Obli's Observations - Too Little, Too Late

Obliviax

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Aug 21, 2001
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I think someone else said "square peg in a round hole" when referring to Sean Clifford. I agree....he lost a lot of talent around him. His physical skills limit his ability to make plays.

The difference in the game? Scott Frost had the balls to bench a two-year starter for a freshman. CJF didn't until it was clear Clifford was fully baked. Hate typing that as I love the kid. Living in Ohio, his state championship performance at St. X is legendary.

Offense
  • It is very clear that our WRs simply are awful at blocking. That has caused us to completely abandon anything off the edge like bubble screens and jet sweeps.
  • Our RB, at least at this point, are pedestrian compared to anything in the CJF era. But some of that has to do with the fact that opposing defenses simply concentrate of defending tackle to tackle due to our poor WR blocking.
  • It is hard to see if the WR are getting open or running crisp routes. But the fear of Levis creating, as he did on the long throw to Frier, seems to have opened up the O a little
  • Don't understand the play-calling in the red zone. But I do have to say with a limited offense (only between the tackles) the red zone if more difficult. And running fades to shot WRs? We've got two outstanding TE that or 6-5 or better. Can't we run jump balls to them on 4th down? Why not roll Levis out so they have to guard the run and to layers deep?
  • Nebraska blitz, seemingly, on every single play. We didn't make them pay outside of one TD run where a broken tackle led to an easy job into the end zone. Maybe the lack of blocking or maturity at WR is killing us. Gotta flood that blitzer's zone when you see it at the snap as a hot read.
  • We had a really nice Screen set up at a critical time but the pass was lofted so softly it gave the D time to recover.
  • Two really questionable coaching decisions: Going for a long FG early in the game instead of pinning Neb deep early. the second was going for it on 4th and 10 from the 13-yard line down by 7 with 3:45 to go in the game and three timeouts. Neb had just thrown a pick with a Frosh QB and wasn't about to throw it up by 4 with 3:40 left. Then to throw a 7-year pass to Frier while needing ten?
  • RB's ran hard and the line blocked but it was also against a D trying to protect a lead for all of the second half.
  • Still waiting to see a pass on a "run, PASS, option" (RPO)

Defense
  • It looked like they were unprepared for the speed that McCaffrey brought to the position. Seems to me, you run blitz and let the kid beat you through the air, if he can. We gave up way too many chunk plays to him running. Their RB were not exceptional.
  • I didn't see much of Joey Porter. He did play but wasn't highly involved.
  • Some poor discipline on the roughing play. Our LBers don't play team ball; they want to be on TV. They come in too hot and do a lot of preening after plays. I saw a guy talking trash after we gave up 7 yards of first down. Jeesh.
  • Our OLB seem slow....we simply do not set an edge and give up a LOT of yards around end.
  • We got a TURNOVER!!!
Special Teams
  • This is, to me, the worst part of our game (OK, red zone O is worse).
  • SP consistently does dumb things. They kicked off to #24, probably seeing something on film, and he would consistently catch the ball and get to the 18 or so instead of fair catching it and getting the ball at the 25. That is a big ball control difference. OK, he is a fresh that never had the ball kicked to him? Somebody get in his ear and coach him up for God's sake!
  • Dotson with a nice punt return but that was individual effort.
  • Not sure how your FG try ends up five yards short on anything but a desperation FG try.

Love Sean Clifford and you could see him helping and cheering on Levis. I wonder if it was a relief to be pulled. I also wonder who CJF will start next week at home against Iowa. On one hand, maybe SC just needed to stand on the sidelines and clear his head. On the other, Levis played well and deserves to start with a game planned around his skill set. My bet? He starts SC but on a very short leash.
 
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OhioLion

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On the other, Levis played well and deserves to start with a game planned around his skill set. My bet? He starts SC but on a very short leash.
Nice summary, Obli.
The problem with starting SC and having a short leash, IMO, brings you back to Saturday when Will came into the game. You have it in your summary. The game plan will likely be designed for SC skills, not WL’s skills.
Start Levis and roll with it.
To soon to call for the back up to the back up?😉. Roberson needs to get reps. (Please turn sarcasm meters up).

OL
 

ram2020

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Jul 29, 2013
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Nice summary, Obli.
The problem with starting SC and having a short leash, IMO, brings you back to Saturday when Will came into the game. You have it in your summary. The game plan will likely be designed for SC skills, not WL’s skills.
Start Levis and roll with it.
To soon to call for the back up to the back up?😉. Roberson needs to get reps. (Please turn sarcasm meters up).

