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

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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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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State vs. Iowa

We’re two days away from the Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes — Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries gives us these Blue White Roundtable questions:

BSD: Are we about to see the second coming of the 6-4 spectacular?

WFY: I anticipate more scoring by both sides — that 6-4 game was something else. An amazing defensive effort by Penn State wasted by a simply incompetent offense. That being said, I’d take either 2004 Zack Mills or Michael Robinson over the current options.

I expect Penn State to get in the end zone once or twice on Saturday and the same for Iowa.

BSD: Most misleading statistic ever – Penn State gained over 400 yards against Indiana. What can they do to put the ball in the endzone this week against the Hawkeyes?

WFY: They ought not fumble or throw an interception inside the 10 yard line. Perhaps the 3:30 home kickoff will have them actually focused for a change.

I’d like to see them stretch the field a little more through the air by throwing to players other than just Derek Moye. Try and find Justin Brown more and how about a few throws to a tight end? Is Stephfon Green going to be back yet? Some screen passes to him sound pretty good, though I don’t have a lot of faith in the quarterbacks’ ability to throw them.

BSD: As rough as the passing game has been, is it possible that the running game has managed to be worse? What can Penn State do to free up some room to run for Silas Redd?

WFY: Penn State ought to try running Redd outside every now and then, maybe even pitch it to him. Let him use his speed! I think a big part of the running frustrations are due to playcalling. Would I like an offensive line that just runs over people? Of course, but until that happens, play to the backs strengths.

BSD: Even with the random drops, Derek Moye has been a fantastic wide receiver. Where does he rate amongst Williams, Butler, Norwood, and Bryant and Tony Johnson on your all-decade list?

WFY: The drops really bother me — I think he drops more of Bolden’s passes because Bolden throws harder which says his hands are not that good. I also think he’s not strong enough to be elite, he has trouble at time fighting for balls that DBs get their hands on (the Temple game comes to mind). I would put Moye only ahead of Tony Johnson on the all decade list.

BSD: Predictions?

WFY: Pain.

The Hawkeyes will have better Steelers uniforms than the Steelers. The Nittany Lions will keep it close enough for at least the first half to make it hurt. The Ombudsman will have post-game bourbon regardless of outcome, since it will be his birthday. Penn State will have to burn at least one timeout due to sideline confusion. Guido D’Elia will still play piped-in music instead of the Blue Band at inappropriate times. Joe Paterno will coach the whole game from the sidelines. Matt McGloin will remain shorter than Rob Bolden. ABC will show the field goal that ended the 2008 game and that blocked punt from 2009 more than I can handle. I will have at least one flashback to the rainy 1996 game that I’m still bitter about 15 years later. I’ll wish Anthony Morelli was quarterback again. Iowa 24 PENN STATE 13

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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State at Indiana

Week 5 of Blue White Roundtable — Isn’t it weird that the Nittany Lions are traveling to play the Hoosiers, but not going to suburban Maryland to play the game? I was all ready to get on the Blue Line to FedEx Field.

BSD: Is it worth starting Matt McGloin this week at QB? Will we settle the QB competition this week, or are we destined to see this last throughout the Big Ten schedule?

WFY: Sure, what the heck, start McGloin and bring Rob Bolden off the bench so Bolden has the advantage of seeing how things develop. Oh wait, McGloin disagrees with Joe Paterno that puts him at advantage? Who knows? I think the only way this competition gets settled is if one of them gets hurt.

I’ve been on the side of making Bolden the #1 all season long, based on his potential, but that is getting harder. McGloin looks better against bad teams and worse against good teams than Bolden — but neither can beat a good team right now. In short, I don’t know what to think any more.

BSD: Penn State is deep at linebacker, but Mike Mauti was one of the best players on the field. How much will his absence impact this defense? Can Nate Stupar keep up the frenetic pace he set last week in Mauti’s absence?

WFY: Mauti’s latest injury is a tough one because I think he has that extra something that you need late in a close game. The interception against Temple comes to mind. However, if you had to pick a position to suffer a serious injury to a starter, you’d go with linebacker. Instead of being at least 2 deep at every linebacker spot, they are now 1.66 deep at every spot, right?

Stupar seized his opportunity last week and caused all sorts of havoc against Eastern Michigan, including a great read that almost turned into a pick-six. I don’t expect him to continue it at that level as the Big Ten season progresses, but I think he’ll be solid.

BSD: Let’s turn to Indiana. Highly regarded assistant coach takes over a struggling, low-tradition program. Is Kevin Wilson the guy to turn it around? Shouldn’t they be at least a little better than they’ve looked this year?

WFY: I don’t know whether Kevin Wilson can turn around the Hoosiers — he has so many disadvantages there. I don’t think the state of Indiana knew much about football until Peyton Manning started playing Indy’s stolen NFL team. I will say that Indiana made a good decision to try and find a hot assistant rather than some MAC coach. I have a feeling they will improve next year, he’s finding out what he has and needs, while weeding out the players who are too beat down from being a Hoosier.

