Ron Musselman: Welcome back for another chat. Penn State is 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten Conference, but still not getting much respect nationally. The Nittany Lions play at Northwestern Saturday. Let's get going with the questions.
AHappierValley: No one here in State College gave Penn State much of a chance to be 6-1. How surprised are you?
Ron Musselman: I am a little surprised, given how poor the offense has performed. But, at the beginning of the year, a lot of people, including me, thought Penn State could start 8-1 entering that brutal three-game stretch at the end. Well, with five games left, I still think Penn State will win 8 games. As good as the defense has been, the offense has been equally as bad, which is a huge concern heading down the stretch.
SeanLee45: I see where JoePa can tie Eddie Robinson with a win Saturday? What record is he tying?
Ron Musselman: Joe is the winningest coach in Division I-A history with 407 wins. A win against Wildcats would tie him with Grambling coach Eddie Robinson (408) for No. 2 on the all-time victories list in all NCAA divisions. John Gagliardi, from Saint John (Minn.), is the winningest coach at all levels with 480 victories.
knit knee lyin: Hi, Ron, Northwestern also uses a two-Q.B. system. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages for Penn State to prepare for the game?
Ron Musselman: Dan Persa, a fifth-year senior from Liberty High School, in Bethlehem, has started the past three games since returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered late last season. Sophomore Kain Colter started the first three. They have accounted for 299.3 of the Wildcats' 420.7 yards total offense. Persa is operating at about 80 percent and it's not running much, so look for both QBs to play a lot. Penn State linebacker Nate Stupar said this week he thinks Colter is "a little bit better than Dan."
brad (pitt): Hey Ron, When do you expect to hear a start time for the Illinois game on 10/29 ?
Ron Musselman: The start time for next Saturday's game against Illinois will either be noon or 3:30 p.m. The final decision won't be made until Sunday. The Nebraska-Michigan State game also is under consideration.
JoePaMustGoPa: Did Penn State even try to recruit Northwestern QB Dan Persa?
Ron Musselman: Persa was the 2006 PIAA Class AAAA player of the year, but Penn State did not show much interest in him coming out of high school as part of their 2007 recruiting class. Joe said earlier this week said Persa doesn't have good size [6-1, 210], making him tough to evaluate. "But, our loss was Northwestern's gain, because he sure is a good football player," Paterno said.
LionsRoar: Do you see Matt McGloin coming off the bench again and delivering another come-from-behind win against Northwestern?
Ron Musselman: Good memory. A year ago, McGloin did come off the bench in relief of struggling starter Rob Bolden and rallied Penn State from a 21-0 deficit to a 35-21 victory. It was the largest comeback in Beaver Stadium history for a Paterno-coached team, as well as his 400th career win. McGloin started the final four games a year ago, but Bolden has started all seven this year. I think most people agree McGloin has outplayed Bolden and should be the starter.
PozForPresident: How about all the former PSU linebackers who are playing well in the NFL. It's great for the program.
Ron Musselman: Penn State is known as Linebacker U, after all. And three former linebackers are doing their share of damage. Paul Posluszny had 16 tackles for the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday against the Steelers, NaVorro Bowman had 13 tackles for the San Francisco 49ers and Sean Lee 12 tackles for the Dallas Cowboys. Lee also intercepted his third pass of the season. Let's not forget Dan Connor, either. He had six tackles for the Carolina Panthers.
knit knee lyin: Pat Fitzgerald was talked about as a replacement for JoePa. Is he still on the list? And if so does he make the short list. I know he is 0-4 against Penn State. The old adage comes to mind (If you can't beat them join them).
Ron Musselman: Fitzgerald is actually 0-3 against Joe and Penn State and Northwestern has not beaten the Nittany Lions since 2004, despite a bunch of crazy games that see-sawed back and forth. I think Fitzgerald has done a great job at Northwestern – he is 36-33 in hiss sixth year – but I don't think he will end up at Penn State. Besides, nothing is going to happen until Joe is gone and I don't see that happening anytime soon.
