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 (NittanyNation) (12:57 PM)
Hey guys, thanks for joining us today. We'll get started here in a few minutes.
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:00 PM)
OK, guys, and we're off ... who's got the first question this week?
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Penn State Nittany Lions who were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft will make great NFL Players in 2013?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:02 PM)
Chris, you've got to stake these chats out -- because I see your question first like 99 percent of the time :) ... Anyway, Jordan Hill was the first taken and he can fit the right scheme. And if Mauti can stay healthy, I think he can have a good career. Obviously, that's the only thing that's stopping him right now. As far as free agents, I think Matt Stankiewitch could evolve into a good backup. A.Q. Shipley certainly found success.
Kevin S. (Philly)
I can't believe I am saying this but we are stacked at offense save for QB. I really think we can contend for Leaders division once again... you agree?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:05 PM)
Yeah, incredible what can happen in a year. Before last season, there were question marks at QB, RB and WR. Now it's just QB ... but I still think contending for the Leaders Division this season is a bit ambitious. Yeah, the wideouts and tight ends are great -- but that improvement is negated by a learning quarterback. And then you have the defense, which is reeling from losing three senior leaders. I don't think you can ever count a Bill O'Brien-coached team out ... but I just think those expectations are too high. This is kind of a transition year.
Jim (Faifax, VA)
do you know you if Kyle Carter will be ready by August?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:06 PM)
Yeah, Kyle Carter is ahead of schedule and won't miss the opener. He said, if he absolutely had to, he could play now ... I doubt he'd be cleared, but he's doing well right now. He'll be back to 100 percent by the time the season rolls around.
Jayson S. (DC)
which current player has the chance to become 1st round pick? Deion Barnes? Amos? Donovan Smith?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:09 PM)
I've said this before last week's draft, so I'm definitely sticking to it now: Donovan Smith. I think we've just scratched the surface with his ability, and I'm expecting big things from him this season. With Deion Barnes, I think he has first-round potential -- but not as much as Smith. And Amos, well, he's a great player -- but I think first-round talk with him might be a bit premature. If we see more of him at safety, which seems like his natural position, that'd probably change.
Kenny T. (Boston)
wow! what is the odds that Hackenberg will start the season?? I can't wait
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:11 PM)
Well, I'll eat my humble pie on this one and remind you all that I picked Steven Bench to start this season because he had a head-start. Now Ferguson has the head-start ... so, call it insanity ... but I'm going with Ferguson now. It's clear he has the edge because Hack isn't even on campus. Will he have the edge come Aug. 31? I don't know. Hackenberg's biggest weakness is whether he can read the defense, but he clearly has the biggest ceiling. If it's a tie, I have to think O'Brien goes with Hackenberg -- but, like I said, Ferguson has the edge now. If I was Vegas, I'd put the odds of Hackenberg to start Aug. 31 at 1.5:1.
I get the feeling that Hackenberg will start the season and guide us to 10 win season..
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:13 PM)
I get the feeling you're an optimist ... but, if that happens, I think future talk of national titles wouldn't be premature in that case. Because, if Hack can do that in Year 1, it'd be pretty crazy to see what he could do in Year 3 or 4.
With the smaller recruiting classes being the norm for the next few years, it seems like the staff is going to be constantly putting out fires as it relates to depth. They were short on DBs, and it seems as though they put that fire out, now it looks like LB is where they are short. What is the next position of need and is the staff looking ahead at things like this?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:15 PM)
Matt, that's a really good point and a really great question. I kind of see offensive line as the potential new fire. There's no telling if guys like Tanner Hartman will develop -- he's a late bloomer -- and that could spell trouble. PSU's probably only taking one offensive tackle in this class, so I think a lot's going to be pinned on the 2015 class. That's the first position that really comes to mind with me right now. The depth is good right now, but it's not going to stay that way with the 65-scholarship rule in effect.
Jean Baptiste (Upark 6 hrs away from graduation)
How tall are you ?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:16 PM)
Haha ... I get asked this a surprising amount. So I'll level with you guys: I'm 5-foot-6, which I think still makes me a full foot taller than Bob Costas.
