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BSD Mailbag 9.29.17

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It’s Punt Week, which means we’ve got some pretty zany questions and answers!

Penn State v Indiana Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

I'm so happy Trace reads BSD. He knew what week it became as soon as the final whistle blew.--CyphaPSU

What can I say? Our readership is far and wide, and very diverse.

Side note, why is Trace punting the ball in celebration even a thing? I mean, it’s so ludicrous that it’s even been discussed in such depth. Craziness. It’s not like he caused damage that field managers have to fix or something.

Is this the game with the weird uniforms?—tampalion

Yes! Plus, it also has weird endzones! PennLive has a good breakdown of this week’s “Generation of Greatness” special stuff going on.

Reports are Oruwariye dressed, but I don’t recall seeing him, and he is not in the box score. Is he okay—secondary might have been better late with more rotation. Also, all those 2 QB sets in the noncon, and never showed up in Iowa. Any thoughts on why not?—mountaindog

I haven’t heard anything about his injury, but no news is good news – unlike with Torrance Brown, whom we heard suffered a season-ending injury, there’s nothing that’s been said about Oruwariye. I don’t know if we’ll see him this week or if we’ll need him; I’d rather give him extra time off (maybe even through the BYE two weeks from now) to make sure he’s in tip-top shape for the bulk of our season. He’s shown great progress in the action he saw the first three games, and though our defensive backfield is deep and talented, he’s one of the best we can put out there.

Could we have Saquon punt, pass, and kick off in a game this year? Then let him play some defense, too, so he could literally do everything. He could be the Jose Oquendo of college football.—Dbridi

I mean, he is the best athlete in college football, so why not? (and that was even preseason, before last week’s breakout game that got him all of the national hype)

Is it time to end Barkley's role as kick returner? I’m not seeing anything special on his returns. I’d rather see him resting on those plays. I’d also rather see one of the other guys get their hands on the ball there.—JayMPSU

Just because you’re not seeing anything special doesn’t mean the coaches aren’t. I trust their judgment in putting the team in the best possible position to win – and if they think Barkley’s our best bet to break off a big return, I say, hell yeah pad his APY stats.

Personal "I hope he ends up with my team" proclivities aside, which is the best mid-tier NFL team for Saquon to land on? (Don’t want him with a bottom-feeder so he won’t get crunched on every play, and don’t want him on a perennial contender because their talent pool is generally higher, and he (probably) would get less chances to really showcase his talents.)—PSU_Lions_84

It’s probably going to be someone like the Browns because Penn Staters don’t seem to have a lot of luck when they go early on in the draft. But I’m not as keyed into the pros as I am to college; I’m not sure what teams may need a star running back who’s also a threat out wide. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bills take a look at him, which would be a better situation – and they did pretty well with Poz while he was there.

Because of the success of Saquon, who is the most overlooked player on our team? Shareef Miller has been fantastic for us, and I don’t think he has gotten enough credit for how he has stepped up. Shout out to Coach Spencer.—Dbridi

I’m actually gonna go Marcus Allen here. Allen is in on so many big defensive plays (both safeties on theh season, and a pick against Iowa –but you rarely hear his name. He’s the heart and soul of this team, not just the defense, and he’s arguably the defense’s leader. He’s the real deal and could go on the second day of the draft in April.

Why would anyone kick a field goal on Iowa's 1 or 3 yard line? Of course "we wanted to get on the board" and "we felt like we needed points out of that drive" and "we felt we could hold them with a small lead," but field goals like that are a really easy way to lose a close game, and are statistically the wrong decision in most circumstances. That’s doubly true when a team like Iowa can’t move the ball at all against our defense and would go on to give up a safety later in the game. Not to mention we’re having issues with the FG unit.—Roll State

I don’t like the call to go for a FG, but I get it. Our “issues” on the FG unit weren’t that apparent until last week (we only missed one all year) but, yeah, now it’s a concern. I’ve got to think that they’ll be making different decisions prospectively – especially with two safeties on the year for your defense, in the off chance the fourth and goal isn’t converted.

The #1 recruit at his position, averaging 43 yards every time he touches the ball, gets fewer than 4 opportunities a game. Does Moorhead find a way to get Gillikin more touches this week?

