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DOMINATE THE STATE



Updated: 2016-09-29T07:15:03-04:00

 



Game Preview: Penn State vs. Minnesota

2016-09-29T07:15:03-04:00

Can a trip back to the drawing board save the Lions from a second straight defeat? Whether or not you believe that James Franklin’s job is on the line this year, it would be really nice for Penn State to bounce back from that disaster at Michigan with a nice, tasty Big Ten victory over Minnesota. The Gophers are undefeated so far, but Penn State has been tested harder. It should be a hotly contested battle for the Governor’s Victory Bell. Penn State (2-2) vs. Minnesota (3-0) Kickoff: 3:30 PM, Beaver Stadium, State College, PA The Betting Line: Penn State -3 TV: BTN - Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Chuck Long (analyst) Weather: Highs in the mid-60s with an 80-percent chance of rain COACHES: James Franklin: PENN STATE RECORD: 16-14, 3rd Year OVERALL RECORD: 40-29, 6th Year VS. MINNESOTA: First Meeting Tracy Claeys: MINNESOTA RECORD: 5-4, 2nd Year OVERALL RECORD: 5-4, 2nd Year VS. PENN STATE: First Meeting (was acting head coach for the 2013 game, which the Gophers won 24-10) ...NOW THE FUN PART MINNESOTA OFFENSE VS PENN STATE DEFENSE After the Lions were mowed down by Michigan last weekend, we know that Minnesota is going to test Penn State’s front seven over and over again this Saturday. The question is, who is going to be doing most of the running? Shannon Brooks missed the first two games of the season due to a foot injury, but he looked good against Colorado State in his first game action of the season. The sophomore tailback gained 85 yards and scored a touchdown on 13 carries while running behind a Minnesota line that had to replace three of five starters from last year’s squad. However, fellow sophomore Rodney Smith got the most carries in that game, rushing 17 times for 99 yards and a pair of scores. It looks like we’ll be seeing a mixture of both guys this Saturday with senior quarterback Mitch Leidner and junior tailback Kobe McCrary sprinkled in. Penn State is likely to be without Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda once again against Minnesota, so it will be up to Brandon Smith as well as underclassmen linebackers Cam Brown and Manny Bowen to slow down the Gophers’ attack (although we expect more experienced guys like Koa Farmer and Von Walker to pitch in as well). If the front seven is able to get some stops, Minnesota might be forced to throw the ball, and that’s not necessarily a good thing for the Lions. Leidner has completed 65 percent of his throws this year for 7.88 yards per pass, four touchdowns, and one interception, but most of that was in his last two games against Indiana State and Colorado State. In the opener against major-conference opponent Oregon State, Leidner went 13-for-26 with 130 yards. We’ll learn on Saturday if that performance was just opening night jitters or a sign that Leidner is due for regression in conference play. If Minnesota does have success through the air, it will likely be because of Drew Wolitarsky, the only Gophers pass-catcher to record more than six receptions or 90 receiving yards this season. The senior wide receiver has led Minnesota in receiving in all three of their games this year, so the Lions can cause the play-action offense some problems if they’re able to shut him down. The chances of that will only be greater if Grant Haley is able to return this week. The injured cornerback is listed atop the depth chart across from fellow starter John Reid. MINNESOTA DEFENSE VS PENN STATE OFFENSE The Penn State offensive line held up in games against Pitt and Temple, and the Lions moved the ball effectively in both games. That game in Ann Arbor, however, was a throwback to last season with the line getting bullied by a strong and experienced Michigan front seven. The good news is that Penn State probably won’t see another unit that fierce for the rest of the season, but how the offensive line will fare against the rest of the conference is still a big question mark. Minnesota hasn’t yielded many yards on the ground thus far, but they also haven’t faced the type of competition that the Lions have line up against. James Franklin said in his pre[...]



