Right Click to Download: 2010 Blue White Football Podcast Pump Up Video
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Hello Nittany Nation, my apologies for not posting in a while. This seems as a good occasion as any to dust off my old coke bottle glasses.
We’ll start by ignoring all the crap that’s been floated around this week about PSU not beating Michigan at home since 96 and how Michigan’s won 99 of the last 100 or whatever. We’ll also ignore last year’s PSU victory, because it would be unfair to compare this year’s Michigan team to last year’s. We’re just going to focus on the 2009 Nittany Lions vs. the 2009 Michigan Wolverines. So without further ado, here are 5 reasons why I am feeling pretty confident that we can come away with a victory this weekend.
#5 – Our offensive line.
Finally, in the last few weeks, it seems that our O line is clicking. In the games against Illinois, Eastern Cupcake, and Minnesota – we’ve managed to boast very balanced attacks, and seemingly showed no signs of a struggle in moving the ball. Albeit these are not great defenses, but you can’t say they’re worse defenses than Akron / Syracuse / Temple – and we looked 5 times better against these later teams than we did in the beginning of the season. Which should make a difference in my #4 point.
#4 – Game Plans
The best thing we did in the Minnesota game was ball possession. We had the ball for more than 41 minutes of the game, which is insane to think about. This is how we win on Saturday. From the few games I’ve watched of Michigan, they have an electric offense. They’re exciting to watch, but they are very much a quick strike team. From what I saw, they didn’t do a great job of ball possession and running out the clock. In fact, they haven’t had more ball possession against any of the big name teams they’ve faced this year (Notre Dame, Indiana, Michigan State, Iowa). Against Michigan State, they only had the ball for 19 minutes – which can easily be attributed to why they lost that game.
Penn State has always been a run the ball, ball possession team – even in the Spread HD. This is how we won against Ohio State in Columbus last year, and this is how we can win this year. Hold on to the ball, and play Joe Paterno style smash mouth football. Michigan’s offense, as good as it is, can only be effective if they’re on the field.
#3 – The Return of the King
Ladies and gentleman, for the first time this year (and for the first time ever) we will have both Mr. Sean Lee AND Mr. Navorro Bowman playing an ENTIRE game together on defense. Dear Michigan, please try to not bleed all over our nice white uni’s. Thanks. Management.
#2 – Michigan’s D
As much news as everyone makes of Michigan’s new offense, very little praise is actually given to their D. And with good reason. So far, their D has given up an average of 21.9 points per game. If you remove both directional Michigans and a school from Delaware from those totals, they have given up 30.8 points per game against “good” competition. Including giving up 33 points to Indiana at home. This is clearly an advantage in our offense’s favor.
#1 – Our Secondary
After this past week, my lips are officially stained blue with the Kool-Aid. The defensive improvement in our team from last year to this year is no more evident than in our secondary. Eric Decker, who is one of the greatest wide receivers in the NCAA today, had no answers for us last Saturday. We did what no other team could do, we shut him down. And by “we”, I mean AJ Wallace. The man has officially lived up to the hype and he is a real shut down corner. I haven’t felt this good about our secondary in four years, since the days when we had Zemaitis running havoc back there.
I’d have to disagree with Mike’s assessment on the podcast this week (posted below), I do think that Tate Forcier is a real deal quarterback. He almost reminds me of a Michael Robinson type. He’s a gifted athlete, who makes smart decisions, and he is able to give the extra effort to get his team the win. Now, it might not always be evident this year – he still makes some Freshman mistakes, and it seems like he’s been battling a slew of injuries all season – but I think that he’s a big time player. However, with our secondary, I think we’re going to severely limit his options. And with our linebackers, I think we’re going to severely limit his quality of life.
All in all, it seems that our team has come together now – 8 weeks into the season – and aside from lingering issues on special teams there’s not many weak spots that teams can exploit. Against Michigan I think we particularly match up well.
My prediction – Penn State 31 – Michigan 17
Good Morning Nittany Nation,
I figured I’d give you guys an update on how our Lions have been performing around the NFL these past two weeks.
I’ll start on a somber note. I’m sure many of you know by now – the great Paul Posluszny has broken his arm again, and looks to miss 6 weeks from this season. Sad news for everyone, especially because he was looking like a beast in that Monday night game, racking up 6 tackles in the first quarter. I’ll have more to say on this situation later in the post.
As for the rest of the alumni playing for the team that Mark lovingly refers to as the “Buffalo Nittany Bills”, Aaron Maybin has been a non factor though the first two games – which is expected for a rookie DE I’d think. I might have personally had higher hopes for him after he came out of the preseason with two sacks and a forced fumble in two games. But I’m sure he’ll find his groove and continue his “mayhem” type ways.
The biggest surprise and what might be the brightest star of our former Lions, in my eyes, is Bryan Scott. I never really followed his NFL career previously, but he has had a fantastic season thus far for the Nittany Bills. 10 tackles in the first game (and not just garbage tackles, I’m talking hard hitting open field tackles) and 9 tackles in the second game – with an interception. He’s been seemingly everywhere and plays the role of Free Safety to a T.
