Time for another round of the Blue-White Roundtable. Yours truly has the questions this week so blame me if they suck. Make sure you check out Run Up The Score and The Nittany Line to check out their answers.
The NFL combine was this past weekend. How do you think the Penn State players did? Did anyone help or hurt their stock?
Overall I think they did pretty well. Let's go through them one by one.
Levi Brown ran a pretty slow 40 time, but he did well enough in everything else to solidify himself as a top 15 draft pick and the second best tackle in the draft. It was interesting to hear he really struggled when asked to play right tackle, but that shouldn't hurt his status since everyone sees him as a left tackle in the pros.
Paul Posluszny may have bumped himself up a notch or two on the scouts' draft boards. After a very average 40 time in the 4.7 range he tore them up in all the other drills and really impressed them with his physique. All indications are he will go in the late first round to mid second round.
Tony Hunt did not run the 40-yard dash opting to wait until Penn State's pro workout day on campus in March. Scouts tend to frown on this since some tracks are faster than others, and Penn State supposedly has a fast one. But he did so much at the Senior Bowl to improve his status it's understandable for him to want to do the least amount as necessary in order to protect his position.
The Lion who probably made the most money for himself is the forgotten Tim Shaw. Shaw ran a blistering sub 4.5 40 yard dash, and then he repeated it just to prove it wasn't a fluke. He turned a lot of heads in the other drills as well. Going in he was probably considered a day two draft choice, now he will easily go on the first day perhaps as high as the third round.
Jay Alford did not impress the scouts. Apparently he's fighting an injury and came in to Indy a bit out of shape. His forty time was slow and he didn't look sharp in drills.
Who would you take as the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft this year?
For my money I would take Calvin Johnson. That guy is just a freak. He came into Indy stating he wasn't going to participate in the 40 yard dash at the advice of his agent. He was so sure he wasn't going to run he left his running shoes at home. Well, his competitive spirit got the best of him and he decided to borrow a pair of shoes and give it a go, and then he ran a 4.35 forty. That's just sick.
The men's basketball program has been a complete disaster this year. Besides coaching changes (we'll get to that later), is there anything the athletic department can do to improve the Penn State basketball program or are we destined to be the Big Ten doormat forever?
I've mentioned before I think they should move some games back to Rec Hall. I think you're asking too much of the students to walk all the way up the hill to the Jordan Center to see a game against Northwestern or Minnesota when it's 20 degrees with a wind chill of five below in the middle of January. It's no problem for the freshmen in East Halls, but if you live downtown or out in West Halls forget it.
I read an interesting thread on a message board this week started by someone supposedly close to the program that said PSU does not have the resources other Big Ten schools have. He was immediately called to task and asked to list specific examples since everyone agrees the Bryce Jordan Center is first class and all you need to play basketball is sneakers, a backboard and a ball. He made a pretty good case about PSU's video system using VHS tapes while all other schools have gone digital as one example. He also mentioned how other programs have a lot more staffing. So there are two very good examples of how the administration can improve the situation if they are true.
Much has been said about Jim Delany's letter disputing the article in the Chicago Sun Times claiming that the Big Ten cannot compete with the SEC anymore in recruiting talent. What's your reaction to all of this?
It's kind of like getting in a fight at school and your mom going to school with you the next day to lecture the bully. She means well, but it won't solve anything and it just embarrasses you in front of the whole school.
The whole thing was just bizarre. I'm struggling to figure out what the point was. So what if the SEC beat the Big Ten in the championship game. We more than hold our own against the SEC in head-to-head matchups, bowl appearances, bowl victories, and everything else. Just show a little class and don't let the pundits drag you and our conference into the mud.
Winter drills are underway for the football team and spring practice starts in a few weeks. Which position battles interest you the most?
There's lots of battles going on on the offensive line which will be fun to watch. The battle to replace Poz will be interesting, but I think the most exciting battle will be who lines up at the cornerback position opposite of Justin King. Tony Davis has the experience having started all through 2006, but A.J. Wallace probably has more physical gifts and is too good to keep on the bench. The loser of that battle is going to have to fight it out with Spencer Ridenhour, Knowledge Timmons, Bani Gbadyu, Cedric Jefferies, and Travis McBride for the free safety spot.
Sticking with the tailgating theme from last week, it's 7 AM and you're rolling into State College and setting up your tailgate party. The game starts at 8 PM and you've got 12 hours to kill. How do you pass the time?
Mostly lots of eating and drinking and talking football. We generally don't leave the tailgate much unless we're going to visit some friends at their tailgate. In 2005 we set up a small television and played some Madden tournaments on the PS2, but the weather didn't seem to cooperate this year. We're not keen on setting up electronics in the rain. Hopefully we can do that again this year.
Should Ed DeChellis be fired?
Not at this time. He gets one more year, but there better be some improvement. Less than five Big Ten wins next year will not be acceptable.
Besides Penn State, who are the best fans in the Big Ten?
I think Wisconsin shows the best combination of enthusiasm and class.
What's on your iPod?
A little something for everyone. I've got some Tool, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pearl Jam, and even some Neil Diamond. And of course, Zombie Nation is on there too.