Penn State football chat, 8 p.m., Oct. 20

The Nittany Lions are preparing for the big prime time White Out game against Ohio State on Saturday.

Will Christian Hackenberg be running for his life more than ever against surging Ohio State?

Will Christian Hackenberg be running for his life more than ever against surging Ohio State?

This sure had a different feel to it, say, three or four weeks ago, didn’t it?

Penn State is a two-touchdown underdog and it seems that many fans are preparing for a possibly much worse outcome in Beaver Stadium. So let’s chat about it all tonight at 8.

What hope does James Franklin and the Lions have of keeping this close into the fourth quarter? How can Penn State’s impressive defense halt the high-scoring Buckeyes?

We can also hit on the rest of the Big Ten, recruiting and whatever else you like related to Penn State football.

Posted in Beaver Stadium, Big Ten, Christian Hackenberg, Fans, Football, Frank Bodani, James Franklin, Ohio State, Penn State, Recruiting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Penn State bye week chat, 8 p.m., Oct. 13

Sure enough, this latest loss almost had to be given away.

How much can James Franklin and his staff do to improve the Lions with another week off?

How much can James Franklin and his staff do to improve the Lions with another week off?

And Penn State certainly found ways to do that in the second half at Michigan. Suddenly, the Nittany Lions are staring down the barrel at three-straight defeats with surging Ohio State coming to town in two weeks.

Let’s chat tonight about what went wrong against the Wolverines and how it might be fixed — or at least look improved after a bye week. Join me from 8 to 9 p.m.

What is your biggest concern for Penn State as it prepares for the second half of the season? How many victories to you see to be had?

We’ll talk about that, recruiting, the Big Ten and more.

To get started, check out my column from today on who needs to hold this Penn State football season together.

Posted in Big Ten, Chat, coaching staff, Fans, Football, Frank Bodani, James Franklin, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Recruiting | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making the most out of Michigan … Penn State football-style

We can overlook the inconveniences of a football trip to Michigan.

A $50 parking fee for reporters at the stadium?

The best hotel breakfast buffet in the Big Ten vanquished because a certain Marriott doubled its weekend room rates?

A dump truck fire knocked out power around Detroit for hours before this weekend's game.

A dump truck fire knocked out power around Detroit for hours before this weekend’s game.

And a dump truck fire that knocked out our hotel power for hours?

Rather, we like to be positive-thinkers and doers. So, traveling to Ann Arbor to write about Penn State playing Michigan over the past 20 years has provided more memorable moments than sketchy ones.

Like how I met one of my best buddies in the business wondering around the Michigan press box hours before the 1994 game, a legendary affair for Penn State fans. Kerry Collins to Bobby Engram to win it on a clinic pass play? My unheralded key to the day, rather, was the hard blocking and even receiving of York County fullback Jon Witman.

There was another Nittany Lion victory in the Big House two years later, keyed by a punt block of all things.

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Posted in Big Ten, Football, Frank Bodani, Life on the road, Michigan, Penn State | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How can Penn State take down the Wolverines?

It’s difficult to really know what to expect tonight in Michigan Stadium.

We know Penn State’s strengths and weaknesses. And how the Nittany Lions’ largest problems must be worked on over the longer haul.

But the Michigan Wolverines? They have all of their scholarships, a tenured head coach, high-power assistants, lots of talent on both sides of the ball and a senior quarterback.

And yet they are the ones on a three-game losing streak. They have appeared sloppy, disinterested, mistake-prone and out-of-place — sometimes all on the same afternoon.

The Lions must get more out of versatile Bill Belton.

The Lions must get more out of versatile Bill Belton.

Still, they are a threat to fire out angry and meaningful at any time. Could that be tonight on national TV in their first Big Ten night game in the Big House?

Here are five Penn State pressure points … the areas that could very well determine victory or defeat:

1. Keep Hack clean. Judge most of the night by how comfortable quarterback Christian Hackenberg looks in the pocket … and how much space and time he’s getting to work free from those Wolverine rushers. The Penn State staff needed to tweak the play design, the pocket location, the blocking — something — to help its star quarterback do his thing.

Michigan can bring the heat with anyone. Keep an eye on Frank Clark, a big-time disruptor, and blitzing linebacker Jake Ryan.