OL

Does the Game plan really change with Will at QB? Our offensive game plan has not really changed at all in the last 3-4 years. RPO stuff into the middle of the defense, couple slants and fades off it, look for Pat sometimes, rinse repeat. I am an advocate of starting Will at this point, but our offense is a big nothing-burger and I don't exactly think Will and SC have different skill sets. They both are fairly inaccurate throwers who can run a little. Its not like we are going to start a statue back there or a guy that can really sling it.
 

Woodpecker

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May 29, 2001
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Does the Game plan really change with Will at QB? Our offensive game plan has not really changed at all in the last 3-4 years. RPO stuff into the middle of the defense, couple slants and fades off it, look for Pat sometimes, rinse repeat. I am an advocate of starting Will at this point, but our offense is a big nothing-burger and I don't exactly think Will and SC have different skill sets. They both are fairly inaccurate throwers who can run a little. Its not like we are going to start a statue back there or a guy that can really sling it.
Agree. Which of the same 4 plays (many of which worked a couple times but then were so predictable, the D was waiting for them [e.g., QB draw]) are more tailored to WL than SC?
 

OhioLion

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Does the Game plan really change with Will at QB? Our offensive game plan has not really changed at all in the last 3-4 years. RPO stuff into the middle of the defense, couple slants and fades off it, look for Pat sometimes, rinse repeat. I am an advocate of starting Will at this point, but our offense is a big nothing-burger and I don't exactly think Will and SC have different skill sets. They both are fairly inaccurate throwers who can run a little. Its not like we are going to start a statue back there or a guy that can really sling it.
Fair. Until a legit running game is established, your thoughts are correct.

OL
 

MrDibbs

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Feb 16, 2004
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Another great Monday morning summary, Obli. Its good that you wait to post your weekly thoughts. A good night's sleep sometimes tempers our reactions.

I did not watch the game live due to another committment. DVR late Saturday afternoon provides all the emotion that I need. Disappointed? Yes, of course.

Yesterday, I watched the 60 minute replay on BTN. Tried to focus on some seeds that were planted during my DVR viewing.

Brandon Smith's personal foul penalty was stupid and totally unnecessary. The UNL OC remembered tOSU first play jet sweep on the next play with the same result. Were the defenders minds still focused on 12s stupidity and not on the play at hand?

Speaking of stupidity, my disappointment in Thorpe's lack of self control (I remember his high school play always showed close to/after the whistle activity) has bubbled over. I don't remember seeing him in the game in the second half and struggled trying to see his #69 on the sideline. If so, good that a coach has some balls.

Another feeling that I had was that the offensive tempo picked up with Levis. Seemed like the play was called and little adjustments at the line. Just a feeling.

Obli, your view of the lack of WR blocking skill is a good one. Remember that these kids were in high school last year and there's a big difference in size/strength of defensive backs at this level.

Devin Ford seems to get a lot of criticism here. My opinion is that he played a good game Saturday. The kid ran hard, turned 2 yard losses into 2 yard gains. All between the tackles.

Red zone offense needs something. I just don't know what. Fade routes to short guys are difficult. I though that #3 was turned the wrong way (facing inward) on a ball thrown to his outside that could have been a touchdown.

Parker Washington is gonna be really good.

Sorry for the length of this -
 

LemonEars

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Mar 13, 2010
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Nice summary, Obli.
The problem with starting SC and having a short leash, IMO, brings you back to Saturday when Will came into the game. You have it in your summary. The game plan will likely be designed for SC skills, not WL’s skills.
Start Levis and roll with it.
To soon to call for the back up to the back up?😉. Roberson needs to get reps. (Please turn sarcasm meters up).

OL
Levis and Clifford seem to be much alike to me. Since the season is destroyed is it time to give Roberson a chance?
 

Obliviax

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Aug 21, 2001
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Another great Monday morning summary, Obli. Its good that you wait to post your weekly thoughts. A good night's sleep sometimes tempers our reactions.

I did not watch the game live due to another committment. DVR late Saturday afternoon provides all the emotion that I need. Disappointed? Yes, of course.

Yesterday, I watched the 60 minute replay on BTN. Tried to focus on some seeds that were planted during my DVR viewing.

Brandon Smith's personal foul penalty was stupid and totally unnecessary. The UNL OC remembered tOSU first play jet sweep on the next play with the same result. Were the defenders minds still focused on 12s stupidity and not on the play at hand?

Speaking of stupidity, my disappointment in Thorpe's lack of self control (I remember his high school play always showed close to/after the whistle activity) has bubbled over. I don't remember seeing him in the game in the second half and struggled trying to see his #69 on the sideline. If so, good that a coach has some balls.

Another feeling that I had was that the offensive tempo picked up with Levis. Seemed like the play was called and little adjustments at the line. Just a feeling.

