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BSD Mailbag 10.27.17

We’ve got mostly football related answers on this, the eve of the biggest game in years.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

There have been comparisons between anOSU’s and Penn State’s defenses. Compare Michigan’s defense to the Buckeyes’.—PSU_Lions_84

Michigan has two of the best defensive linemen in the nation in Rashan Gary and Maurice Hurst – and we neutralized them. Even when Gary had a line on Trace McSorley last week to pick up a sack, the quarterback was able to get the ball away to his weapons downfield – we schemed to take them out of the game. The rest of their defensive line is pretty darn good too; Don Brown’s defense is schemed around using the front three (they generally run a 3-3-5), and creative blitzes from the other eight guys in order to disguise where the pressure is coming from. The downfall to that, of course, is when you can’t get pressure with four guys up front, and they couldn’t, in order to get pressure you either have to bring a fifth player to the line to help get into the backfield, which leaves wide receivers (and running backs who run routes) out one on one with your defensive backfield, or you just concede that you won’t be getting to the quarterback to drop him, and focus on taking away the Barkley option and dropping another guy into coverage to help out your backfield.

Obviously neither worked well for Michigan, as they hadn’t dealt with wide receivers of our athleticism and skill before – reports were that our guys were calling out the mismatches to Trace on the sideline all night, and we definitely took advantage. You can’t really leave a linebacker one-on-one with Saquon Barkley and not expect him to be torched for a big gain out of the backfield – and yet, Michigan did it multiple times. They’re just lucky we didn’t get another 6 on this, with the ball that Trace dropped perfectly into Saquon’s arms and the Heisman contender simply dropped.

Ohio State has a different philosophy, from what I can tell and not doing much studying on this so far (don’t @ me). They don’t have *quite* the top flight talent on the line as Michigan, but it’s pretty close and they’re much deeper – LJ Senior, as I’m sure most of you remember, loves to rotate his defensive line almost as much as Sean Spencer, so they have the talent and a lot of their guys have had in-game experience. Ohio State tends to run a more-basic 4-3-4, bringing pressure with their front four and utilizing more traditional linebacker or safety blitzes, and it’s worked well for them because they haven’t needed much additional pressure to get into their opponents’ backfields. The kicker on this, though, is if you bring pressure and blitz, you’re again leaving your defensive backfield on islands with receivers – and if the receivers are very good and the quarterback serviceable in getting the ball to them, they can be abused, as the Buckeyes’ clear weakness on defense (and it’s not even close) is their defensive backfield. See: Cobbs, Simmie and Mayfield, Baker.

Basically, if our offense looks like it did last week against Michigan, who actually didn’t play poorly we just played way better, then there’s not much OSU can do to counteract that – Joe Moorhead will counteract their counteraction. But if we’re not as good, and going into the Shoe after an emotional win with the home team coming off a BYE, then it could be difficult.

What New Twist or "Fluke Play" does Moorhead unveil this week? If Oklahoma can drop more than 30 on Ohio State then I expect we can put up at least 40.—wvlion

It might be some sort of hook and ladder that Herbstreit alluded to last week? Don’t put too much thought in trying to guess - I think all guesses will likely be wrong and we’ll be so ecstatic when we see it, and it works. Just ride the wave of genius.

Can we put up 600 yards on OSU?—PhillyLion

We physically *can*. But we won’t.

They kept lining up Barkley in the slot before motioning him into the backfield. While a few of the plays took advantage of that motion, is there a chance that there’s an added wrinkle in that formation? Were they looking for a specific coverage match up that they weren’t getting? If they snap the ball in that formation is it to draw the secondary support to Barkley’s side in hopes of eliminating safety help on the far side of the field?—Succss With Honor Always

I am 100% sure there is a new wrinkle to that formation. Or an old one – Trace could call for the snap while Barkley is still in motion, with Saquon continuing along in a jet sweep. If we’re able to seal the edge earlier in the day, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that play run (I don’t remember seeing it this year, but we definitely ran a variation of it a few times in 2016).

OSU stadium. So The OSU is doing a black out…if you are going to the game, wear white! (insert quote about imitation being best form of flattery here) But seriously, how does a team prepare for an away game with 100k screaming at you? Can you invite all those who were at the game Saturday night and tell them to scream at Trace/Tyler?—mhf

You pump in crowd noise into your practices. That’s pretty much all you can do – but luckily, we played at night in Kinnick earlier this year, and that was arguably tougher with the crowd right up on our players’ benches. The best way to mitigate home field advantage is to silence the crowd immediately by playing great. If we can do that, it’ll take them out of it.

