The 2011 Blue-White Scrimmage has come and gone, like a rain shower in April. Blue won 10-0, although it was more a matter of being the least bad team. The weather turned out to be just as good as the quality of football played, or vice versa depending on how you look at it. I look at it with my head tilted to one side and one eyebrow raised.
Did that just happen or was it a bad dream?
I was not among the roughly 7,500 fans that physically attended the game. My days of braving cold wet weather to watch a scrimmage are long gone. My devotion to this annual spring ritual has disappeared.
I couldn’t even watch it live on TV. Of course, they had the spring game in Ann Arbor on if I were so inclined to torture myself. I was not. I did try to tune in to the radio, but that proved to be another study in frustration. I listened for about 20 minutes and managed to hear about two plays worth of actual game time. The rest was idle chatter and commercials. It was dreadful and the radio industry ought to be ashamed of itself for the product they broadcast.
I found out later that they called the rest of the game on account of rain. Truth be told, I think it was sheer boredom. Come on—everyone there was already wet. The fans that did show up deserved better than that. The players wouldn’t melt. The only silver lining I could see is that at least it minimized the chance of injury on the slick field. And we certainly don’t need any more of that.
A fellow blogger, Carolyn Todd, apologized to her readers for her lack of blogging recently. At least she has a decent excuse. She’s busy working. I, on the other hand, save for a post or two about the STEP program, have pretty much dogged the psu blog world of late. I ignored the kids getting in trouble with the law. I eschewed the rumors surrounding Jerry Sandusky. I even have been remiss updating the recruiting picture which includes some great commits if they stand come next February. I did allow myself to poke fun at Tressel, but let’s face it, that was fun.
It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog. I started a new blog about non-football things on WordPress, called Living the Eye Life. But my passion for Penn State football has reached an all time low. Friends have asked me what I think about the upcoming season. To be honest, I think it is going to be a disaster. That means probably four or five losses. Maybe more.
What is there to look forward to? The defense? Probably, but it remains to be seen how the front line will perform. The linebacking crew should be good, which will help that issue. But on the offensive side of the ball, I see nothing but gloom and doom, and I drink the Kool Aid pretty heavily. I may even be in a diabetic coma because of drinking too much. Maybe that’s why I’m so lethargic about blogging.
We will be patching a new O-line together. Who the hell knows who our starting QB will be? Who even knows how many of them will still be with the team come August? I simply don’t see any player emerging as a clear choice, and whoever is chosen will create friction among those left behind. Will we have a running game? We have talent, but can they block as well? If we can’t pass, teams will simply stack the box against us.
This recent scrimmage did nothing to improve my angst. Bolden opens with an interception on the very first play. Newsome fumbled on the next series. McGloin fumbled it right back two plays later.
Granted, the weather was less than ideal, but no one stepped up to give us hope. In roughly three quarters of play (12 minute quarters) both sides had 135 yards of passing. Ten points on the board. Pitt played their spring game on the same day—roughly the same weather—and put up 61 points. They have no defense, we have no offense, and never the two shall meet.
Thirty-six of those yards came on one throw by McGloin. Paul Jones threw only ONE pass. Bolden threw five and the only completion was his game opening INT. Overall, the QBs went 10 – 26 – 1.
Thank goodness we had a running game . . . that gained a whopping 77 yards on 31 carries. The field goal, I believe, was kicked when the drive stalled at about the three yard line. Will we ever bring Zordich into the game on the goal line—and not give the ball to him? Even defensive coordinators from other teams know that play. It simply affirmed that the scoring impotency in the red zone has not gone away.
So does that mean there is no hope? There’s always hope. Hope floats. And that’s a damned good thing in a deluge. We have talent. I really do think our defense will be better than last year, and likely keep us in most games. But barring a 2005-ish surprise turn around, I do not see having the kind of offense that will make a run at the Big Ten Title likely, let alone a shot in the national picture. This summer I will make an official prediction (after I’ve forgotten about this game) but the schedule simply looks too daunting. Alabama, Iowa and Nebraska at home. Finishing with Ohio State and Wisconsin on the road. The team last year couldn’t beat these guys. I’m not overly optimistic that this year’s version will be any more successful, though Iowa and Wisconsin will likely have some rebuilding to do. But we have more than rebuilding to do. We have to find a freaking way to score some points.
But maybe the rain will wash away all the problems and give us a fresh, clean start. Maybe a return to simple uniforms will bring a return to tradition; a time when Penn State football was about basic fundamentals, about hard-nosed, smart football, about letting the opponent make the mistakes, and about winning.