Shouldn't BOB be going after more linebackers in recruiting? Seems like too many dbs.
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:18 PM)
Well, there's five guys on scholarship right now. Two in the 2013 class (as long as Zayd sticks with PSU), and there'll be two in the 2014 class. So could PSU use another linebacker? Absolutely. I totally see your point, but John Butler loves his DBs and I believe he said last season he wants about 11 so he can use them for different packages. PSU mainly used four LBs last season ... I think it used 6-7 DBs.
James (Beavercreek, OH)
With the addition of Worley, do you see PSU taking one more DB in this class? Montae Nicholson or Dravon Henry?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:21 PM)
I think PSU will likely take two more DBs in this class. I know they'd love Dravon Henry, Marcus Allen, Troy Vincent, Montae Nicholson or Anthony Davis. Those guys are all high on PSU, and the feeling's mutual. If they could choose between Henry and Nicholson, I think they'd take Henry, whose father tells me that Charlie Fisher has been showing Henry a lot of love.
Hey Josh, I have a 2 parter for you. 1) Does the rumor of games in "exotic" (Ireland/Miami/Hawaii) have as much sway on potential recruits as it does on the fan base. 2) Do you see PSU picking up and highly touted interiors (all im seeing is skill pos).
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:24 PM)
Hmmm ... 1) I've never heard a recruit mention this, BUT I imagine it would become part of O'Brien's recruiting pitch. So I think it would become a nice bonus -- I mean, how many other college kids get to go to Ireland? I don't think it'd sway anybody, but it's one extra thing to tout. And, hey, add all those small things together and it might mean something. (This reminds me of a Blink 182 song ...). And 2.) PSU has a chance at ESPN 150 DT Thomas Holley, whom ESPN predicted earlier this week would actually go to the Nittany Lions. He's probably the biggest name.
James (New York)
hi Josh, I wasn't able to watch Blue-white game so need your help here.. what was the difference b/w Tyler and Bench? thay had same stat but BOB chose Tyler over Bench.. why do you think he picked Tyler?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:26 PM)
Talking to Bench and his dad, my understanding was that it was more with how the players projected. O'Brien believed Ferguson had more potential at the position based on what he saw in the spring. The players were pretty even, so I think O'Brien picked Ferguson based on that potential.
Any idea on how this effects Hack and the plan to red shirt him? In your opinion, was this more a case of Bill being more comfortable with the "run on" back up qb's after this spring? Seems like he would have to be to make the decision now instead of August....no?Keep up the good work buddy!
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:28 PM)
Yeah, it's going to be pretty difficult to redshirt Hack this season. McGloin took nearly all the snaps last season, so maybe it would still be possible ... but it's far from a certainty now. I don't think that's something the staff is counting on. Plus, not redshirting Hack would probably make a certain 2014 QB (Michael O'Connor) feel a bit better about the situation. I wasn't impressed with Crook or Whipple and, honestly, I don't see either of those guys seeing time over the backup unless Hack is reeeaaally close to being able to redshirt. (Maybe it's Game 10 and Ferguson has to leave for one play. Sure they're not putting Hack in then.)
Larstickle (Greensboro, NC)
Now that we have Worley in the fold and have other guys that athletes committed that could play DB, how hard do you think we pursue players like Anthony Davis, Marcus Allen, Dravon Henry, and Troy Vincent Jr.?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:31 PM)
Penn State now can put a little more pressure on those guys if it wants. I think Worley's commitment only helps get those other guys. I know Godwin said that Thompkins' commitment had nothing to do with him pulling the trigger shortly thereafter, but I doubt it was a complete coincidence that ALL three guys committed so closely to one another. Thompkins knew the clock was ticking. So I would actually expect the pursuit of those guys to maybe pick up a bit. Strike while the iron is hot and all.
