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BSD Mailbag 11.26.13

I just love this pic.
I just love this pic.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Please assess the 2014 offensive line. Who returns, who might commit, and the talent level of same.--PSU_Lions_84

I don’t know much about who might commit (the fake Nick knows more on that than I do) but I can tell you that we will have two returning starters: Miles Dieffenbach and Donovan Smith. Our starting O-line next year looks to be some combination of those two, Wendy Laurent, Angelo Mangiro and Andrew Nelson—but who’s at what position is a mystery to me, as Laurent, Mangiro and Dieff all have taken snaps at Center and Guard. Look for Nelson and Smith to be your two Tackles, though.

Nelson is the youngest of the crew, part of the class of 2013, but Laurent will be a RS SO next year, and Mangiro a RS JR. Smith will also be a RS JR next year, so 2015’s line looks to be incredibly solid—with Dieff being the only one gone after 2014.

In terms of talent, it’s incredibly hard to evaluate offensive line talent. Some of the highest rated guys never pan out (and that’s across the board in college football, not just at PSU) and some of the most successful pro offensive linemen were barely rated out of high school. Since we haven’t seen a lot of snaps out of the guys we’ll have next year, there’s not much evaluation we can do—but I’d argue that the two most talented guys on our line this year are the two we get back next year (sorry Urschel—I still love you).

Who bounces back next year? There have been a few players that seemed to play worse than they did last year. Which of these players do you think will have the biggest year next year?--psfann

I’m still expecting big things from Nyeem Wartman. I know he played incredibly sparingly in 2012, but he showed flashes of brilliance—and hasn’t lived up to that hype this year. I’d also like to see Kyle Carter bounce back; after an incredible freshman campaign (B1G frosh of the year, anyone?) he’s been very quiet in 2013. I’m sure that has a lot to do with breaking in a new quarterback, and I’d love to see him have a great bounce-back year next year, especially after Christian Hackenberg gets a full off-season to work with his plethora of options at TE (and WR).

When was the last year that special teams was as asset for PSU?--Biohazard2011

Has it ever been an asset? Quite frankly, I can’t remember. I’ll leave it to you all in the comments…I will say that the closest I can remember to it not being a liability was in 2008 when Derrick Williams was our returner. Remember this?

Who, if any, has been a surprise performer this season?--psualum9931

There haven’t really been many surprises for me this year—in a good way, at least. I expected more out of Jesse James, and Mike Hull (who, granted, has been playing hurt). I do have to say, though, that Stephen Obeng-Agyapong has played well in his hybrid LB position, and in the last few weeks, Ben Kline (pre-injury) and Brandon Bell have done well as linebackers (and, you guys know me, I love me some linebackers) so I think we’ll be okay for the four deep at that position next year.

I also have been pretty disappointed with Adrian Amos, who’s had a very quiet junior campaign—I really hope he bounces back next year, when he isn’t the only one with significant experience in the secondary (I think, with a year under his belt, Jordan Lucas will complement him quite nicely).

With the news that Baublitz will leave sooner than expected (among others), how many scholarships are now available for next year? And, do these departures leave new holes to fill?-- 87Townie

Quite frankly, I have no idea. This seems like a great offseason/holiday project—look for it later in December, once the craziness of the season dies down.

What makes people experts on when to sit and when to stand when cheering in Beaver stadium? Got a lot of crap again on Saturday for standing up too much.--SarcasmJam

Anyone who says they’re an "expert" in something like this is full of it.

But I do have to say, as I stated in the comments of the fanpost for these questions, I sit down most of the game. I’m sure I’m not alone—I have a chronic bad back, and simply can’t stand the entire time. But that doesn’t mean I’m not louder than almost anyone around me (except candy man) and don’t stand up at key parts of the game.

Also, there are certain parts of the game in which you HAVE to stand up; key third down stops, fourth and goals, in overtime, in quadruple overtime…that’s just the rules, right?

