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BSD Mailbag 12.27.17

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Questions about the bowl game? Check. An entire section devoted to Star Wars? You betcha.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Penn State
we’ll miss you, 26.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

I hope all of you have had great holiday seasons, and here’s looking towards an even better 2018 (with maybe five repeat NCAA wrestling champs?). Onto the questions!

What is your biggest concern going into the bowl game and why? Mine is the lack of depth at the linebacker position if any two of the starters get hurt.--wvlion

Generally, lack of depth isn't a huge concern in a bowl game, as your team is well rested and healed up (last year's last few minutes, when BBell went down vs USC, notwithstanding. I'm concerned about how the offense responds to Ricky Rahne calling the plays and running the offense as opposed to Joe Moorhead - that'll give us a good read on what to expect next year. I know we'll be missing Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki, and DaeSean Hamilton (and they're not chopped liver), but with Miles Sanders, the best group of TEs in the 2018 recruiting class, and Justin Shorter (plus maybe legacy Soloman Enis, though he may not play this year) in the fold, we may see early growing pains but by mid-season, I expect the offense to gel. Trace McSorley is the key next year, and I cannot wait to see what we do with Tommy Stevens.

I fully expect Barkley to have an underwhelming bowl game, because he's THE piece that opposing defenses key in on, but I also think we'll put up points. I'm excited for Saturday.

Noting that this week's PSU in the NFL spotlights Lee, Posluszny, and Bowman, when will we be getting top LB recruits and sending them on to the NFL again? Mauti may have been the last of the best. I don’t think it is just about recruiting, though; I suspect that the destruction of PSU’s LBU institutional memory is going to hinder a return to the glory days. I hope not, but I see no evidence to the contrary. Even w/ TRoof as DC, Mauti had Vanderlinden to teach him what he needed to know, but he’s long gone now.--fossil69

A lot of that has to do with recruiting. Vanderlinden and Bradley were great at getting linebacker talent, and developing talent that went under the radar. Franklin and co are good at getting talent across the board, and not necessarily as focused on one position. I think that Parsons could be a special talent in that group (at least in 2018) but he'll develop into an end and probably won't stay at LB by the time he hits the league.

Just think about how different this year's (and next year's) LB corps would have looked had Troy Reeder not gotten homesick...

I'm still sad at how this season turned out. Is this normal? Mostly at the lack of effort during the MSU game.--JayMPSU

I'm sad, too, though not disappointed - mostly because the four points combined PSU lost by, iirc, is second least in all of FBS. It's just a mark of the talent of this team, and expectations. They're better than a 10-2 record, though that's not a bad year by any stretch. And they can play against anyone; this should be a good matchup with Washington on Saturday.

When should we expect a running back coach to be named? And, why does it seem like there is so little interest in who it May be?--"that guy"

In 2018, we'll be able to hire a tenth assistant coach. We'll find out Franklin's choice then.

And I think there hasn't been as much interest because coordinator is the big position; we've already gotten Huff's replacement for special teams coordinator. Whoever comes to Happy Valley to coach running backs will have a plethora of talent to work with, so it's got to be one of the most enviable of position coaching jobs in Power 5 conferences.

Who will be fired first? BOB or gum chewing John Fox?--swift_retribution

I think it'll be John Fox, as the Bears don't have, really, as big of an excuse for the bad season (though I imagine BOB is stewing that he isn't able to hire Colin Kaepernick). If the Texans do fire O'Brien, I would love (though wouldn't expect) to see him come back to PSU in an advisory capacity for a year.

LA Rams signing Sam Ficken for the playoffs: awesome or really freaking awesome?


So freaking awesome. He didn't have the best first outing, but he gets at least another week, and all of PSUverse couldn't be happier for him (save, maybe, one or two).

In response to Dabo Swinney's suggesting Urban is on the downside of his career, does Meyer point out that Dabo is just biding his time at Clemson until the Alabama job opens up--phillyfanisc

I'm sure if Meyer isn't, some other coach is. Negative recruiting is incredibly prevalent in today's recruiting landscape, and many coaching staffs use whatever they can. The fact that a negative recruiting soundbite (and this isn't even as negative as many rumored pitches out there) is coming out in mainstream press is good - it sheds more lights on a fairly secretive process.

Can we refer to the early signing period as Crootsmas? Please?--InflammableDumpster

Consider it done.

Office white elephant/pollyanna/yankee swap/whatever. Why do companies continue to do this? Particularly companies that have a very diverse pool of employees? The number of times I’ve seen it go badly is significantly higher than the number of times I’ve seen it go well.--Succss With Honor Always

I don't know. I don't like these things (but then, I am incredibly adverse to being the center of attention in any capacity, including when opening gifts from others) and luckily, every office I've been in has made these sorts of things optional, so I've been able to opt out. I prefer secret santas with each participant listing things that they might want, so it'll give the giver a better idea of an appropriate present.

Do kids today even know how to use currency? Why in God’s name do they not have the bills all facing the same way and in order? You know…Washington looking at me, then Franklin, then Hamilton, etc. Chances are that if you go to a Walmart or drive-through, your change will be a mess of bills facing each way and upside down, mixed denominations. They have no sense of order and yes I’m generalizing because THEY ALL DO IT!--48-14

This isn't a kid thing, and as with most over-generalizations, it's not really a thing for "kids" and 'THEY ALL DO IT' absolutely isn't right. This isn't even a "using currency" thing - this is a thing that you are projecting, with others not having their currency in the organized way you have yours. I'm not a kid, and I absolutely don't keep my cash in any sort of order. It rarely faces the same way and is in order - and I'm fairly OCD in many aspects of my life. A majority of people nowadays don't even use currency - everything is done via cards or epayments, so cash isn't even a consideration.