As for the rest of our boys – Tamba Hali had a great game against Baltimore in week 1 (5 tackles, 1 sack, forced fumble), but didn’t seem to accomplish much of anything last game. His teammate Larry Johnson had an alright game last week, but his YPC is a fraction of what it was a few years ago. It is looking more and more like he was a product of the Vermeel system, and though he may not be an “elite” back in the NFL anymore, he is certainly a capable starter.
Through the first two weeks Bryant Johnson, Bobby Engram and even Deon Butler have all had a few catches for minimal yardage, but nothing spectacular to write about. Dan Connor got his first glimpse of playing time this week, and got himself a tackle – but I’m not sure how many downs he saw. He’s listed as the second string MLB for Carolina, so I’d assume he’d see some time on certain packages, but nothing too extensive for now.
This brings me back to my point from before, the fragility of our Linebackers. Looking back over all the LB’s who have made their way through Linebacker U in the past 10 years, has anyone else noticed how most, if not all, of them seem to be seriously injury prone? Think about it – Lavarr, Puz, Connor (who missed last year due to an injury), Lee, Mauti, and now Bowman – are all of our great linebackers made of glass?? Share your thoughts.
One issue that has been a pet peeve of mine in recent Penn State history is the mediocrity of our schedule; most pathetically evident in this years OOC gauntlet of anonymity. Now, we’d all agree at the end of the day Penn State Football is still Penn State Football and we are just glad that it’s the fall again so we don’t have to suffer through the summer any longer, gobbling up the latest preseason top 25 released by the ESPN pundits before Nike has even had the chance to stamp their “swoosh” on our practice uniforms.
But ultimately, this poor scheduling does hurt us, in more ways than one. You all know one of the arguments that I’m refering to – poor schedule = no respect, no respect = poor poll positioning, poor poll positioning = no BCS bowl (I’m obviously overlooking the fact that if we win all our games we go to the Rose Bowl anyway, and regardless of our schedule we must win all our games, yada yada yada).
This week however, I’ve discovered a new evil as a result of our schedule. As we just finished trouncing Syracuse, and are preparing to take on the mighty Owls from Temple, there’s one trend apparent in the main stream media: no one cares. Being that it’s football season and I am in my glory, I try to ingest as many Penn State related articles as I can, regardless of the content. I’ll read a 10 page article about Rutgers football if only to read a paragraph saying how they will never compete with Penn State over the top recruits in the tri state area. But this week, there isn’t even a peep. By Monday afternoon I had read just about every substantial article that would be written about Penn State for the entire week. I’ve scoured the blogosphere, looked everywhere I could, but realistically – there’s not much you can say about Penn State right now that hasn’t already been said in week 1. We still don’t know how good our secondary is, we still are concerned about our offensive line, and we still are waiting to see if Jack Crawford is a man-bat from hell.
Simply putting someone like Virginia or Georgia Tech on our schedule, who i’m confident we could handle, would be 100 times better than trying to justify why the Zips might not be a pathetic team. Any middle of the road team from a major conference can do wonders for our national reputation, and for an example of that I ask you to look no further than our game against Oregon State last year. There was about 50 articles last year analyzing USC’s loss to Oregon State, and Penn State found itself as a footnote in every one of those articles. My cup runneth over.
As we wipe the vanilla frosting from our mouths after this week and brush the red velvet crumbs from our uni’s, let’s hope that we’ve learned an important lesson about scheduling this year. Let’s mix it up a bit – get crazy and play non-directional Florida! Let’s give the sports writer’s something juicy to write about! Because we’re not just hurting our national reputation, we’re also hurting my ability to procrastinate at work. And that, my friends, is a sin.
I can’t stand Boise State. And I’m not sorry about it. They’re no longer the plucky underdog Broncos who won the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Now they’re just a bunch of cocky douchebags who play in a junior high conference and are force-fed to us by the national media.
Broncos, you don’t belong in BCS contention every year. You want respect? Why? Because you beat Oklahoma two years ago? A team that’s lost as many BCS games as anyone and didn’t give a shit because it was facing a team that plays on blue turf? You want respect because you beat Oregon? A team that’s going to finish in the middle of its conference? (By the way, that was the first time you hosted a ranked opponent since jumping to Division I-A in 1996. What took so long?)
I don’t want to hear about how Boise State is respectable because “they’ll play anybody.” Apparently “anybody” is relatively confined to the Oregon schools and Washington, three powerhouse poopsacks from the Pa-theti-c-10. The Broncos have to play those teams because everyone knows the WAC is whack. Boise State is a glittering 7-13 all-time against BCS conference teams. Penn State won nine games against BCS conference teams last season alone.
You piss me off, Boise State. I oughtta punch you in the face.
Oh wait, someone did it for me!
