Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

September 28, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Josh Moyer

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:01 PM)

Hey guys! How's everybody doing today? Let's get started with some questions!

Ryan (State College)

Heard there was a "minor incident" between you and McGloin. Care to tell your side of the story?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:02 PM)

Haha ... are people really labeling it an incident? I was just working on an article about how the offense has somehow improved this year despite replacing nine starters. So I just figured I'd ask 1) Is the offense better? and, expecting some variation of "yes," follow-up with 2) How's that possible with nine new starters? It was the final question, and McGloin's response was kind of funny. He's got some personality; don't think there's any hard feelings or anything. Still wrote my story and made for good color. I've talked to McGloin before; there was no anger or anything.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think is the Best Nittany Lion that is Playing in the NFL Right Now?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:03 PM)

OK, I got this one wrong last week -- and I'm not going to let it happen again! Hands-down, NaVorro Bowman. He slipped my mind last week, but he's definitely become the best PSU linebacker in the NFL ... which is saying something with the likes of Wake, Connor, Puz and Lee.

Golden (Philadelphia, PA)

After just four games, what can PSU fans expect next year at QB?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:05 PM)

Well, it's certainly a lot less likely that Christian Hackenberg earns a redshirt now. Hackenberg told me his dad actually preferred him to sit out a year ... but you can't do that now. Steven Bench is a coach's kid and a quick learner on offense. I think you can expect a QB controversy next year. I expect it to be Bench's position to lose; he'll likely be named starter heading into preseason camp.

Jason (Philadelphia)

Hi Josh, good to hear there will be a full slate of running backs for Saturday. Do you think there will be a big emphasis on playing Belton, stick with the power houses that seem to be working (such as Zordich, Dukes, and Zwinak), or play a combination of them all?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:07 PM)

I don't think you'll see all of them. O'Brien said it would be difficult to use all five, and he planned to use about 2-3. Who will those 2-3 be? That, I'm not quite sure. Belton is back in practice, yes, but he hasn't seen contact since Week 1. Whether he returns this game or not, I don't see him getting a bulk of the carries this soon after his recovery. I think BOB is going to go with whoever has the hot hand; I think Zordich showed a lot last week. So that's who I'm keeping an eye on for now.

Ryan (State College)

What's Donovon Smith's status and will he be ready on Saturday? He's been the best linemen when he plays

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:08 PM)

He appears to be ready to go. I don't know if he's the best lineman -- my vote would go to Stankiewitich -- but the redshirt freshman is invaluable to this line. You saw how they performed without him, and I think he'll be their top lineman next season. Adam Gress is a good backup ... but he's no Smith.

TK (Philly)

So if the trails for Shultz and Curley come back not guilty and we as a university meet all of the requirements outlined by the NCAA is there a "chance" that narcissistic Emmert reduces the "penalty" to maybe 3 years "for good behavior"

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:10 PM)

Hey TK, good to hear from you again! Well, if you're referring to the perjury charges, I don't think Emmert would switch course on that. However, the Freeh report outlined like 100 things PSU should change, and my understanding is that PSU is close to checking all those boxes. If it does that, I think you MIGHT see a reduction in penalties. But I don't think it will come before this season ends.

James (DC)

what was Matt's response?? come on tell us

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:12 PM)

OK, OK. I'm paraphrasing here. But I asked him whether this offense was better than last year. He laughed, said, "C'mon, man" and said it was two different philosophies. He asked who asked the question, I told him it was me, and he said that the question was "ridiculous." Again, no anger. He ended with something like, "Again, we're done here." Sounded like he was in a good mood the whole time; again, no hard feelings. He didn't like my question, but it wasn't as dramatic as it seems.

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:13 PM)

OK, OK. I'm paraphrasing here. But I asked him whether this offense was better than last year. He laughed, said, "C'mon, man" and said it was two different philosophies. He asked who asked the question, I told him it was me, and he said that the question was "ridiculous." Again, no anger. He ended with something like, "Again, we're done here." Sounded like he was in a good mood the whole time; again, no hard feelings. He didn't like my question, but it wasn't as dramatic as it seems.

Gerry (Scranton)

What's the status of Wartman? Is he out for the year?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:14 PM)

They're not saying he's out for the season yet ... but you're not going to see him for quite awhile. I saw him on the practice field last week with a big ice pack wrapped around his leg, and he had a noticeable limp. Could he miss the season? Yes. But he could also return later in the Big Ten slate.

Jason (DC)

so looks like both JayPa and BOB didn't see PJ's future as QB.. was he that bad during practices?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:16 PM)

He threw a nice ball ... the knock on him was he just couldn't read defenses. I don't think he was picking up very well on O'Brien's new playbook. I also don't know if JayPa didn't see him as a QB; he never got a chance on the field because of his academic troubles. But it is weird to see all these QBs come in highly rated and leave with dismal play or stats. Jones is just -- what? -- the fifth member of this group the last few years.

