I’m mostly cleaned up after Fay, which turned out to the the fourth largest rainmaker in Florida’s recorded histroy of storms. The worst of the flooding is not yet over, as swollen streams continue to dump into swollen rivers and daily afternoon thunderstorms dump yet more rain on the area. Hundreds of homes in a neighboring county just across the St. Johns River from here are flooded and uninhabitable. So all things considered, I fared pretty well. I still have a home I can live in.
And now, on to Penn State football.
Depth Chart Ruminations
You might or might not have seen the depth chart released by the Nittany Lions for Penn State’s opening game with Coastal Carolina. There aren’t many surprises, but I’ll comment on a few things.
The first slap in the face is Andrew Quarless‘ demotion to third-string behind Mickey Shuler and Andrew Szczerba. Having a lot of potential and good size doesn’t mean much if you’re seeking to star in the next Outside the Lines report, Quarless!
The rest of the offensive line is stable, with the starters being Gerald Cadogan at LT, Rich Ohrnberger at LG, A.Q. Shipley at C, Stefen Wisniewski at RG, and Dennis Landolt at RT. This unit should function cohesively and efficiently. (Which other blog brings you adverbs? 🙂 )
Next, and probably the weirdest, but not totally unexpected, is the quarterback position, where both Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin are listed as #1. On the depth chart they’re vertically juxtaposed in alphabetical order, but so as not to suggest that one is favored over the other, an “OR” is inserted. What the hell could this mean? Well, as RD points out, Devlin already has Zack Mills’ number. After watching Big Ben Roethlisberger line up at wide receiver twice in the Steelers’ pre-season game against Minnesota, it got me to thinking back to the Wonder Years of Mills and Robinson. I’m sure that a lot of you are thinking the same thing, particularly after having watched some of last year’s late season shenanigans and seeing how Clark was used in the Alamo Bowl. In other words, who the hell knows! Jay might just be waffling, or perhaps Devlin’s rumbling about transferring is on the old man’s mind. Nevertheless, in today’s press conference Joe Paterno announced that Clark would start.
“We’re going to start Clark and probably play Devlin some, for sure,” Paterno said. “Clark’s had a little bit more experience. He’s had a really good spring practice and preseason.”
In any case, it will not be long before we see what the hell JJPa have up their collective sleeve with the Spread Hip-Deep quarterback merry-go-round.
There are no surprises at the other skill positions. The Big Three wide receivers are still the big three (Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood), and Evan Royster, Stephfon Green, and Brent Carter are the obvious running backs.
On the defense, the D-line’s depth problems are quite evident, with each position only two deep except for right end, where three players are listed. The starters are Maurice Evans and Josh Gaines at the ends with Abe Koroma and Ollie Ogbu in the middle.
The first string linebacking trio is Bani Gbdayu, Josh Hull, and Tyrell Sales. No great surprises there, either.
In the defensive secondary, Tony Davis has been switched back to cornerback, and Mark Rubin will step up to be starting strong safety (or “hero”, as it will be called until the Paterno era ends). As expected, Scirrotto is still the starting free safety (or “anti-hero”, as it—ah, never mind!). At the right corner, we have another “OR” situation. The listees are Lydell Sargent and A.J. Wallace, again vertically juxtaposed in alphabetical order with an “OR” to signify coaching indecision. I suppose they want to make it a competition—which really belongs on the practice field. In any case, I would expect less drama here than with the quarterback “OR” as there is always room for a nickel back on third and long.
Joe Must Might Go!
Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opined this morning that if Penn State winds up 6-6 this year, Joe Paterno is almost certainly a goner, whereas if the Nittany Lions do well, finishing with, say, a 10-3 record and a bowl win, it will be harder for the administration to dump Joe. Duh!
That’s why a 6-6 season might be better this season. Not even Paterno’s most loyal supporters could back him after that. Many, if not most, already think he has stayed on too long and that the football program needs a new beginning. It’s not just the 46 player arrests since 2002 and the embarrassment they caused, especially in a damning ESPN report on “Outside The Lines” earlier this summer. It’s that Penn State is a mediocre Big Ten Conference program. It is 32-32 in league games this decade, including 2-6 against Ohio State and an abysmal 0-6 against Michigan.
So be careful what you root for, Penn State fans.
A big season might mean three, four, maybe five more years of Paterno.
Ron will undoubtedly get his share of hate mail for this article, but he speaks the truth. As you know, this Turkey has posited that this is Paterno’s final season, good record or not. It is time and all the signs are pointing in that direction.
Coastal Carolina on the Horizon
It won’t be long now. I’ll be back later this week with a preview of the mighty Chanticleers.