BSD: Pick one – Dukes or Beachum.

WFY: Dukes, he’s healthier, right?

BSD: Predictions.

WFY: Matt McGloin will light up the Hoosiers. The quarterback situation will have the clarity of the Susquehanna after Tropical Storm Lee. Joe Paterno will coach from the box. Rob Bolden will continue to be taller than McGloin. Songs from the Bruce Springsteen of Indiana, John Cougar Mellencamp, will be played throughout the day. In other news, New Jersey is so much better than Indiana. CB D’Anton Lynn will be missed more than Mauti. Slias Redd will rush for over 100 yards.

Isn’t it weird that the Nittany Lions are traveling to play the Hoosiers, but not going to suburban Maryland to play the game? I was all ready to get on the Blue Line to FedEx Field.

The Roundtable

Black Shoe Diaries
Nittany Lions Den
JoePa’s Doghouse

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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State vs. Eastern Michigan

Wow, we’re already 1/3 of the way done with Blue White Roundtable for the season. Football season moves faster than any other season. Black Shoe Diaries Adam Collyer‘s weekly questions are below:

BSD: Penn State was 6-17 on third down against Temple on Saturday. What can the team do to fix that? Is it a quarterback derby issue?

WFY: I am just going to say that the quarterback derby is the issue for everything on the offense until proven otherwise. Neither Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin is ideal and playing both means neither gets in a rhythym or can stop looking over his shoulder. The playing calling seems equally indecisive as well. The solution may be picking one quarterback for a half or more and seeing how things go. That might fix it, it might not, but at least we’d have more reliable data to base an opinion on.

BSD: Last week, I asked whether Bolden’s touchdown drive against Alabama in the fourth quarter was his defining moment. That was clearly premature, so I’ll ask again. Bolden’s big drive at the end of the fourth quarter, particularly the slant to Moye on 4th and 2 – defining moment?

WFY: See last week’s answer, right? Nah, I don’t think that will be defining moment. Converting two fourth downs late on the road is great, but I do not believe a defining moment against Temple is possible for a Nittany Lion quarterback. I certainly hope not.

I am thinking back to previous quarterbacks and what I would consider the defining moment. For Daryll Clark, I think of the fist pump after scoring at Wisconsin in 2008. Anthony Morelli’s 2007 Outback Bowl was something I thought was going to be a defining moment, but in reality two pick-sixes at Ohio State come to mind. For Michael Robinson, I think it was taking out that poor Minnesota DB in 2005, though the Derek Williams touchdown against Northwestern could be it too. Zack Mills – his 69 yard scramble against Ohio State.

Did anything Bolden do remind you of any of those plays?

BSD: Anyone know anything about Eastern Michigan? Are they a candidate for Big Ten expansion?

WFY: The only thing I know about Eastern Michigan is the Charlie Batch was a QB there. I do not believe that a directional school is a candidate for Big Ten expansion, but perhaps the Big East.

BSD: How much can we realistically expect to learn about Penn State this weekend?

WFY: I think the only things we can learn are bad — the quarterbacks are truly terrible, the coaching staff doesn’t have a clue/doesn’t care and who gets hurt.

BSD: With news Missouri’s interest in the SEC and conference expansion dominating the headlines, what is the Big Ten’s best next move?

WFY: I think the Big Ten ought to just sit on the sidelines for now and wait for the pieces to fall where they may. There is no silver bullet for Big Ten expansion — as much as everybody has welcomed Nebraska it wasn’t as good for the conference as Penn State was, so see where everything winds up. I don’t think Mizzou really wants to be in the SEC and might be bluffing to get the Big Ten to invite them. That would be a more natural fit for both parties I believe.

I think Notre Dame will realize it has to be in a conference and go to the ACC where I bet they can get more leverage with TV. I think in a nod to basketball (for a change) the ACC will grab Connecticut. That leaves Rutgers, not an ideal candidate, for the Big Ten to bring in to make an even numbered conference. That would lock down the New York City/New Jersey market for the conference. Also, they better have “The Big Conference” trademarked already in case the Big XII and whatever merge.

BSD: Predictions?

WFY: Rob Bolden starts. Shane MacGregor gets some time in a QB. 2 quarterbacks throw touchdown passes, but I am not saying which 2. Matt McGloin looks pretty good. At least once placekick misses. Derek Moye catches more passes from McGloin than Bolden. Guido D’Elia’s reign of terror will continue. Some students will observe Jersey day by dressing like a bunch of outer-borough New Yorkers whose television show unfairly maligns an adjacent state. Penn State wins 44-6.

The Roundtable

JoePa’s Doghouse
Nittany Lions Den

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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State at Temple

Another week, another series of questions from Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries

1. The game was out of reach, but Rob Bolden played through the final whistle. Was that drive his “coming of age moment?” Do you expect that to pay some dividends this week?

