Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blue & White Roundtable: End of the year edition

It's almost Turkey day but before we stuff ourselves like the pigs we are here is this week's edition of the Blue & White Roundtable. This week's questions come from RUTS and as always don't forget to check out the others:

William F. Yurasko
There Is No Name On My Jersey
The Nittany Notebook
William Yurasko

Black Shoe Diaries

1. It'll be a week of criticism, so let's at least start off on a positive note. Name three players who have vastly exceeded your pre-season expectations.

Galen: #1 – without a doubt Jeremy Boone is easily the biggest surprise for Penn State this season, with the loss of Jeremy Kapinos everyone thought our punting was going to take a serious hit and actually it got better. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that Boone would be a first team All-Big Ten selection I would have told you to lay off the sauce.
#2 – Maurice Evens – sure I really liked this kid and thought he would be great some year, but not this year. Maurice is top 10 nationally in tackles for loss and sacks, I never would have guessed that.
#3- Rodney Kinlaw- Everyone thought this was Austin Scott's year to shine and Rodney was just an afterthought, no way did I expect him to have a 1,000 yards rushing by the end of the season.

Nick: Maurice Evans – This guy is an absolute beast and has put the Big Ten on notice for next year.
Terrell Golden – Named one of the captains before the season, some games he was the only effective receiver we had on the roster.
The Offensive Line – Not a single player, but this entire unit has been the biggest surprise of the year. Maybe it's because expectations were set so low, but what was considered one of the weakest spots on the team is one of the foundations for the future.

2. At what point on Saturday did you think that Penn State might be in serious, serious trouble?

Galen: Early in the third when Michigan State had two quick scoring drives to make the score 24 - 21 and Penn State's defense couldn't cover anyone I knew it was over.

Nick: During the fateful drive where we were tearing off chunks of yardage and bleeding clock on the ground, thereby giving Michigan State no time to respond. All of a sudden, we start throwing into the end zone as if time was expiring. What the hell was that? Clearly, that was not Joe's call, because he loves to run and it was effective on that drive.

3. What is your explanation for the four consecutive passes that effectively ended Penn State's comeback attempt? What strategy do you think the coaches were going for?

Galen: Terrible coaching. I think the strategy was "Hey what's the best way for us to lose – I know let's pass!" Your fourth string running back is gashing out 8 yards a carry and you throw the ball?!?! Makes all the sense in the world to me, eat your heart out Charlie Weis you offensive genius.

Nick: I have no explanation, it made no sense whatsoever. Michigan State was moving the ball at will on us, but as I said we were tearing off chunks of yardage and bleeding clock so that there would nothing left to work with when the Spartans did get the ball back. My guess as to strategy was Morelli mythmaking, let him throw the winning touchdown, but where were the intermediate routes? It looked the options were the end zone and dump offs for no gain, what was Morelli supposed to work with?

4. What are your thoughts on a contract extension for Joe Paterno? His current contract expires after the 2008 season. Do you think he'll head into that season with his contract status undetermined?

Galen: No way period. It's time for Joe and the entire coaching staff to go, if he doesn't understand it's time to hang it up then show him the door. Rumor has it that Joe wanted to talk about an extension but Penn State was in a wait and see stance. Hopefully they have seen enough.

Nick: Joe should coach as long as he wants, I will never be an advocate to run him off. I say sign him up for a three-year extension in the offseason. In reality however, going into next year, he might be coaching for his job, which is sad.

Lightning Round

Which potential bowl opponents are the best and worst possible matchups for Penn State in the Alamo or Champs Sports Bowl?

Galen: At this point I really just don't give a damn.

Nick: Best Matchup – Texax Tech in the Alamo Bowl
Worst Matchup – Anyone in the Champs Sports Bowl

Who is going to sneak into the BCS Championship game?

Galen: I would love to see Kansas get into the championship game and get ass raped by LSU, maybe then the screams for a playoff system wouldn't go unnoticed.

Nick: Ohio State – there's no way they can lose again before the end of the season.

Finally, from BSD, which 2007 Penn State loss was the most difficult to swallow?

Galen: There's no comparison – Michigan; off year and Penn State hands them the game by stupid coaching philosophy. Wait that's every game, my bad.

Nick: Michigan and Illinois – for the simple fact that turnovers cost Penn State both games. Hold onto the ball and those are both wins. Of the two, Michigan is the most difficult, because I didn't get to see the Illinois game.

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