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BSD Mailbag 10.27.23

Our answers to your questions!

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If you were able to pick one thing about the PSU offense that the staff/players worked on and perfected for this Saturday (albeit against Indinia), what would it be and why?—wek5000lion09

The biggest thing for me is to get the passing game going. I’m more bullish on the offense’s chances this week than some, because I’ve run the numbers; and though Indiana’s pass defense looks like it’s the best unit for them on that side of the ball, I can’t be sure it isn’t because teams are just running all over the Hoosiers and don’t need to pass.

An easy answer would be, since the Hoosier run D appears to be so poor, that we should run against them. I don’t disagree, but I also think - that’s not the unit on our offense that struggled last week. Nick Singleton, for example, averaged over 5 YPC; it was the pass offense that we kept going to, and kept failing us. We’ll need to do better than that at home, and against a team like 2023 Indiana.

So many questions after that game, but I’ll just ask...

-When was the last time we had a receiving corp this bad underwhelming?

-How bad will the osu hangover be this week? Lose to MD bad or look aimless for a half (would be able to tell the difference between an osu hangover and our normal first half?) before winning easily in the second?—JayMPSU

I can tell you that I don’t remember a time where we didn’t have a clear number one guy since probably 2004 - the year before Derrick Williams, Justin King, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood helped rejuvenate the PSU offense using the “spread HD” (side note: still LOL at that description). We can’t seem to get separation, and though we clearly don’t have anyone nearing Marvin Harrison Jr on our roster (and no one else does - I’m not convinced he’s not the best offensive player in the nation), we did have two four-star WRs as part of our 2022 recruiting class. Where are they in this offense?

It’s not as though Drew Allar looked good last week, but he was done no favors by his team and the play callers, as evidenced by the continued pass plays early in the game when Singleton actually looked good on the ground.

And as for your second question, I am glad we don’t play Maryland this week because then I might actually be nervous; but I’m convinced that the Hoosiers are the worst team in the Big Ten East and it’s not close this year, so I’m glad we’ll be able to get over that hump. This defense is still elite enought to not be close to losing to Indiana, and I think the game might end up looking closer to last year’s Minnesota game than 2014 Maryland.

Your responses to these questions will determine the post-season fate of the team. Assuming the validity of the statement “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”:

1. Does Allar have the confidence to take more risks in the passing game? Or has he been too scared off by CJF’s “protect the ball” theory to just once chuck the ball down field and see what happens? (I joke, but you get the point.)

2. Have Yurcich and his staff demonstrated the ability to scout an opposing team and develop an opponent-specific game plan based on their tendencies and weaknesses?

3. Does Franklin have the cajones to demand more results from his offensive coordinator and staff, and to take action when they fail to perform (such as taking over some responsibilities or delegating to someone different, or to reorganize (short of terminating employees.))—48-14

  1. We may find out this week. And last week IIRC he did “chuck” it a few times (Theo Johnson did have a 34 yard receiption), but the lack of run play calls to support the pass calls was a bigger factor. Also, use the mismatch that is the PSU TEs more! They can get YAC - put them in a position to make a play if the wide receivers can’t.
  2. I’m more concerned that they may be over-scouting pregame, and not flexible enough mid-game to take advantage of what the opposing defense is actually doing in the game we’re playing. Because it’s clear that our opponents have not been impressed with our passing game, so while they may have shown that they aren’t stacking the box on film, they are against us. So we should be willing and able to make those sort of adjustments mid-game - we need to not be afraid of making mid-game adjustments and feeding the players that are actually having success the ball, rather than pre-scripted substitutions.
  3. Franklin did in 2016, when he let go longtime friend (and future failed Washington offensive coordinator) John Donovan. If there’s not a better improvement against Michigan this year, and especially if, heaven forbid, Penn State loses more than two regular season games, he’s willing to do the same this season.

Currently there are hundreds of tickets for the Michigan game available on Penn State’s website. Lowest price right now is $185 for upper-deck seats in the south endzone. The median seems to be in the $250-$300 range for endzone and corner seats. Sidelines seats go up from there - two of the actual “seats” (with legroom) on the 40 yard-line on the home side are listed for $1,500 each. I think we all agree PSU will go into the game 8-1, but with all the issues surrounding Michigan (no CFP?), do you think the prices will go up, down, or stay the same as the game gets closer? If you were buying, when would you pull the trigger?—Smee

Pricing likely depends on the team’s performance in College Park next week. If they eke out a close victory, then prices may drop; if it’s closer to a 2019-level performance, they’ll probably stay as high if not increase.

It also may depend on what happens on the Michigan side before then - does the investigation progress or more dirt come out? Are Wolverine fans galvanized, with more PA UM folks wanting to come to the game to show solidarity or because they may be afraid the dominance of the last two years won’t last much longer? If the secondary market amongst Michigan fans stays or goes higher, it might depend on their mood, not PSUers’.

Is anything going to happen to Michigan? Or will they get a sternly worded letter and they’ll punish every other B1G school (save OSU, of course) for allowing a spy in their stadium?—vern05

I think Harbaugh is even more likely to bolt for the NFL again this upcoming post season, and there might end up being show causes against the current coordinators Sherrone Moore and Jesse Mintner, who reportedly were seen multiple times conferring with current focal point of the investigation (and manifesto-composer) Connor Stalions.

How were we so oblivious to what Michigan’s staffer was doing?

