With spring practice starting tomorrow, we thought it would be appropriate to have another BSD roundtable. This is part one. There will be two more parts which we will release tomorrow. Enjoy.
The big question on everyone's mind right now is how the quarterback competition is going to play out this spring. Who is your guy and why?
Junny - Paul Jones. Everyone has Kevin Newsome pegged as the man to beat in 2010, and if he shows the skills and tools the coaching staff wants, then I'll join the KNew camp. However, at this point, I feel that Jones is the man to beat. He is consistently seen as the better "pure passer" even if he does give some up in the way of elusiveness and ability to scramble. As I noted in an earlier "Meet Paul Jones" post, he is a linebacker playing quarterback with a cannon coming out of his shoulder. It will take at least three men to take this guy down (unless one isn't Adrian Clayborn), but he also has the pocket presence and touch to hit both the 7 yard crossing pattern and the Derrick Moye fly route.
FTG - As a WPIAL alum, the fine print on the back of my diploma stipulates that I have to support the local guy, Paul Jones, but I'm actually going to go with Kevin Newsome. Sue me. If Penn State wasn't playing at the defending national champion in week two, I might be more receptive to the idea of starting a true freshman at quarterback but simply put, Newsome is probably suited better for the early test than Jones. Ask me this question a year from now, or even halfway through the season, and maybe I'll like Jones better by then, but right now, I like Newsome's experience to start the season.
RUTS - Kevin Newsome. He has experience within the system and should be able to rely upon his stable of very good running backs and receivers for help. Additionally, if the offensive line struggles, he's the quarterback best-equipped to scramble for yardage. Ultimately, he'll be judged on one thing: taking care of the football. He'll be allowed to make a few mistakes, but the leash won't be too long.
KevinHD - It's Kevin Newsome. With universal greeishness at QB, there's value in being the fastest one and therefore the most likely to make something out of nothing. (I'm expecting a lot of "uh oh" moments in the pocket this year no matter who starts). He's also been in the system a full year, which can't hurt, and neither can his relative seniority over the other serious contenders.
Mike - I'm most curious to see Kevin Newsome run the offense. We've already seen how explosive he can be in the running game. I commented last year that it seems like he can go from standing still to top speed in two steps. Pair him up with Royster behind a veteran offensive line and this offense might average 300 rushing yards per game. I also hear that his teammates love him which I think goes a long way as a quarterback. But the passing game scares me to death right now. Rumors float around about Newsome's grasp of the playbook and his throwing mechanics. Penn State better stay out of long yardage situations regardless of who starts at quarterback.