Also, was Trace’s 47-yard "celebratory" punt really a calculated move ordered by Moorhead? Does Indiana now have to spend practice time preparing for an unexpected McSorely punt? How many run-punt option plays does Moorhead have in the playbook? Will Indiana sub a punt returner in for a safety when Penn State gets behind in down and distance?—andyrew

Well, it is #puntweek after all…I actually don’t think Blake Gillikin will see a lot of time this week. I expect we’ll have more drives stall out and going for it on fourth down than Gillikin will have punts – and we may even see Danny Pasquarello in there.

After the Iowa game, McSorley showed off his ability to punt the ball. Does Blake Gillikin now have competition in his rearview, or was that punt a fluke? Does McSorley get the chance to punt in the remainder of the season, even if it is just a pooch punt?—PeteZockyU

Quick kicks, new dimension. As Larzlion and Andyrew have broached- How awesome is it that Trace has a punting facet to his game? For ultimate field position purposes, the 3rd down quick kick should be utilized. PSU obviously excels on the big plays, those usually happen on 1st or 2nd down.Is there any reason we should telegraph our punts with Gilikin, as good as he is. Does Gilikin run the wild cat? That’d fool’em.—MrNoPants

I know most of these questions were asked in jest – but in the off chance someone reads the comments and thinks that we’re seriously wondering if Trace will punt…no. He’s not being benched for Tommy Stevens, he’s not going to become a safety, and we’re not going to have him pooch punt. Just, no.

Though we haven’t seen a fake punt in a while…I’d be on board with that.

What is your favorite kind of punt?—skarocksoi

Something like this:

With Gillikin's jaw dropping performance, how can we properly celebrate a good Gillikin punt? I always enjoy a good celebration chug but with it being #PuntWeek I’d like to think outside the box. Do I punt something?—rpm5103

Do something like this:

Over or under 6 PSU sacks versus Indiana’s vaunted aerial attack?—wvlion

Under, but just slightly; I think about five seems right. Count on more TFLs than just sacks, though, as I expect Indiana will try to dump passes out to the outside, with laterals and bubble screens, which gives us the opportunity to tackle for loss even if the pass is completed.

What do you think of the shift in mindset of the Penn State fan? 10 years ago some would have been "outraged" at the behavior of James Franklin, Trace McSorley, and Juwan Johnson, just to name a few. We would have hated Franklin for having a "fuck you, deal with it attitude" when it comes to things like the icing the Georgia State kicker. McSorley and Johnson would have been pilloried for their celebration antics. Now, that these guys are our guys, we love it! I know I do and I know I would have been "outraged" in the past. Are we hypocrites? Or have we grown a fans?—Gerry Dincher

Gerry, if you think everyone loves this, I have something to tell you…Personally, I adore Franklin, and I think he’s the perfect Head Bald Coach for Penn State. He’s got the right attitude, the perfect mix of reverence for PSU’s traditions and ability to infuse us with new blood, and he obviously can coach (and it still baffles me when there are fans of both other teams and our own team who claim that he is a bad coach). But there are still plenty of Penn State fans who don’t like him, and will nitpick everything he does simply because it doesn’t comport with how their version of “Penn State football” should be and how players should act – even though there’s myriad examples of similar occurrences happening over the years, with varying players in the Paterno and O’Brien eras.

Not surprisingly, it’s often the people who derided Paterno (and wanted him gone at the turn of this century) who are now upset with whatever perceived antics they see occur – and those same people who claim that this never would have happened twenty years ago. Even though they complained about the same stuff 20 years ago, or five years ago under O’Brien and are now wishing he was the coach. We just have a subset of fans who are never happy and like to complain about everything, even if the games are being won, the players are graduating, and Penn State football is giving back to the community. You can’t make everyone happy, and it seems to me that Franklin has realized this and is doing his best to make as many people happy as he can – but above all else, he’s building a team and keeping the team happy and cohesive as a unit. And that will bring along the support of most of the Penn State community.

Is it just me, or is the offense playing slower this year? It seems like the last drive against Iowa was the first time I’ve really seen the offense go to their fastest tempo this season, and it worked brilliantly. It was the first possession of the game where we seemed to be completing passes at will, with receivers open and Trace having enough time and room to make good reads. They’re never exactly slow, but they’ve always played best at warp speed, and IMHO should be at that tempo for at least 40% of their drives.—Roll State

It’s just you. We never played very fast last year; we rarely went up tempo in the past seasons under Franklin. I agree that it seems to work when we have to do it – but that’s not how this team is built. There have always been checks to the sideline (the meerkat look) before nearly every play, and that inherently slows an offense down.

