Hey everybody! Welcome to the weekly PSU chat. Hope everybody's doing all right after Sandy. Who's got the first question?
Josh, what was the atmosphere like last week? I have heard many recruits were blown away.. is that true?
It was definitely electric. Obviously the crowd faded by the fourth quarter, but I had a handful of recruits tell me it was the best football game they've EVER been to. Zayd Issah said the atmosphere was kind of similar to the Michigan game two years ago. But the White Out really blew a lot of recruits away. Despite the loss, that OSU game is only going to help PSU in recruiting.
I was at the game and yes we lost but I had too much fun during the game.. I think Whitehouse is the best scene is all of college football.. your thought?
It'd be hard to disagree with that. Even the biggest Penn State haters would have to put it in the top-5 of stadium atmospheres. There were nearly 108,000 people there and it felt like 100K were wearing white. It was really an awesome sight.
any news on injury front?
Nyeem Wartman can play now -- but I think we can expect him to stay on the sidelines to grab a medical redshirt. Kyle Carter is the big name this week, but Bill O'Brien isn't saying much. He injured his left ankle on last week's touchdown grab, and he's seen limited time in practice this week. Expect to see more Lehman if he can't go.
do you think Carter plays this week?
I don't know if he'll start, but I do think he'll play. He was listed as "probable" on the depth chart, and Allen Robinson said he expected Carter to play. That being said, I was at Wednesday's practice, and you could tell he still favored his left side. He stretched with the team and then walked off the field. Still, if PSU needs him, I see him playing at least a little bit Saturday.
if Supa-6 stays put and Bench or Hack plays light out, I think PSU still can contend for division title next year.. you agree?
Sorry, Jason. I love that you're an optimist, but I just don't see a division title next season. Between this year and the next two, I believe the 2013 season will be the weakest. This is a young team, and Matt McGloin's leadership and ability will be greatly missed. No way Bench or Hackenberg can have a better season than McGloin's having this year. But 2014? All these players now - the Supa Six, Austin Johnson, Eugene Lewis - will have more seasoning and should combine to form a great team.
I think it will be an ugly off season once season is over with coaches trying to poach our players...agree?
It's going to be ugly, but I think Penn State will get out of it mostly unscathed. Playing time was the biggest factor for most players leaving (Bolden, Haplea, Buckley, etc.), so I wouldn't be surprised if some players decided to leave after the spring semester when the early depth chart is released. I think Dukes is a prime candidate to transfer immediately afterward, but PSU won't be able to relax until preseason camp starts.
do you know if Hack can enroll early?
Hackenberg will not enroll early. I don't think the military academy allows students to graduate early anyway ... Obviously, that's going to put him at a big disadvantage. Take a look at ESPN's past No. 1 quarterbacks, and nearly all of them had to enroll early to see playing time as a rookie. The exception was Terrelle Pryor, but he's obviously in a different mold as Hackenberg. Hackenberg has a great future ahead of him, but I don't see him as the starter next season.
have you talked to any recruits during or after the game? what was their reaction?
I talked to close to 20 recruits, and no one was disappointed -- that's for sure. For a lot of guys, they drove four to eight hours to see the game, and this was quite a few of their first PSU games. It definitely left a positive impression. One kid -- I think maybe Jarrett LaRubbio? -- told me how he just had goosebumps the whole time, and his head was spinning from all the white. Malcolm Cook remarked on how he was so surprised how tailgaters and student-fans knew his name -- and he didn't even have a PSU scholarship. Everyone definitely enjoyed their time, most for the same reason: atmosphere.
Who would you consider to be on "commit" watch the next couple of weeks?
I would definitely keep an eye on Aaron Wimberly. He'll be visiting pretty soon, but I think his teammate - Jake Waters - will likely hold out until after his official visit to Kansas State, which isn't until Dec. 7. I can see a handful of juco guys committing to Penn State -- maybe even one from Fork Union's PG team.
What are Penn State's chances of landing Zayd Issah? It would be great to get him back in the fold -- Penn State needs to load up on defensive recruits!