Mikey LunkFace (that's of my move!) (Coors Field)

I respect what Zordich has done but I'm hoping his running days are behind us with Belton/Dukes back going into Big10 schedule. RIght?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:19 PM)

I think we'll see this game whether Zordich's running days are behind him. O'Brien was hesitant to play Dukes early in the season -- again, playbook issues -- but he saw quite a bit of time two weeks ago. I think we'll see Dukes more as the season progresses. I'm sure Zordich will see increased touches at fullback, even if his time at TB is over.

Lou (Gaithersburg, MD)

What do you think the odds are that Hackenburg actually does sign with PSU? As the days go on, I am less and less optimistic. If he goes elsewhere, who's there after Bench?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:21 PM)

If Hackenberg would leave, I think Garrett Venuto would be the backup. So, yeah, PSU absolutely has to be searching for some sort of walk-on QB right now. HOWEVER, I spoke with Hackenberg quite a bit last week -- and he's not going anywhere. He just kind of rolled his eyes when I told him fans still don't entirely believe he's sold on coming here. He reiterated, "I'm a Nittany Lion. 100 percent."

J.Park (DC)

hey Josh, what's the vibe surrounding Lions after back to back win?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:23 PM)

This team believes it should be 4-0, and it thinks these two back-to-back wins proved it. All the negativity surrounding the team the first two weeks has been replaced with cautious optimism. Granted, Navy and Temple aren't the best teams in the world -- but PSU outplayed Ohio in the first half and probably should have won the Virginia game. Its offense, anemic in the past, has shown new life and the defense is always good -- so I think fans are excited to see how they fare in the Big Ten season.

Jim (DC)

I think we can win Leaders division this year by beating Purdue, OSU, Wisky,Indiana and Northwestern. 5-3 shoulde be enough right?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:25 PM)

Well, if that was the case, then Ohio State would have to finish 4-4 somehow for PSU to get the title. It is definitely a log-jam this year, but I think five wins isn't enough. A lot of teams will be beating up on each other, but I think six wins might be the magic number.

Witt (Pittsburgh)

Stephen Morris has looked terrible so far. Doesn't turn to find the ball and is constantly being beat deep. Any idea how Roof can either cover up the weaknesses of the secondary or is someone like DaQuan Davis ready to step in to a larger role?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:26 PM)

I thought Stephon Morris didn't look terrible the last game ... but he has been beaten deep so far this season -- and the secondary remains this team's weakness. DaQuan Davis seems to be rotating in a little more, and PSU has been playing some nickel, but I don't think he's going to replace Morris anytime soon. I think PSU's No. 1 priority moving forward has to be the safeties. The middle of the field, on intermediate and deep routes, has been wide open to opposing offenses.

Will (DC)

I know this Illinois team is inconsistent but they always play tough PSU. I expect low scoring affair AGAIN. you agree?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:29 PM)

Hmmm ... it's interesting because this game could really go either way. My prediction is Penn State 24-17. We saw PSU's offense completely dominate Temple -- but only come away with 24 points. PSU hasn't been able to consistently finish drives. This team's capable of putting up 35 points but somehow finishes with 16.

Joshua (DC)

how long until Deion Barnes becomes a starter?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:30 PM)

He's the starter now. Even if Pete Massaro returns, I can't see him overtaking Barnes. Barnes has shown he's the best pass-rusher on the team, and he has that uncanny ability to go after the ball. Ted Roof thought he could develop into something really special -- NFL-player special -- so Massaro isn't unseating him. Now, Massaro is the better run-stuffer, so maybe he comes in on running situations ... but I don't think you'll see Barnes' playing time nosedive when/if Massaro's good to go.

Jeong (DC)

is Belton healthy enough to play this game? I love our Z-Backs but I would love to see 30 or 40 yds gain by our RB and looks like Belton is the only hope for a homerun like that right?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:33 PM)

Belton does appear to be recovered from his injury ... I just don't think they'd give him the bulk of the carries this soon after his recovery. He was still a little stiff Monday. But you're absolutely right about the home run threat. Derek Day is a balanced guy, certainly not fast. And I don't think anyone would describe Dukes, Zordich or Zwinak as quick. Belton fits this offense perfectly, and he'll be a boon once he gets back to 100 percent.

Jeff (VA)

do you think Ron Vandy will stick around for another 6-7 years? I really hope he and LJsr stays as long as possible.. hands down best LB coach in the nation..you agree?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:34 PM)

I think it would be difficult to argue against Vanderlinden's track record. If he's not the best in the nation, I'd certainly like to know who is. I think Vanderlinden still has a few good years left in him; if he wants to stay at PSU, I see no reason why O'Brien would force him out.

Kevin (MD)

I heard Hack's father wants his son to take redshirt next year..is that true?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:36 PM)

He would prefer it, but Christian told me he obviously wants to play. O'Brien has kind of left that decision up to Hackenberg -- at least he did before Paul Jones' transfer -- but Hackenberg said a lot would depend upon how fast he grasped the playbook. Guys who coached against him told me that was the one obstacle he faced. He has all the physical tools; it's just putting them all together like that.

