Richy: How would you evaluate the recruiting class to date?
Mark Dent: I'd say the recruiting class is on par with this years right now. If the staff can get a some highly rated guys still with the reduction of sanctions then it can be a very good class
Richy: How soon can we expect results on the field from the additional scholies?
Mark Dent: I say not until 2015 at the earliest. Next year will still be precarious for PSU in terms of skilled depth. That's because majority of those new scholies won't be contribute right away.
Richy: How accessible is BOB and the coaching staff during the week? Would you say he is media friendly or adverse?
Mark Dent: That's an interesting question. Definitely not friendly. PSU has almost no availability compared to other teams. But O'Brien doesn't hate the media. He just does the bare minimum and is quite friendly during his appearances
Richy: I see all the remaining games as winnable, except Wisconisn. What is your take?
Mark Dent: Absolutely. I think Penn State should win all of them except Wisconsin. Purdue is a guarantee, Nebraska is not that good IMHO and Minnesota will only be tough because it is a road game. Wisconsin, I think, is an unlikely win because it's a road game and the Badgers are pretty good. Aside from OSU, I say the best in the Big Ten.
Richy: What are you expecting from Minnie this week, a steady dose of the running backs, or do you think they may have tricks up their sleeves?
Mark Dent: Just the steady dose. If anything this year Minnesota has proven to be predictable, and it's worked, particularly the last three games. I think Penn State will do well against the running game, though. The Nittany Lions have been having trouble with these spread-type of offense. Minnesota is a good matchup for them.
Richy: Indications are the bowl ban may get lifted next year? Are you hearing anything?
Mark Dent: Probably just the same rumors you are. Nothing that is definite. I think it will happen. George Mitchell will come on with his quarterly report or whatever in the spring and he'll say how much Penn State has been doing what the NCAA says and then bam, the bowl ban is gone.
Richy: What is interesting to me is, I don't see PS doing anything differently then they have in the past. Perhaps documenting their programs differently, but has really changed if anything? (regarding the football culture thing)
Mark Dent: In terms of stuff we can actually see, not really. But they've hired a couple new people in compliance and altered the oversight in the athletic department a little so it is more closely aligned with the university. They are pretty subtle changes but not by any means insignificant. Now if they'd prevent something as horrible as Sandusky from being able to use campus facilities and getting away with it is another question
Paul: What's the status of Lynch? With Zwinak's fumbling problem, does Lynch get more of an opportunity behind Belton?
Mark Dent: Lynch is still considered day to day because of his knee. If healthy, yes he will get more behind Belton. That was starting to become evident in the Ohio State game when Lynch had 11 second half carries to Zwinak's zero.
Bruce: When will next commits come, and how do they get to 25?
Mark Dent: I think we'll see the staff working extra hard on those extra commits in December once the season ends. Could be a little quite over the next few weeks as high school programs are finishing up their seasons.
Bruce: Any chance they get any of the WPIAL undecideds? They need to tap into that talent base!
Mark Dent: Who in particular are you wondering about?
Bruce: BOB is sounding and acting like Belichick. Love what he is doing with the program, but the media stuff is getting old. Starting to make JoePa sound interesting.
Mark Dent: You're not the first person I've heard that from. Several fans have made that exact same comparison - his whole - let me look at the film and then never responding about it is kind of tired. Plus he gets irritated at tough questions. It's like he can't understand why people would criticize him.
Bruce: Stud lineman, db Nicholson and a few others, I believe.
Mark Dent: Yup - Nicholson - that's who I was thinking of, too. I'd be surprised if he came to PSU just based on the last few years. The top, top prospects seem to go elsewhere - like Alabama last year, and Nicholson seems like he prefers the West Coast.
Mark Dent: Alex Bookser, one of those top linemen, seems more into Pitt right now, but that could change.
Bruce: By the way, I worked in sports media for years. Seems that since I got out of the business coaches have gotten more powerful, incredibly arrogant and have developed a I don't give a bleep about the media attitude!
Mark Dent: You're probably right. I've only been doing this for a couple years so I can't speak about the past. But I suspect it has to do with the money and the pressure. These coaches are working insane hours and making beyond insane money - it's not healthy. This makes them ultra-defensive and petulant. And it's only the head coaches. The assistants are rarely as arrogant as the head coaches or tough to speak to.
Mark Dent: All right guys, thanks for the questions today. I'm out of here. For the record, I say Penn State beats Minnesota by 10.