Last night an enthusiastic Phil Grosz spoke before about 50 area Penn State fans about the 2006 football season. The Blue White Illustrated publisher is expecting great things for this edition of the Nittany Lions. Some of his main points from the evening:
- QB Anthony Morelli is scary talented and the offense has been retooled to suit his skills. A couple of coaches visited the Indy to learn the Colts offense a little bit from Jim Caldwell, the current QB coach there and a former PSU assistant. Also, don’t buy into the Morelli is dumb rumors, that started because the Pittsburgh media is bitter about him changing his mind about attending
Temple WestPitt and heading to Penn State instead.
- Speaking of
Temple WestPitt, Grosz does not see them coming on the schedule anytime soon, especially on a home and home basis. If Temple WestPitt really wants in, they have to be willing to play Penn State at least 60% of the time in Beaver Stadium. Throughout the history of that series, Temple WestPitt had 75% of the home games. Grosz would rather see more teams like Virginia (though they won’t play us anymore, must have been the “kicker power”), Alabama, Virginia Tech, etc. Maryland is a non-starter as well (d’oh!), particularly after Larry Johnson Sr. swooped down and pillaged the Free State for talent last year.
- Get used to weak non-conference schedules, everybody is doing them.
- Both Rodney Kinlaw (knee, I think) and Austin Scott (ankle) hurt, look for freshman Evan Royster (who blogs, but I cannot find his site) to get involved if his shoulder is okay. Scott’s injury does not seem too serious.
- FB Brandon Snow will miss a game or two for undisclosed reasons.
- It has been widely speculated that Penn State will use a 3-4 defense this season, since State has the best and deepest linebackers in the country. That will happen, but the base defense is going to still be the 4-3. What was really interesting is that the Lions went down to Morgantown to learn about West Virginia‘s 3-5-3 system. Yes, a 3-5-3. What is this, 1952? Also, since when were Lions and the couchburners/bottlethrowers friends? It should be interesting to see in action.
- The Lions can play with anyone, the mental aspect of the game the biggest challenge with so many young players, particularly in the secondary.
- Sean Lee is already the 2nd best linebacker on the team.
- Special teams should be much, much better.
- By the time I had gotten to the Crystal City Sports Pub, most of the buffet was gone; great wings and meatballs though.
- Grosz says State should win 11 games this year. He denies he is exaggerating. The last time he was down, he said 8-3. That was 2004 and the less said about that season the better.
Thanks to Mary Anne and the Metro Washington D.C. Chapter of Penn State Alumni for putting this together.