How would you feel if Saquon ends up with your least favorite NFL team? I like the Ravens and Eagles the least. I’d rather see him on the Eagles since the Steelers only play them once every four years. I’d hate to see him on the Browns. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I think I’d die of happiness if he ends up on the Steelers.—Gerry Dincher

This has already happened to me. I still have my #45 Penn State jersey, back when they sold the numbers beyond 1, and Sean Lee was my favorite; then he got drafted by the freaking Dallas Cowboys. Now he’s dead to me (he’s not dead to me, I still follow his stats and get excited when he does well except for when he plays the Skins).

Should we only 'cruit quarterbacks whose last name starts "Mc. . . "? Tommy McStevens is allowed since he is on the roster currently.—Dbridi

This is a brilliant idea and you should write a letter to Franklin to that effect. Put it on embossed letterhead, he’ll be sure to know how important this take is.

How great is it that we are going into this game as the legit "#2 in the nation undefeated just blew out the top rated defense" and still get to play the underdog card? Also, the Irish names are equally fun for other positions also, for example Saquon McBarkley, Shaka McToney, Marcus McAllen…—phillyfanisc

It’s so great. Words can’t describe how awesome it is – we can conflate both things, about how we know we’re awesome (because, spoiler, we are one of the best teams in the nation and I’m not sure that’s up for debate) but we still aren’t getting respect. I fully expect CJF to use this to his advantage.

Anybody planning on going to the Keystone Classic this year?—Succss With Honor Always

I’m not, but I’m planning on trying to make it to the first dual of the season! If anyone is, please let us know – it should be a fun ride. Also, please tell me that Nick Suriano doesn’t look as good as he did last year prior to the injury.

Does a one loss Notre Dame deserve consideration for the CFP? Please say fuck no.—PhillyLion

Fuck no!*

Is the wheel route to Barkley the equivalent of the baseline slap shot in 8 bit Nintendo Blades of Steel?--Claypool3

No, because he actually freaking dropped one last game! It’s only the knockout punch if it works all the time.

Side note: it’s nice to see that Superman isn’t perfect. But he’s still pretty damn close.

Who would be on the Mt. Rushmore of most hated opposing coaches? Currently and All Time?—Dbridi

Currently: Pat Fitzgerald, Pat Narduzzi, Tom Ryan, Brian Kelly, Rob Koll. I don’t hate Jim Harbaugh, I just find him annoying and I don’t understand all the hype and love he gets.

All time: Fitz will always be the one I hate the most. But you can add Jimmy Johnson on here.

I haven’t really hated too many that aren’t currently coaching – unlike a lot of you, I don’t hate Lloyd Carr. I don’t hate many coaches, simply because I don’t hate coaches just because of what happens to Penn State on the field – there has to be circumstances beyond that.

There is still a possibility that two B1G teams and two SEC teams each make the CFP, setting the stage for a glorious battle of regional supremacy between North and South.

1) What possible combinations of chaos could allow for this to occur?

2) Who wins the second War of Northern Aggression: Sherman or Lee?—rallyparakeet

  1. There has to be a lot of chaos – it would essentially require all four of Penn State, Wisconsin, Alabama and Georgia to run the table until the respective conference titles, and Notre Dame, Clemson, TCU, and Oklahoma to all have two losses. Not out of the realm of possibility, of course, but not very likely at all.
  2. I think you mean who would win the first War of Aggression, because there hasn’t been one so far despite what some revisionists might like to say.

We all know that Ohio State is pretty much the root of all evil. And that this weeks game is unequivocally a bigger, more important match up. So why am I not as jacked up for this week as last week?—notJohn

Because it’s not at home. And there’s a higher probability of a loss; I’m not as jacked up either, because I’m way more nervous. I was so excited last week because I knew Michigan didn’t have a chance; personally, I was loose, and confident, and knew it would be a great night. This week I am hopeful but not expectant; I think we’re the better team, but that doesn’t always translate into a win.

I have asked a similar question last week, but I want to ask again bc I did say if the game got out of hand (and it did). Seeing how the OSU fanbase has treated Barrett after a loss, and b*tchin’ up a storm that he is terrible…Only to come back and say he is the GOAT when defeating lesser teams, what is the likelihood this game gets out of hand bc Barrett doesn’t have time for the pass, and the Boo Birds and chants for Haskins/Burrow come out from the crowd noise? This would be so much fun to see—PeteZockyU

It depends on the score, not whether or not he has time to pass. If it’s a close game despite the fact he can’t drop back, I don’t expect the boo birds will be out. But if their offense can’t get anything going but ours can, yeah, I expect some negative reaction from OSU fans.

