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BSD Mailbag 12.11.15

You guys got the Star Wars memo, and I tried to deliver.

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Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With how agressive the Penn State athletic department has been, do you see them getting the OC of their choice? Do you feel like they want young and fresh or experienced and has a tested system that works for them?

The recent (couple of years) Penn State has spent the money to get the coaches that they want. Guy has been a HR, Shoop has been a HR, I think Cooper is building something and so is Chambers. It just feels like they focus in on a guy(gal) and get him.

Also, I think Franklin will end up being a HR too--PSU_sincebirth

Franklin has been pretty vocal about wanting an experienced playcaller—which is actually, aside from Shoop and Hand, basically the opposite of much of the rest of the staff. It could be a welcome change, and if that doesn’t work I’m not sure what will. And though it most definitely won’t happen, I still really, really (like most commenters on here) want Bob Stitt to come to Penn State as our OC. That would be baller.

And I still think Franklin will be a homerun as well.

Besides the obvious choice of a Curtis Dukes player/coordinator hire...Who is the Penn State alum you would most like to see selected as the future OC? Are there any realistic former player possibilities for the OC position?--aeknipe

I think eventually I’d like to see Michael Robinson return to Penn State. He’s been such a great ambassador for the University and the PSU community in the public eye in and beyond State College. He also has been so receptive to coaching himself, and playing for the school not just for himself as a player—and that’s a trait I’d love to be passed on to future generations of PSU players.

Was this the best weekend ever for PSU sports? Did any team lose?--PhillyLion

Women’s hockey actually fell to Syracuse on Friday (3-1), and women’s basketball lost to USF 101-79. Other than that it was a very successful weekend.

I do recall a weekend a few years ago to kick off the sports season—the last weekend in August, if I’m remembering correctly—in which every Penn State team won. Of course, fewer sports teams were in-season that early, but still, it was a remarkable feat and I was pretty damn impressed.

Is PSU on the verge of a Women's Soccer dynasty, like WVB, Fencing and now Wrestling are now or have had?--BMAN13

Your lips to Erica Walsh’s ears. We lose a few great seniors this off-season (like Raquel Rodriguez, who scored the championship-winning goal) but Walsh has stockpiled such great talent that we should be reloading, not rebuilding. It’ll be great to watch, and going into next year the Lions should be a preseason top five squad and one of the favorites to once again win the Big Ten.

If UNC had beaten Clemson, they don’t get called for offsides, and they somehow score and eke out a close win. Would the rest of the rankings been the same? That is would Clemson drop out of the top four to whatever spot they go to, let’s say 6 and everyone else would move up one so it would be Iowa vs Bama and OU vs MSU? Or would Stanford have jumped Iowa?

I have no problem with Iowa ahead of us and going to the Rose. Yes it would be nice to get back to Pasadena, it has been a few years and it seems like Tempe is OSU’s western outpost given we have been there like seven times in the BCS era. Iowa hasn’t been to the Rose since before you guys were in the Conference. The Orange snatched them up in 2003 when we wen to Tempe to win the MNC. But Iowa won their division had one more win than us, so I’m good with it. I’m just curious if the committee really would have put Iowa in as #4.--Former_DC_Buck

Knowing the playoff committee’s stated hatred of rematches, I doubt they would have put Iowa in. I think Stanford would have gotten the final spot. Now, had Clemson lost and Iowa held on to win the Big Ten Championship, I really think Ohio State would have claimed the #4 spot with both Iowa and OSU in the playoffs—because that’s not a rematch, and they wouldn’t have already settled it on the field. The Hawkeyes and Spartans played too recently, though, for it to be a realistic option for the committee to consider.

Knowing that we're all football junkies here and the bowl schedule is out...Is there one day where you’d say "screw family & social responsibilities, I’m parked on the couch if you need me" this year? (Jan 2 notwithstanding, of course)--PSUBeatle

It’s almost always New Year’s Day for me, regardless. There’s always a plethora of Big Ten teams on the schedule that day, with decent matchups—and this year is no different. Plus I’m always out of work, so there’s always less guilt—and there’s not a lot of conflict with other things to watch. I’m in front of the couch from 11 am (because pregame, natch) until midnight. And it’s a great day.

Bowl game pick em pools...The ones where you have to pick every game. Fun or stupid?--bearwithscarf

Totally fun. Ever since I stopped running the pool for my office, I mean.