Know Your Foe, Week 5: Minnesota Golden Gophers

2016-09-29T06:36:03-04:00

Penn State and Minnesota are going to go for the Governor’s Victory Bell trophy! University of Minnesota Location: Minneapolis and St. Paul, MinnesotaEnrollment: 48,231Home Stadium: TCF Bank StadiumHead Coach: Tracy Claeys (1st year [October 2015]; 5-4, .556) Conference: Big Ten (West Division) Series History First Game: September 4, 1993 (Penn State won, 38-20)Last Game: November 9, 2013 (Minnesota won, 24-10)Overall: Penn State leads 8-5Current Win Streak: 1, MinnesotaTeams are playing for the Governor’s Victory Bell, first presented in 1993. Last Season (6-7 overall, 2-6 conference) Minnesota had a bit of a tumultuous 2015. Last year, the Golden Gophers were led by Jerry Kill, who retired in October due to health reasons. Claeys was named head coach, and changed up his coaching staff soon after taking over, firing offensive coordinator coach Matt Limegrover (who’s with us now!). Claeys hired new coaches for the QB and offensive line coaching spots, and moved existing coaches into other slots. After losing their season opener against #2 ranked TCU 23-17, Minnesota won the next three against Colorado State, Kent State and Ohio University. They lost 27-0 against Northwestern, but bounced back to beat Purdue 41-13. After that, they lost four straight against Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa. They closed the season with a win against Illinois and a loss to Wisconsin. Even with a losing record, they attended the Quick Lane Bowl vs Central Michigan, since there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams, and won 21-14. Offseason Minnesota graduated several key players in the offseason, including both starting cornerbacks, and wide receiver K.J. Maye, who caught 73 passes for 773 yards and five touchdowns last year. Minnesota’s 2016 recruiting class was ranked 48th in the nation (8th in the Big Ten), according to 247 Sports (as compared to PSU’s class ranked at 20th in the nation, 4th in the Big10). Their 2017 class has 12 hard commits, all 3 star athletes. It was recently reported that four Golden Gopher players who were suspended are possibly connected to a criminal sexual misconduct and assault case. Last Week Minnesota is starting the season strong at 3-0 with Penn State as their Big Ten opener. Last week, they defeated Colorado State 31-24 with 417 total yards, averaging 6.4 yards per play. QB Mitch Leidner rushed 10 times for 50 yards, rushed for a touchdown, and completed 16-20 passes for 174 yards. Senior Drew Wolitarsky had 5 receptions for 74 yards. Running back Shannon Brooks finished with 13 carries for 85 yards and a TD, and RB Rodney Smith rushed for two TDs, finishing with 17 attempts for 99 yards, and one catch for 15 yards. The Golden Gophers landed an interception, 3 sacks and 14 tackles for loss. Antiono Shenault had a stellar game, racking up 10 of those tackles for the Golden Gophers. Offense Penn State’s defense may have a tougher time than they think with the Golden Gophers’s offense. Minnesota returns 84% of their offense with the o line all returning from 2015. QB Leidner, back from a 2015 injury, has been steady in 2016 with 3 touchdowns, 599 total yards and a 64.5% completion percentage this year. Through 3 games, Minnesota is 14-14 in the red zone, and all but one possession has resulted in a touchdown, putting them at #1 in the Big Ten (and 2nd in the nation) in offensive red zone efficiency. Minnesota is tied for 1st in the Big Ten (with Purdue) in third down conversions at 55.8% and 5th in FBS. They’re averaging 39.7 points per game. A big reason for that is running back Rodney Smith, who is second only to Saquon Barkley in the Big Ten with five rushing touchdowns for the year. Senior Drew Wolitarsky, their leading receiver through three games in 2016 has 17 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Defense The Gophers returned only 48% of the defense this year, but are averaging 9.7 TFL per game, ranking 3rd in the Big Ten and 7th in FBS. They also have some key leaders returning. Minnesota has one of the be[...]



