Notes From Media Day
August 17, 2011 – | No Comment

Before I begin, I should probably explain why we haven’t posted in a while. Frankly, it’s just been bad timing. I just got back from a study abroad program in Europe, and Charlie is still …

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Blue/White Roundtable: Akron Edition

Submitted by on August 31, 2009No Comment

A pleasant thank you to Zombie Nation for getting us going in this 2009 season with the first (regular season) roundtable of the year.  And as Penn State gears up to battle the Zips of Akron, all of us around the Penn State blogosphere will tackle the pressing issues surrounding the team.  Sorta.

1. We all know Penn State is going to beat Akron. But what is it about this year’s Penn State team that really scares the crap outta you? Basically, explain what will cause you to throw the tortilla chips across the room more than once this Saturday?
Well, I’ll be at the game, so no tortilla chips for me.  But I expect to be a little perturbed at Penn State’s defending of the passing game from Akron, at least early in the game.  Akron has Walt Harris as the QB coach, and though we can poke fun at “Wlat,” it was a good hire by the team.  They’ve got a decent QB, too, in Chris Jacquemain, and as Penn State works to get their legs underneath them, we good see some big chunks picked up in the air by Akron’s passing game.  I think that really depends on whether Penn State can get a consistent pass rush on Jacquemain, because there is zero chance they can run on our front seven.
2. Hopefully, the backups will see plenty of playing time this weekend. Which second-stringer(s) are you most interested in seeing take the field against a living, breathing opponent? What kind of role do you want to see them play this year? (Note: if you say Kevin Newsome, you have to talk about at least one other player, too)
I’m extremely excited to see the big boy, Brandon Ware, finally get some playing time.  When he committed to Penn State, the 370 next to his name told us everything we needed to know, even more than the lack of offers or 2-star rating.  Watching #99 warm up before games was an experience to behold, and word is that he’s managed to slim down and get into game shape, about 30 pounds lighter.  I want to see if he can put that size to use and be Penn State’s Terrence Cody, and this’ll be his first chance to do so.
3. So Penn State’s non-conference schedule sucks in terms of straight up opponent quality. That aside, tell us why or why not this opening slate will help or hurt this team later in the season.
This game, in and of itself, doesn’t hurt.  I frankly like playing a lesser team to start the season, and so, apparently, do the majority of BCS coaches and athletic directors.  With the 2009 squad, though, I feel even more strongly about getting a cupcake in week one (and two, and three).  As Penn State breaks in an entirely new group of wideouts and defensive backs, and even a mostly new offensive line, a few weeks to warm up will be good for them.  However, I don’t like the fact that we’re playing 4 joke opponents in the out-of-conference schedule.  Look at Ohio State last year: three cupcakes and a quality opponent in USC was the OOC, but nobody said they had a weak schedule.  Give me Temple and Akron the first couple weeks, but come back with, say, a low-level BCS school later.  If it was, say, West Virginia or Maryland instead of Syracuse that we were playing next week, there would be zero complaints.  But instead, we’ll be knocked all season for poor scheduling, especially due to the perceived weakness of our Big Ten brethren. What will it mean for this team to have Joe Paterno back on the sidelines again, right up in their facemasks, for ALL the games?
With such a young team, I think it’ll be a luxury rather than a necessity.  I know, that sounds like a contradiction, but we know there are leaders on this team.  Daryll Clark, Sean Lee, Jared Odrick, those are the guys taking the younger players under their wings and showing them the ropes.  This isn’t a team that will need to be fired up.  They won’t lose their concentration.  I see Joe Paterno playing more of the “Papa Joe” role with this team, explaining and teaching rather than yelling and screaming.
Quick Hits
1. Over/Under: Penn State’s offense gains 500 total yards.
1a. Over/Under: Penn State’s defense gives 350 total yards.
Under, but close
2. True/False: The student section will NOT fill out, even by the end of the game.
That’s tough.  I’ll say by the end of the first quarter, we’re at 95% capacity.  It only goes down from there, as Penn State runs away with it.
3. Are you going to the game?
Of course.
That’s it for me.  Look ahead to Charlie and Kevin giving their takes on these same issues later in the week.
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