Category Archives: Blue White Roundtable

A weekly Q&A feature during football season about the Penn State Nittany Lions

Blue White Roundtable is back but not the same

After a post-scandal hiatus, I’m back. Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries sent the questions:

BSD: The Penn State offense has struggled week in and week out throughout the course of the season. The implementation of the wildcat formation by interim Head Coach Tom Bradley appeared to signal a shift in offensive philosophy from the rest of the year. What did you think?

WFY: I think you can only credit the implementation as Tom Bradley’s in the sense that he let the offensive coaches do it. I think it was pretty sharp, catching Ohio State off guard with it, but they can’t do that against Wisconsin now. I don’t know that making Wisconsin have to prepare for it, given they have almost certainly played wildcat teams already this season, makes much of a difference either. I am sure it can be effective, but if the Badgers suddenly see Matt McGloin out wide they know what’s coming and it probably isn’t a pass.

BSD: In his Tuesday press conference, Coach Bradley indicated that the team is working on some new offensive wrinkles for this weekend’s game against the Badgers. What do you expect those wrinkles to be? How effective will they be?

WFY: Throwing to the tight end/third wideout? The tight end/wideout catching it? Pitches to the outside?

I figure they will throw from the wildcat to keep the Badgers honest, but if I were them, I’d play it as a run everytime and dare Penn State to beat them with a WR throwing the ball.

Ultimately, I think the Nittany Lions offense will be as effective as Silas Redd makes it and since he’s still hurt, that is a major concern.

BSD: Did you notice any differences between the defensive game called by Bradley and the defensive game called by Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden? Should expect anything different?

WFY: The biggest difference I saw was Sean Stanley in coverage. It worked! However, I think putting the defensive ends in coverage is so special that it should never be done again. Otherwise, I did not notice anything significantly different, other than Devon Still not getting his usual 1.5 tackles for a loss. He had the flu I think.

BSD: Wisconsin’s offense has been very impressive. How do you contain Montee Ball and Russell Wilson?

WFY: Fire. Lots of it.

Contain is the right word, because I do not believe they can be stopped. The offense putting together sustained drives would be the best solution, but I am skeptical they can do it with Redd still hurting.

BSD: Predictions.

I still won’t care as much about the game as I would have in October. I might start wearing Penn State clothes again. Matt Millen will say something intelligent about the situation and praise the team. The Nittany Lions will play really hard regardless of what Wisconsin does. Brett Bilema will still be a jerk. Camp Randall Stadium will still inexplicably have a rug instead of grass. There will be mentions of State Street being an okay place to spend some time. I’ll wish I had gone to the 2006 or 2008 games when I had a friend going to grad school there. There won’t be as much sportsmanship in Madison as Columbus this year, but that’s okay. UniWatch will snub this game as one of the “best looking” on Sunday morning because of the scandal. Guido D’Elia will shed a single tear when “Jump Around” comes on and wish he had thought of it. Wisconsin wins 31 – 20 and we get over it because the thought of seeing “2011″ on the skyboxes isn’t a real welcome one.

The Roundtable

JoePa’s Doghouse
Nittany Lions Den
The 50-Yard Lion

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Blue White Roundtable: Bye week blues

Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries writes the questions because bloggers don’t take bye weeks…

BSD: The Nittany Lions now sit at #15 in the polls, having won 7 straight. Think back to the morning of September 3rd. What were your expectations for this team? Are they were you thought they would be today?

WFY: I expected this team to be 7-2 at best with a loss to Iowa thrown in because I also picked Iowa over Penn State until proven otherwise. I also expected Rob Bolden to have turned into a decent quarterback by now and the defense to be improved, but not this improved. I did not expect Silas Redd to be this good. Lastly, I did not expect Penn State to have a 2½ game lead in the (looks it up) Leaders Division.

BSD: The defense has obviously been spectacular, and several players have made game changing contributions. For much of the year, the defensive MVP has looked like Devon Still, who is playing as well (or maybe even better) than Jared Odrick during his stellar senior campaign. Recently, Gerald Hodges has been virtually unstoppable. Who is the defensive MVP after nine weeks?

WFY: Devon Still has been a beast throughout the season. He has what, 15½ tackles for a loss this year? Outstanding. He’s the defensive MVP. Gerald Hodges is probably the runner up, he’s really come on this month. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the defense, I knew they would be better, but I didn’t think they’d be this much better.

BSD: Is there any appropriate way to get Rob Bolden playing time at this juncture? What do you expect will happen with him by the end of the year?

WFY: Rob Bolden is Saturday’s starter.

The only appropriate ways for Bolden to play are at the end of a blowout with Penn State up big or if McGloin gets injured. I was in favor of him playing in the second quarter since McGloin was having problems, but Bolden is just lost. I think he leaves the program which is a shame, but I can’t blame him. Starting as a true frosh was the worst thing that could ever happen to him and supports the old Joe Paterno cliche “I’d rather play a kid too late than too early.”

Nice to hear his mom thinks he’s taking it well
, certainly not the impression one gets from his sideline demeanor.

BSD: Silas Redd has rushed for over 1000 yards and still has at least four games left on the schedule. What will he finish with for the year?

WFY: I think Silas Redd finishes with between 1,300 and 1,400 yards in the regular season and a lot of stingers. Oh and All-Big Ten as well. Figure on another 100 yards in post-season play.

BSD: Most Penn State fans have embraced this teams “win ugly” attitude and believe they can finish strong. If this team were to lose 2 of the next 3, how will that change your opinion of them?

WFY: I don’t think my opinion would change much if they only won once in November for a few reasons — they have tougher teams on the schedule and the last two games are on the road. Only blowouts in the last 3 games could make me feel really bad, but I’ll be disappointed if and when they lose because they have come so far. Winning 2 out of 3 would be outstanding and 3 out of 3 is a mortal lock to not happen I’m afraid.

