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BSD Mailbag 10.15.21

Let’s win this BYE, shall we?

Penn State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

what do we need to focus on to win the Bye week?—kingkub

Getting healthy, and coming back stronger on the back end which is amongst the toughest in the country. But the getting healthy part is the key right now, I think.

Which Penn State quarterback has benefited most from a coaching change? Is it Matt McGloin or Sean Clifford?—Gerry Dincher

As much as it’s been great to see Sean Clifford turn the trajectory of his career around this season after a yo-yoing 2020 (let’s keep in mind, he was actually pretty decent in 2019) – I’m going Matt McGloin here. Yes, he was the clear better option in both 2010 and 2011 (despite Rob Bolden being named the started before the season started in 2011), but while his play was better, he still had some weaknesses in his game. When Bill O’Brien was hired, it was like a lightbulb switch was turned on inside McGloin and he was not just a game manager in 2012 – he was one of the reasons why we had such an unexpectedly decent season.

Yes, I know, the beginning of 2012 sucked but does anyone think PSU doesn’t blow the doors off of Iowa without McGloin being the most improved player year to year? Let alone Wisconsin at the end of the year (and even though that Nebraska game was a loss, if memory serves, that was a decent UN team and spiking the ball will never be intentional grounding, plus Matt Lehman broke the plane).

And I know we’re a Penn State blog or whatever, but who here thinks that McGloin is able to spend some time on the 53 man of an NFL team without BOB’s prior tutelage?

What is the estimation of people that are eating crow about Clifford’s ability? I’m one of them.—EagleLionSly

I think a not small percentage of people are feeling this way. Even though he ended 2020 on a high note with the last four games, there’s a lot of recency bias (it seems to be human nature) – Clifford, after all, did lead the team to a NY6 bowl win in 2019. And while PSU’s run game went crazy in that bowl (at least Journey Brown ended his football career absolutely balling out), if the Lions weren’t a threat to pass as well, other teams would have just been able to stack the box every game.

Will Clifford be back for the Ohio State game? What’s the latest rumor on his injury?—48-14

There’s a lot of rumblings, nothing confirmed of course. I have no super secret insider info, but I would be a) shocked if he plays against Illinois, and b) shocked if he doesn’t play against Ohio State.

But of course, I’ve been shocked before.

Is there anything to glean from CJF’s presser comments on Sean Clifford’s status, or is it just another example of a coachspeak non-answer answer? I’d lean towards the latter.—NittanyPUMA

The one thing we absolutely glean is that it’s far from a season-ender. CJF has been consistent on not addressing injuries unless it is a season-ending injury (which is why we know Mustipher’s out from here on out) and I count that as good news.

How much prozac/booze do you think was consumed during the 2nd half of the Iowa game?—LarzLion

Well, I was at an incredibly too-packed Exiles in DC, and can tell you that the bud lights were flowing (as were the tequila shots I didn’t do at our table, bought by the young alums standing next to us). So probably more than most expected, especially because the game started out so promising.

What sort of NFL career can you see Sean Clifford having? Before the season, I would have said none. Now I am not so sure.—Gerry Dincher

I think he can be a solid backup for a number of teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s taken in the later rounds – but that depends on his bounce back from an injury, and if he potentially returns in 2022 to shore up his draft stock even more.

How many fake injuries do you think we’ll need to beat anOSU? Maybe some of our assistant coaches could even fake a few injuries and flop on the sideline to slow the game down.—RWReese

I must note this is in sarcasm font (which doesn’t translate to actual posts) but I had to put it in anyway. Ridiculous.

How are you feeling about the rest of the season? I’m optimistic (which is seriously not my m.o.). Roberson gets his confidence back with 2 weeks of reps with the 1s and a playbook more tailored to his skill set and has a good outing at Illinois. Cliff hopefully makes a triumphant comeback at OSU. Michigan and MSU both look very good but beatable.

Beyond the obvious motivation of a conference championship, there’s now the added personal motivation of stomping a hole through Ferentz and the flopping dipshit on his staff in Indy.—InflammableDumpster

I texted my fellow “ladies of the tailgate” immediately after the game and told them that we could win out if Sean Clifford is back, and our ceiling is likely 9-3 (with 8-4 the most probably W-L) if he isn’t back. I’m not one of those who says we’ll lose every remaining game on our schedule without Clifford (because, let’s face it, Illinois is BAD this year and Rutgers by the end of the season at home with time in this offense will likely be pretty smooth whomever is at QB) but the dropoff is significant.

I’ve been wrong before (after the OSU loss in 2017, I thought there was no way we’d lose another game the rest of the season and then the thunderstorm in East Lansing hit) but this defense especially is just so good. And the team is seemingly just that – a team – that cares about and rallies around each other.

And while of course, Roberson looked like a deer in headlights in Iowa City, the other 11 guys on offense clearly didn’t rally around him, dropping passes and not giving good protection. That’s hopefully something that can be worked on in this BYE.

