Chat with Josh Moyer
Welcome to NittanyNation! On Friday, reporter Josh Moyer stops by to chat about the state of Penn State football.
Moyer joined ESPN.com in 2012 after previously working for The Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Send your questions now and join Moyer Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:00 PM)
Hey guys, thanks for joining us for this week's chat! Lots of people here, so let's get started. Who's got the first question this week?
Hi Josh, Happy Friday! Who is Roof and the PSU D game planning most for in this game Martinez or Burkhead (if he plays)? Also, I don't know much about the Huskers D.... Will this be Mclovin's game or will Belton OR Zwinak be the main players?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:02 PM)
Hey TK, good to hear from you again! Taylor Martinez is definitely the guy this defense is preparing for. I know, I know, he's just another dual-threat QB ... BUT, he's also probably the best pocket-passer this team's faced yet. He's completing about 55 percent of his passes -- of 15 yards and longer. That's going to test the DBs. As far as PSU's offense, you're more likely see a bigger game from the RBs than McGloin. Nebraska has a bad rush D but has the fifth-best pass D in the nation.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Coldest College Football Game that Penn State will play this season?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:03 PM)
All right, Chris. You posted this question last week, and I didn't answer it ... so I'll bite because I like the persistence. The coldest game is going to be the Wisconsin game on Nov. 24. Crazy how, this Saturday in Lincoln, it's supposed to be around 70 degrees. The next day it's supposed to be in the 30s.
Golden (Sunbury, PA (for the day))
How did Gary Wooten's recruitment process lead him to PSU? Also, how is Brennan Franklin developing?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:06 PM)
Good question. Wooten wanted to sign with Eastern Michigan, then had a change of heart and then found out he was one class short of graduating. He made up the class in the summer, after signing day, and just took a year off. No prep school or anything, just training. Wooten's HS coach told me he thought Wooten reached out to Ted Roof. (One of Wooten's HS teammates was one Auburn.) He runs in the 4.5s, and I think, next season, he might be able to take over Mike Hull's role. He's really a good player; I could go on about him -- but BOB likes what he sees. I haven't heard or seen much of Franklin, to be honest, but you'll likely see him next season at least on special teams.
is Carter playing this week? what about Hill?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:08 PM)
Well, you know BOB's answer: Day-to-day. Their statuses haven't been updated ... but I'll tell you my educated guesses here: Jordan Hill is incredibly doubtful. He was in sweats at Wednesday's practice and went to the training room right after stretches. Five of the last six guys BOB FIRST listed as "possible" on the depth chart missed at least one game. I saw Kyle Carter at practice and, on the surface, he looked fine to me. Took part in the drills I saw, and he didn't have a noticeable limp. I say Carter plays, but Hill doesn't. Based on what I saw, that's my guess.
it seems PSU is playing better on the road..you think?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:10 PM)
It certainly seems that way if you take a look at the last three road games - Illinois, Iowa, Purdue. But I think it has less to do with the games being on the road. PSU really hit stride after Week 4; we saw the potential those first four weeks but they really turned it around against Illinois. I think it was a matter of timing more than anything. PSU's coaches saw what their players could do: McGloin started running more NASCAR, Zach Zwinak came into his own, Obeng-Agyapong improved, the OL stepped up, McGloin found another option in Moseby-Felder, etc. I think all that had more to do with their success than actually being on the road.
do you think McGloin gets drafted?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:12 PM)
I don't ... But as a free agent? Sure. A lot of guys at least get a shot at training camp. Look at Derek Moye just recently. If I'm New England, I might seriously consider signing him as a third-string QB. I mean, he already has a jump-start on the offensive playbook and -- correct me if I'm wrong -- but I believe they have just two QBs on their active roster right now.
