We are not officially T-minus 24 hours away from the Blue-White game, the most anticipated and most highly disappointing sporting event in all of Penn State sports. Where every event is a positive and a negative, and we all come away not really sure what to think about anything. One thing is for sure, it looks like there's going to be some bad weather which is going to put a damper on the festivities.
Yesterday we talked about the Penn State defense. Today we look at the offense. Here are the thoughts of your BSD contributors minus jtothep who elected to start not caring today instead of waiting until the third quarter of the game tomorrow like the rest of us.
BSD Mike Says...
Like everyone else, I'll be most interested in seeing the quarterbacks. From Rob Bolden, I want to see if he's showing confidence in throwing down field. Last year I felt the coaches were justified in yanking him when they did because he looked like he was looking for his check downs right away without letting the play develop. Whether or not he should have got another shot later in the year is up for debate, but I thought it was the right thing to do at the time.
From Matt McGloin I'm looking to see if he has learned to make smarter decisions. Does he realize the limitations of his physical ability and not try to force a ball into a space where it doesn't belong?
It will be interesting to see which guy starts with the first team to begin the game. That will lead to a ton of speculation. If I were JoePa, I would start Paul Jones just to mess with everyone.
Beyond the quarterback situation, I'll be watching the offensive line. I really think those guys are going to make or break the season. Whoever plays center and right guard better show me something.
I've set some realistic expectations for the offense. I know JoePa isn't going to name a starting QB, but I want to see some growth in the areas Rob Bolden (ball security, decision making, confidence) and Matt McGloin (ball security, decision making) struggled in during the 2010 season. How the QB derby goes, so goes the 2011 season. With games against Alabama, Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, the QBs can't afford any 5 INT games. I don't expect a starter to be named, but I do expect for us to find out which guy is actually in the lead for the job.
Silas Redd is the frontrunner for the starting RB spot replacing Penn State's all-time leading rusher (wow, that's weird to say) Evan Royster. I expect Redd to flash some of those Zoo Zoo moves, but come out of the game early, especially if the weather is not ideal (no need to lose your best back in the Spring Game. For the receivers, I want to see Devon Smith make some big plays with all that speed he has and will this be the spring Justin Brown turns the corner?
The brightest light will be shining on the offensive line, which for the 46th consecutive season is a major area of concern for the Nittany Lions. I want to see the depth, the kids that will replace the entire interior portion of the line and will some of the big time recruits, mainly Eric Shrive, finally step up (whoops, that phrase is the equivalent of a four letter word at this point) and live up to all of those stars he had bestowed upon him three years ago.
Assuming that the game isn't being played in 6 inches of water the only real thing I'm looking for is a pulse on the offensive line. With people getting pulled into different positions throughout the game I don't need the line to look great, but I want to feel like it isn't going to such with a little work. My hope is with all of the reports of swagger and raging hormones that these guys go our there and hit somebody. If the offensive line plays well that opens up the rest of the offense. I already know what to expect from the backs and the wideouts, so it's just about that final part of the puzzle coming together.
Quarterbacks are also important, so I'm looking for McGloin to throw a couple interceptions and help my cause.
Like most everyone else, I'll be watching the offensive line to see if we've got the big uglies to win all three games in November: Nebraska at home, followed by Ohio State and Wisconsin on the road.
Realistically, I hope to see competence from the offense in general and the o-line in particular. My approach to the offense is like my approach to golf: a couple of good shots and I'm happy, regardless of the overall score. If there are just a couple of flashes of brilliance -- or excellence -- I'll be happy.
I don't know...I've been staring at the screen for an hour now trying to think of something insightful to say, but the truth is, until the offensive line gets squared away, it's pointless talking about how good or bad anything else looks or doesn't look. By all accounts, the line has been crappy all spring. Even if it has a good day on Saturday, that doesn't change much. There's still a lot of work to be done. I don't expect to take much away from this game offensively. If I do, it'll either be a terrible or pleasant surprise.