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BSD Mailbag 11.13.20

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Step back from that ledge, folks.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Can we beat Nebraska?—PhillyLion

Yes.

Let’s entertain the idea (or even assume for these purposes) the rumors that CFJ was “too focused” on COVID mitigation and Social Justice issues. Where do you draw the line between between teacher and coach? Does it simply come down to wins and money?

I want to be clear, I absolutely do NOT fault CJF if this is true. When you take into account his daughter’s situation and the fact that he’s a black man who is in-charge (and a father figure) to many young black men, how could you not? On the flip side, the cold reality is that he is handsomely paid to win football games, so he has an obligation to his employer as well. Let’s also not forget, as far as the public knows the most CJF did was appear in “Get Out and Vote” campaigns. Joe literally provided a second nomination for a presidential candidate at one point.

Basically what I’m saying is, if true, it’s really, really hard to blame Franklin for not being “all there” this year. However, when do your “responsibilities” to your employer outweigh your “other responsibilities”?

I personally don’t want a coach who is a pure cutthroat and will ruthlessly win at all costs. I want a coach who values academics, the community, political issues, etc., which James does, and which is why I like him as a person (and not just a coach).

It seems like people are giving up on Franklin though (and not just the usual offenders). Hell, maybe a mutual breakup would be best for all parties going forward, but I doubt it. I’m just sad. I really, truly feel for James and all that he’s gone through and is going through.— IronCityLion

I don’t have anything to add on this, I just really liked what you said and couldn’t agree more.

Has anyone gone back to the week of Sept 25th 2016 to read comments after the Michigan loss? I believe they were just as doom and gloom. Nothing was going right, team was 2-2, McSorley didn’t get it, OL was terrible, defense was disappointing.

Obviously this is a different cast of character, and I am not implying that this team will win the Big 10. I’m just pointing this out for perspective. We are judging this team and this coaching staff on an incomplete data set (I argue that weeks 1 and 2 told us more about the actual caliber of the team than last week) in a VERY weird year.

I’d encourage everyone to calm down. The sky is not falling.—PSU2UNC

I agree. And your last sentence brings me back to this piece I wrote in 2015.

I tend to err on the optimistic side when it comes to Penn State sports (a pretty funny phenomenon in comparison to, oh, almost everything else in existence, when I am chock full o’ pessimism). I think, generally, there’s logic behind my viewpoints, and I can back them up with proof and/or logical inferrences. But so often, stuck in the mires of the Bad Feelings a loss to an inferior-on-paper team brings up in everyone, both in and outside the program, others can’t see the logic and don’t want to be talked down from the ledge. I’ll always see that as my job, here, though – I’m not the “fuck it all, fuck these players, fuck these coaches” sort of fan that many on this site turn into as soon as things aren’t how we all would like them to be.

Do you think that part of the problem with the team this year is a lack of fun? Looking at teams across the country, there have been a lot of COVID outbreaks, postponements, and cancellations. (Knock on wood) PSU has done a phenomenal job thus far in preventing outbreaks. Is it possible they have done such a good job that it has prevented some of the fun the team would have together both in and out of practice? There just doesn’t seem to be any chemistry this year and I’m wondering in Franklin’s quest to keep the kids safe it has been at the expense of relationships with teammates, coaches, and players. Being on video conference calls a lot myself there isn’t the same relationship building.— PhillyLion

I brought up COVID as a potential reason for the poor on-field performance this year on Twitter, and most of the responses I got were not quite pleasant. But this proves my point, right here – yes, every team is affected by COVID. But not every team reacts the same way, and is impacted the same. I’m confident that Penn State has put in more restrictions and precautions than some other teams – maybe not all, possibly even more than most, but definitely more than some, as evidenced by the fact that there has not been an in-person meeting of the entire team until this week. For a coach who unabashedly prides himself and his coaching and recruiting ability on RELATIONSHIPS, it is reasonable to assume that the lack of in-person, full face-to-face interactions with everyone is absolutely hampering Franklin more than other coaches who are more standoffish.