How many 2013 commitments do they have right now, they can only have a total of 15 correct?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:14 PM)
PSU has 12 commits right now - RB Richy Anderson was the most recent - and you're technically right about the 15 max ... but it's not as straightforward as that. Jordan Smith, Adam Breneman and Anderson will enroll early - so they technically count as 2012 commitments. In other words, as far as the 2013 scholarship count is concerned, PSU has nine commits and six openings.
any update on Hack and Adam?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:15 PM)
Haha, what kind of update do you want? Those guys remain committed. I just talked to Breneman a couple days ago, and the video just got posted over at NittanyNation two hours ago. He's not yet sure if he'll be able to play in the Blue-White Game -- but it's a goal of his. As far as Hackenberg, he could be in the state title game next week ... and, depending what happens, could face another PSU commit there in Tanner Hartman. Those two guys are already best friends, and you wouldn't have seen them here if the old staff was here with no sanctions.
what are strengths and weakness of Hackenberg?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:19 PM)
Well, he's ESPN's No. 1-rated QB. So when I say weakness, it's not like a glaring Oh-God-he's-awful type of thing. But he definitely needs to work on his timing. I watched him play one game, and I seriously think he might have overthrown every pass longer than 15-20 yards. (Of course, he didn't have a lot of time to throw, either.) Our scouts also say his 3/4 sidearm delivery could cause some future problems. More than anything, though, he needs to get better at reading defenses. I talked to all the coaches he faced last season, and everyone who had success against him seemed to disguise coverages. As far as his strengths? He throws an awesome ball. Great arm, great release. The first time I saw him throw a ball -- it was an out-of-bounds spiral -- I was almost hit by it because I was just kind of captivated by how perfect it was ... and the kid was in high school.
I root for chaos so I want Indiana to win this week.. you agree?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:20 PM)
Haha ... I'll let some PSU fans answer that question. (Feel free to chime in, guys!) Would make for a more exciting matchup next week, though!
Who else could be in the mix to start at the QB position next season with Hackenberg and Bench? I think Waters would be a good JUCO option, but what if he decides to commit elsewhere?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:22 PM)
Well, you nailed everybody right there. The only other QB on the roster would really be Garrett Venuto ... and I don't think you'll see him compete for the starting job. It's Hack vs. Bench vs. JUCO guy. Waters is PSU's top option as the third QB, and he'll be in the stands for next week's Indiana game (along with teammate Aaron Wimberly). If he decides to go to Kansas State instead, then PSU will likely just pick another juco guy to offer a scholarship. If Waters doesn't sign, that really helps Bench's chances at starting.
Lou (Gaithersburg, MD)
My only trip up to PSU this year is for the IU game next week, so I say go Hoosiers.
Is Bill Belton still in the dog house or will we see another Zach attack tomorrow?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:24 PM)
O'Brien said that was just a one-week thing, and Belton seemed to man up and apologizes on Twitter, saying it would never happen again. I've been to one practice where O'Brien yelled at Belton for running too slow ... so maybe Belton's practice last week didn't come out of the blue. Regardless, he should definitely see more time Saturday than he did last week. The running game will have to be a big part of the offense because Nebraska has struggled stopping it, so I would expect them to split carries with Zwinak getting the majority of the workload.
Scott W. (Baton Rouge)
Josh,I look at the recruiting profiles for Breneman and Hackenberg with offers from Bama and other big time schools that aren't facing bad situations. What is it about O'Brien that kept these recruits?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:27 PM)
If it wasn't for O'Brien, you're right -- they would've gone elsewhere. Hack would've headed to an SEC school. Hackenberg already had his final list of schools picked out when PSU came calling. He was really impressed with Bill O'Brien, the guy who coached Tom Brady -- and that's something else no other college coach could say. Between Charlie Fisher and O'Brien, Hackenberg felt PSU offered him the best chance to get to the next level ... which isn't something I thought I'd ever hear come out of a QB's mouth about PSU. But O'Brien's changed that. Breneman wasn't going to choose PSU with the old offense and the old staff. But with the way O'Brien utilized tight ends in New England, Breneman knew he'd play a big role in the offense -- and that appealed to him. Great question.
Is Memorial Stadium as loud as everyone is making it out to be? Do you think that will be a problem getting the right personnel on the field?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:30 PM)
It absolutely is that loud. Three weeks ago, Northwestern QB Kain Colter told the Trib he had to use a silent cadence the last two minutes of the game -- specifically because the Nebraska fans were so loud. He said his OL couldn't hear his calls. Why is that so impressive? The game was AT Northwestern. PSU struggled using a silent cadence when it played OSU. (Yes, it was home, but McGloin still needed to use one.) PSU struggled that game because it didn't anticipate needing to use a silent cadence against OSU. I think that's why we didn't see as much NASCAR, and PSU really tried to focus on that this week so history doesn't repeat itself. I don't think it's going to be an issue like it was against OSU, but it'll definitely play at least a small role. I wouldn't worry about personnel confusion, though.
do you believe that Lane Kiffin didn't know about student manager deflaing game balls?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:31 PM)
Hypothetical: You're BoB. You're down 4 with 2 minues left and the ball on your own 30. What kind of packages/formations/personnel do you want on the field for the final drive? Who is your running back and TEs?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:33 PM)
Yikes ... I'm not a coach. But I'll play along. You put Bill Belton in at tailback because he's your biggest home-run threat and has the best hands (used to play WR). And, from there, I'd go four wideouts with Carter split as WR, A-Rob, Moseby-Felder and -- yes -- Kenney (just because of his speed). Run the NASCAR and go from there. What would you guys do?
do you think it is Bench's job to lose next year?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:37 PM)
I absolutely do. I think he's the favorite to start next season -- by far. Players talked about how complicated this offense was in the spring, and I just can't see a freshman coming in (without enrolling early), picking up the offense that quickly and having a successful season. If you look at past No. 1 QBs who played instantly, they had MISERABLE rookie campaigns. Lone exception was Terrelle Pryor, and a lot of that obviously had to do with his feet. Jake Waters is a really, really good QB who could compete with Bench ... and, if he signs, it'll all come down to how quickly he picks up the playbook. I think Waters is probably a better QB than Bench ... but if Bench can run the NASCAR efficiently and is miles ahead of Waters with the playbook, it doesn't matter how much farther or faster Waters is.
Haven't heard about any commitments lately, any recruits close to giving PSU a verbal?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:39 PM)
I definitely think there's a couple guys you should keep an eye on. DT Rod Crayton, for one. PSU needs another player on the interior, and he's down to his final four. DB Deondre Singleton is also a guy fans should familiarize themselves with. I would be very surprised if he wasn't in a PSU uniform at this point next year. It's kind of like with Kasey Gaines; PSU is -- by far -- Singleton's best offer, so it's assumed he'll take it. I asked him earlier this week (or maybe it was last week) why he didn't just commit already, and he said he didn't want to commit to a place he hasn't seen. His official is Dec. 7.
how is Akeel Lynch doing during practice? does he pass your eye test?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:42 PM)
Honestly, I haven't seen too much of him just because he's on the scout team and usually wears a number other than 22. However, everything I've heard out of practice, is that he's as good as advertised. He was a little slow learning the playbook (one of the reasons you didn't see him play when PSU had four injured RBs), but some struggles are to be expected in your first season. Our scouts said he had good vision and reached top-speed quickly heading into PSU. Sounds a lot like he and Richy Anderson are similar runners. (Both can line up in the slot, etc.)
So if they have 6 openings in this class who are the 5-6 guys that they are most likely to add before signing day?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:45 PM)
Well, I don't know about naming six guys I think they can sign because, after 2-3, it's even more of a guessing game. (I already named two below.) But I'll tell you what positions I think they're after: DT, CB, QB, LB ... and maybe another RB or WR.
