By: Thomas Frank Carr
Here are just a few of the takeaways from Penn State Media Day on Saturday
Don’t Ask About the Deep Ball
One simple question sparked this 256 word response from Penn State Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead, in one of the most blistering defenses of a player in recent memory;
“What is the next step in Trace (McSorely’s) evolution as a quarterback?”
“That brings up an interesting topic…Kind of this thought process that’s prevailing and that you hear about that quite frankly is a gross mis-characterization; Number one of the application of our offense and the role of our quarterback… That Trace just picks the deepest receiver and chucks the ball up to him up to him and hopes the guy makes the play.
That’s in a lot of ways ridiculous at best and asinine at worst.
I don’t have all the answer but I do know this; a kid couldn’t lead the league in multiple passing categories, and set school single season records and be on the verge of multiple other school records if he was just throwing the ball indiscriminately down the field. It (this idea) minimizes the role of the people who game plan the plays, the person who calls him and the player who executes them.
I think Trace needs to understand, and he does, that the preparation aspect is critically important. He’s understanding the offense better, just keep doing the things he does. You hear people say ‘Are you guys going to be able to live on the 50/50 ball down the field?” That’s not what we do. Our offense is designed to stretch defenses horizontally and vertically and create mismatches by numbers and personnel.
So the things that we did throwing the ball down the field they didn’t happen by chance, they happened by choice.
Trace is going to his overall development by working on his preparation his effort and his execution.”
Moorhead’s mic dropping monologue went on for nearly two minutes, punctuated only by the clack of keyboards and his own breath. The Nittany Lion’s offense coordinator was getting months of pent-up retorts out in one go.
There have been plenty of questions from media and fans of whether or not the Penn State offense will be able to replace Chris Godwin and his production from last year. Clearly JoeMo heard your concerns, and vehemently disagrees.
Intel on John Reid
Last year we learned that corner John Reid was,
A) Very Smart and
B) Loves Computers
After sustaining what was reported as a season ending knee injury, we found out that Reid took advantage of the time off this summer to pursue an internship.
“John is in Portland Oregon doing an internship at intel. Actually had the opportunity to do the internship last year but didn’t feel comfortable making it work with his football responsibilities so he had accepted this summer. Based on some of the challenges that he has right now, he was able to stay and maximize that opportunity. We’ll be really excited when he gets back because of his leadership and his knowledge.”
Reid played extensively as a sophomore and was one of the Nittany lion’s best cover corners. Known for his technique and his game film, study. Reid’s absence may be felt more from that aspect, rather than just his skill on the field.
“It’s amazing, our guys can get on computers and watch the tape and they don’t’ have to be here to do that. I found out three days ago that every night John Reid is sitting at his hotel room or apartment, or whatever, and watching all the tape.”
So it would appear that Reid will in fact, not be a part of the team for the 2017-18 season, but will still have an impact as a player-coach. However in true Franklin fashion, the head coach wouldn’t completely close the door on him returning.
“John is going to have a huge impact for us this year. We’ll see how it plays out but either way he’s going to have a huge impact.”
The New Normal (Is The Old Normal)
This season has been the season that heralds the end of the ‘sanctions era’ at Penn State. Even though the team won a Big 10 championship, 11 games, and earned a Rose Bowl appearance, the impact of the sanctions are still being felt by the team. Franklin explains one side-effect of having 65 scholarships has had on the team the past two seasons.
“There was a struggle that we had were is a lot of walk-ons were playing siginifcant roles on the team and a lot of walk-ons were getting scholarships. We felt like that was normal. So there became an expectation that that’s how it is. But that’s not normal. So that was a challenge for us in terms of locker room dynamics.”
With Franklin’s impressive recruiting, and the return of all 85 scholarships, the Nittany Lions now have depth again at most positions. Though Franklin says that even that has come with its own set of challenges,
“We’re in a similar situation now, where guys felt like what we had been going through was normal. Since we’ve been here, guys show up (from high school) and they were in the two deep, right away. Some guys were forced to play. Now we’re in a situation where guys that redshirted last year have seen the evolution and saying to themselves, ‘all the redshirt freshman have huge roles.’ Well that’s not the case anymore. You gotta come in and earn those roles. It’s an interesting dynamic. Guys are going to have to learn to be patient.”
Certainly it’s a much better problem to have than the one that Franklin was dealing with previously.