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BSD Mailbag 11.3.17

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An Ohio State hangover, Saquon Barkley, and more in this week’s mailbag!

NCAA Football: Penn State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Would Barkley have scored on this play?

Looks like he has a clear path to end zone with blocking 3 WRs. There is a DE coming down but I don’t think he would be able to turn and catch him on a dead run plus he gets a little chip from pulling guard. Why not give it to Barkley and at least give him the chance to do it? I know it was a rough game but this would have put it on ice. Or even if Trace keeps and goes right instead into the middle of the line looks like he at least has a chance. Apologize in advance for poor quality of GIF. It looks terrible on my end.--adamp1984

Here's the thing: the way that Ohio State reacted to that play, sure, it looks like Saquon would have scored - but that notion is predicated on OSU's defense responding exactly the same way they responded when Trace had the ball. But the Buckeye defense, as much as it may pain us to say, is talented and well coached, so we can't automatically assume they wouldn't have read the handoff correctly, and gotten Saquon as well. It's too easy to simply change one thing in a vacuum in a football game and assume you'll automatically get a different result.

Was it me or...did Penn State run the same play on first down like 60-70% of the time in the Shoe? On that note, what was the percentage of those plays that went negative and got us behind the sticks? With this, is SB26 being used the correct way? Just feel like if we maximized his 15-20 touches (I’m all for him returning kicks so 15-20 touches outside of kick returns), it would be more successful than the volume approach we have used most of the season. Last year seemed like the coaching staff used him well and it fit in the flow of the game. This year offensive play calling seems super predictable that SB26 is getting the ball and doesn’t seem to flow well. Am I the only who feels this way?--DS_42

They were pretty simplistic in first down play calls; the only thing I can think of is that, in tape, Ohio State showed tells that they ended up cleaning up in their BYE week - much like the Michigan defense said we did in our game against them. It's difficult to change what you've studied for a week, if the changes implemented are different enough to be significant.

*disclaimer* this is not my opinion...But a question I’ve had to field from PSU fans I know and I say Saquon should not stay and will go to the NFL. Their counterpoint is, does he stay because of unfinished business should PSU not make the CFP and he does not win the Heisman?

Personally, I see no reason for him to come back, I believe he’s graduating in Dec, he’s already attained legendary status at PSU and it’s time to make cash money. I have heard it enough however, that I leave it to the BSD experts and the commentators their opinions as well.--mbailey71

I highly, highly doubt he stays - nor should he. He'll go, if not first overall, then in the top five. That's significant enough for him to go, because you never know what might happen in the offseason or next year to drop his draft stock. He'd lose millions. The smart play is to leave, and I'm sure that Franklin and Barkley have had this discussion. Obviously, his family will play a part in this decision as well, but I'd be shocked if he doesn't go.

Why do we not roll Trace out more on planned roll outs. I mean he does pretty good improvising and running for his life. Why not more roll outs with a safety valve in the flat, especially on second and short?--wvlion

It's just not part of the overall gameplan. I don't disagree that we should, but rolling out, iirc, is typically a response to an under-snap quarterback; it's rare to have it from a shotgun snap (for example, we saw it a lot more when Hackenberg was under center). The RPO should allow for a variation on this - but I feel like we don't pass as much as we should on the Run PASS Option.

How do we attack this game? PSU’s only hope @ a CCG appearance sort of rides with a healthy and determined MSU team facing OSU (Along with a Michigan or Iowa squad as well). Is there an actual formula on completely destroying a team to help your overall cause, but leave them intact (and very pissed off) in order to pull off an impossible upset the following week? MSU was a 3-9 (1-8) team last year, and lost to a ranked OSU squad by failing on a 2-pt conversion that would’ve won the game.

Reference Iowa Football 2016: Nov. 5th @ Penn State….L 14-41, Nov. 12th Michigan………..W 14-13 ***Michigan was undefeated, ranked #3. The spread was Michigan -20. Can Penn State "Get Lucky" in consecutive seasons?--PeteZockyU

Well, we demolished Michigan in our game before Ohio State, and they went out and beat a Rutgers team on a two game winning streak by three scores. I know, I know, it's Rutgers - but I've seen crazier things. It depends on how Ohio State comes out this week at Iowa, which can be tough - are they off on an emotional high after last week's win, or are they all in on their confidence? If OSU destroys Iowa this week, I don't like Sparty's chances, no matter how much we win the game by.

