| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Things are looking up for Penn State senior center Howle

College Football Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Penn State center Ty Howle (60) looks to block for wide receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder during the second half of the Nittany Lions’ season-opening win against Syracuse on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford N.J.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

UNIVERSITY PARK — Ty Howle is taller than only one player on Penn State's offensive two-deep roster, and he looks up anywhere from 3 to 7 inches at teammates in position meetings for offensive linemen.

The fifth-year center, though, doesn't suffer from short-man syndrome — even if his coach refers to him as “nasty.”

“He's a funny guy,” tackle Garry Gilliam said. “He definitely keeps the offensive line together.”

Howle's switch is flipped when he walks onto the field. The son of a high school football coach, the 293-pounder — listed at 6-foot — has the look of a 22-year-old you'd like to go fishing with.

Howle grinned when he took the podium during Penn State's weekly news conference Tuesday at Beaver Stadium. He knew what he would be asked; — sure enough, the first reporter wanted to know why Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien said he was “a nasty guy on the football field.”

Howle chuckled. “(O'Brien) told me I probably was going to get that question,” he said.

“I think it's the way I play the game. I really love the game of football. It's something that's always been fun and been good to me. I just try to get after it every play, play hard and really enjoy it, hustling.”

Howle entered the season with the fewest career starts among Penn State's starting offensive linemen. He and Gilliam were the lone new starters (Gilliam formerly was a tight end) on a line that was a team strength last season and figured to get better in 2013.

Howle replaced two-year starter Matt Stankiewitch, who was one of the final cuts by the New England Patriots last week. After three seasons in which he was a long snapper, Howle's time has come — even as a relatively new offensive starter.

“He's one of the veterans on the line and a great leader,” Gilliam said. “He makes a lot of our calls and keeps us on the same page. He's an insanely strong person in the weight room, and his short height gives him an advantage.”

Howle grew up admiring Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday. When Howle began to be recruited by Penn State, he found another role model in A.Q. Shipley. Shipley, a Moon native, was awarded the Rimington Trophy, given annually to the best center in college football, as a senior in 2008.

Shipley, now with the Baltimore Ravens, is 6-1; Saturday, who retired after last season, is 6-2.

“Those two guys are kind of like me — shorter guys with natural leverage,” Howle said. “Two really, really good centers. Guys I kind of look up to and model my game after.”

Like O'Brien and others along the offensive line, Howle was satisfied with the play of the unit in a win against Syracuse last week. The numbers — 1.5 yards per rush, three sacks — weren't pretty.

“The stats don't tell the whole side of the running game,” Howle said. “A lot of times there were five, six, seven guys right there.”

An opportunity to build continuity exists against Eastern Michigan in the Lions' home opener at noon Saturday. Expect Howle to play, as O'Brien says he does, “tough, smart, nasty.” Even against a Mid-American Conference opponent, Howle will have to deal with defensive tackles who are taller and almost the same weight as him.

“Ty definitely knows how to get down in the trenches,” receiver Matt Zanellato said. “He knows how to hold his own with big defensive linemen and has really got a lot of grit to him.”

Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
  2. Residents seek to shore up status of Shadyside’s rare exposed-wood street
  3. Armstrong escapee caught; murder charges pending
  4. Pirates place Burnett on 15-day disabled list
  5. Weak earnings drag energy sector lower
  6. ‘Church Basement Ladies’ return to Mountain Playhouse for new musical comedy
  7. Police: Lincoln-Lemington burglary suspect shoots self during foot chase with officer
  8. Hurdle: Soria likely to assume setup role with Watson
  9. Steelers notebook: Officials discuss new game ball procedures
  10. Heyl: Longtime disc jockey Jimmy Roach to turn dismissal into brighter times
  11. At 63, Shadyside disc golfer expects to be champion again