Chat with Josh Moyer
Welcome to NittanyNation! On Friday, reporter Josh Moyer stops by to chat about the state of Penn State football.
Moyer joined ESPN.com in 2012 after previously working for The Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Send your questions now and join Moyer Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:00 PM)
Sorry I missed you guys last week, but it's good to be back! Let's get this thing started. Who's got the first question this week?
any update on Jake Waters?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:01 PM)
He's playing in the national title game Sunday, and he'll be in K-State for an official visit the week after. Waters told me he wants to make his decision within three days of that official, so fans should know relatively soon if they can expect to see him in the blue-and-white come January. O'Brien (and Fisher, too, if I remember right) will be visiting with Waters.
i know depth will be a big issue next several years but if you look at starting 11 only, I think we have enough talents to compete. agree?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:04 PM)
I do. Penn State should still have quality starters, especially on the offensive side of the ball. (I know ... weird, right?) Where the sanctions really come into play is depth. Injuries will be a storyline for the next four or six years because, let's say, Da'Quan Davis goes down next season ... who's going to step up? But, as it is, I think O'Brien's shown he can get this team to win. I wouldn't have said this before the season, but I think PSU can remain competitive in B1G play throughout the sanctions.
jb GOOD (PGH)
JOSH....IS PSU STILL IN THE MIX FOR TYLER BOYD?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:05 PM)
Well, he said PSU's still under consideration -- but it definitely has some catching up to do. It's not one of his favorites, but he hasn't eliminated it either. I should be at his game tonight, though, so I'm sure I'll have more updates soon. Would definitely become one of the better recruits in PSU's class.
do you know if Hack wants to be redshirted next year? we have too many TE and he had knee injury this season
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:07 PM)
Hackenberg, like any player, wants to compete and play -- but his dad wants him to redshirt because he thinks it would be in his best interest. Quite frankly, I think he ends up redshirting. If you look at past freshman QBs who couldn't enroll early -- and I'm not just talking PSU; I'm talking everywhere -- they almost always fare very badly in that season. Hackenberg's got a lot to learn in a short period of time, and he might be special in the future ... but not in the 2013 season. Even Matt Stafford struggled his rookie year. As for Breneman, who has the torn ACL, he wants to play ... but, with the TE depth, I think it would obviously be best for him to redshirt as well.
Justin (State College)
Jim, I think you are talking about Breneman. Hack is a QB.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:08 PM)
Yeah ... might have been some confusion there. Hackenberg = healthy QB. Breneman = TE with a torn ACL. (Could be game for Blue-White Game)
Do you think BoB should get a pay raise? I think PSU needs to raise his salary to show we're just as committed to him as he is to us. He did amazing things with the team this year. And although it was only one year, I feel it's necessary to keep other offers away. Your thoughts?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:11 PM)
Oh yeah, who could argue he doesn't deserve one? This is just me thinking out loud, but I wonder if O'Brien not directly answering reporters' questions about a return was to somehow get a little more leverage for a raise. His agent talking to Rovell was also a clear move in that direction ... But, still, he won B1G coach of the year AND he would have guided PSU to a bowl if not for the sanctions. (And I believe his contract stipulates he earns a bonus for making a bowl.) So, yeah, give this guy a raise; he coaches football, but he's done a lot for the university. Alumni couldn't forgive PSU if he eventually left over money
Is Penn State in contention for any remaning ESPN 150 or 300 prospects? I know they have offers out to more than several.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:13 PM)
Yeah, this staff hasn't given up on a lot of recruits -- so you have to give them some credit. There's Trey Johnson, Tyler Boyd, David Williams, Jaleel Hytche. That being said, they're ALL a long-shot to land at PSU. I think you're more likely to see under-the-radar guys commit within the next month. If PSU can grab just one four-star guy, I think it'd be a considerable victory.
I remember you saying you thought we only had about a 10% chance to land Waters in a previous chat. People in your line of work seem to be more optimistic lately. Do you think he ultimately ends up at Penn State?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:16 PM)
I don't think I said 10 percent ... but you're right in that I certainly have become more optimistic -- definitely after that official visit. I thought K-State held the edge (maybe I would've put the odds more at 35-40 percent for PSU), but PSU couldn't have helped itself more with that official. Waters was worried about transfers, but O'Brien, Carter and A-Rob assured him it wouldn't be an issue -- and he sat down with BOB and McGloin and really liked what he heard. If PSU isn't the favorite right now, then it's a coin-flip. I think there's a good chance now he lands at PSU.