What PSU player on a current NFL roster has had the most impact in the last few years?--rph75

In the fanpost, someone said Sean Lee. That’s a good choice (and he is awesome), but I’m going to go Tamba Hali here. I think his impact—this year especially—can’t be understated.

Plus his hands are absolutely ginormous and should scare any opposing offensive lineman or quarterback.

What’s the chances that they lower the step price for tickets next year? I’ve heard stories of people buying a block of tickets for 1 game (no donation) and the ticket office offering them the whole season with no donation. Now I thought the STEP was put in so that we would not have this different people paying different price problems. Follow up: does Joyner keep his job even after a new prez is hired?--PSU_sincebirth

I’d say about the same that all of the sanctions are completely gone by the end of next year—ie, slim to none.

They reduced the donation levels in many areas last year. If you had other season tickets this year, you could pick up additional season tickets for no donation—I think that might stay in place. But overall, they won’t lower the step price for tickets.

Especially because next year’s schedule looks about the same as this year’s (if not better—with OSU, Northwestern and MSU all at home), and it seems (from my perspective, at least) that this year worked pretty well for them—especially with an average, .500 team.

For your follow up, I hope he doesn't keep his job. But, with this administration and this board, anything is possible--so I'm not willing to place bets on either side.

Is it time to hire an offensive coordinator? Is there an open position on the staff, or would they have to promote someone to this position? It seems like it would be helpful to have someone in the booth at least helping BOB make the right play calls. (insert sarcasm font)Perhaps one could call runs and the other passing plays?-- Mifflin Streak

I don’t see this happening, at least not for a few years and after the sanctions are lifted. I don’t really think that this was our problem this year—on Saturday, I actually agreed with most of the playcalling (and that’s the first game I can say that, start to finish). A lot of our issues on offense this year was on execution, erratic play, and the limited playbook of inexperience. I think these things will take care of themselves, and we’ll have an improved offense next year, and an even more improved offense in 2015.

Bill O’Brien’s offense thrives on a QB who can make smart decisions, read defenses and change schemes at the line. Matt McGloin was able to do this in 2012. Hackenberg wasn’t able to this year, because it was still so new to him—but by this past week, he’s shown flashes. He’ll learn, and the offense will grow.

I’m not so sure why some are calling for an O-coordinator—we had a bang up offense in 2012 with this same system (just different players), and no one wanted a coordinator then. It’s not as though BOB has forgotten how to call plays in a year—he’s just adjusting to a younger, more inexperienced team. I really, truly think we’ll get there.

And if, in two years after Hack’s junior year, we haven’t seen any progress? Then we can talk.

Taking the train has burned through my book list very quick. Any suggested reads since the last book thread? Just ordered Paul Newman’s biography.--Succss With Honor Always

Honestly, I haven’t been reading as much as I wanted to this fall. But I did finally finish the copy of Dan Brown’s "Inferno" that I borrowed from Bill forever ago (it was way better than "The Lost Symbol"), and of course, if you haven’t already, pick up friend of BSD John U. Bacon’s book "Fourth and Long". We’ll take suggestions for SWHA in the comments, too.

If DMX offered you a ride somewhere you wanted to go, would you accept?--WorldBFat

It depends—what is the alternative?

The age old question--there is only one answer to this so choose wisely--after Thanksgiving dinner, there is only apple and pumpkin pie for dessert options. Which do you choose?--PSU12

Quite honestly, for me it’s all about who’s made the pie.

I’ll take pie from scratch, any kind (except coconut cream—gross) over store bought any day. But if you’re looking at the very best homemade pumpkin pie versus the very best homemade apple pie, flaky crispy salty crust on both with homemade whipped cream, warm out of the oven?

Screw it, I’m taking both.

(Side note: I made apple crisp pie last night for my potluck at work today. I can post the recipe up in the comments, if anyone wants it; we’ll be having pumpkin in my house on the actual day of Thanksgiving, though).

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