Is the bowl projection article in week 4 (or 5) the worst worthless projection/article of all time in College Football? There are many worthless/pointless projections/articles during the season but I think this takes the cake—mook1525

As long as there are PRE-SEASON rankings and bowl projections, I will forever die on the hill that those are the most worthless things. What does last year and pure conjecture get us? Confirmation bias amongst the SEC bandwagoners, that’s what.

odds that Ferentz is the head coach when Iowa returns to Beaver Stadium in 2023? I’m starting to wonder if the reason he’s running his mouth is because he knows he won’t be playing us again—Pasadena’95

I think very slim. This feels almost last-hurrah like for Ferentz – though of course I know we all felt the same in 2005 with Paterno.

But let’s not forget, that he doesn’t know he won’t be playing us again – we could still win out and destroy Iowa in Indianapolis.

What B1G head coach is on top of your ‘can’t stand’ list?

Mine varies between Ryan Day and his smugness, Jim Harbaugh and his sleeping on the floor of a PSU recruit to flip his commitment, Bret Bielema who instructed his kickoff team to intentionally run offside on the kickoff to kill the clock before halftime and piss off Joe, and now Kirk Ferentz and his doubling down on the booing. Am I missing anything that Locksley, Schiano, etc have done to make the list?—kingkub

It’s definitely Pat Fitzgerald. Before all the talk about how RPOs are “the purest form of communism”, Fitz started being at the top of my shit list when his team visited the Beav in 2012 when a) he lived about two yards in on the field every time his defense was on the field, “watching his team”, and was never flagged or even warned about the clear infraction, and b) merely laughed when assistant coaches on his staff taunted fans behind them when they were up by double digits at the end of the third quarter. Of course, the aforementioned Matt McGloin ushered in a memorable 4th quarter that day, leading the team to 22 unanswered points and a dominant win (with over 45 min of PSU offensive possession) but that will still solidify that Fitz is a sanctimonious a-hole to me.

This week’s presser and Ferentz’s inability (or lack of desire!) to control his staff has now made him up there, though. Harbaugh’s not on my list because he doesn’t scare me – he’s wacky and pretentious and very apropos for Michigan. And I don’t dislike Day. Bielema’s a well-known asshole, and I sort of respect the forthrightedness of that (though I don’t like him).

For non-football, of course, Tom Ryan is absolutely at the top of my list. Him and his “team” vs “program” illogic…gmafb. Go back to the Caribbean.

Heard that Suriano is now practicing at NLWC. Also, that come January, he will be the starter at 125. Have you heard this yet?—BMAN13

I had heard over the summer that this was an option, which frankly shocked me, but now I’ve gotten more used to the idea. My only concern is about the locker room and potential divisiveness that Suriano might bring – I don’t want tension, I want the team atmosphere that Cael has fostered. But if he doesn’t think it’ll be a distraction, well then, far be it from me to second guess him.

I also find it absolutely hilarious that Suriano is a national title winner at 133 but he’s the one who is going to have to cut weight around the defending national title winner, RBY. If you want to play with the big dogs in the Lorenzo complex, you’re gonna have to do some penance.

How many National Champions in the PSU Wrestling Line up this year? I say at least 5.—wvlion

I mean, we have four returning starters who are defending title winners. If Gable wasn’t coming back for Minnesota, I’d think Kerk would be an early favorite to take over at heavyweight – but that’s a tall task. If Suriano is back and does ok with the weight cut, I think he is one of the few who could potentially not be bonused by Spencer Lee – but I’m not even sure he can win a title there. So I’m going to be super conservative and say four again.

Why are the wrestling threads so much more respectful towards our athletes and coaches than the football threads?

Is it just simply because there are more people in the football threads, which means there are more opportunities for that anger to show itself? It’s often cringeworthy to see the knee-jerk reactions when Cliff throws an interception, or the vitriol when Pry’s defense gives up a 9 yard run.

I think the wrestling threads are respectful because many of us are former wrestlers so we know how difficult the sport is and are therefore much more restrained when it comes to complaints. There is self-policing there that doesn’t seem to exist in the football threads.—kavija66

I honestly don’t think being a former wrestler has anything to do with it – there are many of us on those threads who are not former wrestlers. I think it’s a lot more about accessibility and preconceived knowledge of the sport. Because football is so popular, and folks feel like they know so much about it and how to play/fan for football, that it’s easy to be woefully misinformed and pass it off as superior intellect. With wrestling, you have to be more committed in order to learn the ins and outs; and the fact that newbys (of which I was one many years ago) seem more eager to learn and don’t imagine themselves as experts immediately upon commenting on the boards helps.

I think, too, is the fact that PSU has been decent at football for so many years, that the expectations for the football team (and the sense of entitlement to a quality squad) are skewed. For wrestling, we’ve only been at the elite level for little over a decade, so for many of us, while we expect the team to do well, it’s still a bit of a pleasant surprise to have a team like this last year’s exceed our expectations and go 4 for 4 in the finals.