Lets say BoB sticks around long enough for a bowl game appearance, does he go to the NFL shortly after in your opinion?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:19 PM)
Man, that's a tough question. It's clear BOB knows if he leaves now, he's damning this program. Recruits and players are staying because of him just as much -- in some cases, more -- than they're staying for the school. He's going to stick it out, I don't think he's going to leave in a year or two or anything, but he's not going to be here for half-a-century either. Once these sanctions are over, I could see him leaving for an NFL gig ... but, with what he's done already, I don't know if you can be really angry with BOB for leaving eventually. Build that man a statue.
you DID say you thought there was a 15% chance A-Rob goes over 1,000 yards.. admit it you were wrong!
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:20 PM)
Haha ... I did say that. I thought there was no chance he would get to 1,000 yards. I didn't see PSU passing for all that yardage against Indiana, which had an awful run defense. I thought that would be a big game for Zwinak. But, hey, I did say Jordan Hill was the player to watch last week. Fifty percent of the time, I'm right 100 percent of the time.
what was your initial reaction right after Wisconsin missed FG in OT?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:22 PM)
Well, writers think a little differently from fans. I'm not up in the press box cheering for PSU to win; I'm rooting for the best story ... And I was just thinking, "Wow, this is a great story." The only way that ending would've been more perfect is if Wisconsin missed the FG first and THEN Ficken nailed the game-winner. It was kind of ... I apologize for using this term ... poetic. Ficken, the guy who basically lost the UVa game, basically won the Wisconsin game. I talked to him after the game; he called it a "fairy-tale" ending.
hey Josh, O/U was 5.5 this past season and it has been set @ 8.5 for 2013.. I think BOB staying has much to do with it..but I think we repeat 8-4 again. you agree?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:25 PM)
For those who don't gamble often, let me just point out that -- I guess -- betting sites say PSU will win 8.5 games next season. I say "I guess" because that seems a little high to me. I would've placed the over/under at 7. I know some of you guys are going to disagree with me here, but I think Matt McGloin was the most valuable player on this team -- even ahead of Mauti. 24 TDs to 5 INTs? That'll be hard to duplicate next season; McGloin was so important to this offense and no matter how Bench improves or if Waters signs, it would be difficult imagining another QB beating Northwestern trailing by 17. I don't think PSU will be as good next year as a result ...
glenn (jacksonville, fl)
what you say regarding OB makes no sense. He's going to stick the sanctions out THEN leave. huh? how do you come to that conclusion?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:27 PM)
I don't know if he's going to leave in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. Based on talking to O'Brien and the players, it seems like he'll be here through the sanctions. I'm not saying he's going to leave IMMEDIATELY after the sanctions; my opinion is he'll leave at some point afterward and not before. Whether it's one year after or 15 years after, I have no idea.
do you see psu signing anymore db's or safety's in this recruiting class
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:29 PM)
Oh absolutely. Deondre Singleton is a guy I think PSU fans should keep an eye on; I think it would be an upset if he decided to go somewhere else besides PSU. DB will also be a big priority for the 2014 class; I think we'll see a whole lot more commits on defense the next class.
Kevin (State College)
Do you think Bench will be the starting QB next year? Or is it more likely that someone else comes in out of JuCo and takes the starting position, assuming Hack redshirts which I deem likely.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:32 PM)
Well, I definitely feel like it's Steve Bench's job to lose. O'Brien's said this before, but -- more than any other characteristic -- his QBs need to have a high football IQ. McGloin didn't have a perfect spiral or the best arm, but he was a quick-learner and a leader who picked up the offense rather well. Bench is a smart guy, as evidenced by surpassing Paul Jones in such a short period of time. Jake Waters could definitely compete -- his offense at Iowa Western isn't as similar to PSU's, though -- but I think Bench is the favorite. If Waters signs elsewhere, Bench is almost a lock. No other juco QB is nearly as talented as Waters.
