Friday, April 25, 2008

Big Ten Roundtable: Spring Wrap

Our good friend Mike over at Black Shoe Diaries put these questions together. Galen’s out doing important work (i.e. drinking), so I’ll take this bull by the horns.

I love spring. Flowers blooming. Birds chirping. Bones breaking. ACL’s tearing. List the injuries your team sustained and describe their impact on 2008.
Our injury report this spring would read as such:
Sean Lee – knee (gone for the year)
A.J. Wallace – grill (out for the Blue/White game)
Derek Moye – hamstring (out for the Blue/White game)

Outside of Lee, nothing really to get bent out of shape about, however, Lee is a huge player to lose. The team is deep at linebacker, but leadership in the unit will take a hit on the field. Fortunately, Lee will continue to contribute as a team captain, albeit on the sidelines as a “coach.”

Wallace and Moye didn’t sustain anything that should keep them off the field in the fall. I hope Wallace learned an important lesson and also firmly believe he should upgrade his teeth to something more like this:

And YOU can count, on ME, waiting for YOU in the parking lot.

Break down the major position battles going on with your offense.
Every position on offense has some sort of battle going on. At quarterback, Darryl Clark and Pat Devlin are neck-and-neck for the starter position. Both should see significant time early in the season, regardless of the outcome.

Evan Royster, Stephfon Green and Brandon Beachum should all be seeing the field as well, but Royster is sure to start the season, barring an injury.

At receiver, the starters are locked in, but there’s interest as to who will be next in line. Chris Bell is gone and that leaves Derek Moye, Brett Brackett, Graham Zug, Kevin Cousins and James MacDonald fighting it out on the depth chart.

Tight end is a race between Mickey Shuler and Andrew Szczerba right now, but could get more complicated if Andrew Quarless can get himself back on the team and out of Joe’s doghouse.

Joe was not happy with some of the offensive line performance in the Blue/White game, which may have had something to do with the defensive line they were running against. Still, there could be some shuffling around here.

You knew this was coming. Break down the major position battles on defense.
The defensive line is deep and talented, but questions remain at linebacker and in the secondary. Honestly, there are so many good linebackers that any way the results pan out I would be happy. With the loss of Lee, I’m picturing the linebackers of this year being used in the way our defensive line worked last year. Lots of rotation and a lot of playing time for the young guys, a philosophy of keep fresh bodies out there.

Secondary, is the area of most questions for this team heading into the fall. There is potential for the unit to be good and will probably require Knowledge Timmons rejoining the team and potentially significant contributions by true freshman D’Anton Lynn to shore up the depth.

Who are the unknown kids on your team that will be household names come December?
Completely unknown? On offense, Green with the possibility of Szczerba and one of the other receivers besides the usual three (Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood). On defense, Chris Colasaniti’s name is getting thrown around a lot.

Less known? On offense, either or both of the quarterbacks could blow up. On defense, the line has a lot of guys that might become big names.

How would you describe the general mood around your program? Are you gearing up the tailgate party for a conference title run or do you get the impression there are going to be a lot of empty seats in your stadium this year?
Schizophrenic – some people think this could be a “magical” year with BCS potential, while others think this team is circling the drain. Either way, don’t expect empty seats, it might be Paterno’s last year and people don’t want to miss that, though I doubt he’s gone when it’s all said and done.

*Update - Quarless and Timmons are back on the team, along with Navarro Bowman and Chris Baker (H/T: NittanyWhiteOut)

1 comment:

Galen said...

Good job, my work here is done. Back to drinking myself silly and chasing after loose women.