TJPO’S 2009 KICKOFF WEEKEND RECAP
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford sprains his shoulder
Impressive win by Brigham Young, but this just plain sucks. Hopefully he’ll be OK.
JoePa sprains nothing as Penn State thumps Akron
Gotta love that 336-yard offensive discrepancy in the first half.
N.C. State and South Carolina play the most boring game ever
It was like a season premiere of Lost with Rose and Bernard flashbacks. Cue the frustrated Jack face.
Northern Iowa almost upsets the Hawkeyes
Jesus teases Kurt Warner, but they retain their friendship.
Ohio State squeaks past Navy
Those service academies are like thumbtacks on the road to the BCS.
Notre Dame showboats in carving up the nation’s worst pass defense
Memo to Central Michigan’s 119th-ranked secondary: The Golden Dome rejuvenation is COMING FOR YOU.
Lou Holtz is still a biased idiot
If he picks Notre Dame to make the BCS championship every year, he’s bound to be right eventually.
Oklahoma State finally gets that big win
We’re still waiting for that big conference win.
Matt Barkley is the master of the five-yard roll-out pass
Pete Carroll didn’t let him do much else Saturday afternoon. Maybe he’ll graduate to 10 yards in the Shoe.
Florida fails to cover that absurd 73-point spread
TIM TEBOW IS FALLIBLE AFTER ALL.
Alabama’s defense is vomit-inducingly good
It might be a decade before Virginia Tech is held to 155 total yards again.
Greg Paulus sucks at football, too
Did you see that interception? There’s more where that came from next weekend.
Tate Forcier throws three touchdown passes
That’s probably more than Michigan had in all of 2008.
The Illini are 0-5 against Missouri this decade. Might wanna stop playing them.
Baylor’s Robert Griffin is the man
After the holy trinity, he might be the nation’s fourth-best quarterback.
Washington might actually win a game this year
Yeah, yeah, LSU won the game. Whoopee. How bout Steve the Sark-dog Sarkisian and those Huskies?
Florida State and Miami still to play Monday night
Nobody cares anymore.
It was an entertaining opening weekend, one that purged the sporting world of the abysmal hemorrhoid known as baseball. I’m so happy right now I could cry.
Next week, Penn State destroys Syracuse, Michgan and Notre Dame get together to remember the good old days and the Trojans and Buckeyes do their dosey doe in Columbus.
Right Click to Download: 2009 Blue White Football Podcast Pump Up Video
Several years ago a torn anterior cruciate ligament would spell doom for just about any athlete, but thanks to recent advancements in modern medicine it usually costs the sufferer six to nine months rather than a career. With the recent news about sophomore linebacker Michael Mauti possibly tearing his ACL and likely missing all of the 2009 season, another Nittany Lion and particularly a linebacker, has gone down with an injury that has become all to common in Happy Valley.
Thinking back through the recent slew of stand out Penn State linebackers, all of them have had some form of a torn ACL or partial tear during their time in college or shortly there after. Paul Posluszny in the 2006 Orange Bowl exited the game after suffering a partial tear from a helmet to knee hit from Florida State running back Lorenzo Booker, leading to off-season rehab before his senior season. Dan Connor, after leaving Penn State unscathed, missed out on his rookie season in the NFL after he tore his ACL during a Carolina Panthers game while playing on special teams.
And just over a year ago, the next in line to take over the all-time tackles lead at PSU, Sean Lee suffered a similar injury during spring practice and was forced to sit out all of the 2008 season. Add to that DE/LB Jerome Hayes who has torn the ACL in each knee during the previous two years as well as DE Pete Massarro and you have a series of Lions all being afflicted with the same ailment.
The question then becomes is Penn State doing enough to prevent injuries which have become commonplace in college football? Given both the track record of team orthopaedic surgeon Wayne Sebastianelli as well as several opinions he has offered on the subject, it is clear that the Nittany Lions have taken measures to prevent these type of injuries. Plus add to that the remarkable recovery of his patients, who have returned to the game without missing a beat during the past few seasons and confidence must be given to Dr. Sebastianelli.
Next would be concerns over off-season practices and scrimmages, which often lead to tears as well as various other injuries. Cutting down on the number scrimmages or number of drills would certainly lessen the injuries, however it would also have the anticipated effect of a less prepared football team once the fall arrives.
It only seems logical to chalk up the various torn ACLs that have become rampant at Linebacker U to bad luck, moving forward with the hope that more players are not afflicted in the seasons to come.
As for the situation in 2009, the Nittany Lions should be able to handle the loss of Mauti as the linebacker unit may be one of the deepest in college football. Consider the fact that if Mauti were healthy and did earn the starting nod as some projected, then the bench would consist of former starter Josh Hull, promising junior Bani Gbadyu, special teams beast Nathan Stupar and a string of highly touted recruits anxious to get on the field. Considering Mauti will likely miss time, the Lions will now open with a linebacking corps that will consist of two All-American candidates and one former walk-on turned starter.