Committany Nation: Linebacker Recruiting and Prospect Updates

2016-09-28T10:38:03-04:00

Taking a look at the linebackers and other news and notes. Welcome back to Committany Nation! As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to tweet me at @PatKoerbler. Linebacker Recruiting So with there not being all that much news in the way of recruiting, this seems like a good time to take a look at Penn State’s holes at linebacker, and how the Nittany Lions are going about to plug them. Currently, Penn State is scheduled to have nine scholarship linebackers next year: Jason Cabinda (SR), Koa Farmer (RS JR), Jonathan Thomas (RS JR), Manny Bowen (JR), Jake Cooper (JR), Cam Brown (SO), Dylan Rivers (FR), Brelin Faison-Walden (FR), and Brailyn Franklin (FR). Granted, Farmer may move back to safety after this season and who knows what Penn State has in Johnny Thomas, but by bringing in three linebackers, things are starting to look a little more normal. Beyond Rivers, Faison-Walden, and Franklin, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Penn State added one more linebacker to the class this year. Most fans are already aware of Jordan Anthony and Nathan Proctor, but who else could the Nittany Lions offer down the stretch to fill up the class? The only obvious name right now is Zane Zandier, a 6-foot-3, 205 pound outside linebacker playing at Thomas Jefferson High School in the WPIAL. Zander has yet to pick up an offer from the Nittany Lions, but he’s been a steady visitor the past couple months. West Virginia appears to be the leader, but a Penn State offer would surely shake things up. src="//www.hudl.com/embed/video/3/2793415/5721dae4dfe23b2d68c1a12a" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" webkitallowfullscreen="true" mozallowfullscreen="true" style="top: 0px; left: 0px; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;"> All things being considered, I’d be relatively surprised if the Nittany Lions didn’t eventually offer. Not sure how much Zandier would help next season as his frame is going to need some time to fill out, but he displays really good instincts that you like to see out of a linebacker. 2017 DB Scott Nelson Updates Recruitment Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports has an update on Michigan safety Scott Nelson, who is currently favoring Wisconsin and Iowa over Penn State and Northwestern. Nelson last visited the Nittany Lions for the Blue-White game, but hasn’t been back in Happy Valley since. As the article states, Nelson was long thought to be a Michigan State lean but it looks like the Spartans are no longer pushing for him. He obviously wants to stay in the Big Ten and close to home, so the Nittany Lions should have a chance if they can get Nelson back on campus. 2018 RB Ronnie Walker Wants Penn State Offer Another update from 247Sports, as Virginia running back Ronnie Walker says he’s hoping for an offer from the Nittany Lions. With it looking doubtful that Penn State will be taking a running back in the 2017 class, James Franklin and company will certainly be looking for at least one if not two running backs come 2018. Walker should be in the mix for an offer, as he already boasts a solid offer sheet of Virginia, Duke, and Rutgers in the early going of his recruitment. [...]



Film Room Week 5: It Wasn't Great

2016-09-28T09:41:57-04:00

Penn State did not play well at the Big House. What went wrong? I was at the Big House Saturday. I couldn't turn the TV off. I watched all of it in real-time, and I stayed to the very end. Why? Because I kept a running diary of my thoughts during the game, and I planned on making a column out of it. However, when I went back and read over it, it was the most negative thing I've read in my life, and since many of us are already in full meltdown mode, I thought it would be better to not throw fuel on the fire. However, I'm not going to sugarcoat anything in this column. Yeah, the defense was missing a lot of key players, and so they're going to be graded on a curve. The offensive line was at full strength however, and they were BAD. Not just the normal kind of bad, but really really bad. Like this bad: The sad thing is, that's not even close to the worst breakdown of the day for this line.  Connor McGovern is a freshman in the Big House. That will happen. However, what is cause for concern is when veteran players are making mistakes up front for Penn State. Let's take a look at one such play. Here we go folks. Penn State is in its base 11 personnel with trips to the field side. This line group is the one that saw the most snaps for Penn State on Saturday, as Connor McGovern is in for Derek Dowrey at right guard.  Michigan has 9 guys within two yards of the line of scrimmage, including their two corners, with only high safety because when it came to McSorley's ability to throw the deep ball, and a Penn State receiver to make a play on the ball, Coach Harbaugh had #norespect. Let's look right after the snap. The frustrating thing here is that Michigan only rushes four. Penn State should totally be able to handle this with five guys on the line and Barkley also back there to help protect.  Yeah, Michigan is rushing three to one side and one to the other on an overload look, but it's still three on three. All Penn State has to do is execute up front. The numbers are there. Here's the look from behind. You can tell the presnap read here was either A. not correct OR B. correct, but not executed by Andrew Nelson. He is sucked way too far in. The final pass rusher is to his outside. This will not end well. This could not have gone worse.  Connor McGovern is burnt. Brian Gaia tries to help his young freshman and leaves a man running free right up the A gap. The most frustrating part is that Andrew Nelson paid no attention to JABRILL PEPPERS. That name should sound familiar to the Penn State offensive line. He was the guy you needed to know where he was at all times.  Yet, here he is, running free towards poor Trace McSorley. Here's the look from behind.  There's nothing that needs to be said about this. Cleary, Trace is going to be sacked. What really bothers me, and what should really bother you is that this shot shows that if we can just protect against a 4 man front overload pass rush, something we should be able to do, that Saquon Barkley is going to be wide open in the flat. In fact, if he gets a block on the outside, which our receivers are good at doing, this play could potentially be a touchdown with Barkley's ability in the open field. Instead, it's a sack, and Penn State needs to punt. Andrew Nelson, in my opinion, is a shell of himself physically from earlier in his career. He simply did not touch anyone on this play.  Penn State lucks out in a way here that Gaia and McGovern get beat so badly from the inside, because if they don't, Jabrill Peppers is going to get a free shot on Trace Mcsorley, and that could end in a myriad of bad ways for Penn State. We have not talked about the defense yet this year in Film Room, but we're going to start now. Penn State's run defense was not particularly good on Saturday. It's understandable, as the front is young an[...]



