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‘Next Man Up’: Penn State Defense Preparing To Potentially Play Without Chop Robinson

Penn State football’s 20-12 loss against Ohio State Saturday had several negative effects on the program, including within its depth chart. James Franklin hinted Tuesday that defensive end Chop Robinson, who went down with an injury in Columbus, will likely miss playing time. Franklin didn’t reveal any specifics but said he doesn’t believe it will be season-ending.

“From what I know, I don’t see this being a long-term issue, but you never know with medical, but hopefully we’ll be getting Chop back here soon,” Franklin said. “As you guys know, I’m pretty open when it’s a season-ending injury. I don’t see that.”

Robinson lay on the field for several minutes and was attended to by trainers. He eventually walked off the field with support and into the medical tent, but shortly after he was carted into the locker room and didn’t return to action.

Now, with a Beaver Stadium matchup against Indiana on Saturday looming, the Nittany Lions may be without one of their key defensive players.

The junior from Gaithersburg, Maryland, has been a force to be reckoned with so far. The preseason second-team All-American has nine total tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, and a pass breakup. At Ohio State on Saturday, however, he didn’t register any statistics before the injury.

Should he miss time, both his demeanor and abilities will be missed by his teammates. However, they stressed that replacing him won’t be an issue given how much depth is on the roster.

“He’s just a joker,” defensive lineman Hakeem Beamon said. “He makes everybody relax, and he keeps everybody cool, calm, and collected.”

“I can go on and on about what Chop brings,” linebacker Abdul Carter added. “But we’re pretty much two-deep at every position. I feel like whoever his backup is will come in and do their job at a high level.”

Despite the potential loss of Robinson and Amin Vanover’s status also uncertain, Penn State has plenty of options for the position. One option is freshman Jameial Lyons, who has already earned significant praise from his teammates.

“That man, he brings the juice,” Beamon said with a chuckle. “Very physical in the run game and in the passing game — he can pass rush his ass off.”

The Philadelphia native only has two appearances this season, but he recorded his first sack against Delaware. The 6’5,” 246-pound defensive end was highly rated in high school, as the four-star was ranked the No. 33 player at his position and No. 4 in Pennsylvania in the Class of 2023, according to 247Sports.

“He’s way ahead of everybody else,” Beamon added. “That’s just that Philly ball. He’s the definition of Philly hard, grit ball.”

Even if Robinson misses games and Lyons doesn’t see a significant increase in playing time, the defensive line is still loaded. Beamon mentioned Dani Dennis-Sutton brings “even more juice” than fellow defensive lineman Zane Durant, who has also impressed him.

“He definitely holds everybody accountable,” Beamon said of Dennis-Sutton. “He’s another guy who’s earned everybody’s respect at a very young age. He’s a true dog.”

Lining up on the opposite side of Robinson is Adisa Isaac. Isaac has dominated this season, with 16 total tackles and 5.5 sacks, which stabilizes the defensive line if Robinson is absent.

“The healthier he gets the more plays he’s making. He’s playing his ass off right now,” Beamon said of Isaac.

Beamon and the rest of Penn State’s front seven remain confident in their abilities to succeed even if one of their own has to miss time, no matter the length. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but a strong mindset is present within the group.

“It’s a ‘next man up’ mentality,” Beamon said.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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