As everyone on here knows, I’m a huge Washington Nationals fan. And I will go to my grave believing that the reason we won the World Series in 2019, is that team loved each other, loved playing with and for each other, and as you stated, PhillyLion, HAD FUN doing so. The difference this year, with some of the most chemistry-building players like Gerardo Parra and Brian Dozier (who I will go to my grave calling “DJ”) gone from the team after the Nats didn’t sign them to additional single-year contracts, was palpable. Championships, for all but the most machine-like elite programs, aren’t just about coaching and talent – it’s also about chemistry and heart.

Dotson: He said after the MD game, “we have some guys doing their own thing out there” and indicated they weren’t playing as a ’TEAM”

Is this a reflection on CJF or, does a player need to step up and rally everybody to get on the same page? Is it Cliff? Jahan? Do we lack a true leader?PSUBootball

I think it’s probably a combination of all of the above, and the overall feeling of malaise and unease that’s taken over society in 2020. I think we do lack a true leader, but I also completely believe in the snowball effect. There are some people (and players) who need to see it to believe it, and had we pulled out the win in Bloomington in week one, I do believe last week would have turned out very differently, just because a 1-1 team has a very different mindset than an 0-2 team.

I see four areas that could possibly explain what we’ve seen so far in this season:

· Coaches not coaching as well as they should from a teaching and game management sense (the extreme of this argument is the #FIUR[fill-in-the-blank] nonsense)

· Coaches being forced to transition to new roles in the middle of COVID-induced craziness

· All the other distractions that come with living as a human being in 2020 and dealing with the COVID protocols (to include how they affect practice)

· Interpersonal conflicts keeping the team from gelling a la Jahan Dotson’s comments post-MD

I’m sure any or all of these play a role, but which do you think are the main drivers behind the problems the team is having?—NittanyPUMA

I think it’s all of the above, though I don’t think it’s interpersonal “conflicts” insomuch as a lack of a unifying force that some previous season leaders have had. Hopefully, the team rallies around the sad news of Journey Brown’s career cut short, and comes out with a vengeance this year.

Over/under on total wins this season? I set the bar at 1.5 and am taking the under.—SlippySlappy

You’re certainly welcome to set the bar however you like, but this seems excessive to me. Fan how you want, though, I guess.

why haven’t or what’s stopping Keaton Ellis and Cam Sullivan-Brown from playing? I don’t think either have logged a snap yet. and from what we know it is not injuries—daddylongstroke

What is stopping them is that they’ve been beat out in practice by other players on the team. Full stop.

I could not disagree more with the armchair coaches who truly believe that players on the bench are better than the ones that are out on the field. Coaches want to win the game more than you or I do, and they will absolutely put the players on the field who they believe will do the most towards getting a win. And they see more out of these players than we do, so have a better idea of who would do that.

Kyle Trask has gone from pedestrian to pretty damn good QB over the last 3 years. What does PSU need to do to get that type of progression and returns out of their QB room?—PhillyLion

This is such a good question that I, unfortunately, don’t have an answer to. We’ve cycled through so many quarterback coaches under CJF, most of which haven’t done what we’ve wanted them to. Maybe just bring back Charlie Fisher, whom Matt McGloin couldn’t speak more highly of this spring?

With all the consternation at quarterback, what do “ people in the know” think about Roberson and Micah B.? Keep reading we’ve “got to get a qb in the portal”. I get (and agree with) the frustrations about Clifford, and Levis has been underwhelming in his limited opportunities. But it does seem too soon to definitively state that Roberson and/or Micah B. aren’t/won’t be any good.—phillyfanisc

It absolutely is too soon to definitively state that, but what else is new? I think a lot of those thoughts come from what I’ve said above, that the coaches put the best players out there, and if Cliff is the best player, what does that say about Ta’Quon Roberson & Micah Bowens? Since we didn’t see them play spring ball (an experience that lends so much to a player’s development), I do think it’s premature. But, again, I’m an optimist here.

Early 2000’s: So I have heard comparisons to the dark years, minus the ridiculously great defense of course. I think it comes from the offense and specifically QB play. So does Roberson=Robinson? My feeling is what do they have to lose, might as well see what you got.—Ironlung05

Speaking of premature! He could be, of course. But he would have so many more offensive weapons around him than ARob did, and it’s not even close.

Being 0-3, What is the appropriate amount of alcohol to have on hand for this week’s game against Nebby?

