Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Penn State Retrospective: Wide Receivers

Now that the offseason is in full swing and we patiently wait for Terrelle Pryor to announce he's going to Ohio State it's time to continue our look back at the 2007 football season. Oh sure some do-gooders are putting together thoughtful analysis of Penn State's current recruiting class and projecting needs for next year (already) but screw them we're way too damn lazy for that shit, here's to livin' in the past.

Previously on TNL: Quarterbacks, Running backs.


Entering the season many inside and outside the program felt that Penn State's wide receivers would be the strength of the offense and some believed the best in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions boasted three returning starters all with two years of experience playing in the system and with each other. Derrick Williams had shed some weight and was getting rave reviews on quickness and speed. Terrell Golden was elected a team captain and was supposedly showing senior leadership and gave Penn State another tall option. Not forgotten was the supposed matchup nightmare that Andrew Quarless perpetrated on soon to be unsuspecting defenses from his tight end position. But the most noise coming out of spring and summer practice was the praise of Chris Bell. Reports, dubious as they may be, were blindingly optimistic about the talents and tenacity Bell displayed in practice, some even went as far to say that Chris would be a sure-fire pro prospect when he was done at Penn State. The table was supposedly set for a team with a lot of horses in the stable waiting to break out all over the Big Ten.


Andrew Quarless made sure everyone knew he was going to be a huge disappointment by getting in trouble before the season started immediately following the Nittany Lion Fight Club incident when there was a zero tolerance policy in place. Stupid as that was when Quarless finally saw the field it was as if the body snatchers had taken the young man that had the breakout freshman season and replaced it with someone that was... well... dumb. Andrew's off the field antics were followed up by similar disappointing on the field play as he looked lost most of the time and found it hard getting quality playing time, heck freshman Mickey Shuler played better than him most of the time.

As for superman Chris Bell here are his numbers for the season: 7 Rec 143 yards 0 TD's. Remember that this year when you are reading the TAP reports out of practice on Fight On State and ask yourself if the "inside info" is worth the 100 bucks.

It's not all bad, Golden did have a solid senior season and upped his formerly sparse contribution to something that deserves some respect: 30 receptions for 345 yards and 3 touchdowns aren't too shabby for a bit player who previously had 18 receptions in his career. Williams, Butler, and Norwood all had 40+ receptions on the season and proved to be sure-handed targets most of the time. As a team the receivers did an above average job but they didn't hit the high level of performance expected of them going into the season. Now this unit may be partly to blame but some blame certainly has to fall upon the hands of scattershot QB Anthony Morelli as well. I imagine an uptick of 10 – 20 percent more production had the receivers had a quarterback with a little more consistency so it's safe to say it was a good year.


Can you say rewind the tapes and play it again, Sam? Next season will be a carbon-copy image of last season with all the major players returning and a solid offensive line keeping the bad guys from getting to the quarterback. The only wild-card is the guy getting the ball to this unit – who will step in? Regardless (or irregardless if you live in central PA) of who is the quarterback the wide receivers should be better next year. With Bell back and the addition of Derek Moye after a redshirt year the cupboard will be overflowing with viable options and don't forget the Tight End position should be deep as well. The very least of Penn State's worries, at least for 2008, is the wide recievers.

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