Chat with Josh Moyer
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Big Ten reporter Josh Moyer stops by to chat about the state of college 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 Thursday at noon ET!
Josh Moyer (12:01 PM)
Hey guys! Thanks for joining us this week. I know most of you were probably expecting Adam Rittenberg, but he had something pop up -- good news; don't worry! -- so I'll be taking over for him today.
Josh Moyer (12:01 PM)
So let's not waste any time. Who's got the first question this week?
What chance do you give Penn St this week against Michigan after their loss last week at Indiana?
Josh Moyer (12:04 PM)
I'm based here in State College, Pa., and I'm still picking Michigan to win. Yeah, sure, Devin Gardner has been inconsistent. I get that. But Penn State has been inconsistent on the offensive line -- and it's been surprisingly bad at linebacker and in the secondary. There's no No. 2 receiving threat either, and that's a lot of problems to fix in just one week. Saturday's crowd should be unbelievable and that shoud lift Penn State up -- even O'Brien's mentioned how this isn't just another game -- so I think Penn State's going to be about as motivated as it's been since last year. But Michigan has the better team, and the Wolverines are built to last. PSU has 61 scholarship players. I just don't see how anyone can give PSU the advantage right now. Does PSU have a chance? Yeah. This isn't going to be a blowout, but UM's shown it can make big plays at key times. I just haven't seen that from PSU yet.
Matt (New Albany, IN)
It seems the theme Kevin Wilson's had after the win over Penn State is if IU can deal with success. Do you think IU has the defensive staff and personnel to put it on something as simple as "dealing with success", or did the IU D just happen to have a good day? We all knew the Hoosiers' season would go as well as the D could hold up.... will it hold up enough to maybe steal a road win?
Josh Moyer (12:07 PM)
I was really surprised by the push Indiana's defensive line got last week. I figured the roles would've been reversed -- so that's obviously a feather in Wilson's cap going forward. Do I think the Hoosiers turned a corner? Absolutely. How could you not, after getting the first win over PSU in 17 tries? The bad news for IU this week, though, is that MSU's Connor Cook also seems as if he's turned the corner. I wouldn't count on a win on the road here, Matt, but I think Indiana's still on its way to a bowl berth now. I didn't think that two weeks ago.
Where's Adam? No problem with you being here, but I'm a little confused...
Josh Moyer (12:07 PM)
No worries, Adam will be back next week. He just had something pop up, so I'm taking over this week.
Douglas Misch (Columbus OH)
Why why why do the Buckeyes not play press coverage much more often? I seem to recall Meyer's great Florida teams defensive backs playing slightly off the line of scrimmage quite often, and those defenses were dominant.
Josh Moyer (12:11 PM)
Part of it is that Fickell hasn't really wanted them to do that. That's not the way his defenses have played, and he's still really had a lot of success defensively. Ohio State's still kind of in a learning phase right now, and Meyer and Fickell are still trying to kind of find a compromise between what's working now and what's worked for Meyer in the past. Obviously, they don't have the world's greatest linebackers either, so that contributes. There's really a lot of moving parts there.
Josh (Columbus )
Out of all the kids currently committed to Big10 schools which one are you most excited to see take the field? Jabril Peppers/George Campbell/Damien Harris?
Josh Moyer (12:13 PM)
Jabrill Peppers. Have you seen that kid's film? It's absolutely crazy. I talked with Big Ten recruiting analyst Brad Bournival recently -- he went to see Paramus Catholic play -- and he raved about Peppers. Said it was like seeing a grown man play football. The kid's an athlete. He could help out on either side of the ball, if UM wanted, and he's clearly a special player. He's good the speed and the athleticism -- and he'll be headache for B1G quarterbacks for the next four seasons.
Despite OSU's admittedly weak schedule, they are the only top 5 team to beat ranked opponents in consecutive weeks. What else do they need to do to get some more respect nationally?
Josh Moyer (12:15 PM)
Point taken, Andrew. But a convincing win would help. They didn't exactly put all questions to rest against Northwestern or Wisconsin. And the Big Ten is, well, pretty terrible this season. ESPN Stats & Info recently ranked them fifth overall -- can't say I really disagree.
Do you expect PSU to gain any commitments this weekend?
Josh Moyer (12:18 PM)
Nope. I would be surprised if someone committed. You never know -- look at WR DaeSean Hamilton last season. PSU wasn't one of his favorites, he never expected to commit, and then he went on a visit and committed that weekened. (He's redshirting this season due to a high school injury.) So, anything can happen ... but I'm not expecting anything right now.