Obli, your view of the lack of WR blocking skill is a good one. Remember that these kids were in high school last year and there's a big difference in size/strength of defensive backs at this level.

Devin Ford seems to get a lot of criticism here. My opinion is that he played a good game Saturday. The kid ran hard, turned 2 yard losses into 2 yard gains. All between the tackles.

Red zone offense needs something. I just don't know what. Fade routes to short guys are difficult. I though that #3 was turned the wrong way (facing inward) on a ball thrown to his outside that could have been a touchdown.

Parker Washington is gonna be really good.

Sorry for the length of this -
I believe Thorpe got thrown out of the game: ejected. He was dry humping the defender after pancaking him.
 
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NoBareFeet

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  • Some poor discipline on the roughing play. Our LBers don't play team ball; they want to be on TV. They come in too hot and do a lot of preening after plays. I saw a guy talking trash after we gave up 7 yards of first down. Jeesh.

I think the problem with this team can be summed up right here. Penn State just doesn't have enough Penn State type of kids this year. Used to be able to beat or hang with more talented teams because we played smart, disciplined, tough football. Now we are the more talented team losing games because we aren't smart, disciplined, or tough. And for that matter, not all that talented either.
 

sluggo72

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I think someone else said "square peg in a round hole" when referring to Sean Clifford. I agree....he lost a lot of talent around him. His physical skills limit his ability to make plays.

The difference in the game? Scott Frost had the balls to bench a two-year starter for a freshman. CJF didn't until it was clear Clifford was fully baked. Hate typing that as I love the kid. Living in Ohio, his state championship performance at St. X is legendary.

Offense
  • It is very clear that our WRs simply are awful at blocking. That has caused us to completely abandon anything off the edge like bubble screens and jet sweeps.
  • Our RB, at least at this point, are pedestrian compared to anything in the CJF era. But some of that has to do with the fact that opposing defenses simply concentrate of defending tackle to tackle due to our poor WR blocking.
  • It is hard to see if the WR are getting open or running crisp routes. But the fear of Levis creating, as he did on the long throw to Frier, seems to have opened up the O a little
  • Don't understand the play-calling in the red zone. But I do have to say with a limited offense (only between the tackles) the red zone if more difficult. And running fades to shot WRs? We've got two outstanding TE that or 6-5 or better. Can't we run jump balls to them on 4th down? Why not roll Levis out so they have to guard the run and to layers deep?
  • Nebraska blitz, seemingly, on every single play. We didn't make them pay outside of one TD run where a broken tackle led to an easy job into the end zone. Maybe the lack of blocking or maturity at WR is killing us. Gotta flood that blitzer's zone when you see it at the snap as a hot read.
  • We had a really nice Screen set up at a critical time but the pass was lofted so softly it gave the D time to recover.
  • Two really questionable coaching decisions: Going for a long FG early in the game instead of pinning Neb deep early. the second was going for it on 4th and 10 from the 13-yard line down by 7 with 3:45 to go in the game and three timeouts. Neb had just thrown a pick with a Frosh QB and wasn't about to throw it up by 4 with 3:40 left. Then to throw a 7-year pass to Frier while needing ten?
  • RB's ran hard and the line blocked but it was also against a D trying to protect a lead for all of the second half.
  • Still waiting to see a pass on a "run, PASS, option" (RPO)

Defense
  • It looked like they were unprepared for the speed that McCaffrey brought to the position. Seems to me, you run blitz and let the kid beat you through the air, if he can. We gave up way too many chunk plays to him running. Their RB were not exceptional.
  • I didn't see much of Joey Porter. He did play but wasn't highly involved.
  • Some poor discipline on the roughing play. Our LBers don't play team ball; they want to be on TV. They come in too hot and do a lot of preening after plays. I saw a guy talking trash after we gave up 7 yards of first down. Jeesh.
  • Our OLB seem slow....we simply do not set an edge and give up a LOT of yards around end.
  • We got a TURNOVER!!!
Special Teams
  • This is, to me, the worst part of our game (OK, red zone O is worse).
  • SP consistently does dumb things. They kicked off to #24, probably seeing something on film, and he would consistently catch the ball and get to the 18 or so instead of fair catching it and getting the ball at the 25. That is a big ball control difference. OK, he is a fresh that never had the ball kicked to him? Somebody get in his ear and coach him up for God's sake!
  • Dotson with a nice punt return but that was individual effort.
  • Not sure how your FG try ends up five yards short on anything but a desperation FG try.

Love Sean Clifford and you could see him helping and cheering on Levis. I wonder if it was a relief to be pulled. I also wonder who CJF will start next week at home against Iowa. On one hand, maybe SC just needed to stand on the sidelines and clear his head. On the other, Levis played well and deserves to start with a game planned around his skill set. My bet? He starts SC but on a very short leash.
well here's one for you!! Actually they ran a few more later in the game. I still think we too do much on D.
 