Rob Bolden impressed me on the final scoring drive and at the time I thought, okay, maybe had made a statement. If it pays dividends this week, I think we can point back to that drive and say, yes, it was a coming of age moment. Upon further thought though, I remember thinking the 2007 Outback Bowl was Anthony Morelli’s coming of age moment. How did that turn out? I remember Bolden’s game-winning drive against Temple last year and thinking that was his coming of age moment. Also, will Bolden be given the opportunity to make it pay dividends? If he and Matt McGloing are still alternating quarters, I doubt it.

Ask me after Thanksgiving whether the Alabama drive was a “coming of age” moment for Bolden.

2. How effective will the defense be against Bernard Pierce this week?

I anticipate that Pierce will a tougher time than last year against Penn State. Devon Still and Jordan Hill have improved and PSU has 5 or 6 starting linebackers for 3 positions. Pierce may break 100 yards, but he’ll need over 25 carries to do so.

3. Grade the offensive line three weeks into the season. Are they better than you expected them to be?

I think the offensive line is improved over last year. The pass blocking seems to headed in the right direction after 3 sacks against Indiana State. Pass blocking was a strength last year and I think they are getting the hang of it again. Run blocking seems improved as well and having a more powerful and elusive back in Silas Green will help make them look better.

4. Bottom line – are we looking at a ‘Bama hangover against Temple, or do the Lions pull an Illinois ’05-type performance and come out swinging against an overmatched Temple squad?

I don’t think the Nittany Lions will come out hung over, but perhaps a little lethargic. Temple will be fired up, so I expect PSU to realize they have a game to play early on. After a disappointing non-con loss like last week, going on the road is probably good, particularly when it will be a pretty friendly environrment for the visitors.

I see some parrallels between Penn State vs. Alabama — the Nittany Lions needed to play a perfect game to beat the Crimson Tide and I think Temple needs to play a perfect game to beat the Nittany Lions.

5. Prediction?

People will make too big a deal about being able to buy $6 beers in the stadium. McGloin will get way more snaps than he should. The trim-less white jerseys will not look as good as the ones with trim. I’ll be given a hard time for wearing a #11 jersey (it is my favorite number). Redd will top 100 yards. The backup to the Sports Complex will begin on the Girard Point Bridge. The 2theLion tailgate will be excellent. I’ll get a cheesesteak on the way out of town. Penn State will beat Temple 27-17.

THE ROUNDTABLE
Kevin McGuire, Nittany Lions Den
Joe Pa’s Doghouse

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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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Blue White Roundtable: Penn State vs. Indiana State

Adam Collyer at Black Shoe Diaries is running Blue White Roundtable now and here are questions preceding game 1 of the 125th season of Penn State football. The Nittany Lions take on the Sycamores of Indiana State.

BSD: Let’s get this out of the way right now – how does everyone feel about Robert Bolden and Matt McGloin being even on the depth chart? How do you feel about the proposed time sharing plan for Saturday’s game against Indiana State?

If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback, right?

I understand why Joe Paterno is going to play both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin this Saturday. I just hope that he is being very specific every step of the way with both of them about the plan. For the Alabama game, I think they need to establish the #1 guy and I’m not sure they can do that based on Indiana State and another week of practice. All things being equal, I’d go with Bolden, who has more physical skills. McGloin should only be the #1 is he is distanced himself from Bolden. If that’s the case — #buckleup.

BSD: What are you looking for out of the offense this week? Will the offense we see on Saturday set the tone for the rest of the year?

I want to see how the offensive line performs — are they on the same page? I expect to see whichever QB have his timing down with the wideouts. Will Andrew Szczerba get many balls thrown his way? I don’t have a lot of concerns about the running game, I think Silas Redd and Brandon Beachum are an upgrade over Evan Royster and Stephfon Green.

BSD: Do you expect the defense to be significantly upgraded from last year?

I expect a better defensive showing because by all accounts Jack Crawford is healthy again which means an improved pass rush. I also anticipate a serious upgrade in linebacker play. Remember how we were sure Mike Mauti was going to move to the middle? That Glen Carson has simply taken the job and as his own kept Mauti on the outside is really promising. The secondary should be solid and with a better pass rush, should be improved. I am excited about the defense.

BSD: Outside of the money earned, these games are no-win situations for major powers. A win is expected and anything less than complete dominance is a cause for concern. How do you define success for Penn State this week?

A successful game against Indiana State includes a victory, cohesive offensive line play, strong QB play and perhaps most of all, NO INJURIES.

BSD: Predictions?

Bolden gets the start. Paterno coaches from the box. Silas Redd rushes for over 100 yards. The new jerseys won’t look as good as the old ones. The student section will never fill up. Guido D’Elia will dumb down the gameday experience more. The drum major will land both flips. Glen Mason will mention how he misses the last blue sapphire during the telecast. Indiana State alumn Larry Bird will be mentioned at least twice during the telecast. Paterno’s future will be speculated on. Penn State will win 44-10.

Other members (more to be added)

Nittany Lions Den

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