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Blue/White Redux

Do not attempt to adjust your internets The Nittany Line has taken over BSD and there's nothing you can do about it. Actually I'm just filling in for my fellow blogger Mike while he's out of town on business - you know real life stuff; the guy actually takes his job seriously. Sucker. At any rate, I'll try and fill the enormous shoes Mike has left, hopefully keep you entertained along the way and I'll try to keep the Charlie Weis fat jokes to a minimum. Mike did a good job of recapping the game yesterday but I thought I would throw in my 2 cents. I'll start by answering the questions Mike posed on Friday. Let me premise this by saying that I was actually at the game, so I wasn't relegated to watching the horrible internet feed.

10. Has Derrick Williams regained the explosive play making ability he showed in 2005? Or will he look more like the player that could never seem to get open in 2006? Yes and no. How's that for a decisive answer? Mike and I disagree on this point - he believes Derrick still doesn't get the YAC that he should but I think Derrick definitely is a step quicker this year. We need to keep in mind that the defense doesn't blitz in the Blue/white game so there just isn't the room out there with 7 defenders in mostly zone coverage. Derrick's improved quickness will manifest itself when teams blitz and leave some open space for him to catch the ball and make a move; he had problems doing just that last season. I still don't think D.W. is close to reaching the lofty goals Penn State fans have set for him, but it's a tad unfair to expect anyone to live up to the hype he generated coming out of high school. 9. How will the defensive line look sans Ed Johnson, Jay Alford, Tim and Jim Shaw? Is Maurice Evans ready to become an impact player? Is the unknown Abe Koroma as good as everyone says he is?Evans had 2 tackles with half of a TFL while Koroma had 4 total tackles, none for a loss; I would say nothing was too conclusive from any of the defensive lineman's performances. Chris Rogers probably had the best statistical day with 3 TFL and 2 sacks. It's tough to get a read on a scrimmage when starting defensive lineman may be going up against backup offensive lineman - are they blowing through because they are that good or are the offensive guys just offensive? I think we'll get a better read when things start for real in the fall, I'm not convinced yet. 8. I'm pretty confident we'll see a good game out of Morelli since he tore it up in last year's BW game. But I'm really interested to see how Daryl Clark and Pat Devlin look as his backups.Funny - we didn't see a very good game from Morelli, what little we saw. The big impact that came out of Blue/White was probably from third stringer Paul Cianciolo who was 8 of 9 on the day with 126 yards, 2 TD's throwing and one running. Paul looked sharp and decisive. Both Clark and Devlin also looked decent, I don't want to take anything away from their performances but Cianciolo turned some heads. 7. Is Austin Scott ready to be an every down running back? Has he learned to be decisive and hit the hole hard or does he still try to run around people? Has his blocking improved? (Note: Since I'm not expecting to see any blitzes, we may not get an answer to the latter question.) Scott averaged 4.1 yards per carry on 13 carries but didn't really show me anything. He looked like he got to the corner pretty quick but I think he still tends to "dance" a bit when he should be burring his head and getting the extra yard. That may be an unfair assessment since I'm used to seeing Tony Hunt, the human plow, take tacklers head on. Like Mike thought, we didn't really get a chance to see Scott's blocking ability and that is probably his biggest weakness up to this point. 6. How does Tony Davis look at safety? Does he take the right angles? Has he improved his open field tackling and run stopping support? Davis didn't even show up in the stats column, I had to check to see he was on the participation report to know if he even played. I completely forgot to watch for him so I can't answer this one. The run stopping support is going to be the biggest challenge for Tony coming from corner; Penn State relies heavily on the Safeties to help clean up on running plays. 5. Who appears to be the front runner to replace Davis at corner? A.J. Wallace or Lydell Sargeant? Without a doubt, Wallace. A.J. seemed a tad lost a couple times I watched him, but he also showed me some really good recovery speed. I think it's only a matter of experience before Wallace fulfills the potential he came to PSU with. I don't think Sargeant is the natural corner that Wallace is but I guess the coaches feel they need depth at that position. 4. Who is going to replace Poz at linebacker? Right now it's a tossup between Jerome Hayes, Navorro Bowman, and Tyrell Sales. Sales and Hayes looked pretty good and totaled 21 tackles between them, but I don't think anything will be decided until next fall. One thing is for sure; whoever gets the nod will be a lucky guy because teams aren't going to be scheming against him and he will be free to roam. Offensive coordinators will be losing sleep over Lee and Connor, not the "other guy." 3. Can Kevin Kelly hit a solid field goal from outside of 35 yards? Or are we in for another season of closing our eyes when the field goal team takes the field? He hit two field goals both 35 yards and under so we don't know yet. I think until he hits 5 or 6 in a row, Penn State fans will be nervous. 2. Has anything been added to the offensive playbook or are we destined for another season of running up the middle and throwing bubble screens and short out patterns? I'm looking for slants, comebacks and crossing patterns. If it has, it wasn't shown in the Blue/White game. I still don't think the middle of the field exists to the offensive coaches - perhaps someone should draw them a map. 1. Has the offensive line improved? Can they create some lanes for the running backs to run through and give the quarterbacks time to throw? Inconclusive - we simply don't know we won't be able to answer this question until the Notre Dame game. There's my view in a nut shell, feel free to add your opinions in the comment section and let me know what you saw.