devon's picture


New York (via Long Island)

Member since 01 August 2016 | Blog


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Comment 03 Nov 2017

Come on, man. The dude has half as much raw basketball ability as you do. He's a stiff. He's a seven-foot tall stiff, and that has some value, but he looked in that vid like he'd never so much as seen a basketball game before. And Penn State's history developing big men is, uh, not promising.

If the kid ends up being a contributor, pull up this post and call me out on it. But I'm going on the record, a year before he ever sets foot on campus, and calling this yet another wasted Pat Chambers scholarship. Chambers has not even remotely earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the lesser-recruited kids, and it's incredibly disheartening to follow up on Carr and Stevens with recruiting classes replete with players who'd be lucky to crack the rotation at Colgate.

Comment 04 Oct 2017

I like the statistical analysis.  Yes, it's generally better than the "eye test."  But with McSorley, the stats lie.  Someone who hasn't watched the games simply doesn't understand the extent to which he's been uncomfortable in the pocket, relying on Barkley to turn nothing into something, missing wide open receivers, and making poor decisions in the read and run-pass option.  He's padded stats against garbage cupcakes and looked mediocre at best against even middling P5 teams.  McSorley is the classic case of a guy whose numbers don't tell the story.

I also sincerely dispute Bil's contention that the offense has been efficient and steady.  Has there been a single game against a P5 team where we didn't have a quarter (or longer?) where the offense didn't just shut down?

Comment 02 Oct 2017

My recollection is that QBR is calculated based on WPA; that is, on a play-by-play basis based on how much the QB helped his team win the game.  A ten-yard pass in the fourth quarter of a tie game is more valuable than a 40-yarder late in a blowout.  Granted, Penn State was up big from the jump, but my guess is that a lot of this comes down to weighting.

Comment 02 Oct 2017

Ha, I just mentioned this above.  Good call.

Editing to add: I looked at Callahan's "Tale of the Tape" for the other four games.  Let's look at how much Saquon is inflating McSorley's stats:

Against Akron: 18/25 for 280 yards; behind LOS: 4/4 for 2 yards. Removed: 14/21 for 279 yards. Great game!

Against Pitt: 15/28 for 164 yards; behind LOS 6/6 for 29 yards. Removed: 9/22 for 135 yards. Yiiiiiiiikes.

Against GSU: 18/23 for 309 yards; behind LOS 4/4 for 32 yards. Removed: 14/19 for 277 yards. Great game!

Against Iowa: 31/48 for 284 yards; behind LOS 11/13 for 66 yards. Removed: 20/35 for 218 yards. Not great, Bob!

Takeaway: McSorley has been okay-to-bad throwing downfield against P5 defenses. That's worrisome, especially after he carved them up last year. The results themselves aren't the problem, the regression is.

Comment 02 Oct 2017

Nobody is criticizing Trace for checking down to Barkley often. They're simply saying that being able to do that isn't some skill, and shouldn't be a check in the "pro" column.  There isn't a quarterback in America who couldn't make those dump-off throws (at least, not since Rob Bolden moved to WR).  It's the throws down the field where Trace has struggled, far more than in the past, and to the point where it's worth wondering whether Tommy Stevens would be an improvement.  

You linked Andrew Callahan's piece on Indiana's D.  Well, it also showed a breakdown of Trace's passing numbers: on passes behind the LOS, he was 6/6 for 60 yards.  Frankly, turning nothing into that much something is insane, and shows just how freakishly good Saquon is. But the point is, it shows how McSorley's numbers are inflated.  On passes that crossed the LOS in the air, he was 17/30 for 255 yards - and this was one of his better games of the season.  Indiana's got a solid defense, and those aren't bad numbers, but it's hard to argue that McSorley's stats are being padded.

He's basically like the guy who hit before Barry Bonds.  Rich Aurilia was a fine player, but he got more pitches to hit than anyone in baseball. Bully for him for taking advantage, but put him on another team, without that safety blanket, and you'll see he's not the same player.

Comment 02 Oct 2017

Sure, but it's not exactly great quarterbacking to sail a check down five yards over a running back's head, only to have Saquon make a ridiculously one-handed leaping catch, juke five defenders out of their cleats, and scamper for 35 yards.

Comment 02 Oct 2017

This is totally disingenuous.  Penn State as a team improved so much over the course of the season that it's ludicrous to use the first few games of 2016 as a benchmark against which anything can be measured. And, you know, Trace was making his first few starts as a college QB - of course he's going to struggle a bit.  Not just that, but Penn State played Michigan's buzzsaw of a defense (#1 in the country in Pass D), a much better Pitt team in Pittsburgh, and a Temple team (#3 in Pass D) that won 10 games and the AAC.  Hell, even Minnesota had the #21 scoring defense in the country.

