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BSD Mailbag 11.2.18

We’re talking Michigan, wrestling, Maryland, and more in this week’s mailbag!

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Penn State v Michigan
This was like the only good photo I could find of our game in Ann Arbor 2 years ago.
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Biggest weakness/strength vs Michigan = ?

My takes: 1) Biggest weakness: our “X” and “Z” receivers going against UM corners; 2) Biggest strength: our DE’s going against UM OT’s.—lamgol

I think our biggest strength is in the redzone - offensive and defensive, once it’s near the end zones, we tighten up and do really well.

I’m very nervous about our receivers being on islands against Michigans cornerbacks, as you suggest, because they’re some of the best in the game - they’re talented enough to not need extra safety help, so I really hope Ricky Rahne has schemed something up to take advantage of this.

How is Trace?—Dbridi

Trace says he’s “Feeling good. Just going through treatment, that sort of thing. I’m just going to leave it at that.” That’s probably the most we’ll get - but both he and the coaches know that the quarterback needs to be mobile in order for Penn State to have a chance against Michigan, so if he won’t be able to run (and if his 51 yard TD last week against Iowa is any indicator, he will be able to), I expect we’ll see more of Tommy Stevens.

In the post game comments last week, someone asked if the pick 6 Trace threw in the Iowa game was the first one in his career at Penn State. I seem to recall that he threw a few of them in his first two years. Was I right?—jiminore

I didn’t think you were - and I can’t find any evidence of any pick six in prior years. I went through most of the box scores of Trace’s Penn State career and I couldn’t find any - but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

Just looked at the matchup stats. Is it the nature of our offense that we’ll always be bad at 3rd down conversions?—JayMPSU

It appears it will be, unless we get a brand new offensive coordinator who hasn’t coached at all with Joe Moorhead (incidentally, Mississippi State is doing much better than Penn State is in 3rd downs so far this year - but also hasn’t looked overall quite as good).

If you could wave your magic wand...

1. Fix all special teams mistakes, but drops get worse and why.

Or…

2. Fix all the drops, but special teams get worse and why.

Side question: How many days in a row could you wear a different PSU related garment? I believe I’m up to 32 days (different items), if I split up the new socks.

Side-side question: Favorite bands from 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s? Mine:

60’s- either Beatles/Stones

70’s- ACDC

80’s- either Gun n Roses/Poison

90’s- Nirvana—mrb23

Wow, that’s a lot of questions.

a) I’d say fix all of the drops, and special teams gets worse. If we can fix the drops, the numbers improve (especially Trace’s) and defenses would respect the pass more; that would open up our run game, and cause bigger numbers all around.

Our Special Teams issues so far have been relegated to kickoff return and punt return defense (I really consider the two safeties a fluke last year), and I don’t think their fixing would be as widely felt.

b) I can wear way more days in a row than you, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. My breakdown, from what I can tell, is:

41 shirts (not counting Thon or BSD gear)

3 tank tops

15 sweatshirts/sweaters

7 pairs sweatpants/shorts/yoga pants

9 pairs socks (10 if you count my navy Magic Man socks)

6 pairs underwear

4 jerseys

2 pairs of shoes

11 hats (not knit; 12 if you count my Orioles hat in PSU colors, from Penn State night)

This doesn’t, of course, take into account my jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves that are Penn State, or the Penn State jewelry I own, or the PSU sleepwear that I sleep in. Also anything that’s in my dryer or hamper right now (don’t judge, the laundry just finished five minutes ago).

c) Lastly: 60s: the Beatles

70s: Aerosmith

80s: Bon Jovi

90s: silverchair

How does the Big House compare to Beaver Stadium in terms of atmosphere? I mean, I know they cram a butt-load of people in that place, but can they be the 12th man? Also, please compare and contrast each school’s tailgating scene.—Dinsdale Piranha

Having never been to the Big House, I had no reference from which to draw; therefore, I went to my mom and sister, who took a trip there the last time Penn State played in Ann Arbor, in 2016. Here’s what they said:

“I don’t recall feeling like it was loud. I remember feeling like people were too close together (no break in all the rows, from field to top, as well as width of seats). I remember people were not rude and there were a lot of them. I just don’t recall being overwhelmed by noise.”—Marianne, my sister

My mom, Marjea, also doesn’t remember it being very loud; she said that “It goes way down when you go in so it didn’t feel “up”.”

In terms of tailgating, they didn’t even try when they were there (I mean, at PSU they’re a part of our award-winning tailgate, so why mess with greatness), but I’ve heard tailgating is pretty sloppy; there’s not a lot of large mass tailgating lots, and a lot of people park and tailgate in the golf course.

