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Blue & White Roundtable

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Time for the weekly Blue and White Roundtable. Run Up The Score is hosting this week so be sure to go check out his take as well as that of The Nittany Line.

You're going to hear the argument from now until Saturday, but let's just settle this for the entire nation right now.  Who is the #2 team in the country?

Right now I think it's Michigan. But my opinion changes week to week. Even though the Big Ten season is done, every other conference still has a game or two to go so we still have a few weeks of football. If USC beats Notre Dame, I will probably bump them up to #2. But no way Notre Dame gets ranked ahead of Michigan no matter what they do. Also, Arkansas and Florida have two tough games left. If one of them wins out and USC loses I would probably rank them ahead of Michigan. I'm against seeing a rematch of the OSU-Michigan game. Ohio State shouldn't have to beat Michigan twice to win the title. Likewise, if they split the series, Michigan should not be crowned the National Champion.

Meeting a lot of people's expectations, Penn State finished 8-4 this season. However, they looked pretty awful in just about every game. Do you subscribe to the "a win is a win, a loss is a loss" theory when it comes to the 2006 season?

I was disappointed with this season. I didn't think we would go undefeated, but I was expecting more like 10-2. I thought Notre Dame was a game we could win. Based on their performance against Michigan State, Michigan, and UCLA I think I was justified in that thinking. I thought we would beat Michigan at home. The score was close but realistically we weren't as competitive in that game as I would have liked to have seen.

I do believe a win is a win. You have to believe that if you are going to be a Penn State fan because Penn State never wins on style points. Over a century of history we make a habit of winning the ugly games. But I do think a loss can be more than just a loss. When your team seemingly gets worse from one week to the next, it's not just another loss. It's an indication of a system or practice that isn't working.

Who should be Penn State's starting quarterback next season?

Do you want the A answer or the B answer? The B answer is Anthony Morelli because he has the experience and he'll be the senior who has been around the program for three years now. The A answer is whoever the coaches feel will give us the best opportunity to win. If that's the sophomore Daryll Clark so be it. If it's the freshman Pat Devlin so be it. Heck, if it's Kevin Suhey then fine. I don't care. I just want a fair competition and I want the best player on the field. If that's Anthony Morelli I can live with it, but I want to hear that it was at least open for debate in the spring.

We agree that changes should be made to the PSU coaching staff, but do you see any staff shakeup on the horizon?

I heard a message board rumor an assistant coach was going to step down after the season. Before you get all excited, I don't think it will be Jay Paterno. I suspect it will be Dick Anderson. The guy has been coaching for 30 years now and from what I hear Paterno has talked him out of retiring a dozen times in the past. Even if it isn't Dick, they should consider giving him a nice package and politely ask him to step aside. We have been underachieving on the offensive line for several years now. It takes too long for our highly touted recruits to develop and some of them never do. We just had a kid (Auletta) who was almost a lock to be a starter next year decide to leave the team. Greg Harrison left the team earlier this year. I get the impression either these kids don't enjoy playing for him or they don't want to stick around to see who is going to coach next year. But while Anderson may not be able to develop top notch recruits, you have to give him his props. He brought some big named kids into the program so he was a good recruiter.

Galen Hall is rumored to be stepping down soon, but he just said in a press conference he intends to return next season. I hope he does because I think he is the only person on the offensive side with any creative play calling abilities.

There is a lot of uncertainty heading into next season.  Give us three reasons for hope and three reasons for despair in 2007.

Reasons for Hope

1.    The defense will be great again. Fortunately we do reload on that side of the ball. A.J. Wallace and Spencer Ridenhour are going to fight it out for Donnie Johnson's safety spot. Hayes, Brown, and Sales are going to fight it out for Poz's void. On the defensive line we played a lot of freshman so there should be able to put together a decent line to replace the Shaw's, Johnson, and Alford.
2.    The wide receivers are still fast
3.    Andrew Quarless is going to be a beast after an off season in the weight room.

Reasons for Despair

1.    The losses of Levi Brown, Robert Price, and Chris Auletta leave gaping holes on the offensive line, and not the kind of gaping holes Austin Scott wants to run through. Right now the starters at left guard and left tackle are anyone's guess. On the plus side, we can't do much worse than Robert Price so giving another kid a shot there isn't so bad. Of the guys we return, Shaw and Orhnberger have much to be desired.
2.    Anthony Morelli didn't show much improvement over the course of the year. He needs to have a fantastic off season or someone else has to step up and take charge in order for this offense to improve.
3.    We lose Kapinos.

Lightning Round:

Who does PSU play in the Outback Bowl?

Right now it looks like Auburn, but since we played each other in the Outback Bowl a few years ago they may choose LSU instead. I like the way we match up with Auburn better.

What underrated senior will PSU miss the most next year?

Jeremy Kapinos. Time after time the offense stalled and he bailed us out with a big punt.

Stony Brook?!?

Is Stony Brook even a school? It sounds more like a retirement community. How did we lose to a bunch of old people in walkers?

Will Steve Spurrier take over at Alabama, Miami, or stay at South Carolina?

I think Miami wants him and he would be a good fit. Larry Coker tried to play the classy coach in the media but then let his players do whatever they want. At least Spurrier won't put up the charade and would be fun to watch.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gobble Gobble!