Bottles of beer = ?

Bottles of hard liquor =?

Bottles of wine = ?

Or for those of you on legal states, nickle bag, dime bag, ounce?—EagleLionSly

One of the worst things about the pandemic is that, being responsible and mostly isolating at home, I’ve been getting more migraines than I used to. Which means less drinking for me. I have so many bottles of wine right now, it’s not even close.

I’ll probably need a lot of them tomorrow.

Two questions:

Are you on board for a B1GCG between Indiana and a Northwestern team led by Indiana’s former QB? For obvious reasons, I would probably prefer they be the undercard to an OSU Purdue CG just for the fun that matchup will cause in the press and social media.

How often should Penn State folks be told this week, look at our upcoming opponent and what happened when they gave up on pretty good hoping for even better? Though given issues, Bo Pelleni might be available. And Frank Solich is 1-0 against Penn State at Ohio University.—Former_DC_Buck

1. Sure, but as it’s going (with the OSU-MD game cancelled) the East is Indiana’s to lose. That would be the most 2020 thing ever, for Indiana or Northwestern to be the winner of the Big Ten.

2. I think they should be told this quite a bit. Bo Pellini was let go for off-field personality and program issues almost as much as being stuck in an 8-4, 9-3 rut, and that’s simply not the case with Franklin. The athletic department will not let CJF go after this season, but if they were to make that call, it would be justified solely because of the on-field performance *of this year only* and that’s simply not a good way to run an athletic department right now.

How do people have the ability to look at a schedule and know whether the games are wins or losses weeks in advance?—Dbridi

They don’t. Aside from the best of the best and the worst of the worst, people just throw shit at the wall to see what sticks.

According to bscaff’s presser review one week from today on 11/17/20, who will CJF be channeling as he approaches the mics?Smee

I can guarantee you that anyone I would throw out there would pale in comparison to what bscaff will actually come up with, so I’m not even going to try.

Is there going to be a wrestling season? If there is will we finally have a decent 125?—wvlion

I don’t think so. COVID is going to get worse this winter before it gets better, so look to the 2021/22 season for our lightweight woes to be addressed.

Not really a question, but...according to my count, between December 16, 2017 and August 31, 2020, Cael posted six tweets. Since then – 24 tweets and probably a dozen retweets. As bscaff says, corona giveth.—Smee

The contract with Rofkin probably is contingent upon some sort of self-promotion of NLWC events (or at the least, is subscription based and Cael realizes one of the best ways to draw attention to the events is for him to be involved in the marketing). At least we’ve got that going for us this year?

Describe, in three words or less, the personality of each position group:

· Offensive Line:

· Wide Receivers:

· Tight Ends:

· Quarterbacks:

· Running Backs:

· Defensive Line:

· Linebackers:

· Cornerbacks:

· Safeties:

· Special Teams:

Smee

Aw man…I don’t have the energy to go through all these groups this week, an hour before deadline, and give this question the care that it needs. Please ask again next week, and I can tell you I’ll make sure to dedicate the time and effort such a question deserves.

It’s Masters week. Despite what Dincher might say about the game of golf, you have to have a prediction for this week. Is the winner more under par than how many points dear old State scores this week?—LarzLion

Oh, heck, if Penn State doesn’t score more than the Masters winner under par this year, we’ll all be passed out well before the end of the game tomorrow (for those who don’t know, as of Friday morning, the tie for first place is seven under par. Seven).

Can we use the “Way Back” machine to go forward, to post Covid?

EagleLionSly

Aw man, if only we could…I’d take that in a heartbeat.

Picture this: you’re on a rural two lane road, with one lane closed. They’ve installed stop signs in each direction to allow cars to safely alternate through that one lane.

A few cars are lined up each way. You patiently wait your turn, and when you arrive at the stop sign and wait your turn, TWO cars come from the other direction.

How mad do you get?—48-14

It depends on why I’m driving. If I’m supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, for an event or something, I’d sure as shit be cursing up a storm in my car. I have a ton more patience if I’m out for errands, or just driving, with no time constraint, though.

Too far down the numbers here, but what is the best “pick up” line you ever received?—Sperbro

I don’t know about “best”, but the most memorable one I’ve gotten is “Do you have any Irish in you? Do you want to?”

