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BSD Mailbag 9.25.15

You've got questions, BSD has answers!

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

So now that they've gotten past Rutgers what defines "success" through the Ohio State game to you?adamp1984
Based on the schedule, I would say 5-1 heading into the Ohio State game would be an unequivocal success. This team has the talent to reel off three consecutive victories, but the youth to experience an unexpected setback. For now, I'm drinking the Kool-Aid and believing the team will continue to improve with each game and impress more and more as the season continues.

How am I supposed to feel about this team (other than the normal love for all PSU teams)? They shit the bed against Temple, but looked absolutely dominant against BTPR. I can’t get a handle on this team’s personality. Do I dare get optimistic? usn_kologi
Remember that this team is still extremely young and, as mentioned, the occasional setback is inevitable. Personally, I'm cautiously optimistic that this team will continue to improve as it gains experience and finds its identity. Just keep in mind that while this team has the potential to do great things, they also have the youth to have an afternoon that will make you want to bang your head against the wall.

Remember when Penn State ran for 330 yards and 4 TD's against Rutgers. That was awesome! vern05
I see your Chris Farley reference and raise you this one from another roly poly funnyman:

Memba this?

Memba that?

100 BSD bucks to whoever gets the reference.

Now that we have a running game and some pass blocking what do Christian Hackenberg and the receivers need to do to take the next step forward? Even with time to throw, Hack was locking on to receivers rather than running through progressions and forcing balls. I get it, he’s still shell-shocked and it will take some time to get comfortable, so how does he make the transition from running scared to picking apart defenses? PSU Mudder
I hate to keep nit-picking on playcalling, but the fact they never really attempt to let him drop back and go vertical allows defenses to key on the short game while also not playing to his strengths whatsoever. I can understand the philosophy based on the performance of the offensive line, but it seems a bit ridiculous to not even give it a try here and there. Hackenberg was at his absolute best against Central Florida and Boston College when they actually played to his strength and the offensive line allowed him a little bit of time in the pocket. With back-to-back games with no sacks, it seems about time to unleash Hackenberg on Saturday.

What do i do about vacation? I will be leaving late Friday or early Saturday. We are taking the kids to Disney World for about 10 days or so. 1. Do I try to catch as much of the games as possible on the radio or tv and check BSD for all news? 2. take my phone with me everywhere listening to the live stream of the game? 3. stay away from everything for 10 days, come home and watch all recordings like they are new games? luckily the next 2 games should be wins and hopefully wont have too much drama adamp1984
That's a tough spot, because whichever you decide could easily backfire. A 10 day family vacation merits some "me" time, so taking three hours to grab a drink and watch the game seems perfectly reasonable. However, if the team goes out and lays an egg you will likely regret missing out on the time with your family.

If possible, your best bet might be to shut yourself off from the outside world as best as possible and enjoy the games on DVR as soon as you get home. In a former life I worked on some political campaigns, which means as soon as Penn State kicked off I would make sure to avoid any websites where I could possibly see the score and make sure the radio was off during the commute just in case. I would watch the games around 11 p.m., but didn't enjoy them any less with the delay.

At this point in the season how bad would Michigan State beat Ohio State and do we stand a chance against either? adamp1984
I think it's way too premature to assume Michigan State is leaps and bounds ahead of Ohio State. If they played on Saturday, I'm guessing Sparty would have come out on top. The Buckeyes had an off day against a great MAC program, but keep in mind how far they came throughout the course of 2014. If you even suggested Ohio State could dominate against Alabama and Oregon at this point last year you would have been laughed out of your local watering hole.

How great is it that we get to watch and root for Joe Julius the next 3.75 football seasons? Pretty great I say. hbeach08
I don't quite understand the appeal of fat-guy kickers, but there's no denying the enjoyment of watching someone who resembles an interior lineman succeed in a world made up of converted soccer players. By far, my favorite thing about Julius is watching him nail touchbacks out of the end zone with his foot only coming about six inches off the ground.

Is there any TV announcer that this fan base can 100% say they like? sperbro
The only announcer that I can recall who was universally loved was Keith Jackson. Any other announcer is probably hated by about 80 percent of college football fans. Except for Craig James, who was hated by 99 percent of college football fans (with a margin of error of one percent).

Is this season for Hackenberg similar to David Carr's second season with the Houston Texans? Carr seemed to have a ton of talent (I don’t really follow the Texans, so maybe ‘ton of talent’ is a bit of a stretch), got sacked over 70 times his rookie season and then never seemed to get on track during his second year, even though he didn’t get sacked nearly as much. Beanie Jr
It's interesting you bring this up, because as a Browns fan, I drew a similar comparison in my head- Tim Couch.  For the younger readers, or for those who need a refresher, Couch was probably the most highly-touted recruit up to that point. He decided to stay close to home and committed to Kentucky, where he eventually became a Heisman finalist and the number-one overall pick to the expansion Cleveland Browns in 1999.

While Couch needed some development to become a top-notch NFL quarterback, he entered the league with all of the necessary tools- accurate, smart, tough, fiery- basically all the physical qualities and intangibles that would translate to an excellent career. Unfortunately, and just like Carr, he was selected by an expansion team with an absolutely dreadful line and next to zero weapons at his disposal. Couch showed flashes of potential, but got so beat up he began to lose his mechanics and never had a chance to develop. By the time he escaped Cleveland and received another chance in Green Bay, he was so beat up and so far removed from his former self he just didn't have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback.

Suffice to say, I've witnessed the Browns ruin many quarterbacks, but none as conspicuously as Couch. Throughout 2014 and the Temple game, I couldn't help but think I'm seeing another quarterback being ruined by his circumstances. Whether it be at Penn State or in the NFL, I truly hope he's put in the right situation to succeed and not become another case of "what could have been." He deserves much, much better.