Does anyone think DJ Durkin is really going to be The Guy for Maryland? I take MGoBlog with a portion of salt, but their game reviews are generally pretty accurate. This man basically ran the same defense all season long. That doesn’t sound bad, but he ran the same defense with virtually no adjustments. He got trashed by Indiana because the Hoosiers ran a zone stretch play that exposed Michigan’s vertically aggressive linemen. Durkin did nothing to change, from the first play to the end. Against Penn State, our huge run with Saquon on the first drive was a virtual repeat of what Indiana did. Of course, we only ran the play three times. And Former_DC_Buck can comment to how Michigan schematically did essentially nothing to counteract Ohio State’s offense.

After those last three games, the reaction to Durkin leaving, among Michigan fans, has been something like, "Well…………….bye." Good luck, Terps.

By the way, that Penn State only ran that type of stretch play against Michigan three times is a pretty significant point that hopefully will be addressed with the new OC.--ReadingRambler

I think Durkin was a decent hire for them, but most Maryland fans were looking for a home-run hire with a proven track record. I’m not sure how realistic that hope was; Durkin was running, no doubt, a successful defense at Michigan this year (and at Florida previously), but he also inherited a ton of talent at both schools—something he’s not getting as much of in College Park. He could help to turn around the Terrapins—or not. With no connections to the Maryland program and no previous head coaching experience, he’s a different direction than either of Maryland’s previous two head coaches—and he’s different than their AD’s stated goal of getting an offensive-minded HC. But who knows, he could be okay. Or we could be talking about this again in three years.

If I had to place money, I’d say it’s more likely to be the latter.

Was it smart for Muschamp to tweet, Look at my wife, I can sell ice to an Eskimo when asked if he was a good recruiter? Is there a chance that kids might take that as a slight when he tries the hardsell or was he just bragging that his wife will help him convince the recruits to, a, come, to SCar--BMAN13

Maybe I’m missing it, but I feel like Franklin was beat up waaaaay more for a very similar, but less public, comment essentially saying the same thing when he was at Vanderbilt. And that’s insane to me.

I don’t think it’ll be an issue for kids. Recruiting is recruiting, and the future commits won’t pay attention to it—unless they’re thinking it’s humorous. I personally don’t (and I didn’t before) but not every "joke" appeals to everyone.

Might not be a popular question...where does our football fan base rank on the spectrum of "delusional expectations"?

ex. I don’t think we are as delusional as say… Rutgers. But are we more delusional with regards to continued success and expectations than say Nebraska, Georgia? I also know that there is quite a variation within group (like the BSD community isn’t not nearly as delusional as say… PennLive), but on a whole there should some emergent properties.--Ken Barnas Shattered Dreams

I’m not so sure we have "delusional expectations" but rather a large bulk of our fanbase is rather entitled, similar to many other fanbases of historically great (but not as great recently) programs. So when we have a series of good but not great years (like recently) when we’ve been above .500 but haven’t competed for championships they’re calling for everyone’s head.

It feels as though many Penn State fans feel as though the coaches, and the Penn State program, now owes them something since they’ve stuck with them through the years. And while we all take pride in the "Success with Honor" moniker, and graduating our players and doing good deeds in the community and staying out of trouble off the field and doing all of that while navigating the ridiculous NCAA sanctions while not having a losing season, some of those same "fans" seem to think that isn’t good enough and would prefer to fire the head coach after two years despite all of that.

And no, that last statement isn’t exaggeration, and not just message board hyperbolic chatter—that is actual commentary I witnessed from multiple Penn Staters in the stands at our last home game. That goes above and beyond any delusion, and causes me to question why any such purported fans would willingly pay significant money for something that seemingly causes them such grief.

I asked some other dingus,but the question should’ve always been yours Cari.


1) Rank these franchises on all merits and detail why you chose as such (listed by age): Dr. Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, or Battlestar Galatica.

What quality does each franchise exemplify better than the others?

2) Which nemesis is more threatening/powerful: the Daleks, the Borg, the Sith, or the Cylons?

Sport:  Not a varsity sport, but, why don’t you toss some love to the PSU Women’s Rugby Team? They’re pretty awesome, and in the competitive sibling rivalry, as a former men’s rugger, they are the devil, cause they have raised the bar so high and the men’s team hasn’t sniffed of keeping pace with their success.--MrNoPants


Star Wars – my first true love. Encompasses good over evil, moralistic black and white—some say too simplistically but lets you examine both sides within yourself. And how quotable is it?

BSG – the remake, because Ronald Moore is amazing. The allegories with modern life/politics were too great to ignore. If you like sci-fi and didn’t watch this, I don’t know what you are doing with your life—and also, Apollo and Starbuck are my favorite and also I may be Starbuck in disguise.

