October 26, 2010

LBU Staff Reactions: Penn State 33, Minnesota 21

We know, Joe. We're in that kind of mood, too.
(Photo: Joe Hermitt/PennLive.com)
A win is a win, right? Our thoughts on Penn State's road win over Minnesota this past weekend...


Given all the injuries I'll gladly take Saturday's outcome. The defense was banged up but played well enough to win and the offense finally found a way to score. Until he went down, with what is likely a concussion, Rob Bolden was 11 for 13 for 130 yards and a TD completing his first 9 passes. I said in the staff predictions that Penn State had to open up the offense and it looked just the opposite at first but the coaches did open things up a bit and Penn State had it's best offensive output of the season. Silas Redd continues to improve leading Penn State in rushing with 73 yards on 9 carries for a robust 7.9 yards per touch. He's easily Penn State's best running back but we won't see him until the other guys come in and struggle like they do in almost every other game. If Bolden can't go next week, I'm not too concerned McGloin is a serviceable backup until Rob is cleared. With all the struggles on the offensive side recently, Saturday's game was a step in the right direction. Let's hope things continue in that direction.


The defense is still frustrating the hell out of me. But I really liked what I saw from the offense, not only in play-calling, but the ability of the team to keep playing at a high level without its starting quarterback. The offensive line continues to leave much to be desired in the form of run blocking, but the pass blocking seemed a bit better overall. Even with the poor run blocking, Silas Redd and Evan Royster really hit a new gear. It would be very comforting in the weeks to come to see these guys develop into the thunder-and-lightening combination we've been waiting for in Royster and Stephfon Green. However, the big problem for Penn State will continue to be the defense. Being out of position is something I can handle, though it's not enjoyable. But poor tackling has been really the needle in my eye all season long. How is it that a defensive football program, built on doing the "little things" right--tackling--can be so bad this year at doing just that? This week against Michigan is getting scarier than ever. Denard Robinson can make plenty of plays on his own talent. He doesn't need help from Penn State's whiffing defense.


It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but I'll gladly take it. It was nice for once, to see the running game kick into high gear with Royster/Redd leading the way, I don't care if this is a crappy Minnesota defense that we're talking about. Even more importantly, the passing attack looked better and Bolden seemed to be turning the corner before his untimely injury. Matt McGloin did an admirable job stepping in as the backup and tossing a couple of TD's that put the Gophers in a deep enough hole that their mistake-prone offense wouldn't be able to claw out of. He does need to stop thinking of himself as a ginger version of Brett Favre (the on-the-field version, that is) and learn when to just throw the damn ball away instead of trying to thread the needle to a receiver in double coverage. The defense was highly disappointing once again: Poor tackling, poor coverage, and a lack of pressuring of Adam Weber allowed the Gophers to move the ball with relative ease. Penalties and turnovers however, kept Minny at bay.

By this point in the season, I've lost all hope in the defense being able to carry this team. The offense needs to step up like they did every game from hereon out if PSU is going to snag a few more wins. Fortunately, a porous Michigan defense allows for such an opportunity next Saturday.

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