Texas Lion

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All great posts and responses.....

IMO what we saw Saturday was a coaching staff again trying to do more than what they needed to do. In fact I was watching the game at my house with a Nebraska Fan. We got down inside the red zone and he kept saying "here is where we lose it".......and then 5 minutes later ask why Penn State didn't keep running the ball.

So I ask you guys.....why when we got to the red zone did we stop running the ball?

Heck maybe even dial up a screen at that time....red zone screens are effective plays.

I don't know....what I do know is every game this year (besides the buttflies game) we got outcoached in different facets of the game.

Indiana: JFF and his clock mismanagement.
Maryland: Pry leaving the middle of the field WIDE open.
Nebraska: KC quitting using what was working to show everyone how smart he is.
 

Grass

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the second was going for it on 4th and 10 from the 13-yard line down by 7 with 3:45 to go in the game and three timeouts. Neb had just thrown a pick with a Frosh QB and wasn't about to throw it up by 4 with 3:40 left.

I couldn't agree more with this. When I saw that they were going for it I was like WTH? They needed a stop either way to have a chance so why not kick the FG where a TD wins you the game? It's a lot harder to play defense when you know a TD beats you as opposed to tying the game up and heading to OT. The coordinators and players start to pucker up in those situations. It made zero sense to not kick the FG. Just another questionable decision by JF.
 

kentuckycb

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I think someone else said "square peg in a round hole" when referring to Sean Clifford. I agree....he lost a lot of talent around him. His physical skills limit his ability to make plays.

The difference in the game? Scott Frost had the balls to bench a two-year starter for a freshman. CJF didn't until it was clear Clifford was fully baked. Hate typing that as I love the kid. Living in Ohio, his state championship performance at St. X is legendary.

Offense
  • It is very clear that our WRs simply are awful at blocking. That has caused us to completely abandon anything off the edge like bubble screens and jet sweeps.
  • Our RB, at least at this point, are pedestrian compared to anything in the CJF era. But some of that has to do with the fact that opposing defenses simply concentrate of defending tackle to tackle due to our poor WR blocking.
  • It is hard to see if the WR are getting open or running crisp routes. But the fear of Levis creating, as he did on the long throw to Frier, seems to have opened up the O a little
  • Don't understand the play-calling in the red zone. But I do have to say with a limited offense (only between the tackles) the red zone if more difficult. And running fades to shot WRs? We've got two outstanding TE that or 6-5 or better. Can't we run jump balls to them on 4th down? Why not roll Levis out so they have to guard the run and to layers deep?
  • Nebraska blitz, seemingly, on every single play. We didn't make them pay outside of one TD run where a broken tackle led to an easy job into the end zone. Maybe the lack of blocking or maturity at WR is killing us. Gotta flood that blitzer's zone when you see it at the snap as a hot read.
  • We had a really nice Screen set up at a critical time but the pass was lofted so softly it gave the D time to recover.
  • Two really questionable coaching decisions: Going for a long FG early in the game instead of pinning Neb deep early. the second was going for it on 4th and 10 from the 13-yard line down by 7 with 3:45 to go in the game and three timeouts. Neb had just thrown a pick with a Frosh QB and wasn't about to throw it up by 4 with 3:40 left. Then to throw a 7-year pass to Frier while needing ten?
  • RB's ran hard and the line blocked but it was also against a D trying to protect a lead for all of the second half.
  • Still waiting to see a pass on a "run, PASS, option" (RPO)

Defense
  • It looked like they were unprepared for the speed that McCaffrey brought to the position. Seems to me, you run blitz and let the kid beat you through the air, if he can. We gave up way too many chunk plays to him running. Their RB were not exceptional.
  • I didn't see much of Joey Porter. He did play but wasn't highly involved.
  • Some poor discipline on the roughing play. Our LBers don't play team ball; they want to be on TV. They come in too hot and do a lot of preening after plays. I saw a guy talking trash after we gave up 7 yards of first down. Jeesh.
  • Our OLB seem slow....we simply do not set an edge and give up a LOT of yards around end.
  • We got a TURNOVER!!!
Special Teams
  • This is, to me, the worst part of our game (OK, red zone O is worse).
  • SP consistently does dumb things. They kicked off to #24, probably seeing something on film, and he would consistently catch the ball and get to the 18 or so instead of fair catching it and getting the ball at the 25. That is a big ball control difference. OK, he is a fresh that never had the ball kicked to him? Somebody get in his ear and coach him up for God's sake!
  • Dotson with a nice punt return but that was individual effort.
  • Not sure how your FG try ends up five yards short on anything but a desperation FG try.