Bowl Projections: Week Four

2016-09-28T09:12:48-04:00

(image)

Penn State is 2-2 after a tough loss on the road. Where will they go this postseason?

ESPN (Brian Bennett)

Bowl: Foster Farms Bowl

Location: Santa Clara, CA

Date: Dec. 28, 2016

Opponent: Arizona State

CBS Sports (Jerry Palm)

Bowl: Holiday Bowl

Location: San Diego, CA

Date: Dec. 27, 2016

Opponent: Utah

Campus Insiders (Dave Miller)

Bowl: Foster Farms Bowl

Location: Santa Clara, CA

Date: Dec. 28, 2016

Opponent: UCLA

SB Nation (Jason Kirk)

Bowl: Music City Bowl

Location: Nashville, TN

Date: December 30th

Opponent: Auburn

No change in the Foster Farms Bowl opponent for Campus Insiders (although the prognosticator changes to Dave Miller). The Bruins fell against Stanford to fall to 2-2. However, ESPN’s Bennett predicts that the Fightin’ Pitchforks will play the Nittany Lions. Arizona State is 4-0, and their lowest scoring output this year was 32 points.

The Music City Bowl opponent changes for Kirk to Auburn (2-2, with a thrilling victory over LSU).

Meanwhile, Jerry Palm stays with his Holiday Bowl projection, and maintains that the matchup will be with Utah. The Utes are 4-0, after a 31-27 victory against USC.

Record in Music City Bowl: Never played in

Record in Foster Farms Bowl (Formerly the San Francisco Bowl, the Emerald Bowl, the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, and the Fight Hunger Bowl): Never played in

Record in Holiday Bowl: 1-0 (50-39 over BYU and eventual Heisman winner Ty Detmer, who passed for 576 yards)




Just the Stats: Penn State vs Minnesota

2016-09-28T06:43:03-04:00

We move on from Michigan, and back home. Penn State Nittany Lions (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten East) vs Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten West) 3:30 pm ET, October 1, 2016 - BTN Beaver Stadium (Capacity: 107,282 / University Park, PA) table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;} Penn State Value (Nat'l Rank) Value (Nat'l Rank) Minnesota Advantage Rushing Offense (ypg) 101.3 (122) 118.7 (34) Rushing Defense (ypg) Passing Offense (ypg) 237.3 (66) 228.7 (68) Passing Defense (ypg) Push Pass Efficiency 140.36 (52) 133.36 (82) Pass Efficiency Defense Total Offense (ypg) 338.5 (112) 347.3 (36) Total Defense (ypg) Scoring Offense (ppg) 29.0 (T-72) 25.0 (56) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push Rushing Defense (ypg) 213.8 (104) 228.3 (31) Rushing Offense (ypg) Passing Defense (ypg) 173.8 (20) 201.7 (95) Passing Offense (ypg) Pass Efficiency Defense 120.16 (52) 141.8 (49) Pass Efficiency Push Total Defense (ypg) 387.5 (67) 430.0 (64) Total Offense (ypg) Push Scoring Defense (ppg) 32.8 (98) 39.7 (33) Scoring Offense (ppg) Net Punting Yds 38.65 (49) 2.0 (T-111) Punt Return Yds Punt Return Yds 6.36 (80) 39.64 (39) Net Punting Yds Kickoff Return Yds 21.75 (62) 20.75 (64) Kickoff Return Defense Push Kickoff Return Defense 21.0 (69) 22.0 (56) Kickoff Return Yds Push Turnover Margin -.1.0 (109) +1.0 (19) Turnover Margin Penalty Yds/Game 41.25 (T-14) 73.33 (107) Penalty Yds/Game Sacks 2.5/gm (T-42) .33/gm (T-4) Sacks Allowed Sacks Allowed 2.75/gm (T-99) 3.0/gm (T-26) Sacks Redzone Offense (%) 83.3% (T-63) 100.0% (T-116) Redzone Defense (%) Redzone Defense (%) 94.7% (T-111) 100.0% (T-1) Redzone Offense (%) Redzone TD % 50.0% 100.0% Redzone TD % Defense Redzone TD % Defense 78.95% 92.86% Redzone TD % 3rd Down Conv. % 24.4% (127) 44.9% (105) 3rd Down Defense % Push 3rd Down Defense % 39.7% (75) 55.8% (5) 3rd Down Conv. % 4th Down Conv. % 71.4% (T-30) 50.0% (T-39) 4th Down Defense % Push 4th Down Defense % 50.0% (T-39) 75.0% (T-21) 4th Down Conv. % Push 1st Downs 72 (92) 62 (30) 1st Downs Allowed 1st Downs Allowed 73 (55) 73 (T-88) 1st Downs Push Time of Possession 26:04 (112) 31:24 (43) Time of Possession Difference Difference >25 in National Rank = Difference >50 in National Rank = Difference >75 in National Rank = Difference >100 in National Rank = Note: The Redzone TD% and Redzone TD% Defense are calculated by me and not ranked by the NCAA. Determining who has the advantage in these categories is strictly my arbitrary judgment. Quick thoughts: This isn't encouraging. I hope that Brandon Smith is back. I hope that the trend of home wins from last season continues this coming week. I hope that the BYE week hasn't treated Minnesota too well, and that the offense rebounds and continues to gel. Otherwise...welp. To be clear, I'm still thinking the Nittany Lions roll with this one--the stats were skewed by it still being early, and the domination that was the Michigan game. But these numbers aren't friendly to Franklin's Co. [...]



