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BSD Mailbag 11.19.21

It’s the penultimate mailbag of the regular season!

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade - Season 93 Photo by: Ralph Bavaro/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

was the turf looking a little raggedy on Saturday? It was three weeks since it was last played on and the weather hasn’t been horrible. PSU has a turfgrass management program and the place is usually in good shape. What gives?—Smee

I agree that it looked not great. It’s probably weather related – it’s been an incredibly dry fall (drier than normal, iirc) and then all of a sudden, the turf froze due to low temps in the week leading up to the game. I’m not a turfgrass management person, though, so I can only speculate here.

After last week and Miranda getting pulled, what does the starting oline look like? Does Wilson go to guard and Scruggs slide to center?—UPSUPhilly

First of all, I don’t know that anyone’s confirmed that Miranda was pulled (and if so, why he was pulled – was it just performance?) or if he was out because of injury – there are reports that he was seen in the tent after coming off the field, so he could have been banged up.

I don’t remember if what you’re suggesting is what happened the rest of the game last week – if so, that’s what I’m expecting this week as well, but Scruggs is the key here as our best offensive lineman. Is that saying much? I’m not sure, but he’s definitely the best.

Which part of the team has been the most disappointing for you during this 2021 Penn State Nittany Lions football season? Which coach on the staff would you replace, if you would replace one?

I am most disappointed with the run game. It’s clearly held the team back, but I am not sure it’s time to get rid of a coach.—Gerry Dincher

I agree, I think it’s the running back unit – and not just because of the run game, but because of the blocking. Because as much crap as we give the o-line (not undeserved!) for the TFLs, we neglect to give as much to the skill players who stay in to block for pass plays. There’ve been multiple times on the season when the running backs (different ones!) have completely whiffed on blocks, and Cliff gets planted as a result. And not just when the play design calls for the RB to leak out the side and receive a screen – there have been distinct plays where the running back (or tight end!) is blocking exactly no one despite being in seeming-blocking position.

What do you think happened to Roberson?—jiminore

My answer to this depends on what you mean, what happened to him…

I think he’s not progressed as we had probably hoped, and as a four-star recruit you’d hope that he would be not as “deer in the headlights” as he was vs Iowa, and provide a suitable back up option for a game like Illinois – but that didn’t happen, of course. I do know that Mike Yurcich’s offense isn’t the easiest to learn, and neither is playing under three different offensive coordinators in three years at the same school. That’s not an excuse (he looked decidedly Not Good in his non-garbage time earlier this year) but perhaps provides at least a little background.

I’d be very surprised if he’s still at PSU next year (unless he decides his PSU degree is the most important thing, and doesn’t want to pursue big time football) since Drew Allar and maybe even more will pass him on the depth charts. But I don’t think he’s as bad as so many are suggesting, just maybe not the best fit for this offense when he committed to PSU under Joe Moorhead.

In light of recent Portal news, do we make a run at Rattler in the offseason?—Tmbgiants_3

I think you always want to make a run at a demonstrable very good QB, unless you have one returning. I don’t know that I think Cliff will be back, and having Rattler in the locker room would only be a good thing. I say go for it.

More CJF destinations? The University of Washington HC was fired over the weekend and CJF was once on the staff at Washington State and Mrs. Franklin hails from that area. While U-Dub could be seen as a lateral move by the PAC12 devotees, would they make a run at him for their HC? Would CJF be interested if the $$$ were there?—LarzLion

They would not, they can’t afford him and the prestige of that job isn’t there. I think UW is more likely going to get a proven offensive coordinator or current group of five head coach, not a different power five HC, to helm their program. I like UW so I wish them the best of luck in their search!