Love Sean Clifford and you could see him helping and cheering on Levis. I wonder if it was a relief to be pulled. I also wonder who CJF will start next week at home against Iowa. On one hand, maybe SC just needed to stand on the sidelines and clear his head. On the other, Levis played well and deserves to start with a game planned around his skill set. My bet? He starts SC but on a very short leash.

I actually really liked what I saw from Levis. The offense clearly looked more functional with him at the helm. His mechanics looked OK, but he needs more reps.

I really like Sean too, but he was being too reckless with the ball. I don't think you can put him back in until Levis has a full game to see what happens.
 

royboy

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Great summary, Obli. Your point about the receivers not blocking was a good one. It's mostly a learned skill at this level I think; Hamler was not a big guy, but he became a good blocker through his quickness and tenacious approach.

One other thing that told me something was Friermuth getting caught from behind on the long pass play. He is a good player, but not a 1st round talent, as the better NFL tight ends are faster than that. So he can't often be the primary receiver. His blocking was a little better IMO than previous games, but #86 is a better blocker.
 

royboy

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I'd like to see the Offense utilize running backs, Ford especially in the passing game.

Watching how the Steelers (yeah, I know this group is not the Steelers) use the running back as a check-down in spread formations. There can be room to run sometimes just past the line of scrimmage in the middle of the field; couldn't be any worse than the current red zone plays.
 

Texas Lion

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I'd like to see the Offense utilize running backs, Ford especially in the passing game.

Watching how the Steelers (yeah, I know this group is not the Steelers) use the running back as a check-down in spread formations. There can be room to run sometimes just past the line of scrimmage in the middle of the field; couldn't be any worse than the current red zone plays.

Agreed....did Minnesota utilize the RB in their passing game? If they did this could be yet another clash of what KC can do and what JFF wants to do.
 

sluggo72

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Great summary, Obli. Your point about the receivers not blocking was a good one. It's mostly a learned skill at this level I think; Hamler was not a big guy, but he became a good blocker through his quickness and tenacious approach.

One other thing that told me something was Friermuth getting caught from behind on the long pass play. He is a good player, but not a 1st round talent, as the better NFL tight ends are faster than that. So he can't often be the primary receiver. His blocking was a little better IMO than previous games, but #86 is a better blocker.
I thought he cost himself some money on that play. That said he almost looked injured the way he ran.
 
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PSUfiji

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I believe Thorpe got thrown out of the game: ejected. He was dry humping the defender after pancaking him.
UNFORTUNATELY, I think Thorpe is trying to emulate the success of Steve "The Wiz" Wisniewski, once ranked as the 16th "Dirtiest Player in the NFL." His father Chris played with him at Penn State and probably told him stories about how aggressively he played.

I had the occasion to meet "Stevie Boy" when he was still a formative kid living a couple of doors up the street/hill from my family's home in Pittsburgh. I was back home on Spring Break and hanging with my homies at Wisniewski's home at the Top of the Hill with a spectacular panoramic view of Oakmont across the Allegheny River. Steve was around ten years old at the time, and his older brother and other eventual Penn State great - Leo, and next-door neighbor Jack Curley (Kent State) were teaching him how to play football in the carport. They were trying to impress me because I was a member of a fraternity with many Penn State football players... so they excitedly told me "you gotta see this!"

10 year old Stevie Boy was just about the same size as I was at the time, 5'11" 175. So they told Stevie Boy to put on his helmet and show me what he got. I literally cringed at what I witnessed next... he squared up with the home's brick wall about 20 feet away, and ran full speed with head down right into the wall! I said, "DAMN!!!" And was completely amazed and horrified by the display of brute force. BUT... that was just the start... he kept attacking that wall repetitively until I worried about the integrity of the structure, as it was obvious Stevie Boy was enjoying himself. I was dumbfounded, but not surprised when Leo and Stevie became stars at Penn State and played in the NFL.

That is why I was so supportive of Thorpe when he first started playing at Penn State, also having known his dad and uncle Gene (most of the Thorpe family are notable athletes including the girls). I hope CJ straightens-out his game play soon, as he's playing in an era of much more protective environment.
 

PearlSUJam

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Speaking of stupidity, my disappointment in Thorpe's lack of self control (I remember his high school play always showed close to/after the whistle activity) has bubbled over. I don't remember seeing him in the game in the second half and struggled trying to see his #69 on the sideline. If so, good that a coach has some balls.
 