We talk about 2016 being a building block for 2017.  So why not look at the last 5 games of 2016?  I'd take out the Rose Bowl, because that was essentially a glorified exhibition and neither team seemed to be playing defense.  Here's Trace's numbers in those games:

83/144 (57.6%) for 1542 yards (10.7 YPA), 13 TD, 2 INT.

That's one whole hell of a lot better than what he's done this year, and it's why we're doing the whole gnashing of teeth.  You offer absolutely no expectation why his end to 2016 shouldn't be the baseline, and why, unlike last year - when he was a rookie making his first five starts - we should expect the same sort of rapid improvement now.  Chris Godwin wasn't the only receiver we had last year, and I object to the idea that his absence somehow makes guys like Mike Gesicki, DaeSean Hamilton, and Saeed Blacknall, all of whom have had major success in this offense, somehow middling targets who can't get open against mediocre defenses.  

And all of this isn't just to mention that Trace has looked visibly uncomfortable in the pocket and has regularly missed wide open receivers. You seem to explain away Trace's troubles by blaming it on "the mechanics and the decision-making" of the read-option and RPO.  But that's Trace's mechanics and Trace's decision-making, and pretending as though that's somehow divorced from his quarterback play is inane.

He's been not good this year. You know that's the case. It's okay. You can admit it.

Comment 01 Oct 2017

We have the best offense in the conference by a mile

I don't see how you can say that with any confidence? Oh, we beat the pants off Akron and Georgia State? Maryland put up 51 on Texas, Minnesota put up 48 on Oregon State, and Indiana put up 52 on Georgia Southern.  The only games that matter are Pitt, Iowa, and Indiana.  And our offense has been middling in those three games.

We got 33 on Pitt, including 1 safety, a 8-yard touchdown drive, and two other scoring drives starting in plus territory.  And Pitt went out the next week and gave up 59 to Oklahoma State.

Against Iowa, we moved the ball well, but the red zone offense was heinous. We scored 21 points: 3 fewer than Wyoming, 20 fewer than Iowa State, and 4 more than Michigan State.  And why did we struggle to finish off drives? Because Trace McSorley was poor in the red zone.

45 points against Indiana sounds great, doesn't it? But 14 of those were special teams scores. Between the second and third quarters, Penn State had the following series of drives: three-and-out, three-and-out, punt (after negative yards), interception, three-and-out, missed field goal (after starting at the Indiana 21).  That's an impossibly terrible sequence, and it speaks to McSorley's massive struggles this season.  

Where it really becomes clear, though, is in the offense Moorhead is running.  It's clear, comparing the play calls from the end of last season until now, that's he's lost a lot of faith in McSorley.  The downfield passes have been replaced by dump-off after dump-off, the read-options are now straight handoffs.  This isn't an offense that leans on Barkley, it's an offense that knows it has little else, despite the vast number of weapons at WR and TE.  Mike Gesicki got hurt, but before coming out, he had 12 catches for 83 yards in the three games against P5 opponents.  This is your matchup nightmare, your down-the-field threat, and he's catching passes in the flat and short routes along the sideline.  That's heinous misuse of an exceptional talent. 

Comment 01 Oct 2017

It's just as intellectually dishonest to pretend that rolling up big numbers against Akron and Georgia State are in any way indicative of how he'll perform against OSU and Michigan. And, let's be clear, his passing stats are ludicrously inflated by Saquon Barkley.  Barkley leads the team in catches and yards, and how many times did McSorley check down, only to have Saquon turn it into a 10, 15, 30 yard gain out of nowhere? The fact is, when throwing downfield, McSorley's been straight-up bad this year. He's missing open receivers left and right, having absolutely zero feel in the pocket, and either unwilling or unable to scramble to extend plays.  I don't know that Tommy Stevens would be any better, but I think a more reasonable read than "he's pressing a bit" is "he got hot and played way over his head last year and just isn't that good."  He's serviceable, especially for a team with Saquon Barkley.  But if this team doesn't win the B1G, it's probably because he wasn't good enough to get them there.

Comment 29 Sep 2017

That's what he said. I don't think he earned the benefit of that doubt. He physically threatened a woman who had the audacity to write him a parking ticket. I think he's just a scumbag who doesn't respect women.

Comment 29 Sep 2017

Mixon did send a woman to the hospital after beating the shit out of her in public, and later assaulted a meter maid, so I'm comfortable calling him a thug, criminal, general piece of human garbage, pick an adjective.  