Does JoMo bring the whole offensive playbook this week or the fall of the cliff notes this week--bva-psu

It depends on what we need. I expect he's studied tape of Michigan State's defense and if he feels there's a trick play able to exploit it, a la the modified wildcat or Tommy touchdown time, then they will. Think back to Iowa last year; when we ran the play where Stevens trucked Desmond King; the play, a little bit of trickeration, was wholly unnecessary, as PSU was up big at that point. But it was fun, and it went into style points.

Any theories why Dantonio always looks either constipated or like someone strangled his puppy with another puppy?--swift_retribution

Occam's razor. If he looks constipated, he's probably not having a great bowel day, amirite?

Are we who we thought we were? I feel like I’ve had expectations that this team was better than the stats indicated this year, that they were just letting off the gas because they were up by multiple scores, thanks several times to defense and special teams. But looking at the stats on Saturday, particularly the entire 2nd half, I don’t believe we let up, I just don’t think we were capable of being successful. Very few plays gained any yards at all, and when your plays either go for less than 3 yards or more than 20, you’re not going to find any kind of consistency. I guess it just shocks me that this offense has a hard time finding consistency when it’s filled with so many playmakers.--Succss With Honor Always

We're actually better than I thought we would be at this point. I expected we'd be 6-2, and would lose Ohio State - and it wasn't until after the Michigan game I was even convinced we'd be competetive in the Shoe. Not only were we competetive, but we had a shot to win the whole dang thing!

Special teams is much, much better than I expected (although field goal kicking is worse), with returns and return team coverage being an incredible strength. Our defense on the season has been pretty good; I disagree with the self-centered notion that the Ohio State game's result is all about how Penn State lost it. Ohio State won the game, and had an incredible quarter in which they played all three phases almost perfectly, with JT Barrett playing as well as he's ever played while at Ohio State. No matter who they play, it'd be difficult to stop them when they're going like that - and all of the intangibles in that game, especially at the end, were in favor of the Buckeyes. It sucks to hear, but they were better on the day. Even when we were ahead, they were able to move on us and had more yards. It was a great game; it just sucks because we didn't win.

on a scale of 1-10, how obsessed with PSU is that coach out west have to be to tweet after the PSU game while 5b sits at 4-5 and will need a minor miracle to become bowl eligible? On the same scale, what level of delusion is he living in when their best win between YSU, Rice, Duke and UVA is UVA, who was good for about half an hour this year?--mbailey71

5b

kidding, it's like a fifty bajillion. Narduzzi should probably watch tape of his own team and try to actually, I don't know, play well enough to get to 5-7 to have an outside chance at a bowl before taking a shot at a team that's 7-1, top ten, and might squeak into the playoff. The game in 2016 was their superbowl, and he and the fan(s?) of Pitt can't stand that not only was the game not close, the programs aren't in the same hemisphere right now.

The wrestling season starts in 9 days. Who takes the mat at 125? And does PSU defend their title in March, or does tOSU bring home the trophy from Cleveland?--kavija66

We'll have more on the upcoming season early next week, but it looks like it'll probably be Austin Clabaugh at 125. I think we have a good shot at defending the title (we have four almost guaranteed finalists, with two almost guaranteed titles, coupled with two guaranteed for the Buckeyes in Moore and Snyder). It should be tough - but this year, as with many, it may be more difficult to win the Big Tens than NCAAs. And to be clear, I'm totally fine with Ohio State winning the conference tournament if it means we can win the national title.

What are your top five favorite Halloween candies? What are your bottom five?--Gerry Dincher

I can't believe all of the candy corn hate on this blog. Count me in as someone who loves candy corn, but especially indian corn (though those pumpkin things are pure grossness and I will eat celery before them). In no order, my favorites are Reese's pumpkins, candy/indian corn, whoppers, skittles, snickers.