Do you think a 1 loss SEC team will be selected over an undefeated Ohio state team? Specifically I'm talking about Georgia, if their only loss was to #3 Clemson
Josh Moyer (12:21 PM)
Dwight, love your show. Anyway, that's the question I've been wondering quite a bit myself. If the only loss comes in a tight game like that, I think that team has to get the nod over Ohio State. If Clemson stays in the top-10, it's hard to see it otherwise. And if we're saying Georgia only has one loss, then that means they likely would've beaten 'Bama in the conference championship. It's not fair -- and I wish there was a playoff this season -- but that's what I would see happening. Again, let's face it. The Big Ten is down this season. A one-loss SEC team is probably better than an undefeated Ohio State team. The Buckeyes aren't exactly being tested week in and week out.
Thoughts on Condoleezza on the selection committee?
Josh Moyer (12:22 PM)
Surprising -- like the Alvarez pick, though.
Do you think Purdue has any chance at turning their season around with a new Quarterback? Ive been waiting to see Danny Etling all season. I think Hazell shouldve put him in sooner
Josh Moyer (12:24 PM)
If by turnaround, you mean -- maybe -- more four wins on the season, then no. I like Etling a lot. He showed he can get the ball to receivers outside of the hash marks, he's accurate and I talked to him late last week -- and he admitted he had some nerves during his first career game. It sounds as if he's past that now, and I think Purdue's offense will be better for it. As far as not putting him in sooner, Hazell hoped to redshirt him but -- with the way Henry was playing -- he didn't have much of a choice. Etling might be the best Purdue QB in a long while, but asking for a turnaround like that just seems to be asking too much. Even Matt Stafford struggled with Georgia when he was a true freshman. There'll be some true freshman woes, but Etling -- and Purdue -- will be better for it in the future. But this season? Well, it'd be the biggest and most surprising story in the B1G if they even finished .500.
Mike (NYC Today State College Saturday)
How many recruits are coming to the game on Saturday and are there any big names? Also, when do you think Akeel Lynch becomes the starting RB? He clearly has the most potential and has the best speed/strength combination of the 3 backs.
Josh Moyer (12:28 PM)
Haha -- one question at a time here, Mike. Brad Bournival will have a list of PSU visitors tomorrow, so I don't want to give everything away. I will tell you that ESPN 300 DT Thomas Holley will be in attendance. As far as Akeel Lynch, he didn't play last season because he seemed to catch on a bit slowly to the playbook. I wonder if that's not still a bit of an issue this season. He's only going to get better, though. O'Brien keeps saying he wants to play Lynch more, and he's done a lot whenever O'Brien's called his number. I think he'll do No. 22 justice in the coming years -- he's got that speed that the staff wanted in a back when they first got on campus.
How much will B1G Nation be rooting for Rutgers tonight? A win definitely helps the image of the B1G?
Josh Moyer (12:30 PM)
I'm sure Maryland fans asked the same thing last week ... but, yeah, the Big Ten can use all the positive press it can get. A Rutgers win helps the Big Ten out a little -- but I haven't really heard that much buzz in Big Ten country about the game. If this was Week 1 in 2013? You bet. The Big Ten needs a few stronger teams up top, so a strong Maryland and RU team would only help matters.
As an NU fan, I know what it's like to be disrespected. But 10.5 pt dogs? I know we're on the road, but c'mon...
Josh Moyer (12:34 PM)
Yeah, Mike. I'm not going to lie -- that point spread surprised me, too. But Wisconsin just matches up well -- Jared Abbrederis obviously did extremely well against OSU. And Northwestern's secondary isn't exactly a strength. Toss in Melvin Gordon and James White, and those are three big reasons for the spread. Teams can dump points on the Wildcats, and I don't think this game will be any different. It's just a matter of whether Northwestern can catch-up. I like the Wildcats to beat the spread -- but I like Wisconsin to win.
Jabber (Des Moines)
I've never heard of you. Who are you? I'm Jabber, BTW.
Josh Moyer (12:35 PM)
Haha -- well, good to meet you there, Jabber. I wrote for ESPN's Penn State site "NittanyNation" last season, and I'm helping out on the Big Ten blog this year. I focus on PSU, but I write a lot about other teams in the conference, too. Hopefully, you'll get to know me over the next couple of months.
Brian (Portland, Ore)
Hey Josh - great to have you in the chat room today! How much of the Nittany Lions' struggles this year can really be put on coaching? It does seem like some of the match up advantages that the team exploited last year with the TEs and running game are not being employed this year.
Josh Moyer (12:39 PM)
That's a good question, Brian. I've thought about that a lot, and really don't think that's the main issue. Think back to last year; remember how PSU's offense did more with less than the previous regime? That tells me these coaches are pretty darn good, better -- yes I said it -- than the last one. Don't get me wrong, O'Brien's made some play-calling mistakes. He's even admitted that; he said he should've gotten booed after he passed on 3 straight plays in one game when the running game was really moving. But, let's be honest, these players just aren't as talented as past seasons. It's Linebacker U, and one of the starters is a guy who played safety last season. It's talent -- and it's depth. PSU's basically operating with 24 fewer scholarship players this season. That caught up with them. I think those are bigger issues than coaching right now.
