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BSD Mailbag 9.1.17

Happy September!

NCAA Football: Penn State Blue-White Game Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Are you ready for some football?--Dbridi

Considering I'm flipping between the Ohio State-Indiana game and the Minnesota-Buffalo game right now, I'll give you a resounding hell yea.

'17-'18 PSU athletic year just started last weekend...I put the over/under on PSU B1G titles at 4.5 for this year and PSU Nat’l Championships at 1.5.Take the over on both, take the under on both, split the two?--PSUBeatle

Under on the National Titles (see below). On the Big Ten titles, I think the under - let's go with wrestling (they've got to get back at Tan Tom this year), women's volleyball, women's soccer and either men's hockey or football (but not both).

Of the following, which win national championships this athletic year? Wrestling, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Volleyball, Fencing, Field Hockey, Men’s Lacrosse, Men’s Hockey--Smee

You bet against Cael in a non-rebuilding year at your own peril. It's wrestling's title to lose.

With the transitive property using last year's results, should we be nervous in week 1? Akron beat Kent St 31 – 27, Kent St beat Central Michigan 27 – 24, Central Michigan beat Oklahoma St 30 – 27, Oklahoma St beat sPitt 45 – 38, sPitt beat Penn St 42 – 39--RWReese

No. In my opinion, Akron is not as bad as folks are thinking - but Penn State is in the top ten for a reason. The end is not going to be in doubt, it's just the score that is.

What's going to cause the first FIUR FRANKLIN? 10-7 lead by akron? Pitt scores the first TD? Starting someone that no one predicted to start?--Sperbro

I'm not sure that the FIUR FRANKLIN crowd ever fully quieted - the championship wasn't on him, of course, it was on Moorhead, and the players. Franklin had nothing to do with it...that being said, Akron will not be ahead except for maybe scoring first. I think even losing to Pitt won't make his seat any warmer (crazy things happen in those types of games), but losing to Purdue or Rutgers would.

Are you concerned that Moorhead's schemes will be less effective now that opposing defensive coordinators have had a year to prepare for them?--Dbridi

LOLno. Moorhead's system wasn't fully implemented last year, and it's specifically designed so that the playcaller has so many options at his disposal that he can adjust at the line to what the defense is showing. Defenses can *try* to stop it, but most won't be successful.

Over / Under on how many years OC Moorhead stays at PSU? What opportunity do you think he would leave for (hopefully not 5b)?--LarzLion

I highly, highly doubt Moorhead will be here next year. I think he'd leave for Notre Dame, or maybe another decent eastern squad with a chance at a championship and an offense that needs revamped. Not Pitt.

Does Coach Moorhead have a protege on staff who will be ready to take over as OC?--CvilleLion

There are rumors that Ricky Rahne is being groomed to take over when Moorhead leaves, which may or may not be a good thing (the quarterbacks didn't do to well under him when Donovan was HC, and that's the position that Moorhead coaches). But it's a possibility, and I trust Franklin to make that decision; he also could poach a true Moorhead disciple in current Fordham head coach Andrew Breiner, who served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach under Moorhead at that Patriot League school.

Other than Barkley, what would be the most catastrophic player injury for this team to deal with?--wvlion

Knock on wood, I really think it's Marcus Allen. He's a leader on the defense, and he's opposite a new starter with not as much experience (right now, it's Troy Apke) and he's been used in creative ways in different coverages and blitz packages.

If it's not Allen, it's probably Jason Cabinda - but I'm not as concerned about Mike LB considering Brandon Smith is still there and could fill in quite admirably.

If Saquon doesn't win the heisman, does that make his season a disappointment?--Dbridi

Absolutely not. The only way the season is a disappointment for him is if he's healthy the entire season, and doesn't break something like 1200 all-purpose yards.

