Angelo Mangiro flashed a smile when he was asked to describe his Saturday afternoon.
Angelo Mangiro saw increased first-team reps at left guard during Penn State's victory against Navy.
"It feels like a long time coming now," he said. "Today means a lot."
The Penn State offensive lineman was talking about his team's first win of the season, Saturday's 34-7 win over Navy. But he could just as easily have been talking about his own afternoon, when he took a few more steps toward establishing himself as a presence on the line.
The Nittany Lions, who played without injured left tackle Donovan Smith, rotated seven linemen with the first-team unit throughout Saturday's game. Junior Eric Shrive saw time at both right guard and right tackle and Mangiro, a redshirt freshman, got some valuable experience with the starters at left guard.
"It's awesome," Mangiro said. "It's kind of my dream playing out, getting reps now with the ones in Beaver Stadium, in front of the 100,000 fans we have. I'm just going to continue to work hard and hope to continue getting those reps."
Mangiro, a 6-foot-3, 291-pounder from Succasunna, N.J., has seen time at both guard and center during practice this season. He said he didn't know if the return of veteran center Ty Howle from a pectoral injury would mean more reps for him at guard, but he is doing whatever he can to make sure he's ready to go when his number is called at either position.
"I'm doing a good job watching each play," he said. "I watch the sequence of blocking schemes and I tell myself what play that was to keep myself in tune. I follow Coach Mac (McWhorter) up and down the sideline. I try my best to keep myself alert. He usually gives us a little bit of notice about going in the next series."
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien didn't seem disappointed with the play of his starters against Navy or the Nittany Lions' other two games, but wants to make sure that some of the players who will provide necessary depth this season -- and who will likely take on bigger roles in the future -- get some meaningful experience.
"I like our starting five that we started the year with," O'Brien said. "But I think there's some guys there -- Mangiro, Shrive, Howle, (Nate) Cadogan -- guys like that we gotta keep working into the mix here, because that'll bode well for the future. You really learn by playing, and that's what we're trying to do."