A few months ago, I pitched a Blue White Roundtable to the guys, but there wasn't a whole lot of interest until we all actually had something to talk about. So, now that spring practice is over, and we really don't have anything to talk about, let's do this thing!
This editions usually unusual suspects:
Y. F. Yurasko
The Nittany Line
We Want the Lion
Nittany Whiteout (Devon, Kevin)
1. Ok, so the Blue White Game and spring practice is done. Whether you just read the reports, or actually watched the game... (a) What's one glaring team/unit/player issue you're still concerned with? (b) What are you most pleased with?
I loved WFY's answer. After running through his concerns, he mentioned that although he's always a bit worried about the offensive line, its track record of late is worth its weight in confidence:
"With a decent offensive line, even Anthony Morelli can lead you to New Year’s Day bowl wins."
Kevin (NWO) dug right into the dimlema facing all of us - evaluating the secondary.
"In the Blue White game there were four touchdown passes and 17 first downs by passing... On the flip side I guess I could credit the entire passing unit from quarterbacks to wide receivers."
Fellow NWO'er Devon must be thinking about the same hit I saw. You know, by that No. 6 kid in the secondary. But still, concerned like all of us.
"Gerald Hodges did look awesome, so there’s that. This is a position I’m not calling a glaring weakness just yet but I do want to see something from the position before I proclaim it solid."
He also really liked the receiving corps, all of it. You can't blame him. The tight ends haven't been this strong in, well, almost ever.
"When you consider the ability of Quarless and Shuler to add some catches, there shouldn’t be too precipitous of a drop-off from last year."
WWTL say it's all about the O-line.
"...the area we're probably most concerned with is the offensive line. The popular answer will be the secondary, and yes, that's a concern, but it was a poor secondary last year and the Lions still managed to win the Big11Ten. If the O-line can't mesh by the time the conference slate hits, it could be a long season."
Over at TNL, things are looking up, at least to them, for the quarterback situation. They liked that No. 6, too.
"Gerald Hodges may knock a few guys unconscious this year. Newsome looked great, all the reports were he was getting eaten alive in practice, if that’s the case he’s already grown leaps and bounds in a very short time."
2. Navorro Bowman was held out of the game for probation violation. He did admit his mistake to Joe Paterno, and took responsibility. But he still shouldn't have done it. What punishment do you think will be appropriate, and why?
WFY compared it to Dan Connor's punishment in 2005 (ZN - Oh yeah, remember how we were all freaking out about that? Was it really that long ago?), and gives Bowman 2-3 games.
Kevin (NWO) thinks Bowman can completely avoid the wrath of Paterno, as long as he flies straight this summer.
"If Bowman makes a significant dent in his service in the summer (and honestly he should complete all 100 hours easily) I think he will avoid any sanctions from Paterno."
Devon (NWO) reminds us of the really tough year Bowman's been through, and while he did make the mistake, it's something that has to be taken into consideration.
"Considering what he’s gone through, losing his dad and his high school coach, who was a father figure to him, I don’t want to see anything bad happen to Navorro."
He also said that if Anthony Scirrotto can coordinate a mob assault on someone, and not miss a game, Bowman should be fine.
TNL doesn't see it as a big problem, although...
"...the overall stupidity is inexcusable."
On the other hand, WWTL took a more hard-line approach. I'll give you an extended cut, because it's so different from everyone else's.
"We like the judges decision because he has zero wiggle room to make a mistake and we're really tired of the "boys will be boys" or "well they're just kids in college" excuse. We were kids in college in the not-so-distant past and we turned out fine. Playing on this team is a privelage so we wouldn't be at all disappointed to see Navorro or anyone who makes similiar mistakes sent off the team. Everyone in the world has problems in their personal lives and we're all youths at one point or another, we don't think either of those give someone an excuse to be an idiot."
They adde that he'll probably get 2-3 games on the bench.
3. Penn State's offensive staff said after the game that things were kept pretty simple. Do you think this year's returning offense will be able to handle an offensive scheme with the same complexity as the 2008 version? Why or why not?