Is there a reliable or even quasi-reliable source for this alleged “BoT/Franklin power struggle over funding” rumor? Or is it all just a bunch of internet swamp gas?—NittanyPUMA

I don’t know the genesis of this rumor, but based on the historical stinginess of the BOT at Penn State, I’m inclined to believe it’s true. Only recently, with the hires of Krieger and Shrews, has the pocketbook seemed to open up a bit without being explicitly tied to a one-time donation of a heavy-hitting booster that’s earmarked the money for specific use. There’s also folks who are stuck in their ways, and continue to think that the way Paterno ran the program should be the way anyone runs it and they should win national championships, which simply isn’t the reality and is deluded thinking.

What kind of voodoo curse was placed on Franklin that makes him go for it and fakes on 4th down? Remember ly against OSU? Failed. OSU goes up 14-0. Remember against Kentucky in the bowl game? On our own side of the field? Failed. Kentucky goes up 7-0.

I don’t understand why he would think it was a good idea to try it twice on the same drive. He calls games in critical moments like I used to in Madden… And that’s bad.

I don’t think we will ever get to “elite” with that kind of coaching. I was hoping he would learn from his mistakes. But he just doubles down and keeps putting our team in poor positions.—swift_retribution

A not-small amount of time, faking it makes sense – for example, the fake punt that resulted in a first down the earlier drive versus Michigan. But that fake field goal was just baffling – just go for it on fourth down, because (as later in the game suggested) you could potentially get it! They should’ve lined up in regular formation, because it resulted in a loss of down (and stupidly, a turnover – PSU’s only on the day – which did nothing to help Michigan, thankfully). We’re so mired in our own misery, though, that we also fail to realize that the vast majority of head coaches make boneheaded decisions (some, much more often than Franklin!) and even Nick Saban has been second guessed many, many times. If they’dve gotten it, folks would’ve been so happy (like the aforementioned punt fake). But they didn’t, so it was dumb. Tale as old as time.

If we lose to Rutgers, does CJF have to sport a gold, “Jerzy Boyz” chain?—ofboucke

I sure as shit hope not!!

What is the misery index for Penn State sports? Seems fairly bad and it has not been this bad since IT.—LarzLion

I very much disagree that it has not been this bad since IT. It was basically this bad after back to back losses against Ohio and UVA (with the opportunities to win the game very glaring in the latter), and then in 2013 when we lost to Indiana for the first time. And then again in 2015 under John Donovan and the infamous three-man-rush sack of Christian Hackenberg.

This is all nothing, of course, compared to 2000 – 2004. And the difference now is that we can see that the team is better than they’re playing on the field, which is its own brand of maddening…

If we lose out, do we go bowling or is there another “decline a bowl that will lose money for our athletic department” in our future?—wvlion

We absolutely will not decline a bowl. The extra practices that a team gets when they go to a bowl will be invaluable for this team headed into next year, no matter what signal caller lines up two yards deep behind center.

What is your rooting interest for OSU/MSU? For me it is like choosing a root canal vs. hemorrhoid-ectomy. While I have had several of the former, I can imagine that the latter is not a real pleasant experience.—LarzLion

Since there’s no specific Penn State-centric rooting interest, I’m definitely rooting for Ohio State. Because their fans have earned their smugness, as has Ryan Day, and Harbaugh’s just bafflingly, stereotypically a Michigan Man. That is not a good thing.

You are in charge of building an offense. Obviously, a 3 deep of 5* future NFL picks would be ideal, but that isn’t the reality. Divide the offense into 3 groups – “Skill” guys (WR/RB/TE), QB, and O-line. You can have upper-round NFL talent in one group, good but not great talent in another, and average at best talent in another. What does your squad look like?—vern05

This is a really excellent thought exercise! I say give me the skill guys as 5* players – as Allen Robinson can attest, a really good skill player can make even not mediocre QBs look like five stars. And I’ll take a good but not great offensive line – because that’ll be good enough for a guy like Saquon to get his yards, and for an average at best quarterback to stay upright long enough to dump it off to the five star skill guys and let them get their YAC.

What does everyone else think?

