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BSD Mailbag 11.19.14

You've got questions, BSD has answers!

Jared Slanina
Why wouldn't we want Penn State to play in the San Francisco Bowl? In late December, Bay Area > NYC > Detroit Raoul69
At this point I'm still giddy that Penn State will be able to play in a bowl at all- could care less if it's in San Francisco or Detroit or Antarctica. For one, it will be fantastic that the season won't end the weekend following Thanksgiving. Despite the fact the team went out on high notes in 2012 and 2013, it made for a loooong offseason. Secondly, this team will greatly benefit from the extra practices, especially considering how many young players Penn State relies on.

In one regard I'd love to see them play in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York with the caveat that they play an ACC team. It would be fun to see how they matched up against a team like Clemson, Miami or Georgia Tech who may not be cut out for the cold weather (and let's face it, I'll take any type of advantage we can get). With that being said, I do hope the team makes it to a location they consider appealing. The handful of seniors deserve to have a memorable trip (and much, much more) for remaining so loyal considering everything they had to go through during the past few years.

Was Temple's defense overrated from AAC play? Or did our offense actually get better with two upperclassmen playing on the OL for the first time this season.
In the words of Homer J. Simpson, "a little from column A, a little from Column B." Temple's defensive front was a little undersized, at least compared to most Big Ten units. I'm sure that helped them wear down the defense, something they haven't really been able to do outside of the UMASS game. But you can't say enough about the value of finally having Miles Dieffenbach and Donovan Smith lining up next to one another. Those two can do some damage, and it's a shame that it took until the tenth game of the season for them to both be on the field at the same time.

Also, I was near the Penn State sideline and it was perfectly clear that Dieffenbach is the emotional leader of the offense. He was the guy who took charge and got his teammates fired up when they needed a spark. This young offense desperately needed a vocal veteran leader on the field with them, and it makes me really wonder if Penn State's record would be different at this point if Dieffenbach had stayed healthy for the entirety of the season. I honestly think his presence could have swung a game like Michigan or Maryland in our favor.

Real life got in the way, but more importantly, it wasn't needed as much with all the tremendous coverage of the other sports we've had recently. The staff deserves major kudos for the wall-to-wall coverage of hoops, hockey, soccer, volleyball and basically any other sport played by student-athletes in blue and white. This will be one hell of a football offseason, so make sure to stick around after the bowl game.

How much of Hackenberg's regression is due to the young receiving corps and running incorrect routes/ not being on same page? Dbridi
It's never easy for a quarterback to have to rely on a group of inexperienced receivers. Regardless of how athletic a they are, you can't understate the importance of timing between a quarterback and his receivers. And to really get timing down, you need repetition, repetition and then more repetition. However, the biggest culprit in Hackenberg's troubles is the lack of protection from the offensive line. Go back and watch Hack in last season's Wisconsin game or the season-opener against Central Florida. He was a completely different quarterback when he could drop back and make his reads. Now he has to keep an eye on the rush to make sure he doesn't get sacked before he even drops back. This has caused him to not take the time to set his feet, square his shoulders and follow-through. Even when he has some time, his mechanics are off because he's been rushed so much he's inside his own head.

At this point, the coaches will need to find a way to hit the "reset" button after this season. The line will be improved and at the end of the day, he is an all-world talent. I'm optimistic this season will be a blip on Hack's body of work, not his downfall.

Who has been the biggest positive surprise that hasn't gotten a lot of credit this year?
At this point it seems strange to say this, but I'll go with DaeSean Hamilton. No one was talking about him before the season. Instead the focus was on Geno Lewis, the highly-touted batch of true freshmen receivers and a talented group of tight ends. From day one Hamilton has caught everything that has come his way and has turned out to be the offensive MVP of this squad. He doesn't get his due nationally or even around the Big Ten, but that sure as hell will change during the next three years.

I'll also give a shout out to Marcus Allen. He's looked tremendous during the past three weeks and will continue to get better. No matter how much griping we've done this season, there is no doubt the future is very bright.

How much fun is it going to be on here next week when we blow the illinois game because we can't rush for more than 50 yards? NuclearLion
I could totally see this happening, but let's enjoy the consecutive victories while we can.

Maybe too early for this.....Will there be a QB competition in camp next spring?
No. See the comments above about hitting the "reset" button on Hack. I can see Trace McSorley and/or Michael O'Connor being used in various packages, but I really believe we'll see a new Hackenberg in 2015 as long as he's given some time in the pocket.

Since our kicker is Ficken awesome and the line not so much; why couldn’t the holder set up farther back, like 10 yards, behind the line of scrimmage for field goal attempts? confirmy
I understand your logic, but I can't imagine any coach taking a risk like that. First of all, the extended snap would result in a greater likelihood of it being botched, and I don't think many kickers would welcome the extra yardage.