Pointing to the loss of the receivers, particularly all-purpose D-Will, WFY:
"...it will look fairly similar to last year, just a little less gimmicky."
I wonder if he talked to Kevin (NWO):
"I am not sure who could replace the versatility of Derrick Williams so we won’t see as many wide receivers sweeping behind the line of scrimmage and bursting up field for 20 yards. As the season progresses though, so will the offense."
Devon (NWO) isn't so worried about D-Will's replacement (most likely Chaz Powell, No. 2, coincidentally). Rather, the team needs to find a suitable replacement for Deon Butler (ZN - I couldn't agree more).
"Chaz Powell might be able to fill the role of Derrick Williams-lite, but I don’t see anyone filling in the role in a dynamic downfield passing game that gave Deon Butler something like 20 yards per catch."
WWTL said a few cupcakes will always make you feel better.
"Hopefully they can work the kinks out against the cupcakes, and then we'll probably see things open up more."
TNL isn't concerned with the offense, as many others are, and points to the leaders. You know, like that first team All-Big Ten quarterback we got coming back. Then again, it's easier to wind up an offense when playing local JV squads.
"Take into account the tune up out of conference schedule and don’t look for much, if any, drop-off."
4. Five Penn Staters were drafted, while 10 more signed free-agent contracts. Was there any pick/signing that surprised you the most, either positively or negatively? What did this 2009 NFL Draft say about the Penn State football program?
WFY's answer really reflects my own view on this issue, where even though we enjoy seeing Penn Staters do well in the draft, it's not a major factor for the program.
"I don’t really feel the need to validate Penn State by how it does in the NFL Draft."
Kevin (NWO) sees it as a bigger plus for Penn State.
"Five picks scattered through out the draft shows that Penn State has NFL talent that is both highly sought after and the kind of players that are expecting to pick up some reliable players."
Devon (NWO) went down that same line.
"We know about those with immense physical talents like Aaron Maybin and Williams, and even for those who don’t, like Norwood and Scirrotto, we know how hard working and dedicated they are."
WWTL remembers back only a few years ago, and just how bad things were around these parts. The connection between college production and success in the draft can't be ignored.
"...the coaches have done a better job recruiting since 2005, because these guys are just better athletes than the ones we saw in 2003 and 2004. ...We also were surprised that our entire secondary was signed after the shellacking they took on a national stage against USC."
TNL looks at the flip side of the draft, which makes a whole lot of sense.
"The downside is more guys leaving before they should, because they get convinced their stock is far higher than it is."
Hmmm, wonder who he was talking about.
Shooting from the hip...
1. Average PSU offensive PPG/defensive PPG in 2009?
Devon (NWO): 36-16
Kevin (NWO): 33 offensive ppg/ 15 defensive ppg
TNL: With our schedule this year? 40/18
WFY: Hmmm, someone didn't read the directions. You failed pre-school. Although, he has a good projection for yards per game next season, of 430 on offense, and a surprisingly low 270 on defense.
2. USC's Mark Sanchez (5th overall - Jets): Too high?
Kevin (NWO): Yes, but the Jets did need him.
Devon (NWO): As a Jets fan, I sure hope not. (ZN - Me too, but purely as a Jets fan)
WWTL: Not if you're a Jets fan.
NTL: Yes, he had several disturbingly pedestrian efforts last year, but can thank Penn State for their defensive Rose Bowl performance that no one remembers them
3. How many Lions drafted in 2010?
Kevin (NWO): 3.
Devon (NWO): 7, but there are a lot of draft eligible juniors on this team.
TNL: Just looking at the seniors – 5, but also points to juniors possibly leaving.
4. List you're top three Big Ten teams, as of today.
WFY: Penn State, Ohio State, Iowa
Kevin (NWO): Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois
Devon (NWO): Penn State, Ohio State, Illinois
WWTL: 3.) Iowa, 2.) Ohio State, 1.) Penn State; We're the champs until someone proves otherwise.
TNL: Ohio State, Penn State and since the Big Ten has a surprise team pop up the last few years, let’s go with Northwestern. (ZN - Hear that LTP?!)