Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mirror Mirror On the Wall

Who will be next to get the ball?

While at first glance, the options seem wide open--Newsome, McGloin, Bolden, Jones, and I even heard a rumor of Brett Brackett reprising his role as QB--Penn State fans might as well accept reality.

Newsome will be our starting quarterback.

While that isn't the end of the world, it isn't necessarily the best option.

According to Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Newsome may not be ready.

Penn State sophomore quarterback Kevin Newsome has plenty of work to do to convince his teammates and coaches that he is the right man for the starting job.
But, with spring drills set to start today, many of those same people have privately questioned whether he is the top candidate to lead Penn State's offense.
I heard similar rumors--he wasn't ready--at the end of the season last year. 

Historically, Penn State (read: JOE PATERNO) plays the more senior QB.  There have been exceptions, but if you are a gambling man, the safe money is on Newsome.

Newsome is the only one of the group with any significant collegiate playing time, but he barely edges out McGloin in that category.  Bolden won't even be on campus until the fall, so you can pretty much write him off now.  Think redshirt for him.

The only reason to move Bracket back to QB is if you are planning on reshirting both Jones and Bolden, and you want to strengthen the depth chart.

But between you and me . . . it doesn't matter.

I am normally the Kool Aid drinker.  I look at the world through blue and white colored glasses.  I predicted an undefeated season in 2000.  I usually chastise writers/bloggers who predict doom and gloom in the preseason.  But even I can't stomach enough Kool Aid or find glasses blue enough to make this season look good.

Let's consider the schedule:

@ Alabama
@ Iowa
@ Minnesota
@ Ohio State
@ Indiana (Fed Ex Field)

Pretty sure wins:  (2) YSU and Kent State
Probable wins: (2) Temple, Indiana
Can we really be sure?: (5) THEM, Northwestern, Minnesota, MSU, Illinois
Likely losses (3): Bama, Iowa, OSU (not coincidentally, all three are on the road!)

The success of the season, at least in terms of wins and losses, will come down to the category "Can we really be sure?"  I think you can argue that we should be able to win all of those games.  But I also wouldn't be too eager to wager money on any of them.

I submit to you that said success is not wholly dependent on which QB wins the job (and it will be Newsome.)  Instead, I fear the offense will be subjected to Paternoism.

Joe Paterno doesn't play the best QB--but the most experienced.  Of course, the job will be "wide open" until opening day.

Joe Paterno doesn't want an inexperienced QB (and even Newsome is inexperienced) to get rattled.  I would be surprised to see any passes over the middle.  I think we will see handoffs on first and second down and QB draws on third and long.  We will cheer for two yard pass plays thrown to the sideline.  I pray that I am wrong, but I have followed Paterno's formula far too many seasons to expect anything else.
I forsee this formula turning into an ugly mess in Tuscaloosa.  Our defense will be good enough to keep us in most games, but I think the offense is going to be scaled so far back that we will be getting plays from stone tablets instead of PlayStation.
Jay Paterno played Q and A with ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, Part 1 and Part II.  Here's a sprinkling of responses . . .
Jay Paterno: When we go out Friday and Saturday to practice, they're [the new QBs] not going to be able to handle everything that Daryll did, but you continue to build toward that. You have your base building blocks, things that are bread-and-butter plays for you [handoffs and draws], and things that they ran last fall, so you've just got to build off that.
How different will this spring be for you with so many young guys on the field?

Jay Paterno: Obviously, it's a lot different. You can't immediately do all the things we did last year with Daryll. [Roll back the playbook like they roll back prices at Walmart!]

What are your expectations, realistically, for these guys, and where would you like to see them at the end of the spring?
JP: It's hard to say where you want to see them. . . hopefully we can get those guys to move beyond that and be able to add some things and continue to grow. And I think they will be able to.
JP: You always wish you'd played the second guy and the third guy more than you did. There's really nobody in the country who would tell you differently.  And the answer is, "Well, do you want us to stick him in there in the third quarter against LSU when we're in a tight game? [No, but there were a lot of other games they could have gotten more playing time!]
Granted, no coach knows for sure how any replacement is going to perform.  So words like "hopefully" and "I think" should not be over-read.  But wouldn't it have been comforting to read some quotes about how great the progress is already?