2. Three is better than one. The Lions have a unique combination of tailback talents. But they’re not getting the most from them, not even close. We like Bill Belton catching passes (The traditional screen play, anyone?). If Zach Zwinak isn’t your choice to work behind this line, let him block. And if Akeel Lynch can’t handle blocking assignments, find more ways to use his slashing running style. Use them in tandem. Make them your advantage.

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Posted in Big Ten, Bill Belton, Christian Hackenberg, coaching staff, Fans, Football, James Franklin, Penn State, Recruiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Podcast: Offenses will be in spotlight Saturday night

Michigan and Penn State have both had their issues moving the ball with consistency. Can PSU take advantage of last week’s time off? Will Michigan struggle after a loss at Rutgers. Jim Seip and Frank Bodani talk about Penn State’s 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday in Ann Arbor.

Posted in Adam Breneman, Big Ten, Bill Belton, Christian Hackenberg, Depth chart, Football, Frank Bodani, James Franklin, Jim Seip, Joe Paterno, NCAA, Ohio State, Penn State | Leave a comment

Penn State football chat, 8 p.m., Oct. 6

The Nittany Lions had a week to rest and try to fix their problems.

Will the Lions try to get more from Jesse James and the tight ends in the  pass game?

Will the Lions try to get more from Jesse James and the tight ends in the pass game?

Let’s take some time tonight to chat about what good the bye week did for Penn State and how the players and coaches will respond to a prime time road game Saturday at desperate Michigan.

Are you concerned about recruiting at all with Pittsburgh-area cornerback Jordan Whitehead electing to stay close to home with the Panthers and star quarterback commit Brandon Wimbush suddenly visiting Notre Dame?

We’ll talk about all of that and more from 8 to 9 p.m., including a recap of the Big Ten’s big weekend.

For starters, check out my column today on two intriguing Penn State leaders for the second half of the season.

And what do you think of the Lions slipping to No. 10 in the Big Ten power rankings this week?

Posted in Big Ten, Chat, coaching staff, Fans, Football, Frank Bodani, Jesse James, Penn State, Recruiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Podcast: Lions strive to fix problems

A loss on homecoming to Northwestern, a team that had won just one game headed into its meeting with Penn State, means the Lions need to fix some problems. Frank Bodani and Jim Seip discuss what might be improved upon during a bye week before next week’s showdown with struggling Michigan.

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Penn State bye week chat, 8 p.m., Sept. 29

The Nittany Lions certainly came crashing down to earth.

It seems like the continual pressure on Christian Hackenberg is taking its toll.

It seems like the continual pressure on Christian Hackenberg is taking its toll.

Were you more stunned about how it happened or who it happened to? With Northwestern behind and a bye week and Michigan again, let’s chat about everything Penn State football tonight from 8 to 9.

Hot topics figure to be coach James Franklin and his staff as well as quarterback Christian Hackenberg. And, of course, that offensive line.

Give me your ways to help “fix” the Lions before the prime time trip to Ann Arbor.

To get warmed up, check out my column on those Penn State blockers and what needs to happen next for the Lions to regroup.

Posted in Chat, Christian Hackenberg, coaching staff, Fans, Football, Frank Bodani, James Franklin, Penn State | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

PSU to take on struggling Northwestern

PSU reporter Frank Bodani made sure to note that he doesn’t think the Wildcats are bad, he just doesn’t think they do one thing particularly well. For this and other gems, check out this week’s edition of the YDR PSU Podcast.

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Penn State football chat, 8 p.m., Sept. 22

The Lions won going away, backups D.J. Crook and Cole Chiappialle got major face time, and even the running game blossomed before our eyes.

Penn State's defense, led by senior Adrian Amos, has quietly surprised so far this season.

Penn State’s defense, led by senior Adrian Amos, has quietly surprised so far this season.

Most everything went right with Penn State’s runaway victory over Massachusetts — a victory that keeps PSU unblemished at 4-0 for the first time in six years.

Let’s chat about that Monday evening and look ahead to the big homecoming clash with Northwestern.

But did we learn enough from the game? How do you see James Franklin’s team, particularly this offense, developing over the next month in the Big Ten?

Is Christian Hackenberg performing up to expectations?

If you can’t join me from 8 to 9 on Monday, drop in a question or comment at any time, and I’ll get to those first.

To get ready, check out my column on what Crook’s quarterback performance shows about this team.

Posted in Big Ten, Chat, Christian Hackenberg, Fans, Football, Frank Bodani, James Franklin, Penn State | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment