An almost night game against an almost real Florida opponent. No really, all kidding aside, it should be a good game in a fun atmosphere.
Someone who’s always fun, Adam from Black Shoe Diaries has some more questions for us peeps. Be sure to head on over to BSD later this week for a “greatest hits” of sorts. In the meantime, check out what these peeps are saying:
Follow the jump to read us doggs’ thoughts…
Question #1 What are your thoughts on Christian Hackenberg after two weeks as our starting quarterback? What do you think of "poise" and "moxie?"
The Underdogs: He's our Precious and the Prototype. If you've ever played NCAA video game, which totally doesn't use likenesses of actual amateur athletes, and taken over a small program and built it into a powerhouse, Hackenberg is that first 5-star QB recruit with all the tools you managed to recruit to your fledgling school emblematic of a step into the big time. He even looks like he's straight out of the video game. On the flip side, he is not without flaws and you can't hit the reset button when the ball inexplicably slips out of your playstation controlled hand and into the endzone for an opponent touchdown. As reported during the recruiting process, he does have some gunslinger in him. I tweeted during the game that he's like a genetically modified Matt McGloin. Sometimes he can force a ball into an impossible spot even if he actually does have the arm to give him that confidence. Keep in mind that McGloin, after being virtually uncoached for several years still had BOB for half a year (plus several years of actual college game experience) before his breakout season. Hackenberg is still on about month 2. BOB no longer has to recruit on the Tom Brady mythology but the McGloin reality. I fully expect Hackenberg to be his magnum opus before pulling a Chip Kelly to try his hand at the highest level.
Rowlff Dogg: There aren’t enough superlatives in the English language to describe Hackenberg’s play. From what my eyes were trained to expect from a true freshman quarterback at Penn State, Hackenberg is a 180. After two games, he has far exceeded my admittedly low expectations. He looks very comfortable out there and showed great progress from Week 1 to Week 2. The learning curve is only going to get tougher, but his poise and moxie should make up for his lack of collegiate experience.
J Schnauzer: Remember when have a young, skillful quarterback meant hoping he didn't regress under the tutelage of Jay Paterno?
Hackenberg is, right now, an above-average-to-good college quarterback. His current liabilities, such as nerves and decisiveness, can be overcome with additional experience. He has all of the skills to be a great quarterback and a wonderful core of coaches to develop those skills. Four more years of this would suit me fine.
Question #2 The offense started a bit slow last week against Eastern Michigan. How do you feel the offense has progressed since August camp? Has the running game gotten on track?
The Underdogs: EMU fightin' emus is little more than a scrimmage against the scout team. I don't think they would fair terribly well in FCS this year. I like the idea of more rotation in the backfield early. Each of the three primary RBs has their own particular skill set and their own limitations. One of the backs may not be best suited for attacking a certain defense and we'll have to figure that out early before rolling with the hot hand.
Rowlff Dogg: I have no concerns about the offense. In fact, I’m really impressed with how much of the playbook O”Brien seems to have given to Hackenberg. All of its issues are either correctible or a symptom of having a true freshman quarterback. They will work themselves out in time. Once defenses begin to fear Hackenberg’s throwing ability, the running lanes will open. This offensive line is talented and experienced, but there’s little you can do when the opponent constantly stuffs the box.
J Schnauzer: Things looked much better as the game progressed last Saturday. The infuriating thing is the inability to grind out first downs on third and short. Penn State is currently dead last in third-down conversions, and it's crucial that the offensive line and running game gel before the Big Ten season starts. If this continues Penn State will struggle to get to 7 wins..
Question #3 UCF will probably be the strongest test Penn State will see in the non-conference schedule. What do you expect to see out of George O'Leary's squad?
The Underdogs: I expect a lot of fakes, sleights of hand, and misdirection. It's his MO. Written right there on his resume.
Rowlff Dogg: UCF will bring a mascot that looks like a Scooby Doo villain. George O’Leary will wear an ugly pale yellow shirt to match his toehead. They’ll score some points, but they haven’t faced a defense even close to Penn State’s.
J Schnauzer: This is a stern challenge in Penn State's first match with the newly-formed AAC. For all of the preseason talk of their offense proficiency, their defense has held firm against two lesser opponents. I think this form continues.
Question #4 Predictions?
The Underdogs: 56-55 in 5 OTs. Flip a coin for the winner. In other words, I see this an evenly matched game. The differentiating piece might be a well lubricated night time crowd and one Adrian Robinson, who will be the best player on the field (not named DaQuan Jones).
Rowlff Dogg: As far as I’m concerned, there are only 2 good things about George O’Leary. He was one of Bill O’Brien’s coaching mentors. And he lied just to get out the hellhole known as South Bend. Pupil beats the teacher, PSU 41-UCF 24
J Schnauzer: Penn State has the talent to win this game, but they are still not putting everything together to my satisfaction. This team must start face--with reduced scholarship numbers it will be difficult to outperform deeper opposing teams in the second half. Until I see them control the pace of a game in the first half I will be wary to pick them to win. The knights gauntlet is thrown, I'm picking UCF Knights to beat Penn State 24-21.
JPDH Exclusive Bonus Question Who are you rooting for in the Alabama-Texas A&M game and why?
The Underdogs: I'll be rooting for A&M for a few reasons. 1) In general, I'll pick the underdog 99% of the time. So that's my starting point unless there are other conditions that apply such as particular disdain for person, place, or thing associated with the underdog causing me to pick the favorite and hope for a good old fashion curb stomping, figuratively speaking. 2) If it comes down to Sumlin vs Saban, I'm going to side with Kevin Sumlin every day of the week. 3) Living in Texas, as you can imagine I have quite a few friends within each of the major fan bases and while it's occasionally fun to give them a good ribbing that is typically only the case when they've been on top for an extended period of time or are particularly fair weather/arrogant, ie the current state of UT. I've been down here long enough to see aTm truly bottom out again and again, including 77-0 where OU scored on every possession of the first half and then ordered 4th team walk-ons to take knees in the 4th quarter. They're so deliriously happy with their current success, it would be cruel to see it deflated. Unfortunately, I suspect they get flattened by a stampede of crimson elephants so pathologically focused on this one game that their inevitable loss will come some time down the road. As Aria Stark learned to say, "not today," or in this case Saturday.
Rowlff Dogg: Thanks to the SEC hype machine located in Bristol, there is no program that ascended my Hatred Poll like Texas A&M this offseason. Does the 4-letter network even realize that their hype of the Aggies is actually making the SEC look foolish. A 3-star freshman quarterback on a middle-of-the-pack Big XII team shreds the big, bad SEC and their big, bad defenses. Tipping the scales even more towards Alabama is that Jonathon Pigskin or whatever his name is. I have no place on my television for spoiled, selfish, look-at-me players like Pigskin. I hope Alabama’s defense does a number on him and his hype machine. So, yeah, I’m rooting for the Crimson Tide.
J Schnauzer: Rooting for an SEC team--any SEC team--is like rooting for the zombies in The Walking Dead.