If you watch how other schools handle things like this--think of Colt McCoy's replacement in the Texas title game--you didn't see the offense go into a shell, playing not to lose, and holding things back to make the new guy comfortable.  Things are different at Penn State.  The starter goes down, and the staff scrambles to change the plays to protect the new QB.  Again, I don't want to deal in absolutes--sometimes you have to change things because different QBs have different styles.  But for the love of God, can we at least call some innovative plays that have a chance of success, and perhaps the team can learn from any mistakes made?  I'd rather go down whiffing on a fast ball than taking the final pitch.  TRY TO WIN.  Is it possible that the reason we seem to take so much time developing QBs is that they never have a chance to learn from mistakes--that the playbook is spoon fed to them too slowly???

So what do you think?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Coffee Anyone?

Twice in one day.  I must really be special . . .
I've heard that you've been named PSU poster boy[typical nit fan] because of your filthy, garbage mouth, language, etc. Bet your family, friends, clients, etc. are equally proud of you, getting wacked, losing your column in pennlive & all for such childish, boorish, behavior. I'll still meet you for coffee this spring when I visit Lewisburg if you like, just in case you have something to say to me. Would dearly love to meet you Toddy.


The Beat(ing) Goes On

Things must be pretty boring in Dick's world:
Since the buckeyes beat the nits 75% of the time, your basketball team 'REALLY' sucks, forget baseball I have an idea Toddy. Take your girls volleyball team, only thing you have to boast about, & let them play mens basketball, I think they would do better for sure. Of course they'd have to wear skirts which is what the boys should be wearing so no big deal. Hey Toddy, how come the Paterno the ultimate phony refuses to play Pitt? Only state where the two top teams[div 1] do not play each other. I know the answer, Joe is afraid to play them especially last couple yrs, they'd whup ya real good & you know it, Non-conf chumps & lower tier big ten teams is what he chooses. B4 big ten entry it was east coast chumps with an occasional good tem thrown in. What phonys, can't wait till you play Alabama Toddy, can you?

your buckeye buddy Richie

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Still Monologuing

Or stalking as one of my readers commented.

I received no response from my "buddy" Dick Foust after I published the Buckeye Monologues, a series of emails from this guy after a brief exchange got me fired from PennLive.

Apparently, he either hasn't read it, or doesn't care.

Hi Doc,

Ya miss me, have'nt talked to ya lately, & I do sorta miss your filthy garbage mouth a lil bit. Just ain't the same anymore since you got wacked. Did ya watch the Buckeyes destroy the gophers today? Don't ya wish that could be the nits? But someone has to be the cellar dweller, may as well be your chitty nits. Can't wait till football season starts so we can kick your butt one more time, cause as you know your turn only comes once every 4-5 yrs, law of averages ya know. Ya mite well see us in nat title game coming year, so be prepared to look & wish one more time doctor do-little. Hope you're having a nice winter. Ta-Ta!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Award Honors Paterno

The Maxwell Football Club (not to be confused with the Maxwell House Coffee Club) has announced a new award, named in honor of Joe Paterno.
The Maxwell Football Club is establishing the Joseph V. Paterno Award, which will be presented annually to a college football coach who has had a great impact on his university, players, community and state. Specific criteria for the award have yet to be determined.
The 83-year-old Paterno is major college football's winningest coach with 394 victories over 44 seasons. The Hall of Famer said Friday that he was deeply honored by the newly named award.
Penn State led all Top 25 teams in 2009 with an 89 percent federal graduation rate, according to NCAA data. The Paterno family is also well-known in Happy Valley for philanthropy, including giving more than $4 million to the university during the coach's tenure to fund endowed faculty positions, scholarships and other academic and building projects.
How many coaches in any sport--or any individual in particular not limited to sports for that matter--can match the list of accolades Paterno has amassed--Hall of Fame, Career victories, statue, Library, and now a prestigious award--and received these honors not only while still alive, but while still active in his profession?

He just keeps Joe-ing and Joeing, and Joeing . . .