I'm not gonna use this space to talk about Sparty. Everyone knows the deal with Sparty: they started the year overrated, but (assuming they give Penn State the beatdown it seems ripe to receive) probably have the best résumé of any one-loss team in the country. They're very good, and even if Connor Cook is hurt, Penn State likely won't score enough to take advantage of it.
Instead I'm gonna talk about John Donovan.
What do you call a man whose job description boils down to "put your players in positions where they are likely to succeed," yet has shown a complete inability to even approach that? What do you call a man who continues to utilize the same failed tactics, whether it be for lack of creativity or just pure hubris? What do you call a man who refuses to adapt his approach to fit the talent on the roster when taking over a job, and instead continues to try and fit square pegs into round holes? You call him a failure. You call him that, and then you fire him.
John Donovan's "offense" versus Mark Dantonio's defense is not a good matchup. But you knew that already. His offense isn't a good matchup against pretty much any power five defense. It consistently puts the names on the list below in high-risk, low-reward situations wherein they are increasingly unlikely to succeed. Smarter people with better play-by-play breakdown understandings can go into the detail and numbers (and they will, here, on this very site), but you don't even need to see them. You don't need to see them because they say exactly what you already know, what you can feel in your bones when you watch this team on Saturdays.
Every PA jet sweep, every Christian Hackenberg read option, and every receiving tight end ignored in the playcalling paints the same pictures the numbers do, and that picture is this: By following the strategy John Donovan implements, Penn State decreases its ability to win football games. It is the opposite of how coaching works, and the young men he's supposed to be cultivating are left in a drought and have been for his entire career as a coordinator. He's probably a very nice man, but he's proven he does not deserve to hold his job, and everyone from the best in national college football media to the drunk freshman in the S Zone know it's true.
Fire John Donovan, not just because he is a detriment to his own players, but because, even more egregiously, after two years he somehow doesn't even seem to realize it.
Now that that's out of the way, here's this week's depth chart:
|Coaches:||HC James Franklin||"OC" John Donovan||DC Bob Shoop|
|Off.||First Team||Second Team||Reserves|
|QB||#9 Trace McSorley||#4 Tommy Stevens|
|RB||#26 Saquon Barkley||#22 Akeel Lynch||#24 Nick Scott/#8 Mark Allen|
|FB||#34 Dom Salomone|
|WR-X||#12 Chris Godwin||#13 Saeed Blacknall||#84 Juwan Johnson|
|WR-Z||#7 Geno Lewis||#80 Matt Zanellato|
|TE||#11 Brent Wilkerson||#88 Mike Gesicki||#87 Kyle Carter|
|WR-F||#5 DaeSean Hamilton||#3 DeAndre Thompkins||#10 Brandon Polk|
|LT||#73 Paris Palmer||#58 Chance Sorrell|
|LG||#66 Angelo Mangiro||#53 Derek Dowrey||#71 Albert Hall|
|C||#55 Wendy Laurent||#66 Angelo Mangiro|
|RG||#72 Brian Gaia||#68 Kevin Reihner|
|RT||#59 Andrew Nelson||#70 Brendan Mahon||#60 Noah Beh|
|Def.||First Team||Second Team||Reserves|
|DE||#95 Carl Nassib||#19 Torrence Brown||#52 Curtis Cothran|
|DT||#98 Anthony Zettel||#91 Tarow Barney||#93 Antoine White|
|DT||#99 Austin Johnson||#41 Parker Cothren|
|DE||#90 Garrett Sickels||#94 Evan Schwan|
|OLB||#11 Brandon Bell||#43 Manny Bowen||#25 Von Walker|
|MLB||#40 Jason Cabinda||#8 Gary Wooten||#38 Ben Kline|
|OLB||#42 Troy Reeder||#33 Jake Cooper|
|CB||#15 Grant Haley||#29 John Reid||#21 Amani Oruwariye|
|FS||#2 Marcus Allen||#28 Troy Apke|
|SS||#6 Malik Golden||#7 Koa Farmer|
|CB||#10 Trevor Williams||#1 Christian Campbell||#12 Jordan Smith|
|Sp.||First Team||Second Team||Reserves|
|K||#95 Tyler Davis||#99 Joey Julius|
|P||#92 Dan Pasquariello||#37 Chris Gulla|
|KR||#7 Koa Farmer||#10 Brandon Polk||#24 Nick Scott|
|PR||#3 DeAndre Thompkins||#10 Brandon Polk||#8 Mark Allen|
|LS||#44 Tyler Yazujian||#41 Zach Ladonis||#97 Nick Cox|
|H||#37 Chris Gulla||#93 Robby Liebel||#16 Billy Fessler|