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PSUfiji

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is it a chicken or the egg thing??? IF the fan base complaints were unfounded, why make the changes??? IF the fans didn't complain, would these changes have been made???
 

sluggo72

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is it a chicken or the egg thing??? IF the fan base complaints were unfounded, why make the changes??? IF the fans didn't complain, would these changes have been made???
well coaches watch the tape too, and they can see the same problems we see (most times) but they did make changes. The OL that started the game looked pretty good to me, though the LG position needs some work. The next glaring position is Safety. On one of NE TD's did you see the one safety had to push the other out of the way (or maybe into the play? ) I still think we do too much on D
 
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gogolion

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One other thing that told me something was Friermuth getting caught from behind on the long pass play.
100%! I can understand a D back catching up with a TE, but he looked like he was out of gas. Also, when you see you're going to get caught, why not swtich hands and stiff arm the puny (in comparison) D-back? It ended up not mattering, but he should have scored on that play.
 
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PSU2UNC

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I believe Thorpe got thrown out of the game: ejected. He was dry humping the defender after pancaking him.
He wasn't (he just didn't get up in a timely fashion) and he wasn't ejected (it was his first unsportsmanlike conduct).
 
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BiochemPSU

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I don't know if Levis can take 3 quarters of pounding and still be accurate and composed in the passing game in the 4th quarter of a close game.
 

PSU2UNC

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I don't know if Levis can take 3 quarters of pounding and still be accurate and composed in the passing game in the 4th quarter of a close game.
Why do you think that? He's bigger than Clifford. Not that I want either QB taking a ton of pounding, but Levis seems to be better suited to it.
 

PSU2UNC

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I'm pretty sure he did something to his shoulder in the OSU game. I noticed him favoring his shoulder after getting tackled near the sidelines during the game.
He got up slowly a handful of times on Saturday. None of them looked serious but he definitely looked a step slower than usual on that catch/run.
 
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PSU2UNC

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I think there are some parallels between this season and the 2016 season, especially as it relates to breaking in a new offense.

Perhaps people have forgotten but the team started slowly in a lot of their games that year. Against P5 opponents they trailed at halftime in six games and were tied in two others (at the half). That offense was more explosive than the 2020 version, so coming back from behind was easier. Or perhaps the offense hasn’t gelled yet (four game into the 2016 season, PSU was 2-2 with wins over only Kent State and Temple). Time will tell, but while I am unhappy with the game outcomes, I think both the offense and the defense are doing some good things. All is not lost.
 
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Obliviax

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Aug 21, 2001
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I think there are some parallels between this season and the 2016 season, especially as it relates to breaking in a new offense.

Perhaps people have forgotten but the team started slowly in a lot of their games that year. Against P5 opponents they trailed at halftime in six games and were tied in two others (at the half). That offense was more explosive than the 2020 version, so coming back from behind was easier. Or perhaps the offense hasn’t gelled yet (four game into the 2016 season, PSU was 2-2 with wins over only Kent State and Temple). Time will tell, but while I am unhappy with the game outcomes, I think both the offense and the defense are doing some good things. All is not lost.
I'd love to agree with you but......Credit where due, Levis sparked the team. The other side of that is a) NEB is not a good team and started a fresh QB who also had limited coaching opps and b) NEB was nursing a big lead and probably gave us too much cushion not wanting to give up big plays (which they did anyway).

BTW, Frost didn't coach his best game. When he passed late, which got intercepted, I was laughing. If you are going to pass, put McC in motion and let him pass if a guy is wide open but really want him to run for a first down and not OOB. Crazy stupid play when having a kid in his first start and a Freshman.
 

dtrainers

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I think someone else said "square peg in a round hole" when referring to Sean Clifford. I agree....he lost a lot of talent around him. His physical skills limit his ability to make plays.

The difference in the game? Scott Frost had the balls to bench a two-year starter for a freshman. CJF didn't until it was clear Clifford was fully baked. Hate typing that as I love the kid. Living in Ohio, his state championship performance at St. X is legendary.

Offense
  • It is very clear that our WRs simply are awful at blocking. That has caused us to completely abandon anything off the edge like bubble screens and jet sweeps.
  • Our RB, at least at this point, are pedestrian compared to anything in the CJF era. But some of that has to do with the fact that opposing defenses simply concentrate of defending tackle to tackle due to our poor WR blocking.
  • It is hard to see if the WR are getting open or running crisp routes. But the fear of Levis creating, as he did on the long throw to Frier, seems to have opened up the O a little
  • Don't understand the play-calling in the red zone. But I do have to say with a limited offense (only between the tackles) the red zone if more difficult. And running fades to shot WRs? We've got two outstanding TE that or 6-5 or better. Can't we run jump balls to them on 4th down? Why not roll Levis out so they have to guard the run and to layers deep?
  • Nebraska blitz, seemingly, on every single play. We didn't make them pay outside of one TD run where a broken tackle led to an easy job into the end zone. Maybe the lack of blocking or maturity at WR is killing us. Gotta flood that blitzer's zone when you see it at the snap as a hot read.
  • We had a really nice Screen set up at a critical time but the pass was lofted so softly it gave the D time to recover.
  • Two really questionable coaching decisions: Going for a long FG early in the game instead of pinning Neb deep early. the second was going for it on 4th and 10 from the 13-yard line down by 7 with 3:45 to go in the game and three timeouts. Neb had just thrown a pick with a Frosh QB and wasn't about to throw it up by 4 with 3:40 left. Then to throw a 7-year pass to Frier while needing ten?
  • RB's ran hard and the line blocked but it was also against a D trying to protect a lead for all of the second half.
  • Still waiting to see a pass on a "run, PASS, option" (RPO)