BSD: Predict the team’s record and bowl game.

WFY: I predicted a 9-4 season at the outset, some I am going to stick to that here, much as it pains me to do so. I think they’ll go to the Capital One Bowl or possibly the Gator Bowl. Outback is out because they went last year.

The Roundtable

JoePa’s Doghouse
Nittany Lions Den
The 50-Yard Lion

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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State vs. Northwestern

This week’s questions from Adam Collyer at Black Shoe Diaries

BSD: The “Bend-But-Don’t-Break” defense is supposed to prevent the big play and force the opposition to put together a long, mistake-free drive if it wants to score. Last week against Purdue, the Nittany Lion defense did the opposite, giving up multiple plays of 20 yards or more while forcing drive killing turnovers. What was the reason for that difference – a shift in defensive philosophy or just uncharacteristic breakdowns?

WFY: I don’t think the defensive philosophy shifted (aside from less blitzing than the previous week), I think the Boilermakers were just more successful than many teams have been against the Nittany Lions defense getting the big play. It just worked out that Purdue played a higher risk, higher reward offense and Penn State got a bunch of turnovers out of it. It was an atypical game, but ultimately, the defense bent but didn’t break.

BSD: Silas Redd has gained 100 yards or more in each of the last three games. Last year, he rushed for 131 yards and an eye popping 11.9 yards per carry against Northwestern. Do you expect a repeat performance this week?

WFY: I think expecting any back to average almost 12 yards a carry is foolish. I’m all for Redd averaging that much, but if he averages half that, I’ll be pretty happy. The biggest concern is that they don’t give him so many carries, they need to keep him under 25 and give Curtis Dukes about 10 carries.

BSD: Dan Persa is still Northwestern’s best offensive weapon. How do we make sure we contain him?

WFY: Everything I have heard about Dan Persa this season is that he’s still recovering from his ACL injury and not as mobile as last year. So, I think PSU needs to blitz him early with Gerald Hodges and test Persa’s mobility. If he’s not mobile, send Hodges often. I don’t know if Persa can be rattled much, but even if they don’t hit him, making him run is going to wear him out.

BSD: In our Indiana Roundtable, we wondered whether Nate Stupar could keep up the frenetic pace set by Mike Mauti. How do you feel Stupar’s played since returning to the starting lineup? Has the defense missed a beat?

WFY: Nate Stupar has really impressed me this season. I knew he would be solid, but he’s been all over the place since Mauti got hurt. I think Stupar has played his way into a NFL training camp if he keeps this up. I do not think the defense has missed Mauti yet, but there will probably be a game this season when they do.

BSD: Predictions.

WFY: A prominent player’s mother will be shown on television several times. Pat Fitzgerald will be mentioned as a possible successor to Joe Paterno. Penn State won’t come out flat. Matt McGloin will play fairly well against the Northwestern secondary, but still throw some passes that make over 140,000 dues paying alumni cringe. Rob Bolden will start, but be pulled early and thus continue to be humiliated. Penn State will win and cover, but it will be back and forth and decided in the 4th quarter. Penn State 27 Northwestern 19

The Roundtable

JoePa’s Doghouse
Nittany Lions Den
The 50-Yard Lion

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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State vs. Purdue

This week’s questions from Adam Collyer at Black Shoe Diaries

BSD: How satisfying was that win against the Hawkeyes?

WFY: That was an extremely satisfying win, perhaps the most so in several seasons. From my recap:

It has been a long time since a Penn State football game was as fun as the one on Saturday. The Nittany Lions reverted to crog-magnon football — fun the up the middle over and over again. They did it for the best reason, because they could. The PSU offensive line had perhaps its best game since the 2007 Outback Bowl when the stream-rolled over the Tennessee Volunteers. Late in the game, the Lions pounded the ball down Iowa’s throat 10 straight times before a McGloin 2 yard touchdown pass to TE Kevin Haplea. Slias Redd, Curtis Dukes and Joe Suhey combined to have only run less than 4 yards as the Hawkeyes were worn down. It was beautiful.

BSD: Rob Bolden played two series during the Iowa game. Has the staff actually settled on a QB? Do you expect to see Bolden off the bus first against the Boilermakers?

WFY: I think the staff has settled on a quarterback. The head coach on the other hand…

We may see Bolden first, but we’re not going to see a lot of him unless he leads a touchdown drive or Matt McGloin really struggles. This has got to be awkward for all involved, except for maybe Paterno who seems oblivious.

BSD: Curtis Dukes. Discuss.

WFY: Great chance of pace from Silas Redd — I love the thunder and lightning of the two. Sometime, I would like to see Dukes start and see Redd as the change of pace back.

BSD: Purdue comes into Beaver Stadium off of a big win against maybe the worst team in major college football. We know they’re capable of running the ball. How much trouble do you expect them to give Penn State’s vaunted defense?

WFY: I think Purdue will score more than Iowa did, but some of that is the typcial noon kickoff malaise. Can Purdue run outside? They’ll need to try that because the inside is taken care of by Devon Still. The defense will probably give up more points, maybe an early touchdown and then adjust accordingly.

BSD: Predictions.

WFY: Greeks will get new windbreakers. Penn State will come out flat. Everything the alumni Blue Band plays will be better than what Guido D’Elia pipes in. Bolden will start. Mike Zordich will get really fired up after a short run. The Nittany Lions will be intercepted. Sorrority pledges will sit on a cold sidewalk Thursday and Friday. Penn State wins 24-16. Adam Tailiaferro will be an awesome Grand Marshall.

The Roundtable

JoePa’s Doghouse
Nittany Whiteout
Nittany Lions Den
The 50-Yard Lion

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