John (Beaver Hill)
We have any up in coming DL able to fill Hill's shoes?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:33 PM)
Well, Parker Cothren needs to bulk up a little bit obviously -- and juco DT Marquel Combs (310 pounds) will decide next week whether to visit PSU for an official. Outside of that, I think Austin Johnson deserves a lot of consideration for that starting job. He wasn't a heralded recruit coming into PSU -- but he's the DL that O'Brien and Ted Roof praised this season. He redshirted, but O'Brien said he'll be something special. Might get pushed into service early next year. Kyle Baublitz should challenge, too
What are the biggest problem areas for the lions heading into spring practice?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:36 PM)
Three positions to keep an eye on: QB, LB, DB. More than anything, though, clearly the biggest problem area is the secondary. Da'Quan Davis really needs to step up, and PSU will still lack a nickelback. Mike Hull will be a starter, so they'll need to alter their road-runner package that replaced the nickel. I'm not sure what they'll do; I don't they're sure yet. I'm sure the LBs will be fine ... but with two new starters, that's something to keep an eye on. And, QB, well, that kind of goes without saying
Bill Thornburgh (Pittsburgh)
Josh, I'm not sure how or why PSU is recruiting so many class of 2013 guys when they already have 13 and possibly 2-3 JUCO's. Is there something in the January enrollment(s) that allows a bypass of the 15 max?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:39 PM)
Yeah, this comes up almost every week because the sanctions and the way everything works is pretty unclear. But, yeah, basically here's how it works: PSU can only sign 15 players for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons. But, if a guy enrolls early in January, he would technically count toward the 2012 class. So, Breneman, Anderson and Smith will count toward the 2012 numbers and not the 2013 cap. PSU basically has five openings right now ... and Waters wouldn't count toward that either (because he'd also enroll in January.)
Should we expect an official visit from Trey Johnson?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:40 PM)
I think it's unlikely. The only reason he's really considering PSU at all is because he already has a relationship with Ted Roof, who was the former DC at Auburn. But I think it's a long-shot for him to visit and even more of a long-shot for him to commit. It would really be an incredible turnaround for him to become a Penn Stater, and I don't see it happening. Ohio State's really been after him.
I know depth is a concern, but we do return 3 0f 4 defensive backs.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:42 PM)
That's true, but John Butler went off earlier this season on how he had no freaking idea why PSU's past staff would let their DB depth dip this low to begin with. I think, ideally, he would've liked PSU to have four more DBs than they had. They had little depth to begin with and taking just that one player out in Stephon Morris could lead to more struggles. They weren't very good as it was; definitely the weak spot of the defense.
What are the chances of Zayd Issah re-committing? I've heard it's between PSU and Oregon for him, but what is he waiting for to make a decision?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:44 PM)
At this point, I think Oregon is the favorite. He hasn't been on his official visit to see the Ducks yet, so I think that's going to determine a whole lot. I know he's talked about Arizona State -- and would be interested in Alabama and Miami (Fla.) if they offered -- but I see it as a race between PSU and Oregon. If Chip Kelly leaves or Drew Scales decides to go to PSU, I think PSU becomes the big favorite. But, right now, I think Oregon has the edge.
In regards to your comment on the secondary, a lot of analysts said coming into this year the secondary was a huge weakness. I'm not aware of what our defensive numbers were, but I don't think our secondary caused us to lose any games. We'll only lose Morris, and I believe Amos can be a very good corner. What makes you think this unit will struggle so much?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:46 PM)
Against Virginia and Ohio, the third-down defense was terrible. Openings in the middle of the defense allowed for a lot of passing yards ... It got better, but I didn't think they played all that well. It still allowed like 450 passing yards against Indiana. Plus, the fact PSU didn't have another CB it trusted to even play the nickel ... I think that says something. Feel free to disagree, guys, but I think the secondary was the weakness on this 2012 team.
So what is the deal with Marcus McShepard? Looks like he has a decent amount of FBS offers and even a few from BCS schools, but has no rating from any site.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:47 PM)
I can't tell you about the ratings, but I can tell you about his recruitment. McShepard is a really smart kid who planned to visit with his teammate, De'Niro Laster, for the Indiana game. But, when he got an offer from Northwestern -- his "dream school" -- he canceled his trip. He hasn't committed to the Wildcats yet, but that's definitely the favorite right now. PSU's in the mix ... but probably another long-shot.
do you think psu will continue to recruit juco players after this year?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:50 PM)
That's a good question. Obviously, it makes sense this year because those guys will not count against the 15 scholarships. But I think juco and PG players should continue to be an option if there's a glaring weakness somewhere. For example, once both safeties graduate after next season, that could be a prime position to find an experienced player. But I have to think they're going after more this year than they usually would.
