Penn State's tight end revolution underway

Leading up to the Temple game, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said he wanted to get newly-converted tight end Paul Jones more involved with the offense.

But it was nearly impossible for O'Brien to use Jones as much as he would've liked. That's because Penn State's other tight ends played so well.

It may seem like a foreign idea to Nittany Lion fans accustomed to Joe Paterno's offense over the last several years. Tight ends barely caught balls, and were used mostly for blocking.

But O'Brien's offense is the Patriots offense. And that means Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez get the ball.

Or, in this case, Kyle Carter and Matt Lehman.

Carter, a redshirt freshman, tallied 70 yards on five receptions. Lehman, a redshirt junior, recorded a career-high 46 yards on two catches.

In all of last season, Penn State's tight ends combined for 15 catches, 122 yards and one touchdown. 

The tight ends may see a bigger role going forward as Penn State lacks depth at wide receiver, and No. 1 receiver Allen Robinson begins to receive double coverage.

"Guys like Matt Lehman and Kyle Carter run extremely well," quarterback Matt McGloin said. "So that's tough for defenses to defend and I'm lucky enough to have them in this offense."

Carter's biggest contribution came at the end of the first quarter, as the Nittany Lions clung to a 7-3 lead. McGloin connected with Carter twice -- 13 and 20 yards, respectively -- on a drive that resulted in a touchdown.

"That was a huge drive going into half time," O'Brien said. "Any time you score like that in a tight ball game right before half time that usually bodes well for you."

Apparently, utilizing tight ends also bodes well for the Nittany Lions.

-Emily Kaplan