Besides Hackenberg and Brenaman, who is the 2013 recruit who's future looks the brightest?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:48 PM)
That's a good question. I want to say linebacker Brandon Bell. He's good in space and he plays fast -- he also played some RB for his high school team. He'll line up as an OLB. So, although PSU already has a lot of freshman 'backers (Wartman, Franklin, Wooten), I still think Bell can leave PSU by making a name for himself. That being said, there's still a darn good chance he redshirts.
Lou (Gaithersburg, MD)
So, I guess I never figured this out. Is the penalty just that they can give 10 less scholarships in each of the next four years? I thought they had a limit of 65 scholarships at one time. Confusing.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:51 PM)
It's 20 less scholarships each season from 2014-2017 (85 to 65). And, for the 2013-2016 recruiting classes, they can sign no more than 15 players. It definitely is confusing because there are so many exceptions. I say they can't sign more than 15, but they'll technically be signing more than 15 this year because early enrolled players count toward the 2012 class, which is NOT capped at 15.
What differences have you seen with regard to recruiting between the current staff and the former?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:54 PM)
Man, where to even begin ... The way they recruit is different. Everyone talks about every recruit instead of position coaches just targeting certain people. The way they coach is different. Fisher and O'Brien are honest and know what they're doing. Practices are different. There's hip-hop music, players are more energized, and there appears to be a little more film work. The strength program is different. Craig Fitzgerald almost seems like another coach on staff; players love him ... and the dude's crazy. (Licking the floor, taking off his shirt in 30-degree weather and doing the worm, etc.) Actually, I really would have loved to see how JoePa would have reacted watching Fitz ...
Is Penn State seriously after Aaron Wimberly or are they just trying to lure him in with teammate/roommate Jake Waters? We seem to be pretty loaded at RB.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:57 PM)
Yeah, that's a fair point and it's something I wondered. But Wimberly is definitely a quality prospect, and I don't think that's the case -- more colleges are actually after him than Jake Waters. I haven't seen Wimberly play, but Iowa Western's coach told me his speed is what's attracting so much attention. Unlike Waters, Wimberly was getting a lot of attention in high school but his grades just weren't where they needed to be. He could step in this Penn State offense and have an immediate impact. He should definitely push Belton, that's for sure ...
how do we defend T-Magic?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:59 PM)
Well, first of all, you can't let him escape from the pocket. Maybe you put a spy on him or just make sure your linebackers stay in their lines. Because if nobody's open, he'll run. He gets about 70 rushing yards a game, I want to say. But what can also kill you with Martinez is his penchant for completions past 15 yards. PSU needs to make sure Kenny Bell isn't open and limit the big play. Maybe all that's obvious, but that's what they have to do. It's not going to be an easy task; I think Nebraska matches up very well against PSU.
John (Beaver Hill)
Can Hull be good enough to fill the shoes of Mauti and Line Backer U?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:01 PM)
Well, yes and no. He's not a Mauti and he's not a Hodges ... but he's still more than adequate. I think he's better than Carson, and he might actually be faster than Mauti/Hodges. He's best defending the pass and needs to continue to build up strength so he can push away linemen and improve his run defense. The linebacking corps is obviously going to slide down a bit in quality next season, but it'll still be a strong unit.
Make a prediction, starting running back, quarterback and linebackers for 2013.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:02 PM)
QB - Bench, RB - Belton, LBs - Kline, Carson, Hull
John (Beaver Hill)
Of the 8 B1G games next year Penn State plays Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. That means to even go above .500 in B1G play they have to win one of those games....personally idk if they can do it. Thoughts?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:04 PM)
Yeah, I'm right there with you. On the plus side, the first five games seem relatively easy. The QB should have extra time to learn the playbook and get the NASCAR going, much like McGloin ... but I think 8-4 is a best-case scenario next season precisely because of that conference schedule. I think finishing 4-4 in the conference wouldn't be a bad season for PSU.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:05 PM)
All right, guys. That's all the time we have this week -- but thanks joining us and for all the questions! See you next week