October 7, 2010

Blue & White Roundtable: the Fighting Zookers edition

Yeah, yeah I know we missed one last week but I wasn't going to let that happen two weeks in a row, so this week Linebacker-U asked the roundtable questions. Of course it would be quite narcissistic of me to answer my own questions so I'll just recap what the other Penn State blogs think. As always we're flanked by some great Penn State blogs.

Joe Pa's Doghouse
William World News
2 the Lion

LB-U: Penn State has lost to the two teams they were supposed to, albeit badly. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being "OMG!! FIRE JOE NOW!!! and 10 being "no worries, things are going as we expected") where are you on the Nittany Lion suicide scale and why?

As I expected there aren't too many bloggers on the edge, answers ranged in the reasonable range (2-5). I'm trying to figure out if our expectations are down because of the youth or the lack of coaching. Rowlff Dogg from JP Doghouse answers that in a small way:

Unfortunately, I've come to expect our team laying an egg in big games, so it's tough to be shocked about that… I've learned to accept our position under the current leadership, and am just happy to be along for the ride.
Although William has yet to lose faith:

Every time I have counted Joe Paterno out, he proves me wrong.
Generally speaking, bloggers have a much more level head than message board trolls so most of the answers were not much of a surprise. With all the negative vibes after the Iowa game I wanted to show that not all of us are ready to jump off the ledge.
LB-U: Nick Sukay has back to back games with a pick and is now tied for first in the Big Ten, can we finally say this is his 'breakout' year or is it too early yet?

Pretty much the Blue & White bloggers replied with a collective "NO" and not much more. There were a couple comments regarding the secondary that piqued my interest though; J Schnauzer of JP Doghouse likes the improvement:
I think the defensive backs were a positive throughout most of the game last week. Stanzi threw a perfect ball over Stephon Morris in the second half, and I certainly felt good for Sukay getting the pick a year after the special teams gaffe against Iowa. I would love to see if his improvement will lead to more sophisticated packages for the defense. I won't hold my breath, though.
Yeah, I'm not holding my breath either but he brings up a good point that I haven't thought of: have the defensive coaches simplified the plan because of the lack of experience and will they start to throw in some more wrinkles now that the defense has had a lot of playing time together? Of course PSU Girl of 2 the Lion had to ruin my day by bringing up stats:
He's 3rd on the team with total tackles - it does not make me happy that 4 of the top 8 tacklers are from the secondary - black and white evidence of our non-existent run defense.
LB-U: Penn State is 11-2 against the Fighting Zookers in Big Ten play, they are 12-1 after a loss since 2005, and they have won 39 of 44 homecoming games for Joe Paterno; this game is in the bag right? What scares you the most about Illinois?
The bloggers are more scared about what's wrong with Penn State than what Illinois can do. The only thing that scares anyone about the fighting Illini is the defense (me included) except for J Schnauzer of JoePa's DH:
Still, the difference maker, the one guy that could turn this game an llinois upset is the leg of punter Anthony Santella. I'm not sure PSU can rack up enough points if they repeatedly start their drives with poor field position against an improved Illini defense.
His blogging cohorts believe Penn State's red zone woes are more of a concern than anything Illinois can throw at us:
Rowlff Dogg: This game is absolutely in the bag. The only thing that scares me about this game is the possibility of the red zone frustration boiling into a team chemistry issue.

The Underdogs: Nothing scares me about Illinois. I am most afraid of our inability in the red zone which can lead to getting upset by anybody.
I'm more worried this could lead to a negative attitude that festers in the back of the minds of the offensive players and affects their confidence. You don't want them getting near the goal line thinking they won't score.

LB-U: There has been a lot of talk about benching Rob Bolden and giving Newsome some more playing time. Are the offensive woes Bolden's fault or is this just wild message board overreaction?

Admittedly, Question #1 and this question were loaded ones, if this were a court proceeding and I was a lawyer I would have been called on for leading the witness twice, but I wanted to prove a point in light of all the negativity floating around the interwebs this week. Here are all the opening sentences rounded up in a nice collection to prove my point:
2TL: No. Bolden is our quarterback.

Wild overreaction.

Benching Bolden is stupid.

I don't blame Rob Bolden for a thing.

WWN: Are the people calling for Kevin Newsome to replace Rob Bolden watching the same games I am?
So yeah, if ever there was a unanimous opinion, there you have it. J Schnauzer of JoePa's doghouse brings up the Michael Robinson comparison but it's not in the manner we were hearing in the offseason:
Although I'd love to see Newsome's athleticism on the field, there's no reason he should be the QB. Case in point: Michael Robinson prior to 2005. People forget how absolutely awful his passing numbers were in those seasons. There's a reason he didn't get the starts, and it was because he was performing worse than the starters in practice. Some guys blossom late: I assume the same is going on with Newsome.
I remember thinking Robinson was going to bomb in 2005 for that very reason, boy was I wrong. J-Shnaz's partners bring up the other idea floating around, bring in Newsome to jump start the red zone problems:
Rowlff Dogg: I would have no problem using Kevin Newsome in a goalline package if it gives us the best opportunity to score, but that's as far as I'd go.

The Underdogs: Benching Bolden is stupid. Finding wildcat snaps in the red zone for New New however, is not stupid.
Quick Hits

LB-U: -Both offenses are at the bottom of the conference and both defenses are pretty high (4th and 3rd) if the over/under was 35 what would you take?

One over, two under and two abstain – some of you are getting "fails to participate in class" comments on your report cards this semester!

LB-U: -Number of times Joe uses some form of "youth" in his post-game press conference?

Low – 4; high-20 and a promise of the chugging of a warm Old Milwaukee if it's less than 6. Oh he didn't use the term "chugging" but who has the balls to drink a cold Old Milwaukee slow let alone a warm one? It's implied.

LB-U: -It's a noon start, what quarter (half maybe?!?!) does the student section fill up?

The average thinking is late in the second, think almost halftime but William thinks not at all and The Underdogs from JPDH gets bonus points for his comment:

It will fill up by the Michigan game.
Well played sir, a thousand warm Old Milwaukees for you. Thanks to everyone that played along this week and be sure to check out all of our Penn State blogging partners. Go Lions!


Post a Comment