—MainLionLovesHosss

We see what we want to see, even when it’s right in front of us! Just check out this totally real new documentary:

On a scale of “1” to “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” please rate how bizarre the Michigan cheating scandal has become by the time this column is posted. I reserve the right for this question to include future developments given how quickly it’s gone to freaking plaid already.—NittanyPUMA

There’s more evidence now that Stalions did some, let’s call it shady, things; and it’s certainly interesting that the conference and the NCAA were provided unknown levels of proof upfront by an outside law firm.

The most bizarre thing to me right now is the implications that now-co Maryland OC Josh Gattis was somehow involved, especially since Maryland’s other co-OC is also in the news for a DUI last weekend.

Also, the idea of a “michigan manifesto” is just ridiculously over the top.

Amid UM sign stealing allegations, I have seen reports that there were discussions in 2021 within the NCAA to drop this 1994 era in person scouting rule because video cameras and the Internet sharing is too prolific in today’s world.

I’ve also seen that the NCAA baseball has changed the way pitch signals are sent in by using Apple watches. Even the NFL allows calls to be radioed in.

So why does NCAA football continue with antiquated systems/ methods? Isn’t it time for them to embrace smart watches or radio receivers in helmets for relaying play calls? Is the resistance because deep down they want teams to steal play calls so the $$$ generating schools have the advantage and continue making $$$ for them? Or is it a complete disregard for players health n safety?—PSUinOK

I think it has nothing to do with player health and safety, because most of the powers that be in the NCAA don’t care about that. They care about money and power and themselves and the rules they’ve followed for forever - change and the NCAA are practically antonyms.

The NCAA is notoriously slow in changing their own rules even when basically forced to (it is a very good-ole-boy network, after all) but coincidentally they had already approved the use of technology to call in plays in bowl games in this upcoming post season. If the Michigan story continues to have legs, and the use of tech goes well as you’d expect since it works well in the pros, I expect it will be rolled out to all regular season games (or at least to the teams that can afford it) sooner rather than later.

How soon before the Commanders new owners pull the plug on this coaching staff? I am constantly underwhelmed by this team. Are we still operating under the Dan Snyder curse and need to clean house?—wvlion

Ron Rivera truly seems like a good dude and he won’t get your team in trouble, unlike their previous owner. But it also feels like he’ll never have the team competing for NFC East titles, let alone the Lombardi trophy.

Give them this year; if we don’t challenge for the division, I think the owners need to move on.

Y’all hear that Will Levis is starting for the Titans this weekend? That might be an interesting watch.—EagleLionSly

It should be! I wish Levis well, though I do wish it was Clifford starting in Green Bay. I’m still pretty baffled that Levis is doing so well, though I like to see it. Good luck to him.

Which food that is part of your region/culture do you enjoy the most?

Which food that is part of your region/culture do you try to avoid?

Enjoy - My vote goes for New York style pepperoni pizza. You can’t get it here in Western Illinois! It’s a major drawback. But I could list many more, pork and sauerkraut, whoopie pie, etc.—Gerry Dincher

I’m a European mutt with German roots more than any other, so I’ll use that as my basis. My favorite German food is probably good spaetzle with gravy - I know many find it bland, but I find it very versatile. That and a good apple strudel are probably my favorites.

My least favorite used to be red cabbage, but it’s definitely grown on me the last few years (though I can never eat as much as I’m served). Now it’s probably sauerkraut, which again I’m getting better at not hating as I age.

What are a few of your favorite movie scenes? To just name two of mine:

1) the “now youse can’t leave” from A Bronx Tale

2) In Equalizer 2, when Denzel goes to the hotel room of the guys that abused the girl, and the one dude locks the door as if they’re going to go Bronx Tale on Denzel, but Denzel had other plans.

Hopefully the fact that they two i’ve listed are very violent doesn’t cause anyone to call the authorities or anything.—LTFT

Some of my favorites are:

  • the Duel of the Fates in Star Wars Episode I. The Phantom Menace is probably the weakest overall of all Star Wars movies but this dual is still my favorite.
  • the scene in the rain in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. If you’ve seen the movie, you know which one.
  • the opening scene in Touch of Evil, because it’s just amazing
  • the Dia de los Muertos scene in Spectre, because it’s also pretty amazing
  • and, of course, the battle of wits:

So... the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is holding a lottery to sell 4,429 bottles of rare whiskeys. PA residents have until 5:00 PM Friday, Oct. 27, to opt into the lottery. Details are here.

Below are the items available in the lotteries. You can enter as many lotteries as you like, but you’ll only get one bottle in any that you win. Which lotteries would you enter? I’m going for the Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel, and the Eagle Rare.

Lottery 1

Blanton’s Gold Straight Bourbon, $119.99 each – 477 bottles for individual consumers, 159 bottles for licensees.

Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel Bourbon, $149.99 each – 483 bottles for individual consumers, 160 bottles for licensees.

Lottery 2

Eagle Rare Straight Bourbon 17 Year Old 2022 Release, $109.99 each – 1 bottle for individual consumers.

Lottery 3

Heaven Hill Heritage Collection Straight Corn Whiskey 20 Year Old 2023 Edition, $289.99 each – 150 bottles for individual consumers, 49 bottles for licensees.

Lottery 4

Russell’s Reserve Straight Bourbon 13 Year Old Barrel Proof, $149.99 each – 566 bottles for individual consumers, 188 bottles for licensees.

Lottery 5

Stagg Straight Bourbon Barrel Proof, $54.99 each – 1,647 bottles for individual consumers, 549 bottles for licensees.—Smee

I’ve gotten away from drinking most liquor nowadays, sticking more to wine (and beer and other canned beverages on Saturdays). Of those, though, I’d be most likely to want to try to win Lottery 4 I think.

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MMQB - 5+7