I think you're being oversensitive and generalizing on a thing that doesn't really matter. All USDs get spent the same and mean the same thing (a representation of the faith we have in our government and its sturdiness), whether they're paper money, plastic, or in check or electronic form. And whether it's facing left or right, or forward or backward.

For reasons not germane to the question, I have half a tin of trout roe in my fridge. What should I do with it?--WorldBFat

I'm not a fan of caviar (say what you want, I'm just not that fancy), but apparently it goes well with scrambled eggs?

Who is most responsible for a misspelled tattoo? The tattooist, the tattooee, or the person at the welcome desk who misspelled "Mathew."

Our former foster daughter is a freshman in college and is spending the week with us. She and Nathalie went out to get tattoos. Nora had "And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. Mathew 18:5." tattooed on her arm. Fortunately the artist was able to slide an extra t in there and it doesn’t look too bad.--Gerry Dincher

I really think it's ultimately a combination of both - but it depends on the tattoo. If the person getting the tattoo has a script and saying already picked out, then the artist will transfer the design to the skin for approval before the needle is even sanitized - for the "tattooee" to approve. In these cases, which I think are most of them, the person getting the ink signs off on it, so it's ultimately their responsibility.

In the small number of cases that involve giving the artist themselve complete artistic freedom of design, that's on the artist for mispelling the tat.


I loved The Last Jedi a lot, and I can't wait to see it again to get more out of it--so I directly refute the widespread narrative that the full-fledged, banner-waiving Star Wars nerds all hated the movie. The remaining questions and answers WILL have spoilers, so if you haven't seen Episode VIII yet and are planning to, just skip down to the comments from here on (and if you talk about it in the comments, please use spoiler text)!

How awesome was the parallel between hermit Luke and hermit Yoda?

Did Rey seem a little jelly when Finn and Rose embraced?

Speaking of Finn and Rose, that relationship seemed forced. No chemistry.

I thought the homage to New Hope with the twin suns at the end with Luke was well done

Are you as upset as me that they killed off Snoke so quickly? No backstory or anything.--swift_retribution

I'll tackle these in order.

a) I love, love, loved hermit Luke (though I know it wasn't how Mark Hamill envisioned it), and I loved the use of Force ghost Yoda - he was more like original trilogy Yoda, ornery and not CGI, and Luke had seen so much in his life and was dejected and tired (like Yoda in Empire), and it makes so much sense to me.

b) She absolutely did. I think, though, that ultimately Finn/Rey will go the way of Luke/Leia, in that they seem in the very beginning to be trending towards a romantic relationship, it'll ultimately be platonic and they'll be the best of firends.

c) I disagree about Finn and Rose. I liked them together, and I liked that Rose was able to get Finn to reevaluate his place in the post-New Republic world in a way that Rey couldn't, due to Rose's idealism and optimism and belief in the good of all. Finn changed Rey and made her a people person, but it took Rose for Finn to become a leader and the Resistance hero everyone already thought he was.

d) the cinematography in this movie was stunning. All the homages - in subtle, small ways - were great. John Williams' use of the Force theme in that moment, which was the first time we heard it in the body of a movie in A New Hope, also was great framing.

e) I was surprised, but not upset - we got more from him than we did Darth Maul, who I thought was way cooler. It was upsetting simply because it was so jarring - he was set up to be the Big Bad of the sequel trilogy (a la the Emperor in the original), and conventional storytelling indicates he isn't supposed to be killed until the end of the series, and most likely in some way by the main protagonist. Kylo Ren turning on Snoke at the behest of Rey is very much like Vader turning on the Emperor in order to save Luke - itself shocking in how soon it was - but it becomes even more shocking when Ren hasn't really turned to the light. Instead, the killing of his master more fully solidifies him in the Order of the Sith - which traditionally has pupils turning on their masters. It was well-done by Rian Johnson.

Why do I hate Laura Dern? Thought the purple hair was kinda hot but still cringed when I saw her for the first time in the movie. Didn’t really enjoy her character at all, aside from the purple hair and the pretty fucking awesome scene where she crashes the bad guy ship at light-speed. No sound effects, all visual. Purple hair, was hot.--tampalion

I wasn't a fan of her and her character either - though how she went out was incredibly bad ass, and a visual for the ages.

I do think that was the point, though. She wasn't supposed to be likeable; in fact, she was supposed to be DISliked. Because so often we look for flash and charisma from our leaders, like Poe we want answers and knowledge and to be led by someone bombastic, but oftentimes our salvation comes in the form of someone understated, who we wouldn't pick if we had the choice but is ultimately the best person for the job. Laura Roslin on Battlestar Galactica, played by Mary McDonnell, is another one of these characters - contrasted sharply by the more vivacious Gaius Baltar. As of now, he doesn't have a counterpart in Star Wars, but a girl can hope!

Did I miss it, or was the phrase, "I’ve got a bad feeling about this." not delivered at all, as it has for all other installments?--Scoop Dawg

It was said in robot speak by BB-8 in the very beginning - Johnson's subtle way of putting it in as an easter egg, and not overt, for all fans of the series.