Ty Howle Finally the Center of Attention
Ty Howle is always in the center on the football field, but he isn’t necessarily always the center of attention. Howle, a fifth-year senior, had been patiently waiting to make his start at center for the 2013 Penn State football team. Before this year, he had been helping the team in other ways by handling the long-snapping duties on extra point attempts and field goals.
His journey to a starting position was not easy after suffering a pectoral injury last year and missing the first three games of the 2012 season. After senior center Matt Stankiewitch graduated last year, Howle had his chance to make his own mark at the position this season. Howle is off to a good start so far. With young quarterback Christian Hackenberg’s help, the offense is constantly improving and getting better.
Howle is a part of the offensive line, which after the rough loss on Saturday, seemed to be one of the silver linings of the game according to Bill O’Brien. “Our offensive line played their best game. They played physical,” O’Brien said. “We played well on Saturday. The goal is to get better with each game that we play.”
Focusing on what is ahead is very important for the Nittany Lions. With a true freshman quarterback at the helm every game is a new experience and a chance to get better. As one of the older members of the team, Howle spoke very highly of Hackenberg. When reminiscing about when he was eighteen, he was amazed with everything Hackenberg is doing at that age.
“I cant imagine it between classes and getting to know all of the teammates and learning a pro-style offensive on top of that. Going out there and being able to run it on Saturday is very impressive.” Howle said.
He was also impressed with Hackenberg’s natural leadership ability, saying that since day one he has come in ready to play. When asked about how others on the offense respond to such young leadership he was full of compliments. Howle said Hackenberg “is a field general. He needs to make the calls and everyone respects that.”
The appreciation between center and quarterback is not one-sided. Hackenberg spoke highly of the offensive line, singling out Howle, Adam Gress, and John Urschel as guys who have been instrumental in guiding him and helping him get better.
“Those guys have helped me since the first time I stepped foot on campus,” said Hackenberg. “Those guys have helped me understand how everything works and I have developed a pretty good relationship with them.”
Howle is most concerned about improving with each game. As well as the offensive line did play last weekend, he said improvements still need to be made.
“The stuff that we might not have done as well on Saturday, we’re working on fixing those things,” he said. “We’re trying to get better each and every week.”
When asked about the game plan for Kent State and the advantage Penn State has playing at home, Howle said he didn’t know if it was an advantage but responded in true Penn State fashion saying, “I still get chills every time I walk into that stadium. It’s a great place to play and I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.”