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BSD Mailbag 10.16.15

It's that time of week again--and I got to answer nerdy questions this week!

Yes, this is THAT play.
Yes, this is THAT play.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Listen, I don't think we'll win in the 'shoe tomorrow. But this CD came out today and I feel like I want to put the song on blast anyway because I think (hope?) we'll be competitive, and this Penn State team is being underrated. What's wrong with being Confident?*

Hockey Season Just Started. Last year we exceeded expectations. How much would we need to exceed expectations this year to make the NCAA tournament? If not this year, how many years until we can be legitimate tournament contenders?--MJBPSU

I know very little about hockey, so I went over to our newest hockey edition (and fellow female BSDer) Mary Clarke for her expert take on PSU hockey this year. Mary’s thoughts:

It's tough to say what this year will bring for Guy Gadowsky and company as the Nittany Lions are entering their first turnover period in talent. They've lost Casey Bailey, Scott Conway, and Taylor Holstrom, but gained Andrew Sturtz and more than a handful of skilled freshmen. Many, including myself, put Penn State at the middle of the Big Ten once again, so it's probably fair to say that getting to the NCAA tournament would be exceeding expectations again.

The most realistic -- and hardest -- way would be through the Big Ten tournament. It's not unfathomable that they could win the tournament, but getting through at least two of Minnesota, Michigan, and Michigan State might be a challenge. Building a system takes time, so realistically -- we're still another couple of years from making a splash at the tournament level. That being said, Gadowsky and his team have proved me wrong almost every step of the way and counting them out in any season is doing them a disservice.

How are we supposed to get excited about the OSU game a week after a convincing win over our hated rivals?--Drea1020

Just take the lead from the former players we got insight from about the Ohio State-Penn State games of the past—it’s hard not to get pumped up over this game, regardless of the year. And regardless of the fact that #PuntWeek is over.

It's time someone at BSD finally answer this question: who is worse, Butler or Donovan?--jcross9

Clearly it’s Butler.

Penn State is traditionally all about defense, so if you’re gonna win here, you’re going to win it with a strong D first. We don’t do shootouts, we don’t let up 50 points every game, we do low scoring with opportunistic plays where 17 points and a strip sack and a head stand of a Heisman candidate can win us the dang game. Bob Shoop gets this. John Butler, seemingly, did not—though, credit where it’s due, he did seem to get better as the 2013 season went on.

For all his faults, John Donovan is seemingly just as bad as our traditional Penn State offensive coordinators so at least he’s got that going for him (but with all of the talent we have on that side of the ball, he should still not be on staff in 2016).

What's the current status of Adam Breneman? Is he injured? Haven’t heard much about him lately.--joefromboalsburg

We’ve talked about him a lot, but all accounts are that he’s been elevated up to the scout team the past few weeks and he actually dressed for the Indiana game, though he didn’t play. This is great news, as it’s the first time he was in uniform for a game since 2013—so here’s hoping we actually see him on the field sooner rather than later.

Also, how's the pipe, Joe?

I know you aren't supposed to be happy when someone gets hurt, but weren’t you a bit smugly satisfied when Diamont the Crowd Shusher got crunched by Sickles?--vern05

I actually didn’t see the shush since I was in the stands, but I heard about it later. I was more pissed at our defensive line getting absolutely mugged by the Indiana hogs on that same play that Diamont went down, so when Zander got manhandled I was like, yeah, that’s what you get for tackling some of our DLs—others will make the play.

But afterwards, hearing about it? All I could think was, our defense wouldn’t like that showboating, and they definitely wouldn’t let it stand. And they didn’t. I have a feeling Diamont won’t do it again against PSU.

How many plays into the game will it be when Nassib, Reeder, Bell, Zettel, etc. gets tackled by an Ohio State tackle and the Buckeyes are not called for holding? Am I paranoid to think that Penn State will get screwed by the refs again? Will the Buckeyes have a pick six?--Gerry Dincher

It depends on whether Penn State gets the ball first, or Ohio State gets the ball first.

You are not paranoid.

