Another Wednesday, another Blue & White Roundtable. Today's episode features the regular players. Your truly takes the lead role with the questions. The Nittany Line and Run Up The Score answer them, but this week we welcome JB from There Is No Name On My Jersey to the mix, so go check him out as well. If any other PSU bloggers want to get in on the roundtable just drop me an email and we'll put you on the distribution list. On to the fun.
The big news this week is Spencer Ridenhour leaving the team to go play somewhere else. What effect will this have on the defense?
Hopefully not much. It was already decided that Tony Davis and Anthony Scirrotto will be the starting safeties. As long as they stay healthy (and out of trouble) it shouldn't hurt us at all. If they do get injured we'll have to turn to either converted wide receiver Mark Rubin or one of a plethora of freshmen like Cedric Jefferies or Travis McBride. If we get really desperate we'll turn to Nick Sukay or Jason Ganter.
Do you think we've seen the end of the transfers or is there potential to see a few more kids announce their intention to leave the program in the coming weeks?
There are a few players you have to wonder about. The aforementioned Mark Rubin for one. He had a great freshman year as a wide receiver when Penn State was desperate for them. Then he got injured and didn't play in 2005. When he came back in 2006 he found the wide receiver depth chart loaded with Deon Butler, Derrick Williams, Jordan Norwood along with Chris Bell and James McDonald in reserve. So he got moved to safety, and we all see what Spencer Ridenhour thinks about the safety situation right now.
I'm also worried about all of our linebacker talent. Right now it appears juniors Jerome Hayes, Tyrell Sales, and Dontey Brown have all been beaten out for the vacant linebacker spot by redshirt freshman Navorro Bowman. Sean Lee has just as much eligibility as they do. Next year only Dan Connor graduates leaving one spot for them to compete over. And a collection of young stud talent is coming in with Chris Colasanti, Nate Stupar, Mike Zordich, Mike Mauti, and Mike Yancich. Sales, Hayes, and Brown have to be wondering if they're ever going to see the field.
Who was your favorite Penn State quarterback of all time?
Without a doubt, Tony Sacca. The guy was tough as nails and had that swagger I love to see in a quarterback. If he threw you the ball and you dropped it you were getting a nasty stare all the way back to the huddle. Sacca was the quarterback on the 1990 team that upset #1 Notre Dame in South Bend. I remember one play in particular where an Irish defensive end wrapped himself around Tony's leg trying to bring him down in the pocket. Tony stood tall in the pocket and threw the ball down field for a first down with this 275 lb guy hanging on his ankle. When the defender realized the ball had left he let go. As Tony confidently walked down the field he casually gave the lineman a glance over his shoulder as if to said, "Is that all you got?" It was priceless.
Tony was drafted in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals. He never threw a tight spiral to begin with. In training camp he told the coach he was having trouble throwing the professional football which is bigger in diameter than the college football. The coach responded, "Well, that's the ball we play with, son." Tony didn't last long in the NFL.
I know this goes against 100 years of tradition, but should Penn State honor former players by retiring their jerseys?
I don't think retiring numbers is a good idea, but some guys should be recognized in some way. They have the new museum which is good, but I would like to see a ring of honor or something like that in the stadium. I think it would be awesome to have visiting teams walk out on that field and everywhere they look they see names like Hamm, Reid, Onkotz, Moore, Mitchell, Cappelletti, Buttle, Clark, Warner, Dozier, Blackledge, Conlan, Carter, Collins, Engram, Brady, Hartings, Enis, Arrington, Brown, Johnson, Robinson, Hunt, and Posluszny. I think it would help give Beaver Stadium a mystic feel to it. It would distract and intimidate opposing players and fans. Current players would look up at those names and remember those who came before them. I think that would be really cool.
Preseason projections and polls are starting to slowly leak out. What does your top five look like?
The correct answer is:
- USC - Absolutely loaded on talent yet again. Dear God, please give Pete Carroll a huge offer to go coach in the NFL.
- LSU - Yeah, Jamarcus Russell is gone, but they still return 14 starters from the team that destroyed Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
- Michigan - Loads of talent on offense. If the defense is even respectable watch out.
- Oklahoma - They return 15 starters from last year, and they have something to prove after losing to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.
- Texas - Mack Brown can flat out recruit. Colt McCoy was good last year as a freshman. This year he's going to be scary.
It's definitely easier to reload on defense these days. You can take a young player on defense, put him in your base set and tell him either guard this guy if it's a pass or go get the ball if it's a run. Offense is much more difficult to reload on. Everyone has to be on the same page. The quarterback has to know what the wide receivers are doing. The offensive linemen all have to know their assignments and trust the guy next to them does too. Timing is key on offense which makes it much harder to plug in new players and go.
Remember in 2006 that Ohio State was in the same position Michigan is in now. They returned everyone on offense and had to almost entirely rebuild the defense. That worked out pretty well for them, for at least the first twelve games anyway.
Do you have any crazy superstitions before or during the game? (I'll accept any pre-game ritual, even if it isn't done for good luck.)
Our friend Kling is a huge Raiders fan. Before each game he insists we listen to the Raiders theme song. If you ever stayed home sick from work and watched ESPN in the middle of the afternoon you probably have heard it on an old episode of NFL films. The cheesy poem at the beginning is the best.
The autumn wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea
With a rollicking song he sweeps along
His face is weather beaten
He wears a hooded sash
With his silver hat about his head
And a bristly black mustache
He growls as he storms the country
A villain big and bold
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
As he robs them of their gold
The autumn wind is a Raider
Pillaging just for fun
He'll knock you around and upside down
And laugh when he's conquered and won
If you're reading this, shout out to the Kling-man! Holla! To date I see no evidence that has any effect on the outcome of the Penn State game.
I'm drawing a blank for another question, so let's go with the old standby. Finish this sentence: Les Miles is so dumb...
He once told a recruit to meet him at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk.
That's all for this week. Go check out the other guys to see what they have to say.