Who are the starting five on OLine? Is Hamilton playing solely the slot? Who is starting outside (Blacknall/Thompkins or Blacknall/Johnson)? Do you expect to see Brandon play some outside linebacker with Cabinda in the middle?--PhillyLion

Bates-Gonzo-McGovern-Mahon-Big Bacon. No, he's listed in the slot but he will be put all over the field, depending on the defense; Moorhead will exploit him as a mismatch. Neither, Thompkins/Johnson. Yes, and frankly I'm shocked that Smith isn't Will instead of Manny Bowen, considering we heard a lot of talk in the offseason about how he was learning how to play outside.

Rank PSU WRs in terms of production this year, yards and TDs: Blacknall, Charles, Hamilton, Johnson, Thompkins, Polk, ???--rpm5103

Johnson, Hamilton, Blacknall (all three I think will be neck-and-neck, despite Blacknall listed as 2nd team), Charles, Thompkins, Polk, Dae’lun Darien (like some of the others, a mismatch nightmare for defenses).

Over under special teams TDs this year: 3.5. Who takes the first kickoff/punt to the house?--rpm5103

Under. We only had one last year (the block six, which we'd never done before); multiple is a really difficult thing. My money is on either Miles Sanders, who was super close to breaking some last year, and Lamont Wade, who is electrifying and they'll have no choice but to try to get him onto the field whenever they can.

So there's a "throwback uni" this year. Is this just a first step to us eventually going to all sorts of uniform combos (blue helmets/blue pants/charcoal grey unis/lime green what-have-you someone puked on the uni kind of thing) or is this as far as the school/fans will be willing to go (numbers on the helmets/pants stripes/grey facemasks/white shoes)?--RWReese

No. This is basically as crazy as it's going to get; Franklin and Mark Parker (Nike's current CEO and PSU alum) know that there's no appetite for it, but getting throwbacks can pay homage to the tradition that fans love, and net some more money for the company and the program. It's a win-win, and if they don't do it very often, it'll retain its novelty value.

I wouldn't be surprised if we throw some alternates of some sort out in the spring game, but not in the fall.

What should we do with all the extra space in the ORV spots? There’s so much room for activities!--bearwithscarf

Tailgate games Olympics! Cornhole, giant jenga, flip cup, and ladder toss. Boom.

The right time start a chant?

I was at the high school football game this past Friday night. We kicked the other teams ass pretty good until they got a couple deep passes that scored tds. The score is 26-13 with about 1 minute left in the game and I’m sitting near the student section. They all start the " I believe that we will win" chant. Felt a little late in the game for that.--adamp1984

Any time within the last five minutes - or longer, if you were down four scores and have come back. One minute to go is late if you're still down two scores - but down one with a minute left? I can see that.

Game of Thrones. Why is it booty now? D&D have little concept of timing/pace; often forget plot points of seasons past; and instead of thougthful world building have devolved into fan service- aye or nay? Who are worse actors on the show than Kit Harrington and Emilia Clark (cgi creations and extras excluded)? Otherwise, what good shows or movies have you seen during the off-season--MrNoPants

Your takes are bad and you should feel bad.

Granted, in this abbreviated season there's been moments that felt rushed - but I loved that season finale, and I completely disagree on Jon and Dany. If you want to look at truly bad acting on Game of Thrones, look no farther than Shae - she was AWFUL.

This offseason, I liked Westworld and the Defenders (Jessica Jones season 2 is the thing next year I am looking forward to most, tv, movies, and books included). I also love the CW DC shows (especially Arrow) and the Good Place was my favorite new show last year.

Which attribute do you value more in your employees: loyalty or integrity?--PSU_Lions_84

I think that integrity inspires loyalty. We're all fallible, and I want my staff to be able to question me when I'm wrong (as rare as it might be) and be honest with me. I don't want yes-men, because my opinion isn't the be-all, end-all - and there may be better ways of doing things that I don't see yet. But above all else, I value logic behind the loyalty and/or integrity - I want to see thought if you're asking questions, and I want there to be reason behind why you trust me or value our working relationship. I want to earn loyalty, and I want to deserve integrity in my staff. I try to do both, but I'm sure I sometimes fail to live up to my own expectations.