Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Have we seen our worst?

Welcome 2015 Season

After a few year hiatus from expressing my thoughts in the form of a blog regarding Penn State Football, I had many thoughts in my head after this past week that I needed to get on paper. With that being said, Welcome. I encourage comments and conversations on all posts. Please be as critical as needed, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I will attempt to post each week regarding my thoughts on what is going on in Nittany Nation. If there are any suggestions, comments, or requests PLEASE let me know as I'd love to make this as popular as possible with much interaction.

This week, the question is, have we seen our worst? I have to think the answer to this question is yes. If we sink any lower than we did this previous week, and lose to a MAC opponent this Saturday, I have a feeling all hell will break loose in State College. However, I do believe our team has enough heart and guts that they will come out in front of our incredible fan base, and really take out their frustrations on this opponent. I'm a very optimistic fan, but I do think that we will see the showing from our team that we SHOULD against this type of opponent.

I like to think that we have seen our worst, because quite honestly, how much worse can it get than 10 sacks in one game against an AAC opponent. I read quite a bit of online material regarding our Nittany Lions, and much of the blame is being placed on the OC and the OL. However, I do believe there are other pieces to the puzzle that contribute (not only to our success, but the also the happiness of our fan base)........

Hackenberg - A great quarterback will make adjustments for the things that are going wrong around them. I believe there are many things Christian can do to account for the poor offensive line play. If the line and the play calling will not adjust to his liking, he needs to make the adjustment to them and show how good great he is can be. Do not get my wrong, I'm a huge Hack fan, however I do believe he needs to become a leader. Please Read:

Frank Lines - Yes, "Frank Lines," what I would like to call the tid bits we hear over and over again from James Franklin. Just like I am of Hack, I'm also a huge Franklin fan. I love what he has done to embrace the Penn State community, and love even more what he and his colleagues have done on the recruiting trail. However, one of my dislikes are his lines, he is a politician in the fact that he can tell people what they want to hear.

One of his most used lines is in defense of the play calling and using a limited number of plays. He always places the limited playbook on the fact that it's hard to call more plays when the line cannot protect. However, I believe the opposite of this, the limited playbook allows opponents to predict what we will be doing, with a larger arsenal of plays for Hack to utilize, it will keep them guessing and honest. Last season was understandable, first year in a system you do not want to overload the team with knowledge, however another "Frank Line" that is commonly used is the leap from year 1 to year 2 in a new system. Based on what we saw this past week against Temple, it looks as if Franklin had just become our head coach the week before the game.

I hope to see a larger selection of plays this week, and see it expand from week to week. We have too many weapons on offense for us to not specifically work towards them. These pieces are being used interchangeably, when in reality plays should be drawn up for our specific talents. We have may talented wide receivers with several talent sets: size, speed, and ball handling, and the same goes with our running back corps.

The Fans - Yes, this is a little contradictory to what I mentioned in my opening about being as critical as you would like, but we are a problem as well. I will admit, I'm a younger Penn State fan, not really developing a following until around the 2005/2006 season, so I have not seen the lowest of the lows that I have read so much about. However, the comments and social media posts I have seen over the course of the past week is the most critical I have ever seen of the Penn State fan base. I understand we are all displeased with what happened this past week, however a "Frank Line" I do agree with is patience.

Rome was not built in a day. Penn State will be a contender in the next few years, once Franklin has the ability to truly dive into his system with the players he hand picked. We are recruiting better than we ever have, and James will be able to use these players as they should be. We are in a TOUGH Big Ten East division right now, so it may look bad terrible, but once we recover from the past few years and get acclimated to our new coach, we will be in the drivers seat of our own destiny. This is why patience is important, recruits will not be lining up to play for PSU with negativity all over the internet. Remain optimistic, it is just a game after all.

I hope that you have enjoyed my opinion of the start of the 2015 Penn State Football season. While there are a lot of negatives in our community right now, please remember that we only have 12 of these weekends a year. Win or lose, these are the best weekends of the year, so make the most of them. Even a loss is better than reading all those off season articles. Whether you enjoy with friends at Beaver Stadium (or opposing stadiums), from your local cities viewing bar, or from the comfort of your own home, make the most of the experience. Cheer loud, and display your Penn State pride no matter what. Our time will come, and when it does these dark days will be forgotten. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

A few takes on the OSU game....

I had a quiet week last week, there wasn't that much that needed to be said, and after this game there still is not. Some quick remarks, and then we'll move on with this season. Here are a few things after Saturday's game.

