8.14.2008

2008 BIG TEN PREVIEW: PENN ST.

Greg Schiano would be proud of us. Despite getting doused with Haterade over our tardiness, we just keep choppin' away at the Big Ten Preview. Kind of like Wisconsin LB DeAndre Levy chopped away at Joe Paterno's kneecap in 2006. How Paterno isn't still in a wheelchair is beyond us. Anyway, on with the preview:


2007 Preview: Here
2007 Record: 9-4 (4-4)
Projected 2008 Finish: 5th
Returning Starters: 17
Head Coach: Joe Paterno
Best Player: DE Maurice Evans

Good News:

- How do we put this gently? Anthony Morrelli didn't exactly live up to expectations at Penn St. Definitely addition by subtraction at QB.

- With all five starters returning, Penn State has the best O-line in the Big Ten. Which is good, since Paterno has 0 offensive creativity. C A.Q. Shipley and G Stefen Wisniewski are both studs.

- The defense is still solid despite the loss of LB Sean Lee to injury and the dismissal of DLs Phil Taylor and Chris Baker - which was handled atrociously by the way. Maurice Evans looks like the next Courtney Brown at DE. S Anthony Scirrotto is stellar as well - when he's not brawling with the student body.

Not-So-Good News:

- Why does everyone assume that a black QB running the spread (Daryll Clark, though Pat Devlin will also see PT) will duplicate Michael Robinson's 2005 season? At best, it's just idiotic. At worst, it's racist. Clark has some serious wheels - as he displayed in last year's Alamo Bowl - but has a highly suspect arm.

- There hasn't been a more disappointing Big Ten player than Derrick Williams since Ohio State's Mike D'Andrea. With all the hype about his explosive speed, he averaged under 10 yards per catch last year. This guy was talking about going pro out of high school! Four years later, he'll be lucky to get taken on the first day.

- The next Great White Hype from Penn State - LB Sean Lee - is out for the year with a knee injury. Dan Connor is in the NFL. At least for this year, "Linebacker U" it ain't. And CB Justin King's foolish decision to jump to the NFL won't help either.

- Entering his 43rd year, Paterno's brain could instantly form into mush at any point during the season and render the man a vegetable.

- This team's had more off-the-field issues than Iowa. Another incident would throw the athletic department into full-out crisis mode and players will be getting kicked off the team left and right.

Realety:

People are hyping Penn State as a Big Ten darkhorse with a return to the spread offense and another stout defense. We're not buying it.

The Nittany Lions are average in every sense of the word and don't have a single offensive player that scares you. The nonconference slate is stuffed with PSU's usual cupcakes, but Oregon State could very easily win in Happy Valley and have people calling for Paterno's head by mid-September.

Their Big Ten schedule is an absolute killer, starting out with Illinois, at Purdue, at Wisconsin, Michigan and at Ohio State. They stand no chance of beating the Badgers or Buckeyes on the road and while they should beat Michigan, they haven't actually done it in over a decade.

But of course PSU will rally at the end, put up another decent showing in the Alamo Bowl, buy Joe Paterno another year, and then repeat the process all over again in 2009. Get hyped PSU fans!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

pretty good preview but you gotta remember this is the last year PSU has a chance to top the big ten. that top 5 recruiting class are all seniors now...its now or never - you gotta admit this team has a chance to surprise... After this year it's off to the basement for the next 3 or 4 years before "restoring the roar" in 2013!

Jim Harbaugh Scramble said...

Robinson's big year was in '05 not '06 - '06 was the first year of Morelli-ball.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a poor analysis. You are correct that Penn State has the best offensive line in the Big 10. That alone is enough to make a team a contender. However, what you fail to point out is that Penn State also has the best receivers in the Big 10--your comments about Derrick Williams notwithstanding. Butler, Williams and Norwood are easily the best recieving corp in the Big 10. What's more, you're going to be surprised because by the end of the year it will also be clear that the 1-2 punch of Royster and Green will be the best backfield in the Big 10. Both QBs are adequate, and Devlin is certainly the real deal in the pocket.

Your defensive assessment is a little weak also. Clearly, the secondary of Scirrotto, Davis, Wallace, Sargeant and Rubin is the best, by far, in the Big 10. The defensive ends are also stellar. There are plenty of linebackers with talent to step up too.

I'm looking for Penn State to challenge Ohio State with all other teams a distant second.

Anonymous said...

wow, you look like an idiot now. psu 11-1 in 2008.

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