Mr. Gameday had a rough night last night. He did his best to put together a Nitt Links for you this morning, but at some time everything went dark and the last thing he remembers is waking up on the bathroom floor this morning. So you get me instead.
The Big Ten Schedule for the 2013 and 2014 seasons were announced recently. Iowa and Northwestern rotate off the schedule while Michigan and Minnesota come back on. That leaves out Sparty, who I assume Penn State will play in the 2015 season. Personally, I don't like the thought of going four years without playing an opponent. Maybe they could work it some how where they don't exchange home-and-home in successive years to mix up the opponents. I don't know. It is what it is. Not that Michigan State is complaining. The Spartans don't have to play Ohio State, Penn State, or Wisconsin in 2013 or 2014.
The BSD Curse?
Apparently we have our own version of the Sports Illustrated cover curse going on around here. First we told Curtis Drake it was time to step up and he broke his leg. Then we told Pete Massaro to step up and he tore his ACL. This week we told Derek Moye to step up, and now we learn Moye has suffered a concussion. Not a major injury, but Moye has officially been shut down for spring practice.
The Ragin' Cajun
I think it is safe to say the linebackers were a little soft last year. Injuries played a huge role in that, but there was also very little experience. This year the reports coming out of spring practice are that the linebackers are looking absolutely nasty. And Mike Mauti is leading them at middle linebacker.
"Last year was little more tough, it being my first year starting," (Mauti) said. "But I feel like I’ve put some time in, me and along with a lot of other guys. I think that’s one big difference from this team to last year’s team is we got a lot more quantity of guys with leadership status."
Quarterbacks Taking the Lead
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg spent a few days in State College observing practice. Check out his blog for some really good content on that this week. One thing I found interesting is that Rob Bolden is taking on more of a leadership role this year.
Shotgun snaps were becoming a problem during Penn State's scrimmage Monday at Holuba Hall.
One, two, three, four snaps sailed away from quarterback Rob Bolden. When the offense huddled for the next play, Bolden had a message for his center.
"He went right over and said, 'Hey, that's four. You better cut that out,'" quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said. "[Bolden] would not have done that last year."
The other interesting thing I read is that when Matt McGloin got in the scrimmage the center had trouble remembering the snap count. So you can officially move me from the cautiously optimistic column into the concerned column in regard to Matt Stankiewitch. As Rittenberg points out, Joe Paterno pretty much feels the same way about the offensive line.
Joe Paterno didn't hide his concern about Penn State's offensive line when addressing reporters last week.
"We don't have any depth there," the coach said. "We don't have a good, solid first-string offensive line yet. That's our first job."
I don't get how teams like Iowa and Wisconsin just seem to plug in new guys every year and never miss a beat while we just never seem to quite get it all clicking at the same time. Every year it seems half of the line is awesome and the other half is the turnstile and the banana peel.
In Scores of Other Games
Despite being loaded with veterans, there seems to be some healthy competition going on in the defensive backfield.