And no, because Hack didn’t have a pick 6 in 2013 despite the video game numbers the Buckeyes put up—and he’s making much better decisions in terms of ball placement this year than last. Plus, the OSU D isn’t doing great in the turnover game this season headed into this week, so while I wouldn’t be surprised if we do turn it over, I will be surprised if there is a pick six—unless it’s by Penn State’s defense (like last year).

Is Lavert Hill still committed?—McCloskeywasinbounds

It is 10 am and Lavert Hill is still committed to the Pennsylvania State University.

Jugs machine. Do we have one and what does the BSD commentariat need to do to get Gesicki to use it until he learns to catch the dang ball? Seriously, the kid is giving me Tourette's.—PSUinOH

I mean I would assume that we do and I do not disagree. He is a freak athlete but man that’s really frustrating—it has to be for Hack as well, when he throws a ball right into the guy’s hands and he can’t make the dang play. Gesicki’s improved his blocking immensely this year, and he did have a great TD last week on his birthday after the obvious drop, but if you want to be an elite tight end you have to catch the balls that are on the money.

Franklin hasn't had a signature win in all of his years of coaching. Do you really think we beat Ohio State?—jiminore


I am going to Columbus this weekend. Will go the game Saturday night and then running the Columbus Marathon the next morning.

1. Should I get hammered for the game?

2. When we win, what should I wear for my jaunt around town the next morning, and should I keep both middle fingers flying the whole way?--PokeyStixAreAwesome

1. You forget who is running the mailbag this week.

The answer is yes. It is always yes.

2. I mean it’s not going to happen, but a girl can dream. Full white out gear, and if you can swing the double birds, why not? The white "Oh How I Hate Ohio State" shirt is a good start.

Will Big Toe be used for XPs and FG attempts? I’m hoping they go back to him; he needs a confidence boost after Saturday (what better way than to have him kick at the Shoe?).

Also, anyone know the status of Gulla? Pasquariello did surprisingly well against Indiana but neither guy has been consistent all season.--wxguy519

No word on Chris Gulla returning from the injury he sustained during the Army game, but that’s unsurprising given Franklin’s MO on injury reports. I think we trot out Big Toe at first—but we have to actually score to give him a shot at XPs, and that’s the big ticket (HA CARL NASSIB GET IT) in this game, huh? He’ll still be used for kick offs, but Franklin always said that his confidence is what won him the starting job so it’s yet to be seen if that’s shaken for good or if that was just an in-game thing.

Say PSU beats OSU on a Barkley TD out of the wildcat, will BSD still be functioning come Monday?--trizani83

The wildcat is soooo 2014, triz. If it was the jet sweep, then I’d be more concerned.

Why do Maryland fans think a deal with Under Armour impacts their coaching search and is there any merit to that logic?—rlostinspace

It absolutely has merit, because part of any coach’s contract is money from the school’s contract with sponsors—including (and maybe especially) athletic apparel sponsors; for example, part of James Franklin’s contract includes compensation from NIKE that brings his contract up from the base salary of $1.8 million a year to $4 million back in 2014.

Because Maryland is Under Armour’s flagship school, it’s definitely not a stretch to think that the compensation that the company would offer any head coach would be higher than any other school, and the monetary pot would be sweetened much greater over the reported base salary by Kevin Plank and Co—much more so than Franklin’s was at Penn State by NIKE.

Which tire fire is worse? BTPR or Maryland? Any fallout from Edsall firing in terms of recruiting? Should we look for any if Flood is ousted as well?--rpm5103

As of this second, I’d go with Rutgers because of the uncertainty of whether Flood will continue to be there or not—plus, spiking the ball on a fourth down just isn’t a good look. I’m definitely not against revising this, though, should Rutgers lose out (including a loss to the Terps).

And it seems the recruiting fallout might already be starting. Though Maryland’s top players haven’t backed out of their commitments, a two-star DT did renege back in September from the program, and their top linebacker commit decided to start looking elsewhere in the wake of Edsall’s firing (though he hasn’t rescinded his verbal). Dwayne Haskins has publicly stated he’s all Maryland no matter what, but that could change depending on the coach they bring in.