It did not work.

How many colognes should a man own?—PSU1979dude

As many as he wants!

I’m a firm believer that no one should use beauty products (and I include scents in there) for anyone other than the user themselves. If the user does it because they want their significant other to be happy, that’s ultimately for the user anyway. But I reject the notion that anyone should use cologne, or makeup, or outfits as a way to impress others, because ultimately if you do that solely for other people (rather than to ultimately make yourself happy) at the detriment of your own happiness, that rings hollow.

What is the best time, place, and situation for napping? My favorite nap is the over Christmas break nap, in the afternoon, all the way under the covers in bed. But the nap in a sunny spot in the woods while you’re supposed to be hunting is pretty nice. I am not a fan of couch napping. Nor do I fall asleep in a recliner. Don’t have one of those.Gerry Dincher

Naps on vacation are the best naps. I can’t sleep in a recliner, though – give me a couch all the way. Even on vacation or out of town, I’d rather nap than on the bed I sleep in every night.

What is the best tasting ginger ale? Northern Neck used to make a Carver’s Ale that was amazing. I expect one of you heathens will try to suggest the battery acid that is Blenheim Ginger Ale, and you would be wrong.—Dbridi

I really don’t have an opinion one way or the other, though diet ginger ale is the one diet soda I can’t stand. I do want to try the new Canada Dry Bold, though.

Why is all Thanksgiving food mushy? I noticed this a few years ago…all the food on the table was basically the same texture…nothing crisp or crunchy.— Pasadena’95

I think it’s probably because reheated mushy food tastes the most like its original incarnation. Crispy & crunchy foods are much more difficult to reheat and keep at the same consistency as their original form.

Best Thanksgiving side and desert?

For side I’m going with stuffing, but stuffing that was in the bird, particularly the part that has that crisp edge. Desert, pecan pie. It’s not traditional, but nothing beats a good pecan pie (especially a chocolate bourbon one). Follow-up: Preferred shoofly pie – wet bottomed or dry bottomed?—Succss With Honor Always

I really love stuffing…not dressing, but stuffing, the bagged Pepperidge farm stuff you buy at the grocery store. It’s the rare non-food snob thing about me.

I generally make pecan pie for thanksgiving because it’s something all of our family can agree on, but I actually think I prefer apple and pumpkin more.

And shoofly pie is my favorite, but only when the mom of a very good friend makes it as she does every fall for at least one PSU tailgate (because she knows it’s my favorite). Thanks, SWHA, because now I’m sad no tailgates all over again…

Are you caught up with the 12(?) new Hallmark Christmas movies that have been shown so far? Are you planning on watching all 40?—PSUGuru

I have not yet watched the two that premiered on last Sunday night, but I have watched the ten prior to that. And I have a ranking spreadsheet, like in past years. You’re welcome.

Which is more enjoyable: BSD in season or BSD offseason?—Dbridi

It depends on the season and offseason. In 2020, though, I’m not sure either is enjoyable but rather a community respite from the craziness of our daily lives.

What would comment section look like if PSU is sitting at 0-4 at this time next week?—LarzLion

Once again, I won’t know because I won’t be on it.

A CHALLENGE to BSDers, do something nice for a stranger

I was on my way back from the doctors & feeling pretty good about how it went. I stopped at Starbucks drive-thru to treat myself & heard the young woman behind me ordering. She was with her mid-teens daughter & her total was about 3 times what mine cost. I was feeling happy & wanted to spread the happiness. I paid for mine & her order. I ask the cashier to tell the woman to tell the woman behind me, it was paid for & ask her & her daughter to pass it on & do a kind thing for someone else today.

The world has been bag of trash lately & I feel a kind gesture or word can go a long way these days.

My challenge: In the next few days, do something nice or say something nice to a stranger, just out of the blue. then post it in any thread on BSD to show that nice things can still happen. We all need a reason to smile these days.EagleLionSly

I love this so much, and I think this is exactly what we need to do in the coming weeks and months. Thanks so much for this suggestion.

Please choose to be nice, to others and to yourselves. It’s one of the few things we can control, and can directly impact the world around you. It can be difficult, to be sure, but ultimately is worth it.