Blue-White Roundtable: “That School Up North” Edition

Thanks to Run Up The Score for this week’s questions. If you want to see other people’s responses, most of the links under the “Penn State Blogs” tab on the right-hand part of the screen should fulfill your needs.

1. Reportedly, Penn State is playing some school in a mitten-shaped state this weekend. Are any of you actually optimistic for the Michigan game?

It’s hard to be optimistic when you’ve lost 8 straight games to a team. Yes, Michigan has simply had the better team than us in some years (See: 1997, 2000, 2001, 2006) but there’s no excuse for not winning at least one of the games in 98, 99, 02, or 05. Coaching definitely gets a portion of the blame, more so than lousy reffing.

2. Okay, we all know that Penn State has lost eight straight games against Michigan since 1997. Plenty of PSU fans blame the coaches’ offensive game planning, calling it predictable and bland. Fair criticism? If the definition of “insane” is repeating the same act over and over again and expecting a different result, does this make our coaching staff absolutely crazy?

One of our biggest issues with road games in general regarding this coaching staff is the lack of an aggressive gameplan. We usually tend to run the safest plays possible for minimal gains, afraid to try throwing downfield even 15-20 yards (exception: Wisconsin 2004). As a result, we end up starting off sluggish on offense and depending on the opponent, have to play come-from-behind in order to win road games.

I feel Dave Jones’ most recent article busts the candy out of the piñata: We have all this talent at QB and in the receiving corps, why not go 4 or 5-wide and pick apart this Michigan secondary that has already shown itself to be vulnerable? The offensive coaching staff should be instructing Morelli to “let ‘er rip.”

3. List three things Penn State absolutely must do in order to finally beat Michigan.

1. Score first – Yes, we did score first in 2002 and still ended up losing in Double OT, but that was more or less due to us committing a stupid “running into the kicker” penalty when we were up by a TD that ruined our momentum in the 3rd quarter. The worst thing we can do this Saturday is allow Michigan to open up the game with a TD which gets their team and the hometown crowd fired up.

2. Limit Turnovers – Self-explanatory

3. Contain Mike Hart – He is far and away the most critical player to this Michigan offense, if our defense can bottle him up and not allow him to break any 20+ yard carries, then their offense may be in deep trouble.


Lightning Round

Would you rather be facing a one-legged Henne or a two-legged Mallett this weekend?

Henne knows the PSU defense, he’s been up against it twice now and has twice emerged victorious. Mallett on the other hand, was spoiled rotten by a lousy Notre Dame defense so he could be in for a major reality-check this weekend if he’s the starter.

Your score prediction?

24-21 Michigan. I told myself last year after foolishly picking PSU to win and coming up empty yet again, that I would always pick Michigan to beat us until we actually go out there and beat them for once.

Do you see any upsets on the Big Ten horizon this week?
Notre Dame over Michigan State?

In one word, tell us if the constant griping by Penn State fans about Big Ten officiating is valid.

Piecemeal.

(Okay, I admit it, I typed in “partially” in the thesaurus and this was the most interesting word to come up)

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