Monday, November 23, 2009

A 10 Win Regular Season??

So Penn State goes 10-2 this season, and all year you've been hearing that I "Still don't know how good we are." Considering it's the end of the season, I'll finally sit down and try to make some sense of this team.


Safety Play

Drew Astorino looks like a bobble head on the field he's so small. Joe likes to talk about his instincts and the fact that he won the state high school basketball championship, but I care more about him getting trucked every time he makes a tackle and being helpless against anyone over 6"0. I've been critical of Nick Sukay this year as well, but there is hope for him, he seems to have some physical skills. He's 6'2" and was finally flying into plays full speed against Michigan State this past week. Sukay's problem this year has been knowing his assignments. If he works hard this offseason and stays in position next year I'll be happy, but I'd be disappointed if Drew Astorino doesn't lose his job to either Gerald Hodges or Derrick Thomas next year.

Home Losses

It has to be conceded that we were the lesser team in both home losses this season, but anyone could see that we didn't roll out our best performances when it really counted. Iowa springs to mind. We played terribly that night, couldn't block anyone, couldn't make throws, couldn't catch throws, couldn't find our tight end for some reason. Top that off with some uninspired play calling and you have a complete flop of a game, while Nittany Nation was hoping for a soaked-in-revenge beatdown. You need your team to show up for big games, otherwise your other 10 wins suddenly seem unimpressive.

Conservative Coaching

This could almost be filed under "Home Losses" because as usual, the most conservative coaching occurred in the two biggest games of the year. Taking the QB read option out of the playbook this year made Daryll Clark far less effective, it might have cost us a touchdown a game, but how do you measure a defense's tendencies against an offense with and without one single play? Study game film? I don't want to do that, this is a blog.


Jared Odrick

Our play at defensive end suffered more than I thought it would this year after the departure of Aaron Maybin. Considering he was drafted 10th overall maybe I should have suspected as much. Our ends lack the athleticism on one side in Eric Latimore and lack knowledge of the game on the other side in Jack Crawford, but it was tough to really see that all year because Jared Odrick was a BEAST. Every single play he was double teamed, and he still managed 6 sacks this year. Only Ohio State was really able to run the ball between the tackles on us, and I attribute 80% of that to Odrick. Best of luck in the NFL big fella.

Daryll Clark

I can't deny a guy who accounted for 30 touchdowns. He has yet to win a big game in my opinion, but his record as a starter is 21-4, and you could do a lot worse for a quarterback. With him we played to our potential 95% of the time, and we should never forget that Evan Royster and Stephfon Green each had costly fumbles against USC that negated drives, and Royster had a fumble AND a drop that went for a pick against Iowa this year. (Just unloading some blame in the spirit of singing DC's praises because I'm high on him right now after he torched Mich St and shut up the "My New Haircut" mofo in the Spartan jersey at the bar Saturday). With him we played to our potential 95% of the time. That Iowa game last year is the only time I've felt like we were the better team and still lost. Looking around the college football landscape this year and remembering not knowing if you were going to beat Indiana with Morelli really makes me appreciate that.

Chance for BCS Win

We still may land a BCS bowl, and I can't emphasize enough how much a win would do for us right now. It would rewrite some of Clark's history with big games, it would give the Big 10 an ounce of much needed clout, and it would save the season.


We are a good team. Top 15. Much more good than bad this year. Going into the bowl game I am actually confident. The one thing about dialing back the play calling all year is that we pull out all the stops in the bowl game, hence Joe's G.O.A.T bowl record.

Recruiting News

Marcus Lattimore loved us when he came to Happy Valley for the game against Ohio State. Gave the visit a 10 out of 10. If we can land him and maintain Silas Redd we'll have the best RB class in the country. Combine that with Kevin Newsome, who showed off his speed this year, and I think we will have the tools to run the Spread HD as it was meant to be run, with two running threats in the backfield every play and no more than 25 pass attempts per game. However, it's not all good news right now for the Lions, PSU commit Adrian Coxson is taking visits to Florida and Georgia, and when asked about the status of his current commitment to us, he said "I'd rather not say." Translation: we aren't even his leader right now. This is a problem, we have two other wideout commitments in this class, but they are both State College locals annnnnd I don't trust them at all.

Note to 70 Something Coaches:

This year Bowden was the target for "Should he be asked to leave the program or should we let him die out there" conversations, and before 2005 Joe heard his fair share of it. My two cents? Bowden and Paterno should be allowed to leave whenever they want, because neither is truly the head coach anymore, just figureheads. The media acts as if either is still responsible for the majority of what goes on with their teams. Simply not true. They've already taken a backseat people, just let them enjoy it. It made me feel bad for Bowden when I saw him wearing a headset the week after the allegations started flying around. As if he has to prove anything to anybody.

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