Defense
  • It looked like they were unprepared for the speed that McCaffrey brought to the position. Seems to me, you run blitz and let the kid beat you through the air, if he can. We gave up way too many chunk plays to him running. Their RB were not exceptional.
  • I didn't see much of Joey Porter. He did play but wasn't highly involved.
  • Some poor discipline on the roughing play. Our LBers don't play team ball; they want to be on TV. They come in too hot and do a lot of preening after plays. I saw a guy talking trash after we gave up 7 yards of first down. Jeesh.
  • Our OLB seem slow....we simply do not set an edge and give up a LOT of yards around end.
  • We got a TURNOVER!!!
Special Teams
  • This is, to me, the worst part of our game (OK, red zone O is worse).
  • SP consistently does dumb things. They kicked off to #24, probably seeing something on film, and he would consistently catch the ball and get to the 18 or so instead of fair catching it and getting the ball at the 25. That is a big ball control difference. OK, he is a fresh that never had the ball kicked to him? Somebody get in his ear and coach him up for God's sake!
  • Dotson with a nice punt return but that was individual effort.
  • Not sure how your FG try ends up five yards short on anything but a desperation FG try.

Love Sean Clifford and you could see him helping and cheering on Levis. I wonder if it was a relief to be pulled. I also wonder who CJF will start next week at home against Iowa. On one hand, maybe SC just needed to stand on the sidelines and clear his head. On the other, Levis played well and deserves to start with a game planned around his skill set. My bet? He starts SC but on a very short leash.

I know Clifford's passing hasn't been stellar this season, but it seems like our WR's and TE's have a case of the drops again. KLS, Pat and others don't seem to be able to come up with the critcal catches on 3rd down, etc to keep drives alive. Need more guys like Godwin and Hamilton who can hold on, even when the pass isn't perfect
 

cidsports

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Nov 8, 2001
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OP is giving Scott Frost too much credit. Nebraska plays multiple QBs.

In last year's final B1G game, he played three QBs in the first quarter, including the freshman QB the OP mentioned.

Fwiw
 

1000_OaksLion

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Jul 15, 2001
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Levis and Clifford seem to be much alike to me. Since the season is destroyed is it time to give Roberson a chance?
The biggest difference between the 2 is that Levis runs with authority. He can physically punish some LBs and DBs which takes it's toll not only on Levis but the defenders as well. I want to see the kid play with a full week of #1 reps. He said in his presser that he only gets a couple of snaps in practice with the ones. Maybe he can develop a chemistry that Cliff could not. But ultimately there needs to be a strong, reliable running game for any qb to reach their potential.
 
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royboy

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The biggest difference between the 2 is that Levis runs with authority. He can physically punish some LBs and DBs which takes it's toll not only on Levis but the defenders as well. I want to see the kid play with a full week of #1 reps. He said in his presser that he only gets a couple of snaps in practice with the ones. Maybe he can develop a chemistry that Cliff could not. But ultimately there needs to be a strong, reliable running game for any qb to reach their potential.
Dare we compare Levis to Michael Robinson?

M-Rob was not a high percentage passer and it took him a while to be comfortable at QB. But his toughness, size, and leadership ability were terrific.
 

Obliviax

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Dare we compare Levis to Michael Robinson?

M-Rob was not a high percentage passer and it took him a while to be comfortable at QB. But his toughness, size, and leadership ability were terrific.
I thought Levis ran with a bit more authority than SC. But what I really liked is that his decisions were crisp; both in the RPO meshpoint and picking a receiver to throw to.
 

CDLionFL

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Jul 27, 2008
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  • the second was going for it on 4th and 10 from the 13-yard line down by 7 with 3:45 to go in the game and three timeouts. Neb had just thrown a pick with a Frosh QB and wasn't about to throw it up by 4 with 3:40 left. Then to throw a 7-year pass to Frier while needing ten?

