Mark Dent: Hey everybody, I'm here. Shoot away with any thoughts about Penn State. I'll be interested to see how the Lions do this week after their first loss in a month.
hogsbreath814: Do you think thee lions can get their running game back in sync this week?
Mark Dent: Against Purdue - absolutely. The Boilers have been allowing about 195 yards per game on the ground.
Mark Dent: I think the offensive line got pushed around a bit by Ohio State, which is concerning, but some of it was also a lack of communication. McGloin and Urschel said the line was out of sync all night because of OSU, the crowd, being overhyped etc.
NCAA hater: How do you expect the Lions to play this week?
Mark Dent: Well, PSU has been resilient this season. It bounced back from those two losses and the Virginia one was particularly disappointing. But I see the Lions struggling in this game. That was the biggest game of the year last week.
Mark Dent: I think that there could be a hangover. And PSU will at least play a close game with Purdue and possibly lose
PSU fan: Give McGloin a lot of credit, but he is just not that good. Think he can play well down the stretch?
Mark Dent: I do, with a warning. It seemed to me that McGloin had still been throwing some wild passes during the win streak, and the defense didn't capitalize. Ohio State clearly did. McGloin to me, though, will still perform because of that offense. BOB has done wonders with him.
Galen Hall: Love what BOB has done, but I really have to question some of is decisions and play calling. What do you think?
Mark Dent: Honestly, I questioned none of BOB's playcalling from the first game through the Iowa game. He played with nothing to lose because PSU has nothing to lose. It literally cannot play a game in the postseason so who cares. But against OSU he got conservative in the first half and it spoiled the flow that PSU had been in. That is the only time I quesiton him. He needs to continue to be aggressive.
hogsbreath814: Do you see Ficken rebounding in the future or will PSU need to burn a scholarship on another kicker?
Mark Dent: Yes. Burn a scholarship. BOB was asked this about a month ago, and he couldn't speak to it specifically. Read between the lines, and it's necessary.
JoePa fan: How about the hold in the punt? Some real head scratchers by the officials wouldn't you say?
Mark Dent: Yeah PSU has gotten burned a little bit in that category, as I'm sure all fans do at some point. Here's what BOB said about that call and officiating in general yesterday. He said beforehand that he needed to be PC about it:
"But after the season when we get together I'm going to have questions. I want things defined, what is this, what is that, what are we looking for, here?"
Lenny the Lion: Tons of recruits at the OSU game. Think it will pay off come signing day?
Mark Dent: Yeah that environment was crazy. As Stephon Morris said, if he had to do it all over again knowing about all the Sandusky scandal and sanctions, he would come. And he would do so because of environments like Saturday.
Keith: Not to be too picky because I do think Bill O' Brien has been great but it didn't make sense to me that when Penn State was down 18 28-10 he went for two when the PAT would have kept it a two score game. Then down 19 when you need a two point conversion he went for the PAT. What are your thoughts on that.
Mark Dent: Totally agree. Two point conversions are worthless unless it is like the last five minutes of the game and you can truly tell that a 2-pointer will impact the possible outcome.
John: Any idea if any of the WPIAL uncommitted kids are still looking at Penn State?
Mark Dent: That would be a much better question for our high school reporters. I'm sorry.
hogsbreath814: What has your take been on Steven Bench?..... does he have the tools that BOB looks for in his QB's?
Mark Dent: Haven't seen enough of Bench. We get to see just a few minutes of practice each week. McGloin spoke highly of him this week, though. He clearly has the intelligence that BOB looks for and the guts. We saw that when he played against virginia. Like all of you, though, I'm more excited to see if Hackenberg comes how he will fit in.
Keith: The officiating was brutal, has the Big 10 made any comment on the officiating. Bad calls all night
Mark Dent: Big Ten has not made any comments
Happy Valley: I am worried that Penn State could lose several more guys after the year. Do you think that will happen?
Mark Dent: That's the question to ask. All players who have been asked say no they will not leave and that includes most of the famed Supa Six sophomore class - i.e. Robinson, Barnes, Carter et al. When it actually ends and schools like USC and Notre Dame are calling though it's going to be harder to say no. That said I think most if not all of the core stays. Curtis Dukes and such will leave.
PSU2012: Which ex-Patriot assistant will last longer at his respective position, O'Brien or Weis?
Mark Dent: Love this question. I'm a KU alum. Weis has five years there if he wants to, even if he struggles. O'Brien has a long leash as well. It's all about him. If he's being genuine in saying how much he loves this place, he'll be here for several years. If not, some other program could pick him up after the next couple of years if he continues to do well.
Bruce: How do you explain Purdue? Play well vs ND and OSU, then awful vs mediocre teams?
Mark Dent: Purdue has had some injury troubles. So I'll give some to that. Otherwise, maybe it's natural. Players get jacked up for the big games. Expect Purdue to play well on Saturday.
