The win feels good but what does it tell us about the upcoming game against the Tide? My guess is that things could get ugly.
Bolden showed us that he can/will be a PSU great. That said, I have a lot of concerns going into this weekend's match up, starting with the O-line. I don't think we should blame the RBs for the poor performance, although, Royster was tackled by the white lines on numerous occasions. The YSU front, with the help of the blitz completely confused our O-line and quickly shut down any brief gaps. Even more concerning to me, was the number of hits Bolden took. While there were no sacks, he was harrassed and knocked down on numerous occasions. Against a bigger, faster, and strong D-line - like Ala's - I would think those knock-downs will turn into sacks. Bolden's ability (which is great for an 18 year old) to read the defensive backfield and find the open receiver won't matter if he only has 2 seconds to look around.
Along those same lines, I expect there to be even less running room, which doesn't bode well for our backs. Royster was too patient last year and showed he will be too patient this year. Too patient? Yeah, with a line like ours we need a back who will make something happen, break a tackle, or bounce it outside. I think Green gives us a better shot, but I don't expect either to find much space.
The WRs showed that they can play once things get going. There were too many drops, but I will tack that up to limited experience playing with Bolden and some first game jitters. IF Bolden has time to throw, I expect our WRs to step up and help him out this week. Hopefully we will start the game with a lot of screens, draws, and quick hits to get the Ala D-line off our guys a bit.
Will they tackle early? That is my big question. Our D-line and LBs showed their depth as expected and after the first quarter or so, started to really hit hard. But there were way too many missed tackles early on. Overall, the bend but don't break worked well with the exception of the one screen pass. They will need to come out hot and there will be no room for missed tackles on 9/11/10.
speed lack of speed with our safeties is concerning as well. Hopefully Sukay will start deap and just keep getting deaper once the ball is snapped. With the front 7 and our Hero coming up to stop the run, he won't have any help over the top.
I think this could be our big advantage. We'll need to play the field position game if we plan to score any points. As implied above, I think it will be difficult for our offense to move the ball. If the defense can tackle we should be able to force some 3 and outs or at least force some punts. It will be up to our returners (Kickoff and Punt), gunners, and Fera to ensure we win the field position battle. If they do that, Wagner
will should be money within 50 yards giving us some points.
I don't expec the O-line to step up. Alabama will come out fast with a 17 point lead; at least 7 of those will come off great field position due to a sack/fumble or interception caused by heavy pressure. Our special teams and defense will come up with a big play or two to get some points on the board going into halftime with a score of 20-3.
We'll play better in the 2nd half, but it won't be enough. The Alabama defense will continue to harass Bolden and our defense may tire a little in the heat. Final score: 30-13 with our TD coming off good field position due to a great kickoff or punt return.
I hope I am wrong, but our performance against YSU left a lot to be desired.