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Before anyone could ask for answers, Christian Hackenberg changed the questions.

The Penn State junior quarterback doesn't want to be mistaken for Mr. Misunderstood. He said he's focused not on the NFL, where many project him to be the first quarterback drafted whenever he decides to enter, but rather leading this year's version of the Nittany Lions.

"I would ask for you to respect the job I have to do and please refrain from asking me questions regarding my future beyond the 2015 season," Hackenberg said Aug. 6 during the team's media day.

But Hackenberg is Mr. Mystery. His production has yet to intersect with his potential. Last season the 6-foot-4, 233-pounder threw 15 interceptions, second-most among "Power Five" conference quarterbacks and three more than his number of touchdown passes, which included just four against Big Ten opponents.

He was sacked 44 times, tied for the most among FBS schools — a result, coach James Franklin said, of the offensive line assigned to protect him. And perhaps the young receivers to whom he was throwing during a season that ended 7-6 overall, including 2-6 in the Big Ten.

Hackenberg was known to hold on to the ball too long at times when he did have protection. He landed last among FBS quarterbacks in overall grades done by Profootballfocus.com. And the pro-style passer's minus-162 career rushing yards are evidence he's not a threat to run.

"(Last year) I told everybody our concern wasn't with Christian Hackenberg, it was all the pieces of the puzzle around Christian," Franklin said. "We had one returning starter on the offensive line last year. This year, four."

One of those is center/guard Angelo Mangiro, who lowered his head and raised his brow when asked about Hackenberg during Big Ten media days.

"I'm surprised there's only been two questions so far," he said with a grin. "I expect him to have a good year. ... The guy has natural-born leadership. He commands the huddle. He relates to people of all different backgrounds. I'm not worried about Christian."

Hackenberg's frustration sometimes spilled publicly, such as when he and running back Bill Belton exchanged words on the sideline during a 29-6 loss to Northwestern.

But Franklin said he's willing to live with that, so long as his quarterback, one of five captains, is having fun.

"It's a fine line," Franklin said. "I definitely want him to be calm, cool and collected as much as he possibly can. But I also think there's times that he needs to show emotion. The guys have got to stay true to who they are.

"And Christian was in a unique situation last year. You're talking about a true sophomore, 19 years old, that basically the entire offense was on his shoulders."

Including a right shoulder that helped him throw for 2,955 yards as a sophomore, just 22 short of his freshman season. But his completion percentage dropped by more than 3 percent, and he threw eight fewer touchdowns and five more interceptions while playing for his second coach in two years.

Franklin and Mangiro both said the offensive line has a chip on its shoulder going into the season.

"Hindsight is 20-20," Hackenberg said. "You can go back and look at it, but there are a lot of things that I could have done to help them out that I didn't do at times.

"I know those guys have worked extremely hard this offseason. (Mangiro) has done an excellent job with that bunch. I've worked on a lot of those things that I feel I could have helped them with."

As for Hackenberg's NFL prospects, Mangiro was of little help with that.

"I haven't thought about it," he said. "I never talked to Christian about it. That's a question for Christian to answer."

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