Penn State dropped their season opening game to the visiting Ohio Bobcats, 24-14. Here is a look through my postgame notebook from the game.
Hodges returning kicks. Huh?
Starting linebacker Gerald Hodges was used a number of times to return kickoffs and punts. Bill O'Brien said after the game that he had been working on special teams recently and said he was a good athlete so they wanted to see what he could do. Hodges fielded two punts for a loss of one yard and fumbled one to set Ohio up for a short score, and he returned a kickoff for 12 yards rather than downing it in the end zone for a touchback, which this year starts at the 25-yard line.
A linebacker returning kicks and punts does seem odd, especially for a starting linebacker with NFL potential. Hodges is a former quarterback and defensive back converted to linebacker, so his athleticism is not a question, but he has since bulked up to play linebacker. So why would Penn State consider using a linebacker in this spot? ...