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BSD Mailbag 8.31.18

Guess who’s back, back’s the in-season mailbag

NHL: Washington Capitals-Stanley Cup Championship Parade
Sorry not sorry. I had to.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After Rahne kills it this year, do you have any potential replacement candidates? If he does in fact kill it this year, do you think he stays another year or two to maximize his name recognition?— swift_retribution

I think Rahne’s pretty content with being the coordinator at Penn State, so I doubt he’d leave for a while—especially after just one season. I think there won’t be much change from last season (I mean, how much better can the offense get? Aside from o-line, of course), and even Joe Moorhead didn’t bolt after the first season he was here, even when his turnaround of the PSU offense was rightfully lauded high and low in early 2017. Rahne’ll be in Happy Valley for years to come, unless our offense seriously bombs—an outcome which, if the Taxslayer and Fiesta Bowls are any indication, isn’t very likely.

Who’s the most underrated player on Penn State’s team? Has to be Kevin Givens or Robert Windsor, right? — Patrick Koerbler

I think there’s a helluva lot of players on the team who could be called underrated—how many are predicting the Nittany Lions to not contend due to the departure of Moorhead and Saquon Barkley? Your two are definitely on that list, but so is our entire secondary. Is it possible to lose three of four starters and get better? With this group and the talent that James Franklin has stockpiled in the defensive backfield, it’s definitely a possibility.

Is our D prepared for a smashmouth offense? My biggest worry is the strength of our DTs and linebackers’ corp against smahsmouth type of offense. I am afraid we might be pushed around by the dominating OLs in B1G that run pro-style, smashmouth offenses (Wiscy, Michigan, MSU) and getting easily tricked by a play-action pass due to inexperience of our LBs and safeties. Have you seen/heard of any experiments on testing the middle of our starting D? For example, the scout team (or even second team offense) running power formations mimicking Wiscy offense (power run game + the occasional play-action pass)?— lamgol

Has there been anything in this staff’s recent history to indicate they won’t be prepared? We won games against all three teams you named the past three seasons, and i’m even more excited about the talent on our D line than i’ve been recently, even with the graduations of the Cothraen.

Nick Scott may not have been a starter, but he’s a fifth year senior now starting—not unlike now-Washington pro player Troy Apke, who didn’t start consistently until 2017, his senior year (Malik Golden started alongside Marcus Allen in 2016, with Jordan Lucas in charge the year before. Allen isn’t easy replaced in run defense, but considering Apke often looked lost when the opposing offense went to their ground game, maybe two good safeties might be what we need instead of one great one and one that’s only ok (but ridiculously fast).

Has anyone figured out a way to quantitatively predict how our O line will be this year? Will this year be more of the same – steady year to year improvement – or can we hope for a significant step up now that our O line coach is in his second year? — JayMPSU

If any of us could, I doubt we’d just be here chatting about PSU football on this here blog.

Our o-line coach, Matt Limegrover, is actually entering his third season at Penn State, so I think expecting drastic improvement this year might be futile. But they should be better, with a lot more experience, and don’t forget that all but Chasz Wright (who’s listed as “co” on this week’s depth chart) won’t even be seniors this season! So next year should be even greater.

If we had a giant BSD tailgate how do you introduce yourself? Real or username? This may be a little confusing especially when alcohol is involved. MrNoPants would be easy to spot. Everyone would be confused by the crazy guy walking around saying, “It’s Smee.” except us loyal BSDers. C.McKean and ckmneon would be the two guys dressed alike and following each other around. One party goer is getting everyone confused because he answers anytime someone says “that guy.” Another goes by Admiral and is wearing a funny hat and speaking football as if he is sailing the worlds seas. There is a drunk guy near the keg that Curtis Dukes is trying to help up and every once in a while this guy wearing a Tommy jersey sneaks through the tailgate and leaves off the nastiest fart that stinks up the place. I’m sure we can figure out who that is. — bva-psu

I have been lucky enough to meet irl many of the fine people who are members of this community, and literally every time if they introduce themselves to me, they say their real name and get a blank stare in return; then, they respond with their username, and a lightbulb goes off. So I say lead with username, it make sure you give your real name after. I remember the real names of those I’ve met, just because I associate it with their username.

