Blue White Roundtable: #20 Penn State vs. #2 Alabama

Once again, the questions come form Adam Collyer at Black Shoe Diaries.

BSD: 1. Did either QB show you enough to make you confident in our offense for the year? Who’s your guy for this week?

WFY: Neither Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin inspired much confidence in me. Bolden had some bad luck with dropped balls, but took also some hits he did not need to take. Maybe without those drops I wouldn’t be so hard on him. McGloin on the other hand was effective in the short passing game, but that near pick-six was so unbelievably bad. I suppose I’d go with Bolden because I think he’s less likely to throw a pass that goes for six the wrong way. I think McGloin would be the guy I’d put in a two-minute drill though. Either way, both are playing and the coaches better explain to each of them why one or the other is going to play and when prior to the game.

BSD: 2. What’s your preferred offensive game plan headed into this Saturday?

WFY: I think that the Nittany Lions are going to have to throw the ball to get the defense honest. While the run blocking appears to be improved from last year, I do not believe that they can dictate the pace of the game outright against Alabama’s defensive line, even with Silas Redd, so they need to throw short and mid-range passes to open things up some. I’d feel a lot better about this approach if TE Andrew Szczerba was 100%; Kevin Halpea is going to have to step up. I would also feel better about this scenario if Stephfon Green wasn’t in the doghouse, because he can actually pass block and isn’t too bad on screens. I don’t know that the Joe Suhey screens are going to be enough. Derek Moye is going to have to catch any ball close to him and use his height and long arms. This isn’t an ideal plan, but I think Bama is going to stack the box and force the issue. That is what I would do with them.

BSD: 3. Who’s the most important player on our defense this weekend?

WFY: I can’t pick one — I have to go with both interior lineman. Devon Still and Jordan Hill have to hold their own against the Alabama rush. I have a lot of faith in the linebackers, but they can’t do it all.

BSD: 4. How big of an upset is it if Penn State beats the Crimson Tide?

WFY: Nationally, it would not be a huge upset because it is week 2, but it would be very good for this year’s Penn State team because it has been a while since they beat somebody better than them and an old rival at that. The confidence from a win over Alabama could be big headed into the November schedule. I think the Big Ten would be pretty happy about it too. I am skeptical that it could be a spring board to a National Championship run though, because this team just isn’t strong enough.

BSD: 5. Prediction?

WFY: What, just one? That’s no fun, I’m giving more.

Penn State fans will continue to suggest the White Out intimidates opposing teams, despite evidence to the contrary. 2005 vs. Ohio State was a one-off, despite what Guido D’Elia tells us. The crowd will help fire up Penn State though. Penn State’s defense will hold its own into the third quarter. The quarterback play by Penn State will not determine the outcome of game. The Nittany Lions will play very hard and focused football. It will not be enough. McGloin will play more than Bolden. Penn State will attempt a trick play early. Alabama will cover. A non-student/non-alumnus will go over the line in harassing a Bama fan. The “Todd Blackledge Eating Local Unhealthy Food” feature will scramble to find an alternative when he learns at the last minute that the dining halls stopped selling chicken cosmos. ABC will sneak “Deacon Blues” going into a commercial break. Many parking lots will be closed due to all the rain. Joe Paterno will coach from the box. Alabama 24 Penn State 13.

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