Ed: Purdue was very competitive against Ohio State when they played -- what can we expect to see from them when they go against Penn State this weekend?
Mark Dent: See above. They have three quarterabacks who get playing time, two awesome DT's and an athletic receiving core. They have above average tools but just haven' tput it together. Thus, Danny Hope is on the hot seat and rightfully so.
Mark Dent: Plus, it's gotta be tough to be good in Indiana. That's two Big Ten schools in a state that has like very little talent.
Bruce: Should Penn State come out throwing on the suspect Purdue defense?
Mark Dent: Penn State should come out throwing every game. To me, throwing opens up the run for PSU. Hit Carter and Robinson early and then mix in Belton, Zwinak and Zordich after that initial first down
Longtime Lion: Does tips team have more talent then most of us thought, and does that say something about the previous staff and how this staff has coached them up?
Mark Dent: I think this team has talent that the previous staff overlooked. Allen Robinson barely played last year, and you can't just say all of his success is because of a system. Look at Zordich as well. He's been decent running the ball, and he wasted away as a blocker for three years.
Lenny the Lion: What do you think Redd and Brown are thinking after transferring to teams that each have two losses now?
Mark Dent: I think especially Brown is hurting. Oklahoma has been a disappointment, and he must just be thinking what he could do in this offense, given A-Rob's success. Silas Redd is in Southern California. NO ONE is ever upset in SoCal. Too warm and too many parties.
CollegeAve: As a recent newcomer to Penn State, can you comment on what football related, but off-the-field things is Penn State doing well, what are they getting better at, and what do they need to improve upon (i.e. media access, atmosphere, etc.)?
Mark Dent: Sure.
Media access: Not any better than previous years from what I've been told. We still get these conference calls and rarely see players face to face. They make a big deal about open practice but it's for 20 minutes once a week
Atmosphere: Electric as always. Saturday was the best yet, but people are always tailgating and having a great time.
The Town: People still love to PSU. Go to a bar on the weekends and DJ's will interrupt the regular music to do a "We Are" chant.
John: Any idea if any of the recent commitments are any good?
Mark Dent: Breneman, the start tight end, seems as locked in as any. So he's good to go. The 2 and 3 star guys PSU have are also probably good to go. They've had little other comparable options.
I say still wait on Hackenberg. The fact that he came to the OSU game has to help, but February is still far away.
Bruce: Is Belton a big time back?
Mark Dent: Too early to tell on Belton. I don't think he'll be Silas Redd big but he'll be a good player. Just don't think All Big Ten or anything.
Guest: Are there good backups who can fill in for Mauti and company after this year?
Mark Dent: Yeah. That's a good question. Mike Hull is a linebacker who will be able to fill in. He's played as well as any backup this year. Also look for Nyeem Wartman, the true freshman to step in. He was playing until his injury and I expect him to be a starter or at least first off the bench next year. I don't think the LB corps will slip too much. A little, but not a lot.
Guest: Ficken has an injury. What if he can't kick?
Mark Dent: He's had the injury the last couple of weeks. More of a nagging injury. He was kicking at practice yesterday.
John: Now former Prez Spanier is being charged. Will it ever end?
Mark Dent: No. It won't. The legal process will continue for years, considering McQueary's lawsuit, the settlements with victims etc. But life in Happy Valley seems pretty normal, though. I've been at Saint's Cafe all morning and no one has talked about Spanier.
Mark Dent: I'll be interested to hear the AG's presser at noon. Spanier was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, meaning his charges likely only stem from stuff this last year: lying to the grand jury and then lying/misleading to the investigators.
Lenny the Lion: Predictions in the last remaining games?
Mark Dent: Prediction: I say Penn State goes 2-2. I think PSU loses at Nebraska for sure and then loses to either Purdue or Wisconsin.
Mark Dent: 7-5 wouldn't be bad, but 8-4 would sound a lot better.
Gronk: Ever seen a team use its tight ends more?
Mark Dent: Only the New England Patriots
Mark Dent: And even them, probably not. PSU uses their tight ends a lot.
NCAA hater: When do you think the reduction in scholarships and defections will show up on the field?
Mark Dent: If core players leave after this season, then we could see it next year. If not, we'll see it in 2014 for sure. By then, two classes will have graduated and been replaced with smaller classes. Penn State will feel a hit for sure.
PSU fan: Any update on the open tryouts and whether they have found a few players?
Mark Dent: Yeah, they found a handful. I believe about five, O'Brien said. Those guys aren't allowed to practice or anything yet, though, so we don't know their identities.
Mark Dent: All right guys. I have to take off. Thanks for joining me. Enjoy the game on Saturday and come back again next week!
Guest: Is Mauti deserving of national awards?
Mark Dent: One more: No. He's deserves to be nominated, but he's not the BEST player at his position in the nation