I think its funny that New Jersey is the “Garden State”. What most people see in New Jersey is the industrial North, while flying into JFK or Laguardia. People are always surprised when I tell them about Jersey’s tomatoes and corn. So, are New Jersey’s tomatoes and corn better than Pennsylvania’s—Dinsdale Piranha

As with everything, I’m sure that there are some really excellent New Jersey produce, and some really crappy New Jersey produce – and the same with Pennsylvania, it all depends on where you get it. New Jersey doesn’t have Sheetz to go with their Wawas, though, which means they are far inferior to the good ol’ commonwealth.

what are your thoughts on the spread of the tipping from the restaurant/service industry to other locations where the tip jar now resides? I am all for tipping and usually more than the 15/18/20% as I was a student once but when you start to see it at every register, I begin to wonder what exactly you did to create a tipping event

another thing: if you are asking me to ‘round up for _______’, I am more than happy to throw my change in to the cause but how about telling us on the bottom of the receipt how ‘we’ have raised for that cause? or is it really going to the company picnic fund?—kingkub

I think it depends on where the jar is located (what type of business, I mean). There are jars at restaurants for carry out customers, and I’ll sometimes tip there – because servers at a lot of places have to tip out, with tips going to the kitchen or front staff like hostesses, and that just increases the pot and a few bucks don’t break me (and the food is normally worth it). For places like, a self-serve frozen yogurt shop? I won’t unless they’re actually making me something, which isn’t normal and what they’ve signed up to do – I did all the work on my dessert, you shouldn’t get a tip because you know how to use a scale and a cash register correctly.

And I agree with your rounding up observation – I do donate to many charities, and I try to vet and make sure my money goes where I’m expecting it. I’ll throw in a round up if I know the restaurant or store well (like the owners or managers) and know where the money is going, but beyond that, I’d prefer to pay the charity directly rather than going through a third party store or restaurant.

In your family or group of friends, what board or card game brings out the worst in everybody. By worst, I mean competitive spirit with choice actions and words.

Phase 10 is the game we use to play with the kids and still do with friends. There were many LATE nights of yelling across the table at each other. (all in fun)—EagleLionSly

I don’t like playing the games that devolve like this, or can be interpreted as playing favorites. I love Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples – but sometimes, you can tell who has put in what cards based on their sense of humor, and it devolves into feelings that others are playing to not let you win rather than going towards the actual true best pick.

I personally love playing word games like Boggle, but not a lot of folks will end up playing with me. I think Uno can devolve pretty quickly too, with the ganging up of people or teams (adding skips on top of skips, and draw twos on top of draw twos…).

What act or band do you have none or little of their music but would go to see in a concert? I may have one or two Bruno Mars songs but I would be willing to bet that his shows are non-stop entertainment.—kingkub

Bruno Mars is a good one! I’d probably put some classics like Springsteen or the Stones on the list as well, because they’re just so iconic. In my old age, I’ve gone away from going to many live shows as most of them are recorded at some point and I just don’t like being around that many people, but I’m sure I could still be convinced for an act or two.

TV show that you bailed out on that you are not sure if you should ever finish? watched first 2 seasons of Westworld and first 2 of Deadwood….can’t seem to fire them up to finish them….am I missing something?—kingkub

I bailed on Once Upon a Time a few years before the end, and I won’t finish that one. I bailed on most longtime shows I’d watched last season (like Grey’s Anatomy and the Flash) and have vowed to myself that I’ll watch all of the remaining seasons when they’re done, since it’s all on Netflix…we’ll see if that actually pans out.

I never watched Deadwood, but with regards to Westworld – season two was by far its weakest, so I completely get bailing on it after that season. But I actually thought that season three was very, very good – some of the fight scenes in particular were incredible, as were the performances by Evan Rachel Wood and Thaniwe Newton – that I urge you to watch the third season. It almost revamped the entire show, which was needed after the lackluster second season – and while it didn’t have the jaw-dropping twists at the end like season one, there were some good ones and, like I said, it was incredibly aesthetically pleasing if you like scifi & action. Which, of course, I do.

