Watching replays of several games from last year, I re-remembered some issues that we had. I thought I’d make a list of the five that pissed me off the most, and ask you guys to add your own.
1. Third Downs.
We converted a dismal 34% on third down. That was good for a tie with West Virginia and Texas State for 109th place. We made 59 third downs out of 172 opportunities. In other words, we walked off the field 113 times.
With traffic cone and scarecrow anchoring our line, it will take some creative play calling by Franklin to fix this problem.
Big Run Plays vs. Our D
We gave up a run of 10 yards or more 14% of the time. The other team ran on us 441 times. They ran for ten or more yards 62 times. They picked up at least 20 yards 16 times. While we had a solid defense last year, those creases for the opponents’ run game were there.
We were an abysmal 118th in average punt distance last year. Our average was a paltry 39.4 yards. Our longest, with a downhill lie and the wind at our backs, was just 66 yards. I know I’m not the only one that dreaded seeing our punter on the field. I’m hoping for some special teams magic this year…
We averaged 8 yards per return on punts and 19 yards per return on kickoffs. I don’t know where that ranks nationally, but it ain’t good. We have some speed this year and we have a special teams coach. Improvement is likely.
This is unsupported by statistical evidence, but I didn’t think we tackled well. I remember a lot of "thud" jokes early on. But in reviewing some games, we bounced off a lot of guys. Some of that was likely the limited tackling in practice, but it was just so un-Penn State of us.
Nothing makes my dad angrier than a missed tackle. He’ll call me from a game to ask if I saw it. Make a geezer happy this year boys – stick somebody to the turf.
I could go on, but our 8-week-old lab just woke up and needs my attention.
You all can tell me I’m wrong, that punt distance is meaningless, or dispute my data with yours, I don’t mind. I just want to talk some football without all that other crap.
And we’ve got time to kill before the next kickoff. Let's have at it.