ReddZone: Silas Redd has been a beast the past few weeks. I am worried about him wearing down. Do you think he is getting to many carries?
Ron Musselman: Redd has been a workhorse, no doubt. He has four consecutive 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 164 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown Saturday at Northwestern. He has 103 carries in October and said this week he suffered a couple of stinger injuries in that game, but would be ready to play Saturday against Illinois. His 566 rushing yards the past four games are second-most in Division I-A, trailing only Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey, who has 569. Redd leads the Big Ten in rushing (869 yards) and carries (165) and has scored a team-leading six touchdowns.
Frank: Will they finally stick with McGloin now that he has proven he deserves to be the starter?
Ron Musselman: Both Joe and Jay Paterno said after the Northwestern game that they planned to play both quarterbacks the rest of the year, maybe even alternating their starts. And Joe refused to name a starter Tuesday. I think it would be a mistake if they go back to Rob Bolden, since Matt McGloin has proven that he can move the offense and Bolden has not, despite multiple opportunities.
Dan: Any big recruits that are close to pledging to PSU? I saw one four star lineman just decommitted and went to the Badgers. What's up with that?
Ron Musselman: News has been slow on the Penn State recruiting front as of late. The guy you are talking about, Pennsylvania offensive lineman J.J. Denman, changed his mind earlier this month. He had verbally committed in May to join the Nittany Lions' Class of 2012, but he recommitted after visiting Wisconsin. That trimmed Penn State's Class of 2012 has been trimmed to 16. Earlier this year, five-star defensive tackle Jarron Jones from New York recommitted after initially giving the Penn State a soft verbal. He picked Notre Dame. And defensive tackle Jamil Pollard from New Jersey had his scholarship offer pulled because of academic issues.
knit knee lyin: With the Lions winning 6 in a row and Illinois losing 2 in a row. Does this feel like a trap game?
Ron Musselman: I am not sure this is a trap game, especially after the way Illinois pounded Penn State last year – 33-13 on homecoming at Beaver Stadium. It seems to me like the Penn State players and coaches are licking their chops, looking to get revenge. But even though Illinois has dropped two in a row after a 6-0 start, quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase presents a big challenge for the Lions' defense.
JerryPSU: Well, he we are at 7-1 and it's hard to believe. How do you think the team will finish?
Ron Musselman: If Penn State could earn a split in its final four games, I think it would give the Lions nine wins and would be considered a very good year for a team that continues to win ugly. But after playing Illinois Saturday, Penn State will have a bye week, followed by games with Nebraska at home and Ohio State and Wisconsin on the road. We will find out just how good – or not so good – the Lions mare after that tough finish.
MountNittany: What kind of team does Illinois have? I remember that awful beating they put on us last year?
Ron Musselman: As I said earlier, Scheelhaase is the leader. He has thrown 24 touchdown passes and six interceptions in the past 15 games and leads the team in rushing with 412 yards on 123 carries and five touchdowns. Scheelhaase completed 15 of 19 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown and ran for 61 yards in the win last year. Wide receiver/kick returner A.J. Jenkins is accounting for 56.6 percent of Illinois' receiving yards. And on defense ends Whitney Mercilus and Michael Buchanan ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in the Big Ten with a combined 15 sacks.
JoeMustGoPa: Joe's contract is up at the end of the year? Do you see him leaving after this year since he is having trouble even being on the sideline?
Ron Musselman: Paterno acknowledged earlier this week that spending time in the coaches booth on game day this season has diminished his role in his team's surprising 7-1 start. Paterno, two months shy of his 85th birthday, has not been on the sideline for an entire game this season while battling injuries. He has been on the sideline for a total of six quarters this year, but I still believe he will be back next year, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Tammy_10: The offensive line seems to be playing better after a rough start to the year. What do you think?
Ron Musselman: I do think the line is playing somewhat better, but I think Silas Redd has made them look better, too, with a lot of tough running and yards after getting hit. One thing the line has done well is protect McGloin and Bolden. They have allowed just seven sacks all year and lead the Big Ten and rank 14th nationally in fewest sacks allowed.
knit knee lyin: JoePa said that he has given his coaches more leeway in making the play calls. Does that mean that they call what they want or does it still have to go by him or Tom Bradley since he is on the field?
Ron Musselman: Joe said a few weeks ago that offensive coordinator Galen Hall and his son Jay Paterno, the team's quarterbacks coach, handle the majority of the play-calling and he is "a cheerleader." Joe still weighs in every once in a while with his suggestions on play calls. Right tackle Chima Okoli said this week that wide receivers coach Mike McQueary is the guy on charge on the sideline when Joe is in the booth, where Hall and Jay always work from during games.
MoyeMan: How do you think the receivers have done in Derek Moye's absence?
Ron Musselman: Moye, the team's leading receiver, has missed the past two games with a broken bone in his left foot and he's not expected to play Saturday against Illinois. Against Purdue Oct. 15, Justin Brown responded with four catches for a season-high 86 yards. And in Saturday's win at Northwestern, Devon Smith responded with six catches for 110 yards, both career highs, and a touchdown. In Moye's absence, Smith has caught eight passes for 144 yards the past two weeks, an 18.0-yard average. Brown has seven catches for 118 yards and a TD, a16.9 average.
Larry: I am wondering how many times Penn State has been 4-0 in the Big Ten? I don't think it has been too many times.
Ron Musselman: This is the fifth time Penn State has started 4-0 since joining the Big Ten in 1993. The Lions also started the same way in 1994, '97, '99 and 2005.
knit knee lyin: Hi, Ron, The defense looks so good from the 20 to the 20 yard line. Why then are they so bad in the red zone?
Ron Musselman: Penn State's defense has been dreadful in the red zone, ranking last in the Big Ten and tied for 117th nationally. Opposing teams have converted 95 percent of their opportunities inside the 20-yard line against the Lions, with 11 touchdowns and eight field goals. But the same defense has saved several games and has allowed 10 points or fewer in six of the eight games.
JerryPSU: Do you think the team is improving or are they just beating a bunch of bad teams?
Ron Musselman: Obviously, the team is getting better. But offensively, Penn State still is not very sharp, ranking 89th nationally in scoring offense and 84th in passing offense 76th in total offense. McGloin got his first start last week at Northwestern and played every snap while directing the team to 34 points. It would make sense to start him Saturday.
Sam I Am: It is odd that Penn State in sitting undefeated in the Big Ten Conference -- what's the over-under on them winning out and being Big Ten champs?
Ron Musselman: Although Penn State's odds have improved slightly since the 2011 schedule was announced, I wouldn't give the Lions much of a chance to run the table and win the Big Ten's Leaders Division. I think the last three games will be tough, especially for a team that is offensively challenged, with the exception of tailback Silas Redd.
Dotty03: Silas Redd is as good as you've predicted he would be. What does he need to pass Royster's record-setting numbers?
Ron Musselman: Redd has been really good as a sophomore in his first season as the starting tailback, better even that some may have predicted. But he has 103 carries in October and you have to worry about him wearing down. As of today, Redd has 1,306 career rushing yards and needs 2,627 more to break Evan Royster's record and become the school's all-time leading rusher.
Ron Musselman: Thanks again for all of the great questions today. Just a reminder, Penn State has a bye week next week so there will be no chat. I will return for my next chat on Thursday, Nov. 10.
|< Prev||Next >|