Star Trek – I love what JJ Abrams did in rebooting the franchise, and that may be primarily why I’m not concerned about December 17.

Doctor Who – simply because I haven’t watched it, even though I know I’d like it if I did.

2) The Sith, duh. Because the Force is strong.

Sport: We sometimes link to non-NCAA sports in the SWH posts, but we very rarely cover club sports in posts—we just don’t have the time and resources, as all of us have full time jobs and do this not for prestige or money (a resounding HA to both of those things) but rather because we love Penn State, and writing, and this community. If there are community members who love rugby, I’d definitely recommend the fanposts—we’d bump it if you write it and it’s good.

Who would be the better OC - Obi-Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader? Vader coached several seasons under Kenobi and learned a few tricks, but Vader’s system seems to have morphed into an all-or-nothing, blow you up approach. Kenobi appears to have the long-term trend on his side, but when things aren’t going well he literally hides in the sand for long stretches of time.--McCloskeywasinbounds

It depends. How many penalties are you willing to suffer in order to put the ball in the endzone? The way that the refs have been calling chop blocks—and in some key instances, offensive PI—I’d be loathe to go Vader here, as he’d be more likely to coach his teams into more questionable play. He also seems more of the "go big or go home" style of coach, with chunk yardage, while Ben Kenobi would be a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust style OC. I’m more on board with the latter.

Plus, young Ewan Macgregor is dreamy to look at.

So who wore what to your Whiteout Tailgate? Did you take my Hoth Leia advice?--Former_DC_Buck

I am actually really superstitious, so I didn't wear anything special. Sorry DC. I wore the same PSU gear that I wear to every tailgate--just added my white Penn State coat for the whiteout.

Scale of 1 to 10, how worried are you about the new Star Wars? Also, how much of a role do you think Luke will have?--Sperbro

Surprisingly, not very (see above about JJ)—so maybe a 3, if 1 is not worried at all. I think Luke will be more important than people are thinking—it’s all smoke and mirrors, similar to the "NO WAY BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH IS NOT PLAYING THAT CHARACTER" protestations before Star Trek Into Darkness.

Better theme: Han Solo and the Princess or Across the Stars?

Been re-watching the movies with the boys and the 12 year old is in band now so paying closer attention to the music. While there is much to be unhappy about with the prequels, the scores John Williams put together for them may be their most redeeming quality. I don’t hate the prequels like some do, but I am disappointed in the execution and their heavy use of the CGI makes them look worse as time passes. But I digress. I think Williams work is so much more mature by these movies. Just wondering what you or anyone else who wants to pipe up thought.--Former_DC_Buck

Aw man. I don’t know if I can pick…Across the Stars was hands down the best thing about Episode 2, and is absolutely phenomenal. That, and Hayden Christiansen’s "WTF" expression after Natalie Portman says "I shouldn’t have done that" when they kissed for the first time. Very typically male response.

But Han Solo and the Princess is flat-out amazing, and to this day I am distraught there is no standalone track for that on the Empire Strikes back soundtrack (though the lead in to the Imperial March from it is great). I don’t even know, though, that I can limit my favorite Star Wars tracks to just two—Duel of the Fates is phenomenal, and so is Battle of the Heroes—and those don’t even touch on the most iconic songs (the main theme, and Imperial March).

Basically, John Williams is a god and I will fight you if you disagree.

Have you already bought a Christmas present for yourself? I got a cyber-Monday deal on a new surfboard, with the intention of letting the kids use it in the spring, but I took it out this weekend and had a blast.--vern05

Nick Blonde got me into Saga, and I bought all of trade releases as an early Christmas present for myself. Other than that, and my purchase of wrestling tickets for this weekend, nothing else.

I am always accepting these as Christmas gifts, though.

Why do they call those places Gentlemen's Clubs? Are you telling me that all the dudes that go to those places are gentlemen? Really?--jiminore

Originally, in order to go to such establishments (in England) it is my understanding that one had to be aristocratic, and the clubs were very exclusive (to those considered "gentlemen" and of a certain social caste). Gambling was only allowed in those clubs, not anywhere else, so they were super exclusive in the 18th century. The name has just stuck around as the exclusivity has not.

Would you rather buy a purebred dog from a breeder , or adopt an all American from a shelter ?--jb3jammer54

Adoption all the way. Personally, I would never buy from a breeder, but that’s just me—there’s too many dogs (and cats, and other animals) out there that need adopting.

Are you upset that Patrick Stewart isn't in the new Star Wars movie? He was my favorite Star Wars.--Jared Slanina

I have your address and I have met your wife. Remember this.