Who is more likely to replace Edsall among the Testudo Times nominees: Chip Kelly, Jim Tres(s)el, Bill O’Brien, Rich Rod, Bo Pelini, Charlie Strong, Mark Richt, David Cutcliffe, Kyle Whittingham, Mike Leach, or John Harbaugh?--bveo12

I think it will be none of those. They are most likely to get an up-and-coming MAC head coach, or a Power 5 coordinator, than a HC from a current or former power 5 or NFL program. That being said, of any of those…Pelini I guess? Though I don’t see him really leaving Youngstown for Maryland, but stranger things have happened. As Maryland is currently (arguably) the third best head coaching opening in college football, they no longer will have their pick—and it’s only October 16.

What’s a good 8 year wedding anniversary gift for my wife? I realized I have about 2 weeks until mine and I’m pretty much at the point of "fuck it, open the wallet and buy some jewelry."

I am too lazy for elaborate efforts like scavenger hunts and too cheap to drop Gs on diamonds. And we have a kid so a weekend getaway is not really probable.--06Lion

How much do you like your wife? I mean, I know you’re married so duh, but do you guys already spend a lot of time together and want to spend more? Because giving her time away, like a spa day or something of that ilk, would be an amazing gift in my humble opinion. But I’d also enjoy a day at a brewery or winery if you want to spend the day together—even if you can’t get away for a full weekend. Just spending the time together, sans kid, would be the best present you could give.

If you were have trouble losing weight...would you voluntarily swallow a tapeworm?--rahpsu92

Probably not but I’m not one to rule anything out.

Inflatable Star Wars lawn decorations for Christmas. Should they be at least close to proportionate to each other? Or am I wrong think the 5 foot Yoda looks dumb next to the 5 foot Darth Vader.--Former_DC_Buck

In theory, they should be proportional. But it’s so much more hilarious when they’re not. I mean, if Yoda was the same height as the Emperor (excuse me, Darth Sidious), there’s no way he doesn’t kick that dude’s ass in Episode III.

IHop doesn't do it for me. When are the Nestea girls coming back?--CvilleLion

Um, never if I have a say in it. I too am not a fan of the IHOP but only because every time I log into BSD when the IHOP ads are up I want pancakes and bacon. Which are delicious but you can’t eat them all the time and expect to leave your parents’ basement in time for the tailgate.

What's the deal with Hook? I mean it, what is the deal with that movie Hook?--Jenga Jam

Dude, I actually like that movie. What’s the deal with people who don’t like that movie? It’s Steven Spielberg. Do you not like Spielberg? What are you, communist?

If you went to NY Comic Con who would you dress up as?--Sperbro

Oh, Sperbro…you sure know how to go straight to this girl’s heart.

This is like the toughest of tough questions and I don’t know how to choose just one costume. Do I go uber traditional, with Leia from Star Wars, or more modern with something like Liv from iZombie or Black Canary from Arrow (yes, I am aware that’s not more modern but I don’t do the comics so I’m thinking more of Arrow’s version, not the Green Arrow comics version).

Screw it. Kaylee from Firefly.

Reaction to this weekend and updated expectations--We’ve gone from high expectations to struggling vs Army and commiserating in our misery to winning a game most people had PSU losing. I just don’t know what my expectations for the rest of the year should be…--rpm5103

They should be whatever you want them to be. Mine are still hovering around the 8-4 mark for regular season—I just want to see improvement and competitiveness. And I think last week showed some of that. Our fanbase is, unfortunately, one of the best at blowing things out of proportion and being totally unrealistic in our expectations, both preseason and going into games against other traditional powers (which I guess you can say about many historically significant college football programs) so I’ll just say, have whatever expectations make you happy, and make your life okay to be living—and make you okay with continuing to be a Penn State fan.

And that goes the same for all of you BSDers—let’s continue to make this place awesome for all of us, win or lose out.

*Yes, this is the second post this week I put that video in this week. Give me crap in the comments. Or not. Whichever.