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The college football season may seem far off at this point but the truth is Penn State will open its season in a little over three months. Plenty has changed in Happy Valley in the last few years but for the first time in what seems like years, the Nittany Lions will enter training camp in August with a sense of regularity.

For one, the NCAA restored the wins the school was forced to vacate in the wake of the Sandusky Scandal. The sanctions stemming from that dark period have been eradicated, too and Penn State can now bring in full scholarship classes. The Nittany Lions should be back to 85 scholarships – full strength – in a year. And for the first time, many Penn State players will go into their second-straight season with the same coaching staff and playbook.

In case you weren’t able to make it back to Beaver Stadium for April’s Blue-White Game, HappyValley.com has you covered as a fully-credentialed site covering the Nittany Lions. Here’s an offseason Five Pack of stories from Penn State’s spring practice period.

  • Arguably no unit will benefit more from having a second straight season taking cues from the same coach as Penn State’s defense. The Nittany Lions turned in a tremendous 2014 on the defensive side of the ball with coordinator Bob Shoop calling the shots. Shoop is back after coaching Penn State to a Top 5 finish in most major defensive categories nationally. It was no surprise that the defense was beating up on the offense as spring practice unfolded.
  • Speaking of defense, most Penn State fans understand that the unit should be in good hands with dominant defense tackles Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel leading the way. But as has happened in the past, a walk-on has emerged the last two seasons and figures to play a prominent role wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Meet Carl Nassib.
  • Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg was often on the wrong end of players like Nassib last season. Hackenberg was sacked a school-record 44 times last season. He was all smiles and full of confidence all spring. Why? He’s feeling at ease thanks to an introspective winter break.
  • And Hackenberg finished the spring session strong. He played seven of eight series in the Blue-White Game and led his team to a win. But the lack of protection that dogged the offense was a concern again for the Blue Squad.
  • Not everyone came out of spring practice unscathed. Backup quarterback Trace MsSorley and others were unable to play and will be monitored closely by all Penn State fans as the season approaches.