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BSD Mailbag 10.2.15

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It's Friday! That means just one thing...the mailbag.

...I hope he's a go...
...I hope he's a go...
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Do we see Johnathan Thomas this week? Barkley or no Barkley vs. Army, someone has to step up to be able to carry the rock. It didn’t seem Allen is the back they need with this OL.--smokybandit

If we have Saquon Barkley, he's the one that will step up in carrying the rock--I'm not even sure that's a question at that point. But I was not really impressed with Nick Scott and Mark Allen last week, so I'd like to see how Thomas performs--and provided he's fully healed from his offseason injuries, he's more of a bruiser (and bigger) than either of those other two backs, so if Barkley's not a go, I'd like to see what he does to wear down the Army defense before we put in Scott and Allen in the second half.

I wasn't impressed with Mark Allen and Nick Scott. Do you think we will see Andre Robinson this week? if he is as good as Saquon…--mook1525

No. I highly, highly doubt we burn Robinson's redshirt--the staff should want more separation between him and Barkley. Especially since we haven't even seen Thomas yet. We have other options before we even consider Robinson.

Whoever is in at RB do you want to see more empty sets? If Barkley is out extended time, do you want to see Scott/Allen/Thomas get a shot or see PSU use the plethora of talented WRs/TEs and run more pass plays?--rpm5103

I want to see Thomas get a shot, and I expect the offense (at least this week) to be run through the arm of Christian Hackenberg--weather permitting.

The team has been playing better since Temple. Is this actually a sign that they are better than that unholy mess we saw in Philly or is this just a mirage generated by playing weaker opponents?--PSUHist14

Yes.

In seriousness, they were better than Temple and are very young and let the game get out of their control. But they are absolutely taking advantage of playing a string of weaker teams, working out their own kinks and building on the team's own issues week by week and should be a much better all-around team when conference play really kicks into gear. We should know more by the end of Saturday whether that will be Homecoming, or the week after, in Columbus.

Why does John Donovan insist on constantly running and throwing to the short side of the field? Assuming our offense continues to improve, will he continue to be a liability for this team?--TheTeamFromPennsylvania

BECAUSE IT'S SO ILLOGICAL NO ONE WILL EXPECT IT!

I expect our offense will continue to improve by virtue of their growing confidence and the time on the field of the young guys, and the expansion of the trust the staff is showing in Hack. But yeah, I don't see how Donovan isn't still a liability for the team and how (at least, I hope and pray) he stays on staff past 2015.

More befuddled by?

I, for one, am a little baffled by Geno’s and Carter’s lack of targets. It seems Godwin and Gisecki have leaped each of those guys respectively but still the lack of involvement is head scratching.--rpm5103

I'm not surprised by Geno Lewis' lack of targets, because in my opinion he's not one of the top three wideouts on the team in terms of talent or potential. He's also dropped a number of balls, and has underwhelmed when he has been targeted.

Kyle Carter's is more understandable, considering he was injured for much of the offseason and didn't practice until a week before the season started. He's been targeted and seen the field more these past few weeks than the first two, and his impact was almost immediate--not just as a pass catching threat, but also as a blocking threat, both in the backfield and downfield. I truly hope he continues to grow and is involved more with the offense, especially as our passing game picks up. He (and Mike Gesicki) create such favorable mismatches that if they are even somewhat managed effectively we will be a much better team.

Are the receivers 40-time slow or game-speed slow?--PSU Mudder

Neither--that's just the black shoes making them look slow, both kinds of slow.

Who are you more impressed with? Reeder or Cabinda? Both have been pretty frickin sweet--rpm5103

I expected Troy Reeder to be awesome, because we heard all last year how awesome he was--he came in with all of the measurables, even as a true freshman, and then redshirted his first year. I didn't expect him to be forced into a starting role, of course, because most of us thought Nyeem Wartman-White would be on the field this year.

Which brings us to Jason Cabinda, who has far exceeded my (high) expectations for linebackers so far this season. The middle linebacker is the quarterback of the defense, and he has stepped up more than ably in Wartman-White's absense. The defense has barely missed a beat; I'd have thought Brandon Bell might have shifted to the middle with Cabinda staying to the outside, but once again Bob Shoop proved me wrong. I just can't imagine what we'll do next year with Wartman-White back and we have four starting linebackers back for three position--it'll be an embarassment of riches. And I'll be giddy like a schoolgirl.

Does Carl Nassib get drafted? and what round?--Sperbro

If he continues to play like he's been playing, absolutely--that's not even a question at this point. And he could go as high as the fourth or fifth round, which was virtually unthinkable a few weeks ago.

Who will be Penn State's quarterback to open the 2016 season? Who will finish the 2016 season?--ChrisHarrell's_stache05

I really hope Hack stays, but I doubt it. Based on all the hype on Trace McSorley out of practice, it's by far his position to lose no matter how good Zembiec looks when he comes in (and even with Tommy Stevens in the program) and I expect he keeps the starting position all year, barring something catastrophic that I don't even want to think about.

Before last season, for as long as I can remember, our goal lines had been yellow.... ….but starting with last season and continuing to this year they are now white, just like everybody else. Why? Franklin? Donovan (most things seem to be his fault)? Did we run out of yellow paint?--MJBPSU

I honestly didn't even notice this difference, but I'm putting this question in here in case someone more knowledgeable than I has an answer and can provide it in the comments.

What team in the B1G has surprised you the most, either good or bad? What team in the rest of college football has surprised you the most, again for either exceeding or not meeting expectations?--Former_DC_Buck

I've definitely been the most positively surprised by Northwestern. I expected them to be better than last year, at least record-wise, because in 2014 they were so fluky--they lost to teams they had no right to lose to, and beat teams that on paper they shouldn't have even shown up against. And here they are, a top twenty team with one of the best non-conference wins in the Big Ten.

