Do you think O'Brien calling his own plays contributes to some of this lack of success in the clutch? His calls on these sudden-change situations were sketchy at best.
Run on first and second down and throw on third and long is hardly what I would call creative. It just didn't seem like he was ready. I am sure he was doing 25 other things when the team was on defense. It has to be tough to all of a sudden switch to calling a play when you didn't expect to be doing that.
Brian S. McIntyre
Hi, Brian S.:
Rudel vs. the oddsmakers
Line: Penn State is a 6.5-point favorite.
Inside the line: Nits covered last week at UVA but are just 4-12-1 vs. spread in their last 17 games ... Navy is 2-5 against the spread in its last seven games ... In last 18 games as a home favorite, Lions are 4-14 vs. number, including 24-14 loser while spotting a touchdown to Ohio two weeks ago ... Lions are 12-4 in last 16 non-conference games, but only 3-13 vs. spot ... Overunder is 46 ... Navy has gone under in four of last five games ...
Navy was getting 15 in opener vs. ND in Ireland and lost 50-10.
Prediction: Penn State 24, Navy 10
Comment: PSU is more vulnerable to pass than Navy's run-oriented attack.
Prediction record in 2012: 1-1
Penn State vs. line in 2012: 1-1
Prediction record vs. line in 2012: 1-1
I think your criticism is fair. This is, after all, O'Brien's first go-around of being in charge of everything, of adapting to the college game and of meshing a new coaching staff.
If I am Christian Hackenburg, despite the early disappointing performance by PSU, I like how Bill O'Brien has transformed the offense in one very troubled offseason, and I remain committed to PSU. Spot on ... or delusional?
Keeping Hackenberg is more important than finishing .500. Then again, the better the Lions finish, the better chance they may have to keep him.
You gave the offensive coaches a C for the Virginia game, even though, in your own words, "offense moved the ball well between the 20s but couldn't take advantage of incredible field position after turnovers gave the offense the ball at the
Virginia 17, 19, 29 and 17." O'Brien has yet to get a sense of coaching college football. Did none of the coaches notice that they needed a kicker, or that last year's kicker had transferred?
As I mentioned in the first report card, considering what the players have experienced and giving the new coaching staff an acclimation period, I'm trying not to be too heavy-handed with the Monday grades.
I thought PSU played a terrific game Saturday considering they were playing without their No. 1 rusher from last year, their No. 1 receiver from this year, playing a kicker who would have trouble making a dorm IM team, and McGloin got hurt and a true freshman came in and seemed to know what he was doing. They did everything right (except for their kicker) from using their timeout with 1:30 left in the game and UVA on the 6-yard line, a great fake punt, working their way down the field for a shot to win, and McGloin running to take a knee in the center of the field and then calling a timeout with one second left.
Even if the team is not as good as last year, they are far better coached. McGloin, while not the answer, has protected the ball and done what he's been asked to do. I am optimistic.
Is the rest of your family aware of your optimism? Based on your letters all these years, I'm guessing it's breaking news.
Neil Rudel will respond to comments
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