Best offensive freshman thus far? Defensive?
Josh Moyer (12:42 PM)
Hmmm ... well, if we're talking true freshmen, then the offensive freshman so far is easy. That has to be Penn State's Christian Hackenberg. He's started since Week 1, and he's done pretty well so far. He's made mistakes, but he's got a strong arm and he's done remarkably well for a guy who enrolled over the summer. As far as defense, I'd really have to think on that one ... but the first name that comes to mind -- especially after watching the last Saturday night game -- is OSU's Joey Bosa. He had two sacks against the Wildcats; that's not too shabby.
Jason (Ann Arbor )
I like what I see from Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, he seems like an honest, down-to-earth, likeable coach. But at what point does his instability on the health front cause an early termination in his coaching career? I dont see it being good for an AQ conference team to be wondering whether it will have its coach on a weekly basis.
Josh Moyer (12:45 PM)
I'm with you, Jason. It's a delicate situation. No one wants to come across as heartless and say, 'You know what, Jerry, you can't go on like this.' But, quite frankly, I just don't think it's fair to the players. Didn't anyone else think it was odd when the players were like, no problem, we've done this before? If Kill can rebound and still have a positive impact on the team, I guess no one wants to toss him out. If he returns and is fine for the rest of the season, those whispers will die down and eventually almost go away. But if it happens again this season? Then I think an alarm has to go of in someone's mind. That has to be the final straw, if it's not already.
Chris (Los Angeles)
Josh, I would like to get your thoughts on the Nebraska's chances of winning the Legend's Division. It seems like with their short-term upcoming schedule (Purdue, Bye) that the D should continue to make improvements before the real tests in November. I have not been impressed with any of the Legends teams. Am I wrong to think that Nebraska is the slight favorite to win the Legend's?
Josh Moyer (12:50 PM)
I hear what you're saying, Chris, but I think you're being a bit overly optimistic. Sure, Nebraska will improve ... but so will an inconsistent team like Michigan, whom it faces in November ON THE ROAD. The Wolverines are more well-rounded than Nebraska; it just seems to be a matter of whom the real Devin Gardner is. I'd put UM over Nebraska. I'd also put Northwestern just slightly over the Huskers. It's close, but the Wildcats just hung in there with the conference's best team. Nebraska's trademark win right now is ... Illinois? Taylor Martinez needs to win a big game and the defense needs to improve before I label them a favorite.
You seem very down on Penn State - you don't think there is a chance that someone like Cabinda would commit this weekend? Any chance Penn State will use some of the extra scholarships to go after JUCO DLs and LBs to quickly add experience for next season?
Josh Moyer (12:53 PM)
There's always a chance; I'm just not expecting it. Anyway, it's clear they're pretty concerned with DT next season. DaQuan Jones will be gone, which means Kyle Baublitz and Austin Johnson will take over next season -- and neither guy is quite on the level of a Jordan Hill, Jared Odrick or Jones quite yet. PSU's tried to reel in two juco DTs so far, but it hasnt' panned out for one reason or another. I think DT is still the focus with jucos but, yeah, linebacker wouldn't really surprise me either.
Honestly, do you think Purdue will win another game in 2013?
Josh Moyer (12:56 PM)
It's definitely not an easy stretch. I think they'd be fortunate to win one game. Its best chance will likely come on the final two weeks of the season -- when it plays Illinois and then Indiana. Before that? I wouldn't expect a win.
If you had to pick one thing for the B1G to focus on to improve their standing, what would it be? Recruit more speed, recruit better QB's, less conservative coaching, something else?
Josh Moyer (12:59 PM)
That's an interesting question. I do think it has to start out with speed. I know that's kind of an overused term. But it was funny when I went to Chicago for Big Ten Media Day, and we played a word game with players. I'd give them a conference, and they'd tell me the first word that came to mind. When the SEC came up? Nearly everybody said "speed." When the B1G came up? Other players in other conferences said either "slow" or "strong" or "offensive linemen" or the like. Part of it is the recruiting base, and the quality of recruits. Take Pennsylvania. The high school league, the PIAA, doesn't allow them to practice football in the spring. The same doesn't hold true for a lot of kids in the South. So who do you think's going to be better? Really interesting question ...
Josh Moyer (1:01 PM)
OK, guys, that's all the time I have for this week. Adam will be returning next week, but I had fun talking to you all this time around. Hope you did, too!