You're absolutely right with the defense, and I think you'll see next year's class heavily lean that way. As for this year, I'd put PSU's chances at about 20 percent. I really think he's heading to Oregon. Penn State will have one more shot to impress Issah, who's going on an official to PSU the Dec. 7 weekend. If he doesn't see something new there, I think he's gone. The only other thing Penn State might be able to do is offer Issah's teammate, Drew Scales, a scholarship. Issah's incredibly talented, and I think he's better than his three-star rating indicates
I still think we can go 3-1 rest of the season and finish strong.. your thought?
It's possible. I think Nebraska and Wisconsin both have the advantage over Penn State -- but the Nittany Lions have a shot to knock over one of those teams. I saw Penn State dropping three of their last five to end the season, however, so I'm not backing off that now. I'm still predicting 2-2 here ... Purdue isn't a lock anymore either.
By my math, Penn State still has 6 scholarships it can give out next year, since 3 of their 12 commits, Adam Breneman, Jordan Smith and Richy Anderson, are enrolling early. That sound right?
Yeah, but I don't think they'll offer all six. You'll probably see them hold on to between 1-3 in case someone bolts and leaves a hole in the roster. For example, if Steven Bench bolts, that just leaves Hackenberg and a juco -- so PSU would probably want to add another QB ... and couldn't if all the scholarships were gone. So, I'd expect them to sign about 3-4 more guys who would count toward the 2013 numbers.
Who are some 2013/2014 recruits to look out for that might commit?
I'd look at Rod Crayton, Jake Waters, Aaron Wimberly and either Tim Longmire or Wesley Bullock. Da'Quan Render doesn't have a scholarship, but he's a guy I think would commit on the spot if offered. Chris Britton (Harrisburg) is also a dark horse if he grabs an offer ... but, for now, I think PSU's top prospect is probably Waters.
Check some pics that were recently posted to Bench's twitter account. My man definitely isn't bolting!
Haha ... Yeah, for the record, I'm not saying he's going to leave. I just used him as an example. He has the best chance to start next year after spending a year learning O'Brien's offense.
(And, for those wondering, I believe Bench posed with a model or two.)
Is Dukes really so dumb he can't pick up the Offense, or pick up a block? It just seems a shame that this staff is basically pushing him out the door. Are those the real reasons why?
Dukes can run hard and carry tacklers. He's really good at that ... but that's kind of the extent of his ability. He's not a quick learner, struggles grasping the playbook and he can't block. He's not as big a factor in the passing game because he just can't remember routes. It's unfortunate but, like I said before, putting him on the field really tips your hand. He can only run -- unless you just plug him in there as a decoy, but then it's like playing offense with 10 players. I think O'Brien could plug him more into goal-line sets, but the Killer Z's have proved they're just as effective -- and they can do all those other things.
Could they make Dukes a linebacker, at least?
If he sometimes goes left instead of right on a running play, I can't see diagnosing offensive plays at a moment's notice in his future. There's a difference between football IQ and just IQ. Dukes isn't a dumb guy ... but he's a one-dimensional football player. And you can't be one-dimensional in this offense.
Josh, thanks for doing these chats -- they're always insightful! I asked last week about JUCO transfers, but I didn't get an opportunity to clarify my question. I was not asking about them for this year (or with respect to this year's early enrollment loophole). My question is this: if Penn State gives a scholarship to a JUCO transfer after next year that counts towards their 15 scholarship limit for that year, and that transfer only has two years of eligibility left, does Penn State get to give out an extra scholarship once that JUCO transfer's eligibility runs out? My point was that Penn State needs to maximize the value of its few scholarships, and should really focus on awarding four-year scholarships rather than two-year scholarships to JUCO transfers, unless it gets to give out an extra scholarship once the JUCO transfer graduates.
Rich, your question has my head spinning. Let me know if this doesn't answer your questions -- or email me, and I'll try my best. Forget how long a juco is here, he's just like every other player. PSU could have no jucos graduate in two years or they could have 20. Whatever the case, PSU will still only have 15 scholarships to give out. This year is kind of a loophole for jucos because they can count toward the 2012 numbers but any signed jucos at this time next year can't be counted toward the 2013 numbers because of the 15-scholarship cap.