Zach (Somerset, PA)
How excited should we be ablut Worley? I don't know much ablut him
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:34 PM)
Yeah, to be honest, I'm not sure either. He didn't put up great numbers at a NIKE camp. Ran in the 4.7s, had a slow shuttle time, etc. But PSU clearly saw something in him or they wouldn't have offered -- especially because, they had to know, he was going to accept pretty quickly. He liked PSU from Day 1, before his offer, so it seemed close to automatic. This staff has the ability to scout. He's not a big name, but PSU saw something in him early; he's probably the defensive equivalent of Mark Allen. So, however excited you were about Allen, I'd be that excited about Worley.
Golden (Philadelphia, PA)
Do you believe the lack of depth on the offense will effect O'B's ability to run the NASCAR offense?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:36 PM)
Well, I do think it will be affected -- but I think it's more the quarterback than it is the depth that will dictate the no-huddle. McGloin was incredible in the NASCAR offense last season, and that really caught defenses off-guard. That high-tempo style was a staple of Penn State, but it has to be run by somebody who knows all the moving parts to the offense. That's not going to be easy to do when you have two guys who never before threw a pass inside a packed Beaver Stadium.
Ian Zlotnik (Montville, NJ)
Is Hackenberg a lock to start? If we don't get O'Connor will we offer another QB?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:37 PM)
Hackenberg is far from a lock ... and I think they probably go after another QB if O'Connor doesn't commit. At this point, however, I think PSU stands pretty good with O'Connor.
Jack (state college)
Who do you think the next commit is? Any chance we land another 4 star recruit or higher and if so who is the most likely one. Thanks love your work!
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:38 PM)
I'd guess the next commit is LB Jared Wangler. He's visiting again next week, and I think PSU will likely add commit No. 8 then.
Which '14 recruit should we.be most excited about?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:41 PM)
I'd say De'Andre Thompkins. His HS coach helped produce No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Mario Williams and believed Thompkins was on the same level. I see a playmaker here who can be a dynamic returner and can even play defense if someone goes down. He's kind of like Derrick Williams Jr. ... and I think fans should really be excited about him. Troy Reeder comes in a close second; our scouts called him a "program-building player."
John Mount (Philadelphia PA)
How long do you give Bill O'Brien until he makes the jump to the NFL?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:42 PM)
I do think it's inevitable he coaches in the NFL. But he's been telling some guys -- like Reeder -- that he'll stay until the end of their careers. So I expect he wouldn't make the jump before then.
Larstickle (Greensboro, NC)
Is Jared Wangler the only offered LB that we are actively pursuing right now?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:43 PM)
To be honest with you, pretty much. But they're really only looking for one outside linebacker -- and I think they're banking on a commitment, too. They went after Chase Winovich, but that kind of fizzled. They stopped going after Tyler Burke, too. So, if Burke doesn't commit next weekend, maybe that changes. But let's see what happens next weekend first.
Do the players who quit football but remain at school count towards their 65 limit next year. Like Anthony Stanko.
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:44 PM)
It's my understanding that they do. If someone transfers, their scholarship doesn't count. But if someone leaves the team and remains enrolled, it counts against the cap ... so, yeah, it's basically guys like Stanko who are hurting the team the most. Can't really say it any other way.
Aaron, Burke Va [via mobile]
What is the holdup on offerring OL Grimm, footwork? Same with OL JBB? Also will we offer RB Ollisson? Thanks!
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:47 PM)
If PSU didn't have a scholarship cap, Grimm might already be a Nittany Lion. But, as it is, those guys just aren't as high on PSU's board as a couple other guys. The staff doesn't plan on taking more than one offensive tackle -- well, maybe 2 if someone like Eluemunor commits -- so that's the hold-up. They want to see whether they can snag someone like Bookser or Bars before offering Grimm or JBB. Also, I know Ollison's coaches counted on an offer at the B-W Game, but I really don't think one is coming. Unless they plan to move Nick Scott to safety, taking 3 RBs this class is just too much.