Reverse: What new season are you most looking forward to? The Witcher on Netflix and Loki on Disney+ are the two I’m most looking forward to. Hawkeye on Disney+ is slated to drop in about a month. I’m highly excited about it.—EagleLionSly

I’m suuuuper looking forward to The Witcher season 2 (another one that started slow but got amazing after the fourth episode!) and Hawkeye. I’m also really looking forward to Bridgerton season two (I’ve read all the books…now) and another guilty pleasure, Emily in Paris season two. And I just watched the Pam and Tommy trailer and it looks surprisingly really good? We’ll see the reviews closer to it, but Lily James looks ridiculously spot on as Pamela Anderson.

Has anyone used the exotic car rental services? I was thinking about getting my dad a gift certificate to one of them so that he could rent whatever he wants for a day, then have my mom come down and watch my daughter so we can just go out and drive. But wasn’t sure how good the experiences actually were.—Succss With Honor Always

I haven’t, but throwing this on here to help you get suggestions from folks who have!

What’s the best Thanksgiving Dessert?...To my mind it really comes down to apple or pecan pie. Pumpkin pie is fine I suppose but really if it weren’t Thanksgiving how many people are picking that, whereas apple or pecan pie are great damn near any time. I think an underrated choice is a fruit cobbler of some sort, and a chocolate silk pie is an unexpected treat for the chocolate lovers out there. A chocolate cake? Come on man. This isn’t ’nam, this is Thanksgiving. There are rules. And while pumpkin or banana bread are great, these are really breakfast foods, not dessert. So, the rankings:

1. Apple Pie

(tied for first) Pecan Pie

2. Cobbler

3. Chocolate Silk Pie

4. Pumpkin Pie

5. Butter Pecan Ice Cream

5b. Stale Oreoes—MJBPSU

I normally make pecan pie on Thanksgiving nowadays (and got a new recipe I’m really looking forward to trying out next week). If not pecan, give me pumpkin any day – the spicier, the better, because it counteracts the sweetness of the pecan really well. And I’ll put homemade whipped cream on pumpkin, but not most other pies, because I am just weird.

(also lol Pitt)

Acceptable dates to put up and take down holiday decor? (speaking for this thread…Christmas/Hanukkah). Normal for us here is Sat after Thanksgiving things go up and we take down weekend after NYE.

This year, because we’re moving while the kids are on winter break and it’s going to be chaos we’ve set things in motion earlier this year. What is your norm? I’ve seen people have stuff up down here for Christmas the day after Halloween and it’s up until Valentines day.—mbailey71

I think you should put up and take down your holiday décor whenever you damn well want to. If that means that it’s up from October 15 until President’s Day, so be it! It doesn’t harm anyone!

Personally, I’m planning on putting most of my décor up next week and will take it down near the end of January. In years past, I’ve put decorations up on Veteran’s Day, but mostly in years where I’ve had to travel most of the rest of November and early December, and I want to enjoy the decorations for more than a few weeks – since Thanksgiving is pretty early this year, I think putting it up on Thursday is a good timetable for me.

But, ultimately, you do you! Spread your joy around as much as you want, for as long as you want! Unless your HOA fines you for it, of course.

If you were selected to hold a rope on one of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, which balloon would you want to hold and why? Your answer be be a real balloon we usually see or a balloon you’d like to see included in the parade.

I think I’d like to be part of the team that holds the Batman or Superman balloon. They’re the only super heroes I care much about.—Gerry Dincher

I think I’m gonna go oldschool classic here and say Snoopy. I know that Snoopy isn’t the first balloon to be flown in the parade (that’s Felix the cat, iirc), but it’s the one that I most associate with the parade, remembering watching it fly when I was a kid and viewing the parade every thanksgiving.

What say you all?