ReddZone: Silas Redd is doing well. Do you think he's better than Royster?
Ron Musselman: I profiled Redd in today's paper. He certainly has gotten the green light to run the past three weeks. He has rushed for more than 100 yards in three consecutive games while gaining 402 yards on 85 carries with one touchdown. He is averaging 134 yards and 28.3 carries over that stretch, accounting for 33 percent of Penn State's 1,226 total yards the past three games. Redd is good, but he has some work to do to catch Evan Royster, the school's all-time leading rusher.Moye_Man: What is up with Derek Moye? How much do they miss him up offense?
Ron Musselman: When I last saw Moye Tuesday, his broken left foot still was in a walking boot. He was to have the foot X-rayed Wednesday, but I don't think he will be back until the Nov. 12 game against Nebraska. That means he would miss three games – Purdue, Northwestern and Illinois – and then have an off week before facing the Cornhuskers. There's no question, the offenses misses Moye. Penn State receivers combined for just eight catches last week against the Boilermakers.
knit knee lyin: Using this two-Q.B. system and not naming a starter does it make a kid coming out of high school less likely want to come to Penn State as a Q.B.?
Ron Musselman: Honestly, I don't know why any top QB prospect would commit to Penn State, which has trouble developing them. Bolden was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and he has gotten progressively worse during his 15 starts the past two seasons. Paul Jones was rated the No 2 prep quarterback in the country coming out of high school, but he redshirted last year and is sitting out this season because of academics.
Scattered_Lioness: Does Penn State have any QBs in their 2012 class?
Ron Musselman: Skyler Mornhinweg, the son of Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator, has verbally committed to Penn State. At St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, he was a two-time, first-team Philadelphia all-Catholic League selection and first-team all-state choice entering this season. Mornhinweg picked Penn State over Tennessee, Alabama and Stanford, the school he originally committed after his freshman year. But when Jim Harbaugh left Stanford and took the job with the San Francisoc 49ers, Mornhinweg turned to the Nittany Lions.
PrimetimePSU: If I am not mistake, this is PSU's only night game this year? What is that so?
Ron Musselman: Penn State will play its only night game this season Saturday at Northwestern after playing night games last season against Alabama, Iowa and Michigan. One thing that hurts is the fact that three of Lions' biggest games -- Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin – are in November, when the Big ten Conference doesn't permit its teams to play night games.SeventhHeaven: I have been lots and lots of good things about Devon Still? What has changed for him? I can see him in the NFL next year?
Ron Musselman: Still has been a beast for Penn State this year in his second season as a starter after battling injuries earlier in his career. He has been fighting double-team blocks consistently, yet has played exceptionally well as the anchor of the line. I have even seen a few mock NFL draft that rate Still as a possible first-round draft pick next year. We'll see.
Jane_05: Our defense has been good but I saw a few cracks last week. Should we be worried?
Ron Musselman: The defense did surrender 344 yards offense against Purdue, about 100 above their average and there were lots of missed tackles. But in the end, the defense saved the day for the struggling offense once again. Linebacker Nate Stupar's second interception of the game with 1:59 remaining sealed the deal. The defense also stopped a two-point conversion try that could have tied the game, 20-20, early in the fourth quarter.
DandyDon: Why can't we get our red-zone struggles fixed up? It is horrendous.
Ron Musselman: Penn State is tied for 91st nationally in red-zone success, producing just 13 touchdowns on 28 drives inside the 20-yard line this year, a dismal 46 percent conversion rate. On their last 14 red-zone possessions, the Lions have seven field goals, four turnovers and three touchdowns.
knit knee lyin: Any chance they are looking past Northwestern and thinking about the Illinois game?
Ron Musselman: I don't see any way this will happen. Penn State can't afford to look past anyone with its listless offense.
Ron Musselman: Thanks for all of your great questions again today. I will see you back here next Thursday at 11 a.m. for another chat.
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