Monday, January 02, 2006

Cook: Rough Times Ahead for PSU

Wow. Cook isn't exactly brimming over in confidence with Penn State's most recent recruiting classes that will be filling the holes left by the departing starters. Yes, there are questions. Yes, there is inexperience. But more importantly, yes, there is talent. The reason the 2003 team followed up the 9-4 2002 season with a 3-9 record is because the cupboard was absolutely bare. Those recruiting classes that filled the holes were some of the worst in Penn State history. There's a reason that Penn State didn't have an players drafted in the 2005 NFL Draft- the talent was not there. The classes of 2004, 2005 and 2006 are filled with high-ranking players who have already proven that they can make a difference. While highly rated players such as Dan Connor, Derrick Williams and Justin King all made their presence known in their first seasons, guys like Mark Rubin and Jordan Norwood have proven that the middle-tier players, the guys who make or break a class, are capable of playing right away and playing well.

Cook really takes the low road while most fans have taken the high road. The bottom line is this- if the offensive line gels and holds up, Morelli will be the best pure QB at PSU since Kerry Collins. Morelli even has similiar weapons to what Collins had in his arsenal. I honestly believe that the 2006 PSU team is capable of going 10-2 in the regular season, losses at Notre Dame and Ohio State. The low road, to me at least, would be 8-4. That would be the losses I already mentioned, Michigan and one other Big Ten loss (Wisconsin, perhaps?). The talent is at Penn State. It will just be a matter of how long it takes for the lines (both O and D) to gel and how long it takes Morelli to adjust. It could take them no time at all or it could take several weeks. My feeling is that the team wins big against Akron, loses at ND, hammers Youngstown State, loses to OSU, fans panic, beat Northwestern and Minnesota and then beat Michigan at home and win out. That would, at the very least, earn Penn State a return trip to Florida on New Year's Day.


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