Mark Dent's Penn State chat: 9.20.12

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Mark Dent: It should be an interesting weekend. I'll be curious to see if Temple can continue to build on last year's game or even get the upset. Because it's in Happy Valley, I'll have to pick Penn State, but it should be close.

Wild Bill: Hello Mark, I was in attendance for the game against Navy, and two things stood out to me: the better execution level of the football team over previous games and the way that the Midshipmen and other service members were treated with ultimate respect. What stood out to you?

Mark Dent: Thanks Bill - I totally agree with you on that second point. It was a class crowd all-around, from the tailgating to the very end when both teams aided each other in singing after the game.
My other observation: the Red Zone. Besides the bad play when Penn State went for it on fourth down from the eight, the Nittany Lions looked like they knew what they were doing inside the 20. The short passes to Allen Robinson and Jesse James illustrate this point. I guess that goes hand in hand with the better execution.

Mark Dent: I also think it's fair to remember that this was against Navy, a team that has looked very unimpressive this season, particularly on defense. That said, Penn State needed a win and got a blowout instead.

Wild Bill: I am presuming that the use of Paul Jones as an h-back type end says something about wanting to get him on the field, but also about the progression of the freshman quarterback, Bench.

Mark Dent: Yep. It also says something about the strides he has made as quarterback. Through my limited observations, it's always seemed that Jones has never developed the necessary accuracy to complement his powerful arm and athleticism. I liked Bench when he played against Virginia. He was poised and did a nice job scrambling outside the pocket. It would be nice to see him play again if PSU gets up big in a game.

Wild Bill: Did you hear anything about how the walk on/run on tryout went this week? If even one or two backup athletes could come of it, it seems worth doing.

Mark Dent: I haven't heard if anyone has made it, but heard there were 50-plus people trying out

Mark Dent: Obviously I think a kicker could make it. A couple of former State High kickers are on campus and were, according to the CDT, thinking of trying out. I can't imagine them being better than Ficken

Wild Bill: Mixed emotions on seeing that a book by a Sandusky victim is going to be published. He deserves to be heard, but this ongoing media attention is a little like being nibbled to death by ducks to a university community that desperately wants to move forward.

Mark Dent: It will be interesting to see that book. The details of the trial certainly were gruesome. Anything that brings more awareness to preventing child sexual abuse and helps this kid move on, I think is positive.

Wild Bill: Ficken got a couple of "Bronx cheers", but I have the impression that most would just love to see him work through it and succeed.

Mark Dent: Agreed. That said, I think it's patronizing to cheer wildly for his extra points like people did last Saturday. I hope that stops. PSU should just see Ficken as what he is: a decent kicker who had a bad day

Steve: PSU just picked up a committment from a 2 Star WR/DB from Georgia. Do you think that this trend will continue given our scholarship reductions? His only other offers were to VMI, Presbyterian, Howard and Harvard.

Mark Dent: Steve - I saw that late last night. I do think it will continue, at least for the rest of this recruiting season. Right now you're staring down three more years without going to a bowl. It's going to be tough to recruit. I think starting next year O'Brien will be able to get back on track and recruit as well as he was before these sanctions came out in July

Steve: Who has the best NFL potential on current PSU squad?

Mark Dent: I'll say Deion Barnes. He is a freshman who is 6-4, 246 and is already killing it. He's getting the exotic stats, i.e. the turnovers and the sacks.

Mark Dent: Allen Robinson might have potential as well - Receivers are tough to gauge as far as making it in the NFL

Steve: Do you think that Brenneman and Hackenburg will stay committed to PSU?

Mark Dent: I think Brenneman is going to come. I have reservations about Hackenberg. I personally think he will go elsewhere. I say this because his family has continued to say they are committed to Penn State but want to look at all the options. They have four months to look at many options, and I think Hackenberg could be swayed.

Wild Bill: Within the media community, are the PSU players regarded with respect for having stayed, or seen as naive for not moving on when they could have?

Mark Dent: Bill - I think so. I respect them. It is corny to say this but every Penn State player that I know has been tremendously friendly and polite even with everything that's happened in the last year. They shouldn't have to answer questions about a scandal they had nothing to do with but they do all the time.

Mark Dent: Hey guys thanks for the questions. That's it for this chat. Hit me up on Twitter @mdent05 if you have anything else to ask at any other time psusports


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