Penn State Review from BSD

Post-game write up from Black Shoe Diaries:

Undoubtedly, the most frustrating aspect of this loss for Nittany Lion fans was not the predictable play-calling or surgical dissection of Penn State’s zone coverage, but the uninspired, and seemingly unplanned attack that the coaching staff had heading into this game. Penn State abandoned the running game, which was mostly a product of the score, and continued to use a revolving door of quarterbacks. A strategy that Galen Hall later admitted was pre-planned arrangement that had no bearing on the players individual performance.

In the end, Penn State’s poor performance on the field does not take away from the fact that Alabama was a vastly superior team. While the Alabama faithful will say, and rightly so, that the Tide are far from where they’ll need to be to win the SEC, they managed to beat Penn State with a rather straight forward offense. Easy passes in the zone, runs up the middle with Trent Richardson, and a strong defensive gameplan. It was a simple, defined, and well executed gameplan that took Penn State apart.

via Penn State Bumbles Away Opportunities, Falls to Alabama 27-11 – Black Shoe Diaries.

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Random Post-Penn State Thoughts

** The Tide throttled Penn State Saturday, but I’m not sure how good the Nittany Lions really are.  Obviously time will tell, but it’s hard for me to tell whether Bama made this bunch look extremely ordinary or if they really are.

** AJ McCarron took a big step yesterday toward winning the quarterback job.  He completed 61% of his passes and had no turnovers.  I don’t think the Bama coaches (or fans) could have expected better.

** Alabama didn’t officially record a sack yesterday (although I thought Rob Bolden scrambled and was tackled for a one yard loss).  Was that a lackluster effort by the pass rush, PSU getting rid of the ball early or the result of the defensive scheme?

** Penn State burning all of their first half timeouts on the first drive was priceless and let everyone know they were pretty much showing all they had on the first drive.

** It was a tremendous tactical blunder for Penn State to play Matt McGloin yesterday.  Bolden was able to move the pocket some and at least give the threat of running the ball.  McGloin’s lack of mobility took away a play-making option from PSU.

** Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy are turning into a fine one-two combination at running back.  Richardson finished with 111 yards rushing and Lacy with 85.  Lacy seemed a bit shiftier and was also very hard to bring down and proved to be a nice change of pace that made life harder for the defense.  Another effort like this from Lacy and I’m sure the vocal minority of Bama fans will be screaming that he should play ahead of Richardson.

** It seems odd for Dee Milliner to be returning kickoffs and other folks are hollering about Richardson returning kicks (not me).  Perhaps the decision on Milliner has something to do with last week’s turnover on special teams.

Week 2 Picks Review

8-2 for the week and 19-3 overall.  Here’s a recap:

Alabama 27, Penn State 11 [Prediction Alabama 17, Penn State 13] – The Tide plays turnover free ball and dominates the Nittany Lions.

Arkansas 52, New Mexico 3 [Prediction Arkansas 57, New Mexico 7] – The Razorbacks suffered several injuries, but have one more out-of-conference game before traveling to Tuscaloosa.

Auburn 41, Mississippi State 34 [Prediction Mississippi State 31, Auburn 24] – Can we finally stop talking about this being “the year” for State?  Auburn looked much improved against State, but the defense still needs a lot of work.

LSU 49, Northwestern State 3 [Prediction LSU 50, Northwestern State 3] – Almost pegged this one exactly.

Ole Miss 42, Southern Illinois 24 [Prediction Ole Miss 34, Southern Illinois 10] – The Salukis outgained Ole Miss 420 to 315, but four turnovers doomed the upset bid.

Florida 39, UAB 0 [Prediction Florida 34, UAB 10] – The Gators rang up 300 yards rushing on the way to 512 yards of total offense.

South Carolina 45 Georgia 42 [Prediction South Carolina 31, Georgia 27] – A punt return for a touchdown, a pick six and a fumble returned for a touchdown doom the Dawgs.

Kentucky 27 Central Michigan 13 [Prediction Kentucky 21, Central Michigan 10] – Maybe UK’s been holding back these first two weeks to get ready for Louisville.

Tennessee 45, Tennessee 23 [Prediction Tennessee 38, Cincinnati 37] – Another impressive performance by Tyler Bray leads UT by the Bearcats.

Connecticut 24, Vanderbilt 23 – My preseason picks included Vandy winning this game.  I just don’t see it happening.

State College Weather

Sounds like 110,000 folks are going to get wet:

State College, Pa. (No. 3 Alabama at No. 23 Penn State): Cloudy with thundershowers, temperatures between 70-72 degrees, 60 percent chance of rain, winds at 3 mph

via SEC Blog – ESPN.

I think a wet track favors Alabama.  And, oh by the way, Duron Carter isn’t playing.

I Feel Better Now

Coach Saban addresses all the gnashing of teeth concerning the offensive line:

“I don’t know what the big dilemma is just because we make a few substitutions in a game when we’re ahead 21-0 and get guys in to get experience,” he said. “All of the sudden we have all these issues and problems, and that’s why the offensive line (is) not playing well because they don’t play together?” Saban asked. “Hell, they couldn’t play together anymore than what they play. I’m not saying they all played well, and we certainly need to improve that, and there is competition at positions — at every position. We have competitions for positions on defense even now as we speak practicing today.”

If he feels ok about the line then I’m good with it too.

Week 2 Picks

Alabama 17, Penn State 13 – The Crimson Tide does just enough to hold off the Nittany Lions.

Arkansas 57, New Mexico 7 – The second in a string of three cupcakes for the Hogs leading up to Bama.

Mississippi State 31, Auburn 24 – Auburn will rally late again, but this time it won’t be enough.

LSU 50, Northwestern State 3 – Yawn.

Ole Miss 34, Southern Illinois 10 – BYU wasn’t a bad team and Ole Miss will get better.

Florida 34, UAB 10 – UAB isn’t a total cupcake, but the Gators should be too much for the Blazers.

South Carolina 31, Georgia 27 – No, Georgia, the sky isn’t falling, it only feels like it.

Kentucky 21, Central Michigan 10 – Lost in last week’s laugher against Western Kentucky was a decent performance by the Wildcat defense.  The Cats should win again, but could make it look ugly.

Tennessee 38, Cincinnati 37 – UT should have just enough offense to take care of the Bearcats.

Connecticut 24, Vanderbilt 23 – My preseason picks included Vandy winning this game.  I just don’t see it happening.

Penn State Field Reminder

If you plan on watching the Alabama – Penn State football game this Saturday, please keep in mind the unusual field dimensions for the Nittany Lions’ playing surface as described in this picture:


Penn State Football Field