My Wife and I Love to Vacation in Michigan During the Summer. The climate is great compared to Eastern Panhandle of WV. The people are friendly? The local restaurants and fish fry Fridays are fantastic? Why then do they have coaches on the their two major programs that are so vile and easy to hate on. In short how can I like the state of Michigan so much, but hate their football programs with a passion hotter than the sun?—wvlion

Hey, man, I like the state of Maryland (in which I live) and hate their football program with a passion. It happens (though this state in which I was born and raised and currently reside has the absolute worse Renn Fest abortion of a flag I could possibly jokingly design).

Have you been to a Power 5 type college football game that didn’t feature Penn State? I am likely going to the NC State vs. East Carolina game and I am curious about what it’s going to be like going to a game where I have little emotional investment in the outcome. I’ll be rooting for the Pirates, but not that much.—Gerry Dincher

In 2014, Iowa played at Maryland in Penn State’s BYE week, so I had a few Iowa friends (PackerHawk and Tikkkiki, if you’re on the twitter) come into town, and we went to the game with BSD’s own JP. We had the whole set up; canopy, grill, chairs, table, the works. It was Maryland’s first season in the B1G, and to this day, Tikkkiki complains more about the atmosphere than I did, and my tailgate table was stolen (Maryland fans also broke a window flag off of an Iowa car).

It’s really different going to a game in which you have no rooting interest, but also awesome just the same; you can be more objective about the game (well, as much as your surrounding friends will let you) and you realize that our fanbase isn’t the only crazy one. It’s an experience I definitely recommend to anyone - just not in College Park.

What do you think of the #culture at UMD? Shocking, is my opinion. What say you?—LarzLion

Ever since #handshakegate, I try not to think about them much at all, TBH.

Maryland question, part deux.

After letting the media firestorm sink in from Tuesday’s announcement that UMD will be reinstating coach Durkin, one thing that I have not seen at all mentioned was any law enforcement investigation into Jordan McNair’s death? What are they saying in DC, being that you are much closer to it (or, as it was in DC when I lived there, does sports still take a back seat to politics in media coverage)?

Common sense would think that at least the PG County cops would investigate a death of what seemed like a perfectly healthy student athlete.—LarzLion

I have heard very, very little coverage on it, but I also don’t pay attention to a lot of the local news. Living in the DC area is very different from most other major metropolitan areas in the US in that “local” news, so often, is actually national news, with the political presence. So sports inevitably take a back seat, unless you’re a team ending an incredibly long drought of championships, followed up with the best sports bender known to mankind.

How much longer do you see Urban and Saban sticking around?—JayMPSU

I’ll be really surprised if Urban is still there next year.

Nick Saban, on the other hand, I could see being there for a number of more years; basically, until he doesn’t want to be anymore. I could see him dying on the sideline, as morbid as that is to type and I’m sure to read.

PSU’s wrestling team has a dual meet win streak of 45 in a row. Their last loss was February of 2015 against Oklahoma State. How long does the streak last and what team ends it?—kavija66

I can’t answer this question, because the wrestling schedule for the 2019-2020 season hasn’t been published yet.

Best guess as to how many PSU wrestlers make the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team?

I have no real educated guess, but I know DT just won worlds, Molinaro made it in ‘16, Hall’s won junior worlds in the past. I’d be curious to get the BSD grappling community’s input as well as Miss Cari’s. (Of course, I’d love as many as possible, but I’d take one to start.)—PSUBeatle

I’m thinking two - Taylor and Zain Retherford. Unless something drastic happens between now and then, there’s not any other two who can overcome the starters - and if Bo was at any other weight I’d put money on him, but he’s up against Taylor. And it’s David Taylor’s medal to lose at this point.

I recently had reason to purchase a couple foosballs. Not “play” foosballs. NFHS and NCAA-approved gameday foosballs. Specifically Wilson GST 1003 foosballs. Why is it these things cost dang near $100 each?!—Smee

That’s nuts. At that price, might as well bid on a game-used one, amirite?

If you could go back in time and see any band in concert in their prime, who would it be?—bearwithscarf

The Beatles, and it’s not even a close call for me.

I’m talking Hard Days Night-era Beatles, not White Album...that would be amazing.

Favorite Halloween movie?

Favorite Thanksgiving movie? (is this even a thing?)

Favorite Christmas movie?

Favorite movie series to binge on New Year’s Eve?—Succss With Honor Always

Hocus Pocus

I dunno, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving?

Love Actually (as a kid it was always Holiday Inn, but as an adult the racism has become too much for me to love, though the music is excellent)

Clearly Star Wars

Have you ever used accidentally used BSD lingo with people who don’t BSD? I was texting my friend during the game on Saturday right after Trace got hurt. I said “I hope this isn’t the end for noodle arm,” to which I got a “??” reply lol.—Malkin’s Milkshake

Yes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said something in person, and had to explain it to whomever I was talking to - of course, it loses its charm in the translation...

Headed to Ann Arbor? Will be in town around noon friday and would love to turn a bar blue and white for the afternoon/ evening.

Any recommendations from those who have been before or plans for any meet ups that anyone knows of?—18novalion

I’ve never been, but would love to see the recommendations in the comments!