After a Penn State loss, I dread logging on to the 'net. I dread the morose ramblings of Bob Flounders and Dave Jones. I know that the Stewart Mandel's and Dennis Dodds' of the media are just salivating at the opportunity to blast the Nits for being overrated (side note, Mandel actually wrote a decent article on the game, praising Iowa). Yet I still go on the web first thing in the morning. Why? I want to find some kind of silver lining. I want someone on the team to say "It's ok...we'll get better, we're better than that." I want someone to say that the opponent was the best team since the advent of the forward pass. I want someone to write about the positives from the Lions' side: the defensive effort, the kick covereage--that's a reach, I guess.
Most times there is some positive to take away from a loss. Honestly, I am struggling to find one after last night. The offensive line is still an area of concern. Too many times, the tackles and guards were bullied, thrown aside, run around. First and10 from the 6, toss sweep to Royster. Suhey is in perfect position to clear the lane, but the right guard can't hold the block and Royster is tackled at the one. 3rd and 10 from deep again, Troutman is bulled by Binns and Clark has to unload early. I am used to PSU o-lines being the bullies, not being bulled. I personally think that the character of this group of players will determine if the Lions move forward from this or if a return to 8-4/7-5 is likely.
Open field tackling last night was abhorrent. The tandem of Hawkeye running backs made LBs and Safeties look slow, and normally sure tackling Hull and Astorino both had issues. on the Hawkeye's lone offensive TD drive.
I guess one quasi-positive outcome from last night is the fact that the secondary faced a legitimate passing quarterback and performed well enough. They were fortunate there were some drops, and the middle looked somewhat soft, but the corners played well.
I look at the future schedule, and am now not sure that what I thought were "gimmes" are even winnable. Indiana looks more athletic, Minnesota has talent, Wisconsin has found an offense. The coaches have their work cut out for them. There are a ton of still unanswered questions about this team.
I hate post-loss Sundays.