I would be remiss if I did not point out how much fun we had in Charlottesville. Virginia fans were very nice and classy. I hope that Ohio $tate plays them in the future and takes note of how fans should behave.
Now we turn our attention to the Naval Academy and their lovable mascot, Bill the Goat. Never one to baaaaa-ck away from his duties, Adam from Black Shoe Diaries has come up with some more questions. Be sure to head on over to BSD later this week for a “greatest hits” of sorts. In the meantime, check out what these appreciative United State citizens are saying:
Follow the jump to read us doggs’ thoughts…
Question #1 Saturday's loss to Virginia was pretty painful. How did you think the team played overall? What are your thoughts on Ted Roof's defense after week 2?
The Underdogs: Scoreboard aside, PSU was the better team on the field, with significant improvement particularly on the defensive side of the ball. However, giving up 18 of 20 3rd down conversions in the 2nd half of games this season is more than a pattern. It's a problem. On 3rd down, perhaps we let discretion win out over valor from here out? Also, I haven't reviewed the game (though I did record it), but it certainly seemed like UVa picked up a key or two that was tipping off our plays. They were very quick to react to run/pass.
Rowlff Dogg: Even though it was a loss, I saw a lot of positives on the field Saturday. Offensively, Penn State keeps finding little ways to shoot itself in the foot. If the wide receivers can learn how to catch the ball and the offensive line can learn how to pick up a blitz, this offense will be dangerous. The red zone playcalling could use a little tweaking too.
Defensively, I loved the forced turnovers. The d line played a great game, which allowed the linebackers to enjoy more freedom. Let’s face it- the secondary is going to be a problem spot all year. Their success is predicated by the ability to generate pressure with the front 7. As someone who really hated the previous regime’s vanilla defense, I really like what I have seen so far.
J Schnauzer: The team played well, it's just a question of having the right personnel to get into the end zone. I am still giving this whole season a free pass for O'Brien and Roof. When they get some more of the players they want, then I'll hold them accountable for games like this.
Question #2 Sam Ficken's dreadful afternoon has been recapped ad nauseum. Can he rebound from it and be productive?
The Underdogs: Can he? Maybe. Will he? Only Doc Brown could know such things. Will you?
Rowlff Dogg: One need only look at the career path of Alexis Serna to know that Sam Ficken is capable of recovering from his nightmare game. See below.
J Schnauzer: Absolutely. Remember Alexis Serna? In 2004 he was a walk-on freshman kicker for Oregon State who missed three PAT's in a 22-21 loss at LSU. He later became a Lou Groza finalist for best kicker of the year. A year later he won the Groza Award. Closer to home, Robbie Gould infamously missed two field goals, including a 25-yard chip shot in the 2004 Iowa game. He's had a steady NFL career since 2005. Look at the whole of his resume. He knocked in a 52-yarder and was solid inside 40 yards back in high school. Ficken isn't as bad is he looked. When the snapper, holder, and kicker get together this week they'll make the corrections needed to perform well for the rest of this season. I predict Ficken will win one for Penn State later in the season.
Question #3 Navy comes to town with a intriguing offense that tends to give teams fits. In their only game this season, however, they were taken to the woodshed by Notre Dame. What do you expect from the Midshipmen on Saturday? How will our defense work against such a different style of offense?
The Underdogs: This game won't be won or lost between the Navy offense and the PSU defense. This will be one of the rare occasions where PSU will be stronger and faster at the point of attack. Furthermore, Navy's ability to get 3rd and long won't be much of an issue for such a run-first, run-second, and run-third offense. Navy will move the ball a bit by the very nature of the offense, poking and prodding the defensive wall searching for weak points, but PSU really only needs to generate one 3rd and long each drive to survive without giving up TDs. I expect that to be the case. On the flip side, the game will be decided by whether the PSU offense can put up a few 6s.
Rowlff Dogg: Navy’s defense is the perfect tonic for what ails Penn State. I expect that the athletic mismatches will give Penn State’s playmakers a shot of confidence that translates into some big plays/scores.
The triple option is going to be annoying until Mauti or Hodges rattles Navy’s quarterback with some big hits. Getting their offense into 3rd and long situations will do 2 things. First, it’ll force them to pass, which is out of Navy’s element. That will, in turn, give Penn State’s maligned secondary a chance to get some much needed swagger.
J Schnauzer: This isn't the Midshipmen the previous decade. I expect Penn State to roll over Navy.
Question #4 Prediction?
The Underdogs: 23-16. The PSU offense gets just enough TDs to get the job done.
Rowlff Dogg: This will be the “take out our aggression on the opponent” game that most expected the Ohio game to be. The offense starts to click en route to an easy 41-17 PSU win. Bonus: Sam Ficken 2-2 FG, 5-5 PAT.
J Schnauzer: Penn State 44, Navy 9