Thursday, September 9, 2010


Instead of writing two separate columns in one week, which is way too much to ask, I'm just going to combine my review of last week's game with preview of this week's game into one.

Youngstown St Report Card (I'm grading on a curve based on how good I think each unit should perform)

Quarterback: A

The expectations for this kid were that of a true freshman and he played like a two year starter. Quality of opponent be damned, he was almost mistake free. His only interception came when Derek Moye slipped. 20-29 for 239yds 2 TD and 1 INT, and remember this was a game in the first half, he was actually playing from behind in the first half. Myself and everyone cheering for Penn State came away from Saturday more than optimistic. I'm glowing, I think he's going to be the best quarterback in Penn State history, all things considered.

Running Back: C

Evan Royster looked slow. He stumbled on two carries that looked like he might have gotten some daylight. He finished with only 40 yards on 11 carries. He is the reason for the low grade. True freshman Silas Redd saw action as well and he looked great. Very stout, very quick, I expect him to split carries next year and start his junior year. Stephfon Green looked good as well. Green's running style might be better suited for this line than Royster's is. Royster is a patient, crafty runner that gets by on superior vision and no wasted movement. Basically he is not a back that will make something out of nothing. Green is much more impulsive with the ball in his hands and my thought is that with this line being... not that good, Green's ability to get up the field quickly will minimize losses in the backfield and maybe he can find his way into some open space and break some canks. Just making lemonade.

Wide Receiver/Tight End: B

Did a good job helping out their new QB. I loved seeing Justin Brown get involved and Devon Smith had a big play too. My only gripe here is that Graham Zug wasn't involved and I think it would do Bolden well to establish a rapport with Zug because he has a knack for finding space in the defense. Brett Brackett was the highlight at the flex tight end position. Brackett had 8 catches for 98 yds and 2 TDs, one of which was a beautiful post route where Bolden looked off two defenders before delivering a strike.

Offensive Line: B-

Run blocking was abysmal considering we outweighed YSU's defensive line by a combined 250 lbs. What's going to happen when we go against the tanks of Alabama? Pass protection was solid however, and that's important in developing Bolden's confidence. Think I can mention Bolden 25 times in this post? I've been reading that they might give the left guard spot to Johnnie Troutman. I say do it, he's been in Paterno's "doghouse" a little bit throughout his career but he's got to be the better option here. He's strong and De'Onte Pannel did not perform well in the season opener.

Defensive Line: B-

I like our depth of this unit. I saw Sean Stanley, Brandon Ware, James Terry, and Pete Massaro come in before we put in all the reserves. The lack of pressure concerned me. The coaches always come out with a vanilla gameplan for the first cupcake game, I don't think we blitzed once. But again, it's Youngstown State, and I wanted to see our front four wreak a little bit of havoc, instead Kurt Hess went 21-25. Ouch.

Linebackers: C+

I probably should cut these guys some slack as this was the first start for all three of them. But we're Linebacker U! There were missed tackles early and hesitance all throughout this game. The best of the bunch was probably Chris Colasanti with his sure tackling, followed by Gerald Hodges who looked the most active.

Secondary: D

Cornerbacks looked good. Keeping everything in front of them for short gains save that 80 yd scamper by whoever that was. You know where I'm headed, you know. Drew Astorino got torched on that play. He was the weakside safety there and he didn't stay home after the pass was completed and the receiver reversed field. So he was out of position, by the way he's the most experienced player in our secondary, and they when he tried to catch up to this FCS wide receiver, he got BURNED. Outwheeled down the entire sideline! He's the starting safety for Penn State! At what point do you not have the physical tools to cut it!

Special Teams: A

Colin Wagner knocking down 49, 44, and 48 yard field goals and Chaz Powell returns a kickoff to the house? I'll take it.


I will be at this game. I'm making the 9 hour drive from Orlando to Tuscaloser. I will have my camera, check twitter for my close to game time score prediction(s). I'm sure they will be reasonable and accurate.

I would put up a YouTube video of Penn State dominating Bama but there's really not that many. It sucks. I know if I search for one I'll find about 5000 of Mike Guman getting stonewalled at the goal line on 4th and 1. Paterno never beat Bryant, he retired right before Penn State won their two National Titles in the 80s. This really isn't about those two though, it's about whether or not Penn State can turn a rebuilding year into a miracle year. We have a young team and we're on the road against the defending champs.

Let's face it, it doesn't look good for us. I take no solace in the face that Ingram and Dareus are out, it helps us a little bit but not nearly enough. The only way I see our offense scoring more than 17 points in this game is if we run the QB read option to keep the linebackers guessing, call the right plays at the right time, and Bolden has to be perfect with no turnovers. Not asking a lot right?

Defensively, I think we can stop the run but I worry about those wideouts. They are too fast and the quarterback is too accurate. I think the safeties will have to respect their speed and play off the line and that should open the middle up for McElroy to attack the middle. I'm thinking back to the 2008 Rose Bowl when USC had superior WRs and they went right at our safeties with skinny posts. We got shredded.

I'm writing this on a Thursday so I'm still pretty logical and not delirious with Penn State Pride (beer?) yet. My Pick:

Alabama: 27
Penn State: 14

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