1) Urban Meyer is an SEC scumbag. Running up the score is one thing, I understand he needs his "style" points so that an SEC power can man handle OSU if they manage to make it to the National Championship game. However, challenging a ball spot when we are already clearly down and out of the game is just a trashy move. Urban's actions in this game, show why people think the SEC is all and powerful, because they beat up on their littler opponents. Yes, the SEC powers score a lot of points every week, because they do what Urban did. Being SCUM must be a pre requisite to be an SEC coach. However, Urban fits the mold for OSU, probably the trashiest team in the Big.

2) Who is this Penn State team? We obviously are not as bad as Saturday night's performance showed. If this is true, we would not have won any of our games this year. Week to week we are seeing a completely different team. The play has been very inconsistent. This would not have been a prime time game if we were a team that was predicted to be beat up on. What does BOB need to do to get this team as fired up and ready to play the way they were in the first half and last few minutes of the Michigan game? Our defense needs it's swag back; Penn State was never a team that had to worry about defensive performance, and all of a sudden, we do not even know how to tackle. Our coaching staff has done a great job instilling a flashy offense, strengthening our team in the weight room, and amongst all maintaining a great group of student athletes. However, this in the upcoming off season, go back to basics, teach our defense how to wrap up and tackle.

3) Do we have a return game? This was not just a problem this game, or even this season for that matter. Ever since the departure of one of my all time favorite players, Derrick Williams, we just have had a non existent return game. Starting at the 20 yard line, or worse every set of downs makes it tough for our offense. I understand we have to worry about injuries and it's not a smart idea to put a starter back to return kicks and punts, but take a chance and put A-Rob back there. His touchdown in the OSU game, shows that he has what it takes to zig zag across the field. Joe-Pa took a chance with Williams back deep, it's time for O'Brien to do the same with Robinson.

4) Is it the sanctions? Both after the Indiana game, and this game, I've read comments that it's the fault of the sanctions. While it might be, we still have 11 starters on each side of the ball that are d1 scholarship worthy starters that need to play their best week in and week out. This loss was not completely the fault of a lack of scholarship players or talent. Our players are talented, we know that. It was more so coming of flat, once again on a bye week.

I'm not trying to be negative, I still have high hopes for this season, and an 8-4 or 9-3 season is still entirely possible. Lets keep on watching and supporting week in and week out to make sure that happens. WE ARE....

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just how good is OSU......

We made it, the second bye week of the year and there were no casualties. From this point forward, instead of being bored watching all the other teams have fun, we get to see our beloved Nittany Lions play week in and week out. Keeping up with some other scores this past weekend, two in particular: Ohio State vs Iowa and Northwestern Minnesota, it made me question, just how good is OSU?

As they should have, that team from Ohio, steamrolled through their non conference schedule. OSU averaged 52.5 points per game to an opponents average of just 15.25. However, this does not say much as their non conference opponents have an unimpressive losing record of 11-15.

Enter Big Ten play, and if you ask me, Ohio State has not been impressive. Yes, they are the team to beat, and everyone is gunning for them. Yes, they had two of the best Big Ten teams in back to back weeks. However, a team that has National Championship hopes needs to make it through these tests, and to this point, they have. However, after watching their game against Iowa this past weekend, it made me wonder, is next week the week the giant falls?

Wisconsin, in many people's opinions, is the second best team in the Big Ten this season. Only losing to OSU by one touchdown, they had given the Buckeyes their first test of the season. Wisconsin had the chance to drive down field with 1:29 left on the clock, to tie the game up, but failed to even secure a first down on their drive. Would this of been a different story had the game been in Wisconsin? As we all witnessed, in a scenario such as this, we know the difference home field advantage plays. OSU has a very favorable home schedule this season, which in these close games, is a difference maker.

The Northwestern game was a battle, and much closer than the score indicates. Ohio State escaped this game in the final minutes of play. Braxton Miller ran into some problems throwing an interception and fumbling twice. Northwestern gave the Buckeyes there best game of the season thus far, however how good is Northwestern, losing this past weekend to Minnesota? Does this prove that in the Big Ten, that from week to week, anyone can win? If NW almost took down OSU, how good is OSU, really? According to logic, this should have been an easy win for The Buckeyes, but it was not. Besides Wisconsin, what REALLY good team has OSU proved itself against?

Finally, Iowa, the game which brought these thoughts to my mind and my inspiration for writing this article. Tied, heading into the 4th quarter, against a team that is 4-3, Ohio State needed some big plays in the fourth quarter to take down this opponent. A game which once again OSU was expected to come out of with no problem, was almost the first blemish for Urbran in his time at OSU.

Is the Buckeye's fourth quarter luck running out? Is the tough Big Ten schedule going to finally take it's toll on this team on October 26th? At some point it has to, and I think this is a great opportunity for the Nittany Lions to take it to a team that has been through a lot the past few weeks. OSU has to be running out of gas, and Penn State coming off of a bye week with a lot of momentum from the Michigan game is in the driver's seat to take down the giant. If this is another close game going into the fourth quarter for OSU; I foresee a different outcome than they've seen the past two years. Every week, O'Brien stresses that Hackenberg experiences something new. This week, it will be the sweet smell of victory, knocking off a top 5 opponent in their house.