Andrew (Highland Park)
I never thought I would say this, but I am getting concerned about the defense. It seems our better recruits are on offense. Is this part of BOB's philosophy or does he just naturally attract offensive guys due to his NFL past? Do we get a QB and an OT and fill out the rest with defense for 2014?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:49 PM)
O'Brien just naturally attracts the offensive talent. Breneman mainly picked Penn State because of O'Brien and how he utilized tight ends in New England. Hackenberg picked BOB more than PSU. (Does anyone really think he commits to PSU with JayPa at the helm?) So I wouldn't say it's Penn State taking the defense for granted, it's just how it's worked out. They still picked up some good linemen -- Andrew Nelson, Brendan Mahon, Garrett Sickels -- in the last class, and the linebackers aren't too shabby either. And, yeah, I think it's going to be QB, OT and then all defense.
Kevin S. (Maryland )
I know many EXPERTS predicted 3-4 win season last year.. what is your expectation for this year? another 8 should be acheivable?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:50 PM)
I think fans' expectations should be around six wins this season. I think 2014 will be better, but there's going to be a learning curve. Maybe PSU surprises, but I think that's where the expectations should be at least.
It seems obvious PSU needs to add 1 or 2 o-linemen in this class. Who are the most likely gets?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:51 PM)
I think the best chance they have right now is with OT Noah Beh, who's from Scranton. He's a little underweight and most teams are recruiting him as a DE, but PSU likes him as an OT. Out of all the tackles they're recruiting, he's probably highest on PSU right now.
Matt (New York)
How much production do you see coming from the QB spot this year if it's Feguson or Hackenberg starting? Or can you see a two QB system in play if it's too even to call?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:54 PM)
O'Brien was very adamant that he would never institute a two-QB system. So, even if it's close, you're not going to see that. McGloin threw 24 TDs to 5 INTs. And I think if the next starting QB throws the same number of touchdowns and three times as many interceptions, it'd be a plus. McGloin was insanely consistent. It's hard to be that effective.
DAK (COLUMBUS, OH)
SO HOW GOOD DO YOU THINK THOMPKINS IS GONNA BE FOR PSU?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:55 PM)
REAL GOOD. Google his HUDL highlights. On kickoff returns, he looks like Bo Jackson straight out of Tecmo Bowl.
Brian (State College) [via mobile]
What Defensive Tackles does PSU have the best chance with in order out of Thomas Holley, Jeremiah Clarke, and Ricky Walker?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:57 PM)
Yeah, I've been on Jeremiah Clarke for a while ... but, with him, I think it's more of a case where he tends to talk highly about a lot of schools. So, at this point, I think I'd probably go Walker, Holley, Clarke. They're all really close together -- and you could go the opposite order and it'd be hard to argue, too. Overall, though, tt would be huge upset if PSU didn't reel one of those guys in. And all of them are talented.
Rob P. (Morristown, NJ)
Aren't we putting a bit too much pressure on Hackenberg as the savior of this program? You know me Josh, I've been saying all along that Hack should redshirt this year for the good of himself and the next four years...if he isn't as good as billed and has a poor year as a starter, then what?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (1:59 PM)
Well, then, he follows in the same footsteps as most other first-year signal-callers. Matthew Stafford threw twice as many INTs as TDs and rebounded. This isn't the NFL where Blaine Gabbert's ruined forever because the Jags started him too quickly. College is different. So I think him struggling wouldn't be a big deal. As far as pressure, though? Yeah ... I can't argue with too much pressure being put on Hack. I think if PSU snags O'Connor, it should make fans feel a lot better, though. Hack's main knock is whether he can read defenses and learn the playbook just because he's new. O'Connor's strength is that he knows PSU's playbook well already. Weinke runs a similar pro-style offense at IMG.
Do you think Breneman will redshirt this year since we have so much depth at TE or do you think BOB finds a way to get him some touches?
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (2:00 PM)
I say redshirt him. With Lehman and James, there's plenty of depth there. Could Breneman contribute this year? Absolutely, but PSU doesn't NEED him. I think PSU would be best-served by having him redshirt.
Josh Moyer (NittanyNation) (2:02 PM)
OK, guys, that's all the time we have for this week. Lots of good questions this week. I get a lot fewer questions for the mailbag. So, if I didn't get to yours today, email me at email@example.com and I'll try to get to it next Friday's mailbag. Have a good weekend everybody!