Is BSD your only job, or are you like an accountant (or other desk jockey) that does BSD on the side? I would think that you would need to have a real flexible job in order to man the boards at BSD every waking moment.--LarzLion

No one who writes for BSD has this as their full-time job, because writing for a blog isn't a living. My job actually isn't that flexible; but we have a great staff, and all of us pick up the slack as needed.

Being in your position at BSD, when making comments from day to day, do you ever feel like you have to say just the right thing or hold your tongue from time to time? Really a question for the entire staff.--LocalYocal

The only time I feel like I have to hold my tongue is when politics come into the comments, when I hide everything even if I agree with it. I do have to hold my tongue in not calling out all of the off-color remarks as I'd like to; we tend to let things go that I wouldn't all the time. I try to think about intent before I reply to things. It's difficult, but it comes with the territory.

With Halloween over and Thanksgiving fast approaching, and me being slated to do most of the Thanksgiving cooking, I ask you, what are the most overrated and most underrated Thanksgiving sides?--WorldBFat

Most overrated: any sort of roll. Most of them are totally not Thanksgiving related, and are just unnecessary filler and take up space in your stomach better used for more delicious, rarer fare.

Most underrated: I love homemade cranberry sauce. I'd say green bean casserole or sweet potatoes here, but I feel like those, especially the former, get a lot of love.

Better Soundtrack? Freaks & Geeks or Dazed & Confused? i know it’s unfair to compare a TV series to a single movie, but………--LukePSU89

I never watched Freaks and Geeks, so I'll go with Dazed & Confused here because that soundtrack, like the movie, is simply iconic to me. Every time I hear Sweet Emotion, I flash to the movie.

Why do people put up "Slow Children" signs. Talk about giving kids a complex no need to broadcast learning disabilities--psualum9931

I have no comment, other than when you're right, you're right.

Empire Strikes Back 2.0? Are you at all concerned that The Last Jedi will boil down to a retelling of the same basic storyline as Empire Strikes Back? And, if so, is that more a result of a conscious choice by the director and script writers to simply provide fan service or is it naturally what happens in the second act of any story involving the "Hero’s Journey" such as Star Wars?--Kilgore42

I have actually had this discussion in real life, and I have two thoughts on it.

One: would this really be a bad thing? Empire is most fans' favorite Star Wars for a reason. One of the reasons I loved Force Awakens so much was that it was very close thematically, and in story beats, to the original - which happens to be my favorite - but with enough twists and added humor that it felt more grounded to this time in which it was made. So, even if it is, so what?

Two: I really doubt Disney would be that obvious on it; the same reason why I don't think Rey is Luke's daughter - that's the obvious answer. The trailer for Last Jedi has some absolutely intentional selective editing, and I'm sure we'll look back after the movie is released and see that it was leading us astray, at least a little bit.

So this Game of Thrones® Live Concert Experience comes to the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday, September 30, 2018. They say it’s an orchestra and choir performing music from all seven seasons of the Emmy® Award-winning series (never seen it BTW). What other TV shows would you be willing to pay to see a "Live Concert Experience" of their music? I’m in for Wonder Years. Thirtysomething. Of course The Monkees.--Smee

I actually got tickets to this! It's the day after the Ohio State game at Beaver Stadium, and it should be a good time. I've seen live concert experiences of Harry Potter and Star Wars (John Williams is my absolute favorite); in terms of shows, there's only a handful that have had a score as integral as Game of Thrones. Some past scores I've loved are Firefly, Alias, and Buffy - I would love, love, love to see a live concert of the season four Buffy episode "Hush" side-by-side with the actual episode.

I have a very thin and wispy hair growing straight out of the middle of my forehead. Should I pluck it now that Penn State lost?--tampalion

MY GOD MAN, YES.

Side note, now that we lost I can finally change my toenail polish color and take off my gameday necklace (it'll be put back on on Saturday). Supersition is real.

Name the 3-5 hottest taeks you saw in the aftermath of last Saturday--McCloskeywasinbounds

I actually purposefully stayed offline until late Monday, because all the takes of Barkley being "soft" and the negativity towards our offense (which scored more than anyone not named Oklahoma against Ohio State), while leaving the defensive backfield relatively unscathed, bothered me. It's what happens when everyone in the fanbase gets their hopes up, through to the end of the third quarter, and then the bottom falls out.