Comment 29 Aug 2017

I'd say "some point" came during the Big Ten Championship Game.  And it's not like Thompkins is a paragon of production.  I just don't get how he could possibly be a better fit for this offense - Hamilton is your possession receiver, and Moorhead doesn't really use a slot guy running rub routes.  In terms of getting open down the field, and replacing Godwin, it's gotta be Blacknall.  

Comment 29 Aug 2017

I like DeAndre Thompkins. He seems like a nice kid. On no planet does he have more talent or potential than Blacknall.

Comment 17 Jul 2017

I will pay someone to caption the photo from this article with "Gwydion Lashlee-Walton"

Comment 12 Jul 2017

This is very simple - it's Pat Chambers knowing he's not making the tourney, and Sandy Barbour knowing she's not going to fire him, and padding the record intentionally to make it easier to keep him.  If he schedules a tough OOC, and ends up going something like 14-16 (7-11), it's real tough not to fire Pat.  But 17-13 (7-11)? Well, that looks like progress over 15-18, doesn't it? And hey, there's always a few top 100 prospects we're supposedly in great shape with!

Comment 03 May 2017

You hope that you can find a diamond in the rough, but there's a whole lot of rough out there.

Sure.  But - and this has always been my biggest criticism of Chambers - his under-the-radar recruits just haven't panned out.  Obviously, it's not a good strategy to aim for 2-star players, but Ed DeChellis at least turned a number of those guys into key pieces, either through development or just picking the right guys.  Players like Andrew Jones, David Jackson, Stanley Pringle, Cam Woodyard, Jermaine Marshall, and Ross Travis were middling prospects at best but turned out to be key contributors on solid teams.  

Pat Chambers' list of less-heralded players is Akosa Madugbunam, Donovon Jack, Isaiah Washington, Julian Moore, Graham Woodward, and Davis Zemgulis.  That's...not a great group.

Ideally, you'd have a coach who was as good at getting top prospects as Chambers and good at identifying talent as DeChellis.  And I don't think it has to be such an either/or.

Comment 03 May 2017

Those freshman will likely improve - which is a scary thought, considering how good each of them was at times.  But the Big Ten is going to be a tougher conference next year, and our depth is almost nonexistent.  Expecting a huge jump - after losing your top bench shooter/swingman in Banks, and replacing him with very little in the way of immediate impact? That seems like it's based more on hope than logic.

Comment 03 May 2017

You say that, but isn't that kind of the point? Look at lacrosse - we didn't have a history of a ton of success, then we hired a great coach and bam - we're a contender.  Hiring Sanderson got us to the next level.  Pat Chambers was a good hire for the program we were aspiring to at the time, a guy who'd had success at a midmajor and as a top assistant at a powerhouse in Villanova.  That he has, thus far, happened to not work out doesn't mean that he's a great coach and nobody could win at Penn State.  It just means that he hasn't worked out.  Chris Collins got Northwestern into the tourney.  South Carolina hired Frank Martin and made it to the Final Four.  There's nothing wrong with starting over sometimes.  And now that we've had so much success in other sports (and with the TV deal bringing in $Texas) there's no reason not to go after someone higher-profile than a guy who made one NCAA tournament from Boston University, if it should come to that.

Comment 03 May 2017

Yes, how dare someone suggest that it's a huge let-down to have one of the worst recruiting classes in the country?

On 247, our class ranks 170th in the country.  That's not just worst in the Big Ten, it's 14 spots behind Rutgers.  We're tied with James Madison, Robert Morris, Stony Brook, Louisiana-Monroe, and Wagner.  

Some schools that rank in the top 100 include Stephen F. Austin, South Alabama, UNC Wilmington, La Salle, Loyola-Chicago, Wyoming, and Lehigh.

Yes, that's embarrassing, made all the more so by the fact that Pat actually has been making in-roads, as proven by Watkins, Carr, and Stevens.  He just struck out on every single recruit of consequence, and had to settle for mid-major leftovers this year.  And, again, nothing in his 6 years at Penn State suggests that he has any ability to identify the diamond-in-the-rough.

Comment 18 Apr 2017

So, coming off the heels of an immensely disappointing season, facing what has to finally be a make-or-break year, following the transfer of three players (including the sixth man and only reliable shooter on the team) and desperately needing a reliable big man, Pat's best bet is a JUCO transfer and a decommit from a Patriot League team.  This after signing a 0-star prospect who didn't even have a 247 page.  So much for an immediate impact grad transfer.  God, the commitments of Carr and Stevens feel so long ago, don't they?