Welcome to what may possibly be the next-to-last Blue-White Roundtable for a while. We may do one after the bowl game, but then we're going to hang it up. We'll break it out once in a while during the offseason and we'll get it going full tilt again next year, but honestly it's a pain to do this in the offseason. There's just nothing to talk about so we end up talking about beer, women, and music. And we can do that without a roundtable. So enjoy the BWR while it's here. This is a special BWR in that we each came up with a question for the group. Here it is in all it's glory. Enjoy.
WFY: Do you think any of the quarterbacks below Anthony Morelli will get any meaningful playing time on Saturday?
I hope so. This is a meaningless game. Winning it really won't make any difference in the big picture of things. Next season will be our best chance to make a run since 2005, and it may be our best chance to make a run for the next few years. So we have the opportunity to give some of next year's starters some playing time. I hope they take advantage of it.
Unfortunately they won't. Joe Paterno views the bowl game as a reward for a good season. In Joe's eyes, Morelli led the team so he deserves to play in the bowl game. He'll see all of the snaps unless they put the game away early.
TNN: Other than the quarterbacks, what players would you like to see get significant playing time in the game for preparation for 2008?
Well, other than quarterback there are only two starting positions we need to replace. One is at running back with Rodney Kinlaw leaving. I'm sure Evan Royster will get 10-15 carries as he's done all season. So I'm not worried about that.
The other key person we need to replace is Dan Connor. So I would like to see Chris Colasanti get a lot of playing time. In fact I would like to see him start for no other reason than to just let him get those jitters out of the way now so he can focus on football next year. It would give him a tremendous confidence boost going into the offseason. I think he'll be a starter at outside linebacker in the opener next year.
Other players I would like to see play a lot would be Chris Bell, A.J. Wallace, and Stephen Wisneiwski. I'm also hoping to see Andrew Quarless have a big game. He needs it.
TINNOMJ: Will Royster finish the game healthy? If not, how concerned should fans be about the RB position in '08?
You can't predict injuries. You never expect a player to get hurt. If he does get hurt I don't think it's a big concern. He had some bumps and bruises this year, but he played through them. The few times he sat he said he could have gone back in but the coaches held him out. He could have played Division I-A lacrosse if wanted to, so I'm not concerned one bit about his toughness.
BSD: Obviously a loss to Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl would be devastating for the psyche of the program going into the offseason. But is there anything good that can come out of beating a middle of the road Big XII team in a non-New Years Day bowl game? Basically, tell me why I should care about this game.
Making any bowl game is good if for nothing else than the extra three weeks of practice you get. It's like a pre-spring practice for the coaches. They get to evaluate the young talent and shuffle some guys around to see what they can do. So that in itself is a good thing.
We've all seen how this fan base reacts after a loss. They wring their hands at the coaching staff. They call for Joe's head. They call for Jay's head. They drag out our record over the past seven years and point at it and demand change. The message boards dive into their endless "Kool-aid drinkers" vs. "Realists" debates. It's ugly, but it usually only lasts for a week until we beat up Temple or Northwestern and then it goes away. If we lose this game to the Aggies that sour taste will last the entire offseason. It will also affect our preseason ranking next year. So it's important that we win this game so we don't have as many teams to jump in the polls. If we're going to make a run next year ending this season on a high note is imperative.
TNL: Will 2008 be JoePa's last year and if so will the old man bow out gracefully or will he be forced out?
I personally think it will be his last year. It may not be Joe's choice, but he will leave gracefully. He's smart enough to know he can't coach forever. And he's not going to let his last day on the job ruin his entire 40 year career and legacy.
RUTS: When Joe Paterno finally retires, how long of a leash should the next coach get? What's the standard he'll be judged by, and does your answer depend on whether the new head coach comes from within or outside the program?
Fortunately for the next guy, Joe Paterno has been pretty average for the past decade. So that will be the standard by which he will be judged. It's not like replacing Tom Osborne or Bear Bryant, two guys who left while still at the top of their game. The next guys at Alabama and Nebraska never had a chance to live up to that. In fact both schools have gone through a few coaches since those guys left and nobody has lived up to the standard they set. So if the next Penn State coach can average nine or ten wins a year he'll be fine.
Your Alamo Bowl Prediction?
Penn State wins of course. 35-13.