The only 2 thngs I thought of were the tipped ball against Ohio and Indiana, but you made good points. I think a lot of people are forgetting that we lose big Matty Stankiewich who is a very good center. Who replaces him and what will the talent level at that position be like come next year?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:51 PM)
It's going to be between Ty Howle and Angelo Mangiro ... I think Howle is more of a natural fit at center, but it's difficult to ignore just how good Mangiro is. One of those guys will end up being the Mike Hull of the offensive line next year. But you're right; Stank will be playing in the NFL at this point next year.
looking at the schedule, we should win all noncon games.. yes include Kent State. agree? I think there is a good chance they lose their HC
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:53 PM)
Well, Eastern Michigan and Syracuse should be relatively easy wins. PSU should've beaten Virginia this year ... and Kent State won't be a push-over. I think winning all four of those would be a big boon, but I'm think they'll likely stumble once there. The Golden Flashes will probably be the best non-conference team they play. Never thought I'd say this, but Kent State-Penn State should be a good game.
Lou (Gaithersburg, MD)
When can we kick off off our Jon Urschel Campbell Trophy campaign? Wouldn't be surprised if he has a PhD by the end of next season...
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:55 PM)
I've covered professional sports, too, and I'll say this: I've never spoken with an athlete as intelligent as John Urschel. He just had a paper published on ... asteroids, I think. I tried reading it but I got lost on Page 2 once it had mathematical formulas that looked like they came from the chalkboard on Good Will Hunting.
Adam (State College)
Do you think that anyone even comes close to the results Bill O'Brien produced this season, in terms of coach of the year talks?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (1:58 PM)
Honestly, I was really surprised Urban Meyer didn't win Big Ten Coach of the Year. I was talking to Trevor Williams' high school coach about this, but I absolutely don't think any coach has done a better job than O'Brien. That being said, I kind of see that COY trophy as the Heisman ... and let's face it, the Heisman goes to the best player (usually QB or RB) on one of the best teams. If you put Johnny Football on Kent State, he doesn't win. The Heisman doesn't go to the best player in football, and I don't think the COY trophy necessarily goes to the best coach. I think O'Brien deserves consideration here, and I don't think anyone else could've done a better job than him here. He deserves to be in the talks ... but I would be very surprised if he won.
I LOVE that Maryland joined B1G....b/c I live in Northern VA.. Maryland game will be semi-PSU home game.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:00 PM)
I understand why they did it -- money. But I just think the additions water down an already-weak conference. PSU games at Maryland will not look good for Maryland ...
I don't blame him for leaving but I laughed hard knowing that we won more game than USC did. and I can say Silas did NOT improve his draft stock at all! rushing only 800 something yards..
Lou (Gaithersburg, MD)
Delany must've loved that they lit up the Empire State Building in red for Rutgers last night... anyway, when do they unveil the Mason-Dixon Trophy for the PSU-UMD game? That's inevitable right? And if I that's the first it's been said, I want royalties.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:02 PM)
Haha ... I like that. Well, with the Big 33 Game now between Maryland-PSU, it seems like that rivalry's definitely going to grow a little bit. I know when talking about the rivalry with OSU, a lot of guys said they thought the Big 33 was kind of the root for them considering OSU a rival. Of course, as you know, the Big 33 decided in the last month to go from a Pennsylvania-Ohio all-star game to a Pa.-Maryland game.
If Deniro Laster commits, what position do you expect him to play at Penn State?
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:04 PM)
He'll be a linebacker. He has high interest in PSU, but he doesn't have an offer yet. His grades are a bit of an issue, so if he gets that squared away, I think he'll likely commit. The staff told him that he reminds them of Gerald Hodges.
Josh Moyer (Nittany Nation) (2:04 PM)
OK, guys, that's all the time we have today. Thanks everybody for joining us -- have a good weekend, and hopefully I'll see you next week!