Negatively, in overall college football, I'm the most surprised by Oregon. They got absolutely shellacked last week by Utah and barely put up any points, and that's just not a Duck offense I'm used to seeing. Recently, even after Chip Kelly left, they've been more of a plug and play kind of squad but they seem to be really missing Marcus Mariota more than I ever expected they would be.

What is the over/under on couches burned in College Park last night? After all the trash talking about the WVU hillbillies over on TT last week, how hilarious was it that the turtleheads got the ass whooping they so richly deserved?

Also, what are the odds that Bo Pelini is the Maryland HC next year? If they hire Pelini, HughGR won’t be able to find a soap box big enough to support him and his delusions. From now on, whenever injuries or poor play calling get me down, I’ll just think of Maryland football, and I’ll be instantly happier.--otholion

I don't think that there were too many couches burned--Bowling Green was more of a tough loss, IMO, than WVU, since BG was a lower opponent and at home for Maryland.

I doubt, though, that they end up with Pelini--though they might try. Pelini's more of a midwestern guy, and Maryland's more of an east coast program. My fear is that they'll get PJ Fleck--the idea of him at Maryland or Rutgers (more of a possibility, again IMHO) kind of terrifies me.

Which fan base is most unrealistic: Us for wanting Donovan to be fired, BTPR for wanting Flood gone, or Maryland for thinking they can lure someone like Jim Tres(s)el to coach them?--PSU_Lions_84

I don't think wanting Donovan to be fired is an unrealistic expectation, so I think that's the lowest bar. Kyle Flood, too, touted being an upstanding citizen and running a clean program--and look where that got him. So, Rutgers is out--that's also realistic.

Which leaves Maryland. They were unable to lure anyone besides Randy Edsall after letting go Ralph Friedgen last time, and while I think they'll be able to do a little better now that they're in the Big Ten, I don't know if they'll be able to do THAT much better. Plus, Tressel ain't going nowhere near there.

Which fan base's suffering gives you the most schadenfreude? Watching Maryland melt down right now is pretty entertaining, so was Rutgers last week. I expected to feel more when MIchigan was in full melt down mode last year than I actually did, however Harbaugh might change that. I’d probably go with OSU (or whoever Meyer is coaching) but I don’t see that happening because as much as I hate to admit it, he’s a damn good coach.--Succss With Honor Always

There's a difference for me for fanbases in whole and online fanbases. Because online, I'd definitely say Maryland's fanbase--but their online fanbase is nothing like their fanbase in real life, because I know (and have known for years) many Maryland fans and they are all generally very nice, reasonable people.

This is difficult for me in real life, because in reality, while I like to make fun of people in general terms, I don't wish anyone those types of meltdowns in real life. Watching such a big part of your life collapse in front of you, due to on or off the field issues, isn't fun--and we've experienced both, so can speak from a position of power on that.

So, online, I'm about that schadenfreude business for basically any fanbase deemed arrogant--so your traditional Notre Dames, Ohio States, Michigans, Florida States, Alabamas, USCs of the world. But not really, not when it counts. /insert shrug emoticon

When you drive up from Maryland, you don’t take 522-22-26 to get to State College, do you? Because if you do, could you please drive the speed limit to 5+ mph over until you get to a passing zone and then slow down to -10 mph below the speed limit. This would be a switch from the two Marylander drivers that made it difficult to pass on 522 (outside of Orbisonia, before Shirleysburg and there are no other passing zones until you hit 22 in Mt Union) or the Marylander who drove 40 on rt 26 until they went 65 in the passing zone. Yes my car goes 80 quite easily but I hate having to cover my wife’s eyes when getting around someone.--BMAN13

That ain't me, bro, I take the highway (270, 70, 30, 99, as Sperbro suggests). And if I did go up that way, I'd be going at least 10 mph over the speed limit (there are no cops that read BSD, right?)

Which game are you most excited to tailgate for? I think I might be going with Maryland.--Succss With Honor Always

Michigan. Because our tailgate is a Star Wars theme, and I have to decide between dressing up in Leia's A New Hope outfit, or as a Stormtrooper.

Which pasta dish is best? I am going to rank my choices.

  1. Spaghetti and meatballs. You really can’t go wrong.
  2. Lasagna
  3. Macaroni and Cheese, not the boxed kind, the kind you bake in the oven
  4. Ravioli, not Chef Boyarde
  5. Stuffed shells

--Gerry Dincher

This is possibly the toughest question in the history of forever. Slight exaggeration.

  1. Mac N Cheese (and of course you don't use a box, what kind of heathen do you think I am?)
  2. Ravioli (lobster is my favorite)
  3. Lasagna
  4. Spaghetti and meatballs
  5. Stuffed shells (I'm not a huge ricotta fan)

Its that time of year to have that pointless debate: Pumpkin beer…yay or nay?--06Lion

Generally, while I love Oktoberfests, I'm not a fan of most pumpkin beers--and I especially dislike the one most people like, Southern Tier's Pumking. At our Buffalo tailgate, though, my brother introduced me to Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale, which I found delicious and is now the one pumpkin beer I do enjoy.

Why did the bartender ask me if I wanted sugar on the rim of my beer?--AaronSpeaksJive

Ew, god, I don't know but that surely sounds disgusting and you should never go to that bar again.

What is your favorite song in your playlist right now?--rahpsu92

I honestly don't have one favorite song right now. I am, though, constantly listening to two albums on loop--Ryan Adams' recent cover of Taylor Swift's 1989 (it's simply awesome), and an older album by a singer-songwriter likely none of you have heard of, Mieka Pauley. The album is called The Science of Making Choices and she's, frankly, amazing and you should listen to her.

What's your sign?--No.21

(It's Aries)