Do you feel that we will see many "defections" from the program again after this season?
I put the over/under of defections during the preseason at eight -- and nine left -- and I certainly don't see more than that leaving. I think you'll see some players leave who really weren't going to have an impact on this team and won't really be big losses. I'd put the over/under here at six. Some guys will leave, I'm sure, but I don't think you'll see the hard hits like earlier this season.
Greetings from Sandy's aftermath. I havent seen Purdue yet this season. Can you give an overview of their offensive schemes and some key matchups you are longing forward to seeing? Thanks
Purdue has really been hot-and-cold this season. They've looked just awful against Big Ten competition, but coach Danny Hope is trying something different this week by starting Robert Marve at QB. O.J. Ross and Antavian Edison usually grab about 45 percent of the passes in a game -- and they're pretty fast. Penn State's secondary can't sleep on these guys. I think the secondary has played a lot worse than it's appeared these last few games. (Miller missed a lot of open guys, for example.) And Marve could surprise a few.
Two 2014 recruits, Dwight Williams and Greg Miclisse, tweet A LOT about PSU. Do either of them have an offer. Do you think they will get one?
Neither have an offer yet, but PSU literally just started pursuing Miclisse within the last week. Dwight Williams is a big-name linebacker, and I think an offer to him will come down the road. He's on the ESPN Watch List, and he could very well be an EPSN 300 guy. Miclisse only took up football as a freshman, but he's very instinctual and learns quickly. I think, if PSU offers Miclisse, it won't come until later. That's my guess, anyway.
I think Rich's point is that JUCO transfers typically only have 2-3 years of eligibility and that their scholarship can't be backfilled when they leave, due to sanctions, which means Penn State would have even less players on scholarship when they leave.
Oh, I got you. But, since they're not counting against the number this year, I almost just look at them as extra guys. Adding them to the roster isn't really taking offers out of anyone else's hands. But you're right, Joe, and I doubt we'll see a run at jucos like this next season. Although it seems to be working for Kansas State!
Josh, Trying to figure out how the scholarships work gives me a migrane. If there are say five players who leave after the season that are scholarship players, PSU is still limited to only 15 scholarships for 2013 right? Even though theortically they are under the total scholarship limitation?
OK, this bears clarifying. For the recruiting classes of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, PSU can not sign more than 15 players. Come 2017, PSU can sign up to 25 again. The only reason Penn State is able to technically sign more players this year is because all players who enroll in January technically count against the Class of 2012 numbers. Yeah, it's kind of confusing -- but 5 players could leave this offseason or 50, but PSU could still only sign as many as 15.
The difference is that Kansas State can reload year after year on JUCOs. After this year, out ability to reload is severely limited, and there is a direct tradeoff between getting a JUCO for 2 years or a high school recruit for 4/5 years.
Any indication given by PSU that the names will be removed from the back of the jerseys at the end of this season?
No, that's something that hasn't been at all addressed. But I feel like there hasn't been much of a push-back from it. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see it become a regular thing. I'm sure that's not something they'll address until the spring.
hahaha, USC and Oklahoma already have 2 loses? haha what's the difference between them and PSU? I think Redd and Brown would have been better off with PSU. and with them I think we are 7-1 or 8-0 team. agree?
I definitely think Justin Brown would have been better off staying ... but I still think Redd will get more looks as USC's RB next season. But, yeah, without Belton's fumble in Game 1 and with a better run game, I could see them beating Ohio ... and do we even need to address Virginia? Yeah, chalk PSU to 7-1. Justin Brown could have been a big part in this offense, as there's really no big-play threat. Alex Kenney is apparently a track guy masquerading as a slot receiver because he's seen very little time the last few weeks. Brown could be just what this offense needs. And Oklahoma hasn't really beaten a quality team yet.
OK, guys, that's all the time we have this week! Thanks again for joining us, and I hope to see you all next Friday. Have a good weekend!