Oh, and Rambler looks NOTHING like what you’d expect. Bscaff, on the other hand, totally does.

Will the women’s volleyball team win the NCAAs this year? Good to see you back, by the way. — jiminore

Thanks, it’s good to be back!

and I don’t think we really have a shot at the title this year, with what we lost to graduation. I still maintain that last year’s PSU women’s volleyball squad is the best team to not win a title. Ever.

What is the worst sports story in the DMV this year? (Sorry Cari). Is it the Nationals not living up to potential and the impeding departure of Bryce Harper? The sheet-storm that is going on it UMD? How bad the Redskins will probably be? Something else (sorry…do not follow the NBA and do not care about the Wizards).

Well at least you have the Cup, so that is something. I am wondering when Ovetchkin will become sober again however. — LarzLion

Hot take alert: I’m more upset that the Nats traded Matt Adams than I would have been had they traded Bryce. A backfield of Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, & Michael A. Taylor (Jordan Norwood’s sister’s boyfriend, by the way!) sounds pretty awesome to me, and that would free up a lost of money. But I’m not really surprised, since Davey seems to protect and almost coddle Harper—though with how Daniel Murphy was hitting before he was traded to the Cubs, it was pretty clear Mike Rizzo has given up on this season.

TL;DR (dgaf about the Nats), them likely not making the post is probably the biggest on field story.

UMD will, I think, become huge when they issue their report, and honestly i’ve stopped really following the Skins (though I do have tickets to the Giants game this year) because I’m so fed up with the front office.

And if seeing Ovie having such joy in celebrating winning the Cup doesn’t put at least a half smile on your face, are you even a sports-loving human?

Has there ever been anyone in the history of sports broadcasting who could talk more and say less than Mark Packer? — SubLime

I think I lasted about four days listening to his show on my commute home a few years ago. That was four days too many.

As a journalist how have you not connected the dots between freshmen arriving with heart conditions, players getting injured, assistant coaches leaving for positions with better titles and salaries, a player with prior disciplinary issues leaving the team, and the departure of the walk on backup kicker to a school where he won’t play football? Why isn’t anyone reporting on the dark realities these seemingly normal and unrelated events clearly portend? — InflammableDumpster

HAHAHAHA you called me a journalist

What should be my first drink Saturday morning when I wake up in the ORV lot? Bloody Mary? Shotgun a beer? Whiskey in coffee? — bearwithscarf

Since I have to drive over, i’ll have coffee without the whiskey—but as an FYI, Irish coffee was my go to in 2014 after having it to watch the Dublin win, so it may be a cursed beverage. I’ll be drinking mimosas once we have the tailgate set up.

What are some music artists you’ve come to know and love thanks to YouTube or other digital platform suggestions? Is this the golden age for musical variety? How amazing is it that you can access just about any song you want at anytime as long as you have a connection to the Internet? …. I still miss making mix tapes for the tape player in my old truck or the boom box at various crappy job, but the power of the Internet is just incredible. — Gerry Dincher

I generally don’t listen to much radio anymore—my go to SiriusXM channel is Fly (90s & 00s hip hop and r&b). So when I go to YouTube, it’s more because I read something about an artist or band and I want to refresh my memory or learn more about them.

I get insomnia, and when I do, I’ll do that too—which is how just last week I was reminded of how great Ariana Grande’s voice is.

How long until the powers-that-be cave to the money and license the Nittany Lion to Zephyr for tokyodachi? — Smee

I have no idea what any of those words mean.

Should I quit my job because they’re making me work Saturday? Big Maple

So, true story. For the longest time out of college, I had a job in which I worked nights and weekends. I was good at it, and my managers knew I was good at it. My family had season tickets but I myself didn’t yet; that coupled with the job meant I didn’t go to every home game like I do now. But I did watch every game live; I worked it out so that I would work five full shifts on the other days of the week, but on Saturdays I would work a half shift around the game before for a night or 3:30 kickoff, after for a noon game).

Four different bosses agreed to that; I was working 50 hour weeks, after all, and my performance by all metrics was in the top of my group. Then along came boss #5, who adamantly refused this arrangement; I would be forced to work full shifts every Saturday.

That happened in the fall of 2009. I quit the next week.

And I don’t regret it for a second.