Just one week ago today the whole world was talking about how Sam Ficken's 55 yard fg miss cost us a game against UCF. Now the world has egg on its' face, doesn't it? It seems that we've found Sam Fickens' range. 55 yards out...punt or go for the first down...54 yards or closer, kick the fg.
PSU is now 11-3 since last years' Virginia game. In coach O'Briens' tenure, which includes 5 losses, only one game felt like PSU got dominated...that was a 12 point loss to an Ohio State team that did not lose a game. Then there was the 11 point loss, made more dramatic of a spread by the fact that Lehman's td was not credited, against Nebraska. The other three losses, UCF, Virginia, and Ohio, all could have gone PSU's way. PSU is competing, week in week out, and they are also making Charlie Sheen proud by, you know...winning.
BORTLES (whine) AND JAMES (cooler)
Last week PSU got dismantled by a qb who is destined to be pretty good at the next level. Sour grapes turned to whine as we spoke about PSU's pass coverage. This week PSU's pass coverage was much better. While Williams and Lucas both got beat a couple of times, the safety play was much better this week. After one long completion that came between Lucas and Keiser in the first half, I counted three plays on the same type of pass by Ryan Keiser. The coverage territory that has been soft for PSU is a place about 15 yards off the line of scrimmage to the outside...not quite the deep third of the field, but the spot between the flat and where the deep corner are. The safety must come over to help on that play. Keiser made an interception, a two handed pass break up, and a diving pass breakup on similar plays after the initial completion. Dare I say that Keiser is on a role (Stolen from a banner at the game). It's critical that the safeties help the corners in that area, which allows the corners' focus to remain on the deep third.
The tight ends, starting with Jesse James, produced this week with fewer catches. Last week PSU's six-handed monster of tight ends, Brenneman, Carter, and James, had 8 catches for 75 yards. This week the three-nosed monster had 5 catches for 76 yards, including catches of 29 from Carter, and 27 from Brenneman, as well as a game opening catch by James. On Brennemans' 27 yarder, a 3rd and 2 play, the pass went for 5 yards, then Brenneman used a stiff arm to keep the initial tackler from taking him down for an 8 yard gain, while running another 20 yards. I think someone mentioned before that this guy is a true freshman, James is a scraggly old weathered sophomore, and Carter is a grey, arthritic, old Junior. They will all be back next season. It's nice to see the deep ball to Carter, this will open things up underneath as well as outside for the wr's.
Von Walker. Did you know that if you re-arrange a few letters in Von Walkers' name that it spells Vonr Walke? You can also spell Rev Walk On. The high priest of our current walk-ons. He's a true freshman run-on who took the first soggy kickoff return attempt. How about that...on a rainy day, an 18 year old guy who was in high school last year, left off the scholarship count, is counted on to return kicks? Walker had a good running fair catch on a punt on a wet day, and also got mop-up duty at tailback. I'm thinking our run-on program is working well, and examples like Walker are good for recruiting more run-ons. It's very important that we are able to cover the return positions with run-ons such as Walker and Della Valle. Not only are they capable, but it saves our wrs', rbs', db's from having to take reps at these positions during practice...they are able to focus on their positions and not special teams. It also takes away the chance of injury to a player in our starting lineup.
People will forget that this was such a soggy day when they look back at the stats. PSU held the other team off the board and also kept their own turnovers to a minimum (1).