Gonna have to strongly disagree with you on this one. This is the kind of Franklin math that I've facepalmed about in the past (see vs. Michigan in 2015 and vs. Kentucky in 2019). I fully expected him to do that exact thing and send out the kicking team. He needed a touchdown and there's zero guarantee you're gonna get the ball back let alone get it that close again. You gotta take a shot at it, especially with how scattershot the kicking game has been this year. I applaud him for going for it but the play called was horribly concocted and executed.
 

bvillebaron

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Feb 4, 2004
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I think someone else said "square peg in a round hole" when referring to Sean Clifford. I agree....he lost a lot of talent around him. His physical skills limit his ability to make plays.

The difference in the game? Scott Frost had the balls to bench a two-year starter for a freshman. CJF didn't until it was clear Clifford was fully baked. Hate typing that as I love the kid. Living in Ohio, his state championship performance at St. X is legendary.

Offense
  • It is very clear that our WRs simply are awful at blocking. That has caused us to completely abandon anything off the edge like bubble screens and jet sweeps.
  • Our RB, at least at this point, are pedestrian compared to anything in the CJF era. But some of that has to do with the fact that opposing defenses simply concentrate of defending tackle to tackle due to our poor WR blocking.
  • It is hard to see if the WR are getting open or running crisp routes. But the fear of Levis creating, as he did on the long throw to Frier, seems to have opened up the O a little
  • Don't understand the play-calling in the red zone. But I do have to say with a limited offense (only between the tackles) the red zone if more difficult. And running fades to shot WRs? We've got two outstanding TE that or 6-5 or better. Can't we run jump balls to them on 4th down? Why not roll Levis out so they have to guard the run and to layers deep?
  • Nebraska blitz, seemingly, on every single play. We didn't make them pay outside of one TD run where a broken tackle led to an easy job into the end zone. Maybe the lack of blocking or maturity at WR is killing us. Gotta flood that blitzer's zone when you see it at the snap as a hot read.
  • We had a really nice Screen set up at a critical time but the pass was lofted so softly it gave the D time to recover.
  • Two really questionable coaching decisions: Going for a long FG early in the game instead of pinning Neb deep early. the second was going for it on 4th and 10 from the 13-yard line down by 7 with 3:45 to go in the game and three timeouts. Neb had just thrown a pick with a Frosh QB and wasn't about to throw it up by 4 with 3:40 left. Then to throw a 7-year pass to Frier while needing ten?
  • RB's ran hard and the line blocked but it was also against a D trying to protect a lead for all of the second half.
  • Still waiting to see a pass on a "run, PASS, option" (RPO)

Defense
  • It looked like they were unprepared for the speed that McCaffrey brought to the position. Seems to me, you run blitz and let the kid beat you through the air, if he can. We gave up way too many chunk plays to him running. Their RB were not exceptional.
  • I didn't see much of Joey Porter. He did play but wasn't highly involved.
  • Some poor discipline on the roughing play. Our LBers don't play team ball; they want to be on TV. They come in too hot and do a lot of preening after plays. I saw a guy talking trash after we gave up 7 yards of first down. Jeesh.
  • Our OLB seem slow....we simply do not set an edge and give up a LOT of yards around end.
  • We got a TURNOVER!!!
Special Teams
  • This is, to me, the worst part of our game (OK, red zone O is worse).
  • SP consistently does dumb things. They kicked off to #24, probably seeing something on film, and he would consistently catch the ball and get to the 18 or so instead of fair catching it and getting the ball at the 25. That is a big ball control difference. OK, he is a fresh that never had the ball kicked to him? Somebody get in his ear and coach him up for God's sake!
  • Dotson with a nice punt return but that was individual effort.
  • Not sure how your FG try ends up five yards short on anything but a desperation FG try.

Love Sean Clifford and you could see him helping and cheering on Levis. I wonder if it was a relief to be pulled. I also wonder who CJF will start next week at home against Iowa. On one hand, maybe SC just needed to stand on the sidelines and clear his head. On the other, Levis played well and deserves to start with a game planned around his skill set. My bet? He starts SC but on a very short leash.

Excellent analysis. I think you are right about Clifford/Levis Maybe the benching can serve as a wake up call for him. Let’s hope.
 
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bvillebaron

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Feb 4, 2004
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Gonna have to strongly disagree with you on this one. This is the kind of Franklin math that I've facepalmed about in the past (see vs. Michigan in 2015 and vs. Kentucky in 2019). I fully expected him to do that exact thing and send out the kicking team. He needed a touchdown and there's zero guarantee you're gonna get the ball back let alone get it that close again. You gotta take a shot at it, especially with how scattershot the kicking game has been this year. I applaud him for going for it but the play called was horribly concocted and executed.

Yeah I didn’t have a problem with him going for it either. And you’re right the play call was lousy v