C. Kill (Fairfax)

I watch a lot of NFC East games and I thought Sean Lee was best PSU LB in NFL.. is Bowman playing THAT great?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:38 PM)

That's definitely a good topic for debate ... but I still think I'm leaning toward Bowman. The guy had 18 tackles against Minnesota. That's pretty crazy. He'll finish with 140+ tackles. Lee definitely deserves a lot of consideration. But, yeah, I'm still with Bowman. Anyone disagree?

Jeffrey (Chicago)

ticket price has to go down...agree?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:40 PM)

I think they need to do away with the STEP program. You see a lot of open seats around the middle of the field because, you're right, it's just too expensive. Last week was the lowest attendance since the 2001 expansion. Last year's attendance was bad, too. But if you're weighing fewer people with more money, what side do you think PSU athletics takes?

Jason (Philly)

I hope the team is not lloking past Illinios, but as a fan I think we got this one. As a preview of Northwestern, do you think they are that good? Would be nice to win the first two B1G games (and homecoming).

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:42 PM)

I think Northwestern is legitimate. Minnesota? Not so much. If PSU can start off 2-0 in the conference, I think you'll start seeing a lot more national media around UPark.

Kim (Philly)

so....who wins Leaders division??? seems like nobody wants to go to Indy

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:43 PM)

The favorite at this point is obviously Ohio State ... but who'll finish second? I have no idea. You really could make an argument about anyone except Indiana. At this point, I think Wisconsin will get its act together and be OK down the stretch. But I'm still sticking with OSU here. PSU has a real shot, though.

OSU-MSU (B1G)

who wins??

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:44 PM)

I'm saying Penn State, 24-17. Matt McGloin continues to show he's for real this season and Illinois can't get its run game started.

Ryan (Indy)

do you think 7-5 is still possible?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:46 PM)

If you would have asked me that after Week 2, I would have said absolutely not. But, after seeing how weak the Big Ten is and seeing PSU come around, I do think it's a possibility now. If I was a betting man, I'd still go with 6-6 ... but, yeah, 7-5 could definitely happen here. Get past Illinois and Northwestern, and talk of 8-4 or 9-3 will likely start happening.

Ryan P. (Philly)

it is so funny and good to know that both USC and Sooners won't play for national championship game. I still think they made bad decision

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:48 PM)

At this point, I'm hard-pressed to disagree with you. Silas Redd wanted more national exposure, but now he won't play for a championship -- and he's seeing limited carries behind McNeal. Justin Brown? He could have been the top wideout in a PSU offense that's produced Biletnikoff Award Watch List player out of last year's third-string WR. Redd still has another year where he could be the featured back ... but I wonder if Brown isn't regretting his decision a little bit. I thought it was a high-risk gamble that he could improve his draft stock there. And it looks like he bet wrong.

Jim (Philly)

is Champs still the best sports bar in state college?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:50 PM)

Haha ... well, that's the one I go to. You're not following me, are you? (Just kidding.)

Jimmy K. (Philly)

so who gets drafted? Mauti, Hodges, Jordan Hill, maybe Zordich and......dare I say McGloin?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:51 PM)

I'd be very surprised if McGloin got drafted. Maybe signed as a free agent. But Mauti, Hodges and Hill should all be drafted. Stankiewitch's a possibility, too. I don't know about Zordich ... that's a good question. At the least, you think he'd be a late pick or a priority FA pickup.

Jason (Philly)

You got to admit it would be really great to make Delaney hope on a planeto State College to had PSU a Leaders Division trophy and to have an asterik next to the Championship game??

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:53 PM)

I know players and fans would love to see that happen. It was really odd how that whole thing played out. No one knew PSU or OSU would be eligible for the title until the season started. I believe the Big Ten's response to why they didn't say anything before was basically, "Well, you didn't ask."

Lou (Gaithersburg, MD)

Word on the street is that Joyner and Peterson are working to expand the PSU-Pitt series. Seems that it could and should become an annual thing again (should've been for the past 20 years, but I digress...) What are the chances that they'd try to make it the last game of the season, like before? Not unprecedented, given that the SEC and ACC teams have inter-conference season ending games all the time.

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:55 PM)

They are working on that, but nothing's been hammered out yet. I don't think that would be the last game of the season because of the conference season. HOWEVER, O'Brien said on his radio show yesterday that they are trying to find some sort of game that could act like a bowl. (Hawaii, anyone?) He mentioned wanting to have that fill-in Bowl game at the end of the season, if he could. But, obviously, it's hard with the conference schedule. So, if PSU can have a game at the end of the season, it won't be Pitt. ... I don't think Pittsburgh is quite the "bowl-type" destination PSU's players hope for.

Skip. T (Miami)

I would love to see PSU in ACC but money we get from B1G is too big to ignore...right?

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:57 PM)

Right. PSU has more exposure with the Big Ten, thanks to the Big Ten Network ... and what benefit would it really be to Penn State? Sure, it could be more competitive in football. But would it help with PSU's academics like the Big Ten does? Would more recruits around the country know its name? I don't think so ... JoePa said before joining the Big Ten wasn't best for the football team, but it was best for the university. I think that still holds true.

Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation)
  (1:57 PM)

All right, guys. Well, that's all the time we have for today -- but thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you all again next week!