Corn From a Jar asked us PSU bloggers to take part in another roundtable. So, like, read this and stuff.
It's hard to keep up with what every team is doing during the regular season, but by now we've had time to look up some stats and get at least a general feeling about the opponent. Based on that, what do you know about Tennessee that might cause you to worry? Are there any specific players on offense, defense, or special teams that might cause match-up problems for your team?
The Tennessee passing game is statistically pretty scary. Much like last year when we played Florida State, we're being told Penn State is going to have problems keeping up with "southern speed". Robert Meachem in particular is a dangerous player with a freakish combination of size and speed. But while Penn State may not be accustomed to this mythical "southern speed", I wonder if the Tennessee wide receivers have had anyone hit them in the mouth as hard as Penn State is going to.
On defense, Turk McBride could cause some problems for our average offensive line. And the the two Jonathons in the secondary are good players. The Penn State offense is going to have problems moving the ball. But then what else is new?
Moving from the boys on the field to the men on the sidelines, these two teams have the longest-tenured coaches in their respective conferences. As a Penn St. fan, what is your impression of Phillip Fulmer?
Galen took the high road. Not me.
Fulmer is a good recruiter and an ok football coach. But I wouldn't let my kid play for him. I guess I lost all respect for Fulmer during the tutor scandal when it was discovered that tutors were writing papers for Tennessee players. I was amazed that Fulmer kept his job after that. Some people speculated he had made a deal with the NCAA to be an informant for recruiting violations by other schools and that is why Tennessee wasn't sanctioned by the NCAA. I don't know if that's true or not, but Fulmer's players have been in trouble with the law on several occasions and I don't see any signs of change. Just this year some players were involved in a bar fight. I'm not saying these things don't happen at Penn State because they do, but not on the scale and frequency you see at Tennessee. Penn State players sit out entire seasons or get dismissed from the team entirely when they get in trouble with the law. I don't see that at UT.
So in a nutshell, Fulmer is no Paterno, but then who is. No offense to the University of Tennessee, it's alumni, or fans, but your football coach is an ass. And he sure loves him that fried chicken.
Each team has played one of the BCS Championship Game participants, and we've each played some bottom-feeders, too. Based on what you know about the opponent, how does Tennessee compare to the teams that you faced during the regular season?
I can't really compare Tennessee to anyone we've played. Everyone we played was either ranked in the top 10 or the bottom 50. Tennessee is a top 20 team, so this should be a good measuring stick for Penn State going into 2007. The team ranked closest to Tennessee that we played would be Notre Dame. There is a lot of similarity there on offense. Great passing game and ok running game. But I expect Tennessee will have a defense. Before Vol fans go drooling over the 41-17 drubbing Notre Dame put on Penn State, keep in mind the Lions had five turnovers in Anthony Morelli's second start. That was easily his worst game of the year.