Showing posts with label Kevin Newsome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevin Newsome. Show all posts

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:

YOUNGSTOWN STATE
@ Alabama
KENT STATE
TEMPLE
@ Iowa
ILLINOIS
@ Minnesota
THEM
NORTHWESTERN
@ Ohio State
@ Indiana (Fed Ex Field)
MICHIGAN STATE

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?