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Every Big Ten East Division team’s biggest question after spring football

Spring Football has come to an end, and the East division has stolen all the attention, but did all the questions get answered?

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Penn State Nittany Lions

Can Penn State’s Defense Catch Up to the Offense?

Let’s just say the spring game was not-so-kind to the guys in white (defense) in 2017. That may not be all that surprising considering the parts that were lost on defense and the explosive firepower of Penn State’s offense.

It also isn’t good news for a defense that was middle of the pack in the Big Ten last season — even with all the stars that left after 2016. Some would argue that Penn State’s defense will need to show up bigger this season if they want to repeat as Big Ten champions.

We’re on board with that thought and spring did little to alleviate those concerns going forward. Sure, Shareef Miller showed promise as an edge rusher, but that was in a no-contact situation against the quarterback and a pass protection that was light to say the least. Defensive tackle is going to be a work in progress with the Cothran brothers likely to start.

Linebacker Jason Cabinda still needs to prove he can be healthy for a full season, while Koa Farmer is far from a guaranteed starter. Depth is also a major concern at the position and that was highlighted by the injuries last year.

Penn State also showed it has a lot of work to do in the secondary, but that shouldn’t be a surprise either considering they were 11th in the Big Ten in pass defense. PSU’s pass offense torched the defense for most of the spring game, so clearly the issues that were there last season won’t be fixed overnight.

If the Nittany Lions can show improvement in fall camp then repeat chances could be high, but that seems like a big if following spring practice.

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Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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