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BSD Mailbag 12.3.14

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It's been a while...but here's a mailbag to get you through this #whiskeyWednesday evening.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Go back to January 2014. Who do you hire beyond JF?-- PSUHist14

While Al Golden was my 1A back when we were searching for our new coach, Franklin was definitely 1B—and a lot of the "B" was because I was, frankly, convinced we wouldn’t be able to land him. So I’m still very happy with the hire.

This is a 6-6 team. Most people predicted a 6-6/7-5 team. What were the 6/5 losses that would have been acceptable and not viewed as the worst loses of all time after they happened?-- Biohazard2011

Preseason, Ohio State and MSU were chalked up as losses—rightfully so, it turned out (though OSU was close, of course). Also preseason, Michigan was considered a loss (the Wolverines were worse than they seemed preseason), and UCF, Northwestern, Maryland, and Indiana were all possibilities. Even Rutgers and Temple were considered by some to be losable games.

In light of the performances to date, who do you want to play in a bowl and where will we likely end up?—jiminore

I really want to play Notre Dame, because the bottom has just fallen out of their season and I think our defense would stack up against them really well. But I also confess to being really curious as to how our D (at full strength, with Brandon Bell back) would fare against a really good run-heavy team, like a triple option—but there’s no way a team like Georgia Tech falls to play us.

As for which bowl, I think the Pinstripe is the most likely destination and I’m cool with that—though it will be cold. If we play against Boston College or ND, though, the weather won’t give us a sizeable advantage, which is unfortunate.

Which loss sucks more...or just rank them:

Michigan

Ohio State

Maryland

Fucking Beckman--87Townie

No question for me:

Maryland

Illinois

Michigan

Ohio State

The last one we competed way better than I expected, and coming into the year I expected Michigan to be an L. With the way that Maryland’s team and some of their fans acted surrounding the game, I want to dominate them for years to come and if they have a one-point victory over a sanctions-depleted Penn State to hang their hat on—well, that says more about their program than it does about ours.

And man, Illinois is Illinois. At least we get to laugh at the goober that is Beckman for another year. You’re welcome for that, Illini Nation.

Are the only things keeping Hack off the bench his ZOMG STARZZZ? Lynch has one fumble, and he’s riding pine for an entire quarter with Belton already out hurt. Meanwhile, Hack is overthrowing the tallest man on the field one play, then throwing fastballs into the dirt another. Every game. Substitute any other, less hyped QB, and are we even having this conversation? A QB change in game isn’t always a bad thing. Had UCF done it sooner in the opener, they probably win. Illinois made a QB switch, and it was the spark they needed. (I feel like that move was underrated, and lost to a lot of people analyzing the game.) Maybe, just maybe, making Hack sit during a game would light a fire under his ass. Why the kid gloves?--bearwithscarf

No, and I think that idea is ridiculous. What is keeping Hack off the bench isn’t his talent, his recruiting stars, or anything of the sort; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—it’s lack of any other option. If we had any depth at quarterback, any viable backup that was anywhere near his level (like at running back, as your example suggests), they would have inserted him. The only other options were a walk on, or a true freshman. This isn’t 2008, when we had Clark and Devlin, or 2010 or 2011 when we had multiple options of varying levels of okay. There’s Hack, and then a steep, sharp decline in not necessarily talent (with the true freshmen, at least) but with knowledge of the playbook, ability to react to in-game situations, and familiarity with the speed of the college game. That’s not nothing, and those discounting that or who are saying "well, just maybe" are incredibly short-sighted.

Do you think Hack is injured? It would seem to explain both the lack of throws and the fairly high number of poor throws.-- Biohazard2011

At the most, he’s a little banged up like most starters would be at the end of a season. Nothing more than that, I’d expect; I think most of his issues have to do with fear of serious injury, and being knocked down so much behind an inexperienced line. He’s anticipating pressure even when it’s not coming, and he’s expecting to be hit even when he’s not going to be. And that makes him rush his progressions, and make bad throws.

If you had to assign percentages to the reasons why Hack has regressed what would you assign for:

O-Line pass protection/weak running game

Receivers reads of the defenses/adjustments

Receivers not getting open

Play selection during the game

Playbook/routes/schemes in general

QB-specific coaching from Rahne/Donovan

Other?

