BSD Mailbag 10.15.13

Justin K. Aller

You've got questions, BSD has answers.

Which is the real Penn State defense? The one that played Indiana or the one that played Michigan? spigmana

One of the coolest things about following college football is that you get to see teams develop throughout the course of the season. I'll take an optimistic stance and say the defense that took the field against Michigan is the unit we'll see for the rest of 2013. Players improve individually with experience, and collectively as they become more familiar with one another. Furthermore, coaches have a better idea what the team is capable of after a handful of games and can adjust accordingly. Either way, we'll find out very soon as they prepare to take on the Buckeyes.

What should BOB do with the running backs going forward? Zwinak is good but has ball security issues. Belton is good but is not much of a power back. Lynch is good but has not seen much playing time for secret reasons. Should BOB continue with what we have seen thus far or try a different approach? Biohazard2011

Zwinak didn't play another down after his costly fumble on Saturday for one of two reasons- O'Brien lost his trust in him, or he needed to teach him a lesson. I was hoping that Zwinak's fumble issues were caused by the wear and tear last season, but that's clearly not the case as we've learned this fall. I think we'll continue to see all three with Belton taking on a larger role. It seems odd that Lynch isn't getting more carries, but that's likely due to a need to round out his game and become a complete back before he's able to take on a big role. We were all screaming that JoePa didn't know what he was doing a few years ago when Curtis Dukes was absent from the lineup, and then quickly learned it was because he couldn't pass-block to save his life. My guess is Belton and Zwinak swap roles, but BO'B going with whoever has the hot hand at that time.

Where does this game rank? I’m thinking purely in terms of entertainment. This game had it all. There have been bigger wins with more at stake, but I can’t remember too many games that were as fun to watch as this one. bearwithscarf

I've been going to a few games a year since 1997, and this was the most entertaining game I've seen in person. I would still have to go with the 2005 Ohio State game, and possibly the 400 and 409 games too because those games were more meaningful overall. But if I had to relive any game for three (or four) hours, that one would have to be it.

Did I really just see what I saw?? i.e.. The Orange Bowl part duex? psu1313

Want to hear something eerie? I was standing near the end zone with former BSDer Mike Pettigano after Allen Robinson's miraculous catch near the end of regulation. He looked at me and said, "I don't know why, but this game just has an Orange Bowl feel to it." I reminded him what he said before the start of the fourth overtime and we just shook our heads in amazement.

Is this truly a turning point? So far, Penn State is a shaky 4-2 on the season. Questions still exist on both sides of the football, even if special teams are now ironed out. Penn State’s faced three good teams so far (UCF, Indiana, and Michigan), and has won only one of those matches. Further, Penn State had the chance to win a similar game when UCF was in town and did not. Saturday’s game was against Michigan, on ESPN, in prime time, with a White Out. I suppose it’s a game that Penn State is expected to win. All things considered, I hold the opinion that UCF and Michigan are equally dangerous when everything is clicking. UCF won in Beaver Stadium, and Michigan went to four overtimes. Back to the question: Is this the place in the season where the Lions chalk up the victory that sets the tone, or is it a fluke? Ethan Henderson

This team showed a killer instinct and resiliency it hasn't demonstrated so far this season. They definitely grew up before our eyes, and learned quite about about themselves and what they're capable of. It feels like they turned a corner, but only time can tell if it's truly a turning point or not.

What are the chances of keeping ARob for his senior year and where does he currently rank in the pantheon of PSU receivers? Success With Honor Always

By this point I've accepted the fact Robinson will be playing on Sundays next year. Before the season started I thought he had a chance to become the best receiver in the nation. Now I truly feel he's accomplished that. He's got all the tools the NFL is looking for in a number one receiver, and any team will be fortunate to have him. With that being said, I will be extremely happy if I'm wrong and he's still in the blue and white next season.

1994 history tells us that if we beat Michigan, have a bye week, and then play Ohio State that we should beat Ohio State by at least 7 touchdowns. Are the historical lessons of 1994 to be believed, and if so, as a resident of Ohio, what is the best way to prepare for the inevitable chaos? Aqua Velva Man

Of course. This Ohio State team has Braxton Miller, so I'll say the good guys win 77-28. Unless Penn State takes the field with a bunch of tiny Bill O'Briens. In that case the score should be 112-0. As an Ohioan, I've learned you won't have to deal with much chaos as I've never seen a group of people jump off the bandwagon quicker than OSU fans following an unexpected loss.

Best cure for referee-induced voice loss? Smee

Tea with honey and lemon has brought my voice back from the dead several times after attending a big Penn State game.

Any good resources for legal videos of full games I know there cannot be links to illegal streams, prawns, etc., but I was wondering if there was anything like either iTunes or Amazon VODwhere I could legally purchase the video to enjoy and bask in for the rest of eternity. PSUping

None that I'm aware of, but I'll include this in case anyone can help in the comments section.

How far can you punt a football? garder54

I can consistently punt a football about 35 yards in the air. That doesn't do much good unless you're punting from your own 40, which is unforgivable in BO'B's mind.

Should I buy a new belt? WorldBFat

Are you pants resting peacefully around your ankles? If so, then yes.

Who would you rather beat any given year if you could only beat one, and why? Michigan or Ohio State? millzners

As an Ohioan, I definitely will go with Ohio State. The annual Penn State-Ohio State match-up isn't just my favorite game of the year, it's my favorite day of the year. But even if I didn't have a personal connection to the rivalry, I'm certain i would still take Ohio State without a second thought. Ohio State has been sitting on top of the Big Ten for the better part of a decade now. I don't care how much you hate Michigan, those types of wins are always much more meaningful.

A magic fortune cookie gives you the outcome of one non-championship game. Which one would you want it to be and why? Would you read the fortune? Would you eat the cookie? confirmy

This is a fantastic question that I feel guilty about giving such a boring answer, but I don't think I would want any part of that cookie. We get to watch 12 or 13 Penn State games unfold before our eyes every year. i would never want to do anything that makes that number any smaller.

With more scholarships now available should we recruit a Fullback? And if we do recruit one, does his name have to begin with "Z"? jebvolc

I noticed a huge difference in the run game once Zerbe was inserted. If Belton ends up with a bigger workload the remainder of the season, I would expect to see Zerbe quite a bit more. It may not fit BO'B's offense exactly, but a bruising lead back will make any team better.

Has a law enforcement official ever restrained/subdued you with assistance from pepper spray? bscaff

No. I've been smart/lucky enough to stay on the right side of the law, so I don't know what that feels like. But this here Michigan Man certainly knows that feeling.


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