Good luck to any going to the game – 2015 was likely different because they beat us down, so the fans were nice, even if some were so in a condescending, aren’t you adorable for hoping you could compete sort of way. This year, it’s going to be very different – we are legit contenders and they’re afraid. And fear brings out the asshole in many of us.

When did the Blue Band start playing Kylo Ren's theme? How ashamed should I be that it took me to this point in the season to realize it? What must I do to repent my failure of Star Wars geekdom.—Blue & White Wookie

I believe it was last year. And don’t worry, fellow Star Wars fan; it took me quite a while to figure this out too.

Meant to ask this awhile back not sure if it’s been answered. What happened to the alternate uniforms? Did the players get to keep or purchase? Will the be sold by university to generate funds?--psualum9931

They were auctioned off, with proceeds going to the athletic department.

What is the proper ratio of slices of Papa Johns Pizza to Points you got your butt whipped to soothe a battered ego? Assuming we beat anOSU by at least 14 points (which I am starting to think is reasonable), I’m doubting a single order of pizza would be enough since a 1:1 ratio of loss point to slice doesn’t sound like enough.—RWReese

I like a .5:1 ratio here.

Where should I hang out in columbus after the win?—JayMPSU

In Pennsylvania.

If we beat Ohio State would it be better for us to find a way to skip the CCG? Perhaps by losing to Nebraska or something? No sense in jeopardizing playoff chances by earning our way into an extra game.—GSAPS

This would be even funnier if I thought that we wouldn’t be the team that would be penalized and wouldn’t make it (like, for example, if we beat OSU but lose to MSU, who also beats OSU – then MSU would go to the championship game, and we might have a shot at the playoff still at 11-1). The issue becomes Wisconsin; if they run the table or have one loss, they’d go before us, unless that one loss is to MSU in the championship game. The only way we wouldn’t go to Indy and would have a shot at the playoffs is if our only loss is to MSU, who wins out and then loses the conference championship game, and Wisconsin drops one of their remaining regular season games. Not very likely.

What was your favorite GameDay sign? Mine was Harbaugh emailed his winning game plan to Hillary which was hung from a fraternity house next to Rec Hall.—LarzLion

Mine was the variation of all of the Akrons, past and future, on our schedule this year. Plus LOL Rutgers (which seemed to have a reverse psychology effect on the Scarlet Knights).

Superstition warning. I’ve worn the same socks for every game (washed of course) but they’re grey. Do I stick with them this week?—Succss With Honor Always

How is this even a question? OF COURSE YOU DO. IT’S ONLY WEIRD IF IT DOESN’T WORK /downs another fireball shot pregame

What is the single worst thing about Ohio State?—WorldBFat

There’s so much to pick from, but for me, it’s got to be the stupid helmet stickers.

Creepy or not? First, let me say that I joined Twitter last week. I found it a little odd but I think i am figuring it out. It’s kind of neat I guess. I was on Instagram but gave it up a while ago. So here is the question, are these 2 statements equally creepy? If were to say that "i joined twitter and have been following you for about a week" OR if i saw you somewhere in public and said " my name is Adam and I have been following you for a week" . Am I the only one who thinks it is a little weird and creepy that you follow strangers lives and it is socially ok? Or am I weird and creepy for thinking about it like that and I should just roll with it?--adamp1984

It’s all up to you and what you think, and what you’re comfortable with. Personally, I much prefer someone come up to me and say hi, that they follow me or know me from BSD, rather than lurking and staring and whispering. I’ve met so many wonderful people through twitter, and actually some of my best friends now I first met really through social media (either directly, or through a friend that I met via social media), that I can’t say enough about it.

Just don’t ask someone on social media openly where they are and then try to seek them out. That’s creepy; if they aren’t responding to you, they don’t want to be found. If you happen to be at the same place, that’s find.

I’ve seen the phrase "comic genius" written a lot. What percentage of people who use that descriptor know what it means?--psualum9931

Here’s the thing – I think most know what it means, but almost everyone has different senses of humor, so what is one person’s genius is another’s stupidity.

Boob tattoos: Classy or trashy?--psualum9931


I think it depends on the person, and the tattoo.

*This is a lie. Notre Dame will absolutely be in the playoff discussion if they are 10-2.