I would think o-line would have to be at least 50%--PSU Mudder

I’m not going to assign percentages, because that just seems arbitrary and capricious to me, but I agree that O-Line is the biggest factor. The youth of the receivers is definitely another big problem; some of the sacks he’s taken aren’t necessarily on the o-line, but rather are coverage sacks, because the guys downfield can’t get any separation (though later in the season, he’s taken sacks that are definitely on Hack, who should have thrown the ball away or scrambled for a first). I’m loathe to put a ton of blame on the playbook, play selection or coaching, because until those first two issues get ironed out we can’t tell whether it’s on the coaches in calling plays, or the players in executing the plays as called—I know there have been definite instances where if players had hauled in passes, or linemen made key blocks, a play call would have been right on the money.

We’ll see next year, when after another off season of studying and implementing the playbook and working with this line and this receiver corps, Hack is back to his freshman self, and maybe better. If not, then I’ll be willing to place blame firmly with the guys getting paid.

Why isnt Jesse James the leading receiver on the team? He is huge, has good hands, decent speed, can get open across the field, he is huge, QB struggling with time to throw complex routes, QB struggling to throw much of anything to anyone, he is huge, offense looking for first downs not huge plays, some others people have the dropsies this year(Lewis and Carter). I could go on forever here. Has anyone on this staff thought about the mismatches that he and even Gesicki would create? All they need to do is throw the ball efficiently enough to go out and get a few first downs now that the run game is turning out somewhat decent. Give the D the break they deserve and maybe just maybe show some competency on offence.--adamp1984

Wait, is he huge?

I also admit to wondering where James has been, but man he (along with Carter) has had more than one key drop this year. And couple that with the aversion, it seems, to call a tight end seam, and you’ll get some underwhelming performances. Also, because of the o-line's lack of performance, we’ve needed our TEs to get in and block more than pass catch at points this season; James has been nicht so gut at that aspect of the game.

WTF is up with this Pacino Happy Valley movie?—Dbridi

I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care.

Why does Pat Chambers button his polo shirts all the way to the top? Am I the only one that thinks this is weird?-- Gerry Dincher

You are not the only one, but I don’t care—Pat gets a pass from me because of his sheer energy.

Two questions

Football: I know PSU is #2. Who are the rest of the five youngest teams?

Pop culture: Big Hero Six. Seen it yet? Did you stay through the end of the credits? If you haven’t seen it make sure you do. Are Fred and Honey some weird mashup of (Fred and Shaggy) and (Daphne and Velma), or is that just me?--Former_DC_Buck

I haven’t seen Big Hero Six, so I can’t speak to question #2 (if you have, leave your response in the comments), but as for #1, I know that Pitt is number one, and NC State is number 3. I know that Tennessee and LSU are also both pretty young, but I can’t find any rankings for them.

Christopher Nolan movies:

a) Underrated

b) Overrated

c) Properly Appreciated (Just Right)

d) Overrated, but so widely accused of being overrated they are now underrated--PSU_Buch

I love Nolan movies (and BSD’s Nick Blonde and I have had many a discussion on their merits), so I’m going to go with just right, because I feel that he gets sufficient accolades at this point in his career. I was a big fan of Interstellar, by the way, and if you like Nolan you’ll like it.

Scrapple beer or Scrapple beer?--Ben16

Yes.

I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year. What’s the least necessary "traditional" part of the meal. I’d probably go with cranberry sauce, because I don’t really know who the hell eats it. We’re putting together the menu and I want to make sure I don’t leave anything out, but I also want to make sure I’m not wasting my time.-- Succss With Honor Always

Obviously this is posting after the holiday, but I’m still gonna answer it. I feel like a lot of families make mac ‘n cheese for Thanksgiving, and that’s become a part of the meal—which it isn’t in my family, and never has been. Also salad is unnecessary; be the fatty you want to be on Turkey Day, I mean come on.

Also two types of potatoes are too much with all of the other goodness (plus, PIE) you’ll have to eat. Pick either sweet potatoes, or mashed. Not both.

Marion Barry or Rob Ford?—Dbridi

I’m DMV born and raised, so it’s Barry all the way.