Would you rather have to square up in the hole and (try to) tackle Saquon or be tackled by Marcus Allen?—Dbridi

I would prefer neither, thank you, but rather sit on the sidelines and have them pummel opposing teams.

Jeez, how #blessed are we with some of the guys on this team??

According to an interwebs reference site there are 46 current players in the NFL who grew up in Pennsylvania, and 17 who grew up in Indiana. That’s a 2.7 to 1 ratio. Will the final score be greater or less than that ratio?—Smee

I predicted 52-20, so less. Why 52, may you ask? Because Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes scored 49, and I had to go above that.

Juwan Johnson, should he be cut from the team for insubordination? While everyone is happy that PSU won, victory is always sweeter when it’s done, the right way. As an underclassman, Johnson clearly intercepted a pass that was intended for Hamilton. That stolen valor is offensive, an underclassman upshowing a senior.

Follow-up question- when Johnson’s scholarship is pulled at the end of the year, who should get it? What FCS school should Johnson be forced to transfer to?—MrNoPants

Clearly the vacated scholarship should be awarded to either Allen Robinson or Chris Godwin, who should come back and lead the receiving corps with Johnson transferring to Fordham to bring glory to the program once run by Joe Moorhead, since he’ll be familiar with the offense.

What's the best nickname in PSU History? Spider Caldwell?—Dbridi

There are so dang many good ones. Spider’s great; Chasz “Big Bacon” Wright is another. So is Miles “Boobie” Sanders, and as someone said in the comments, “Mother” Dunn. But my favorite will be one that I don’t ever think was official – Brandon Moseby-Felder. BMF. Yep.

How inspirational is it that John O’Neill has been able to make a career of being a BIG ref, despite being legally blind in both eyes?—vern05

This guy’s crew is continually bad. Not only were they the crew that almost single-handedly gave the 2014 OSU-PSU game to the Buckeyes, they’re the reason why Nebraska beat MSU the next season – on a touchdown that should never have happened. Why this crew is still around, I will never know.

I am treating my friend to this week's game. He takes me to all the wrestling matches (season tickets), I’m taking him to this and maybe a later game, depending on weather, meaning whether my wife wants to battle weather later in the season. Looks like a great looking day for football, 65 and sunny. He is offering to buy the meat for me to prepare at the tailgate. I am trying to decide whether I want filet or Delmonico. I lean towards Delmonico on the tailgate grill because I really like to sear my filet in an iron skillet and that is not an option with tailgating. Pasta salad or Mac an Cheese? I lean mac an cheese because I don’t like oily pasta salad for sitting through a 4 hour game. Also, I make a really good smoked gouda mac an cheese.

Does Delmonicos and smoked gouda mac an cheese sound like a decent pregame lunch? Also, should I saute’ some mushrooms for the steak and have them to reheat on the grill?—BMAN13

Um, this sounds amazing and if your tailgate wasn’t on the other side of the lots and we weren’t having schnitzel and spaetzle and an Oktoberfest-themed tailgate ourselves, I might try to make it over.

What's the best Chinese food in the DC area? I assume it’s probably out in the MD suburbs, but you are also out in the MD suburbs, so you should know.—WorldBFat

I firmly believe that 80% of Chinese food is good, and every time I move I taste test around and find the best around me – I haven’t been steered wrong with those expectations yet. Some of the few that I love are Banana Leaves (they have Thai as well as Chinese) and China Bistro (which has amazing dumplings), both of which are in Rockville and not far from the metro.

Best and worst commercial mascots? Flo has got to be the worst, right?—Succss With Honor Always

I don’t think Flo is the worst. I think the Puppy Monkey Baby was the worst – not only was it flat-out terrifying, but I don’t even remember what it was a commercial for! At least with Flo, Progressive’s got it so that everyone knows who she’s associated with.

As for the best, I’m going to go with Ronald McDonald – simple, classic, and still around after decades. Plus, he has a house that helps sick kids. How is that not the greatest?!