WE ARE.......

Friday, October 18, 2013

2013 Michigan = 2005 Ohio State?

As I stated in my initial post, my love for PSU Football began with that ever so famous game against those hated buckeyes in 2005. With many saying that this game was the turning point for the Nittany Lions from their dark years is it possible that the 2013 Michigan game is the equivalent to this?

Will this most  recent win against the "undefeated" Michigan Wolverines put the Nittany Lions in a spot to turn the corner and come out of the NCAA sanctions just as powerful, or quite possibly even more powerful than before?

Before the Michigan game, the outlook for our future was very clouded; losing for the first time in our history to Indiana, our defense not looking like the classic dominating Penn State defenses of the past, and a coach we were starting to billieve in had some questionable play calls. Losing to Indiana may have been the lowest of lows in the Bill O'Brien era. Many had said that the sanctions had finally taken their toll on us, and that the future did not look bright.

Fast forward to post Michigan game:

There were many bright spots of this game that show the future of Penn State football is bright.

YES, Penn State can still fill the second largest stadium in the country, and with future schedules bringing in more marquee games every year, this is not going to be an issue.

Christian Hackenberg, need I say more? This 18 year old performed as if he had been there before. How many seniors can perform with that confidence? The best part of it, he is still our quarterback for a minimum of 2 more season after this.

The lessening of the sanctions. Yes, I know this happened pre Indiana, but this is even more of a bright spot now, after having 100 recruits on our sidelines with more scholarships to offer them. How could the electric atmosphere, and the resiliency of this team not persuade a young high school athlete to want to play in this environment?

Our defense played with heart. The defense had been a big question mark this season, and many of those question marks went away after this game. Will the outcome of this game be enough motivation for these defensive players to set the bar and play this way week in and week out? I believe it will be; up until this point, they had not known what a big win had felt like, but don't you think they would love to relive the feeling of that Michigan game week after week, the next opportunity being in Columbus?

While many will say that Penn State was handed this game from Michigan, I believe they are wrong. Penn State also made mistakes in the game, like every team does week to week. Penn State was the team in this game that was resilient and overcame every obstacle to win this game, much like the entire story line that has surrounded Penn State football over the course of the last few years involving this scandal.

Was this win enough to put more confidence into our freshman quarterback, our inexperienced secondary, our second year head coach, to ride this wave of momentum into the rest of the season and make it a special year just as 2005 was? Next year, our scholarships are starting to be restored, we may quite possibly be granted our bowl eligibility if we "behave". Was the Indiana game the end of our modern "dark years" and a turning point for this program? I guess we will see in two weeks in Columbus......

WE ARE......

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Pregame Speech.......

Every big game begins with the moving speech by the coaching staff before the battle begins, so by this reasoning, a good blog should begin the same way, correct?

Instead of a speech though, lets begin with a little introduction of myself and my vision for the blog.

My name is Tighe, a 2010 alumni of The Pennsylvania State University. I've always been a fan of Penn State football, however like many in my generation I feel that this fire really started burning during that unforgettable 2005 game against Ohio State. At this time I was still making my college decision, but was leaning towards PSU. What really sealed the deal for me was seeing how over 100,000 people in that stadium all had one common love for a University (not a football team). There is something special about Penn State, and football is that one common factor amongst most who have anything to do with the University.

During my years at Penn State, I was one of the 20,000 student ticket holders. Football Saturdays were a ritual for my group of friends and I. Waking up, blasting the Fight Song, Zombie Nation, and other Penn State youtube videos out of our 5th floor Calder Commons window to the fans at the Hooter's (now Kildares) bottle shop, walking our way up hours before game time to tailgate and share our love of the team with others of all ages. Finally, the best part of the day, entering the stadium!

I will be skipping this paragraph, as most of you already know the electric inside of Beaver Stadium, and if you do not, get to a game ASAP.

Lets fast forward to today, I'm now 3 years out of school, and quite possibly an ever bigger fan now that I was back then. The fire never died out inside of me. All throughout the work week, I'm constantly reading every possible article written about Penn State, whether it be recruiting, past game review, next game preview, big ten articles, or even opinion pieces. Recently I thought, why not give it a shot of my own, so I created this blog. Here you can expect to find my Pre and Post game reviews, my opinions on articles I find throughout the week, experiences from my Penn State football past and my view of the future. I hope that this generates a lot of buzz and provides a forum for Penn Stater's and even other CFB fans to express their opinions. For now, I'll leave it at that, and hope to see you again soon.......

WE ARE......