Can we have a national day of absolution where we can confess our past sins?

I’m not trying to apologize for Gruden, I really couldn’t care about him and haven’t looked into the situation. I just know that this came about because of emails from 10 years ago and it’s part of a trend of people’s past behavior affecting them in present day. At some point we have to accept that most people made mistakes in the past and have since improved themselves to recognize the error of their ways, don’t we? I mean, I’m not too worried about anything I’ve ever said or done being used against me, but I can pretty much guarantee that at some point in my past I’ve used language that I now understand to be offensive and wrong and would never use now. Which likely partly reflected views and opinions that have also since changed, or were at best based on completely offensive ignorance.—Succss With Honor Always

As long as people a) admit that what they’ve said or did in the past was, indeed, an error and/or lack of judgment, and b) show that they have improved, that’s fine. I know you said that you’re not trying to apologize for Gruden, but I haven’t seen anything that shows to me that he recognizes truly what he did as showing a lack of judgment. His “sorry” statement was so short and seemingly trite and screamed to me that he was most sorry about the fact that the emails were leaked.

Listen, nobody’s perfect. But I think the vast majority of us wouldn’t use our work email address – IN THE 21ST CENTURY – to propagate homophobic and racist language. And I know that I’m biased because I’m a woman, but I feel like this isn’t getting enough attention – he also distributed (FROM HIS WORK EMAIL) topless photos of WFT cheerleaders taken without their consent. That’s not just unethical – IANAL, but that seems criminal to me, especially in this day and age.

And the fact that the NFL still hasn’t contacted the women whose photos were distributed to inform them of the results of their investigation kinda says it all about the trash leadership of the league, doesn’t it? Release the dang report!

oddest sayings you or a friend/family member says? friend says “Dumber than a box of hair” and “that’s sh*t on a stick”. I’ve gotten tired of asking him what they actually mean, or what the origins of them were—kingkub

I don’t really know of anyone who says weird statements all the time. I have friends who have distinct catchphrases (like “Sounds like my last date!”) but that’s not weird, that’s just funny. I’m curious about everyone else, though, and would love to read about them in the comments!

What if the musical Cats really is now…and forever?—MJBPSU

I sure as shit hope not! I never saw the movie because I saw the traveling Cats musical at Eisenhower when I was a student at PSU, and as someone who grew up watching and loving musicals, I have never seen a more nonsensical, boring musical. I don’t get why so many love it so much.

Why do people associate regional pride with their area code? This makes no sense. Zip code pride makes more sense. 17702 represent!—Gerry Dincher

Since area codes cover a broader swath of regional land than Zip Codes, it can foster more comradery than just a zip code. When I was growing up in Maryland, we only had one area code (and didn’t have to use it unless we called long distance) – now there’s at least five, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a regional split (amongst my personal cell, work cell, and work landline, I have three of those five myself). Zip codes, though, bifurcate even the smallest town, so don’t tell us much.

End of January. Bitterly cold up here. If you are sitting at a table no shoes just off a sunny Caribbean beach, what is your fruit of choice for breakfast with coffee/tea?—PSU1979dude

Definitely fresh mango.

I went to the deli at Publix on Monday to buy stuff for sandwiches. Today I ran out of bread, cheese, and meat at the same time for the first time ever. I usually am left over with too much cheese. How impressed are you?

My next question is who was your favorite KBO baseball team during its 15 minutes of fame in America? Mine was the SSG Landers.—tampalion

This is very, very impressive! Waste not, want not, as I (rarely) say.

I actually never got into the watching of Korean baseball last year – because it was just sad to me to watch sports because it reminded me of what I was missing. Especially, I think, because the “fever” surrounding it here was so quickly after the Penn State wrestling team wasn’t able to defend their national title, and I felt (and still feel) so bad for Vincenzo Joseph and Mark Hall. Also Nick Lee should be a two-time NCAA champ right now.

what are the rules on the ‘WE ARE’ chant in public? i regularly wear psu gear, but it’s not super common here in texas. i’d say every 6-8 weeks when i’m in home depot or the grocery store someone pops off with a, ‘we are!’ unfortunately, i’m often mission focused at the time and very delayed in responding or even realizing that the person is even talking to me.

so i ask, do yall regularly hit up folks sporting penn state gear with a, ‘we are?’ do you expect to work through it all the way to, ’you’re welcome?’—eartotheground

I always start the WE ARE chant in public, but also I have little shame. It’s hit or miss whether I get a response or not – I’d say roughly in the 50% area – so it’s even more exciting when I do get a response. But I refuse to be discouraged.

It’s a little more disconcerting to me when I’m WE AREd myself, because normally I’m pretty cognizant of my surroundings so am the initiator. When I am, I normally have a delayed response but do respond, and when I do the “Thank You” and “You’re Welcome” it’s after one round of the WE ARE, not three like at sporting events.