I culminate my season long masterpiece with a prompted yet free form analysis of Penn State's performance this year:
1. Offensive MVP
He has 10 more catches, 300 more yards and 2 TDs more than the next guy on this team. It seemed like every time he was targeted he was open and made the catch. Plus he's the only receiver that stretched a defense for us this year.
2. What Grade would you give the offense?
We were able to execute against lesser opponents which is something I try not to take for granted with Penn State. The flip side to that is always that against a good defense we get knocked off the line and don't make game changing plays.
3. Defensive MVP
Michael Mauti gets the runner up here because he hit hard for about 10 quarters this year. Yes he was injured for about half the year but he still doesn't deserve the award outright.
4. What Grade would you give the defense?
Not an F because there were 20 minute stretches where we looked okay (2nd half against Michigan, 1st half against Ohio State), but that doesn't excuse the passive play we saw the rest of the year. As Penn State fans we watch our offense with tempered expectations because we know that defense is what we hang our hat on. We know it can keep us in games. Not this year.
5. Biggest Surprise (Positive)
We're in much better shape next year with him getting (hopefully) 15+ carries a game in place of Royster. We haven't had a runner like him since Ki-Jana Carter.
6. Biggest Surprise (Disappointment)
I saw 2 returning defensive ends that were poised to make the leap. A returning 2 year starter in Ollie Ogbu and a house of man in Devon Still that waited patiently behind a 1st round draft pick at defensive tackle. The result? No chaos! Calling a base defense with a 4 man rush this year was like calling an 8 yard completion for the other team. Once a possession you have to hurry a throw, I didn't see any of that this year.
7. Best Moment of the Season
35 Unanswered Against Northwestern
For 2 1/2 quarters the entire team looked like they appreciated every snap they played. No one took a play off. Everyone wanted Joe to get 400, even if they weren't alive for the first 200. Awesome to watch.
8. Worst Moment of the Season
Rob Bolden's Screen Pass Pick 6 Against Illinois
The first domino in the ugliest homecoming loss since 6-4.
9. Grade the Coaching Staff's Effort this season.
It's clear the staff hand their hands full picking up the slack of our senior head coach. However, that's just an excuse, and it doesn't excuse the recruiting dearth we're witnessing right now. The #4 and #6 players in the state don't even have OFFERS from PSU meanwhile we were busy signing Anthony Alosi whose impressive offer sheet includes Toledo and Richmond. I hope this season was a wake up call for everyone.
10. What are your thoughts on your bowl game and matchup? Excited, indifferent?
Very excited. We have to win. Urban Meyer just announced his resignation so you know the Gators will bring it. I also don't need to remind all my readers that I live in Orlando and this here is G8R N8N!! Can't wait to see all the Tebow jerseys dusted off. It's over! Go back to your pontoon boats!
11. Whole lot of quarterbacks and a whole lot of questions going into the spring (McGloin-Jones-Newsome-Bolden). How do you see it shaking out? Who do you think will be starting in September? Will that player be starting at the end of the season?
I still have high hopes for Bolden and he's my pick to win the starting job next year. The fact that he even got the nod this year is ridiculous. He got there in June! The only thing McGloin has over him is his attitude, which don't get me wrong I love, but I'm hoping a year in the locker room with his teammates will give Bolden more confidence so he can win over his teammates because to me his ability can't be ignored.
12. How do you feel about team is direction heading into next year? What are some way too early predictions for what your expectations for 2011 will be?
We're definitely trending up just based on our youth. The only units where there will be turnover is where we need it most: offensive and defensive line. I just want to be able to run the ball again. We have shown the ability at times to set up the run with the pass but that's not what we're best at. We need to get back to it being the other way around. That doesn't mean we need to abandon the Spread HD it just means we have to get 2 yards when we need 2 yards.
I think we go 10-3 next year. Paterno thinks next year is the year. As a part-time-seasonal blogger I'm here to say: sorry Joe but I think 2012 is the year. Won't be mad if you're not around to see it.