he finds a seam. And if the offensive line stumbles, the quarterback refuses to grow fearful of taking another sack.

Whatever problems or plans Penn State possesses, concern was not an emotion painted on McGloin's face. Slight irritation at a few questions? Yes. Confidence? Absolutely.

But there was no sense of panic. McGloin looked back at the press, smiled at most questions, and swore this team's desire to finish strong outweighed any lingering disappointment from last Saturday.

"They were full of some good athletes on that team, but we can't focus too much on Ohio State," McGloin said. "That game's in the past and, like I said, we have four left to keep pushing on here.

"And it starts with Purdue."

PSU: Mauti should be on Lombardi list

October, 10, 2012
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Michael Mauti passed on the chance Wednesday to talk about his snub on the list of quarter-finalists for the Lombardi Award, but others at Penn State spoke up and expressed surprise at the move.

"If he's not one of the top five linebackers in the country, I'm not sure who is," Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said. "I'm not sure who chooses those things. I have no idea how any of that works, but I'd say, in my opinion, that's a mistake not having him on the Lombardi List. He's having a hell of a year."

The Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation's top lineman or linebacker, named its top 25 players Saturday. Four Big Ten players were included on the list, but Penn State was shut out.

Linebacker Gerald Hodges and defensive tackle Jordan Hill were mentioned on the Lombardi Award's preseason watch list, and Hill said he was surprised his teammate didn't earn some recognition halfway through the season.

"It's disrespectful to how Mauti's been playing all year," Hill said. "He's really been having a great year, and there's not too many guys who have been playing like he is. It's a disappointment but, like I always say, as a football player you use anything as a motivation, and he can use that as motivation."

Mauti, a redshirt senior, was scheduled to address the media Wednesday afternoon but never showed up at the requested time.

His teammates say the soft-spoken linebacker likes to let his play do his talking, and his play has had a lot to say this season. Mauti was twice named Big Ten defensive player of the week, and the Walter Camp Foundation awarded him national defensive player of the week honors after a two-interception performance against Illinois.

Through six games, he boasts a team-high 57 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 4 pass deflections.

The Big Ten players who are on the list over Mauti include Wisconsin LB Chris Borland, Ohio State DL Johnathan Hankins, Purdue DL Kawann Short and Michigan State DL William Gholston.

The Rotary Club of Houston, which hosts the award, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The Big Ten doesn't announce an official preseason all-conference team. But that doesn't mean we can't.

Here are our picks for the 2012 preseason All-Big Ten team:


QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
RB: Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
WR: Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
OT: Taylor Lewan, Michigan
OT: Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
OG: Spencer Long, Nebraska
OG: Chris McDonald, Michigan State
C: Travis Frederick, Wisconsin


DE: John Simon, Ohio State
DE: William Gholston, Michigan State
DT: Kawann Short, Purdue
DT: Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
LB: Gerald Hodges, Penn State
LB: Chris Borland, Wisconsin
LB: Jonathan Brown, Illinois
CB: Johnny Adams, Michigan State
CB: Ricardo Allen, Purdue
S: Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State
S: Jordan Kovacs, Michigan


K/P: Brett Maher, Nebraska
KR: Raheem Mostert, Purdue
PR: Abbrederis

Thoughts: The first thing that likely jumps out at you is that we have three running backs and just one receiver on our first-team offense. No, we haven't forgotten the rules of football. It's just that we continue to feel the wide receiver crop is weak this season, and no great candidates for the second spot leap out at us. Perhaps Keenan Davis of Iowa or one of Northwestern's many receivers will have a great season, but no one has proved anything on a consistent basis. We'd rather have Bell -- who we believe is primed for a huge year -- on the team than any of the receiver candidates. Plus, isn't running the ball what Big Ten football is all about? ... Some of the toughest omissions came at linebacker, where Michigan State's duo of Denicos Allen and Max Bullough and Wisconsin's Mike Taylor were among those left out. At least we know we'd have an outstanding second-team unit at that position. ... Fiedorowicz is a bit of a projection pick, but we love the way he finished last season and how he fits into Greg Davis' new scheme. You certainly could make a strong case for Wisconsin's Jacob Pedersen or Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner there as well. ... Some of these players won't live up to expectations, and others will explode on the scene this fall. But for now, we'd feel pretty good about throwing this team on the field.