Former Foes, Week 5

2016-09-27T15:37:49-04:00

In which we discuss perseverance Kent State Golden Flashes (1-3) Lost to #1 Alabama 48-0 Sometimes things just don’t go your way. No matter how hard you try, you just end up beating your head against a brick wall. Such was Saturday’s outing for the Flashes. Kent State faced the defending national champions, and lost 48-0. The Flashes finished the game with 166 total yards from scrimmage, averaging 2.7 yards per rush and 5.3 yards per passing attempt. After Mylik Mitchel struggled, sophomore George Bollas took over, though he didn’t fare much better. Running back Justin Rankin carried the rock 6 times for 52 yards, though that included a 47-yard scamper. This was against the current #1 team in the country, so it’s hard to be too down about such a tough loss. Next week the Flashes take on Akron, which is coming off a close loss to Appalachian State. Up Next: Akron Zips (2-2) Pitt Panthers (2-2) Lost to North Carolina 37-36 Like Penn State, it would appear that high scoring games are now the norm for the Pittsburgh Panthers. Also like Penn State, one has to remember that sometimes the scoreboard does not reflect the progress that a team is making. This week, Pitt had a 13-point lead over a very good North Carolina team with less than 5:30 left in the game – and lost. Pitt used a balanced attack and steady running defense to build a 36-23 lead in the fourth quarter, only to see the aerial attack of North Carolina turn the tide and come away with the win. Nathan Peterman finished 14 of 18 for 140 yards, and James Conner led the team in rushes with 16 for 66 yards and a touchdown. Quadree Henderson Also ran 9 times for 107 yards. This week the Panthers return to Heinz to finish out their non-conference slate. Up Next: Marshall Thundering Herd (1-2) Temple Owls (2-2) Beat Charlotte 48-20 After their comeback attempt against Penn State fell short, the Owls took on the 49ers of Charlotte to exorcise their demons. Phillip Walker threw for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns, and Jahad Thomas rushed for 68 yards, plus another 2 touchdowns. Conversely, the Owls gave up 198 pass yards and 231 rush yards. Temple will have to shore up their defense, as this week they begin AAC play. Up Next: Southern Methodist Mustangs (2-2) #4 Michigan Wolverines (4-0) I am disappoint. Hats off to Michigan. They found Penn State’s weaknesses and exploited them all afternoon to coast to an easy victory – frankly, a victory that appeared a lot easier than I thought it would be. My thoughts on the game bounced all over the place in the week leading up to kickoff – first I was nonchalant, thinking we’d probably lose big, and that was okay. Then I started to talk myself into thinking our offense could hang with theirs and make the game interesting. By week’s end, I was sure we’d keep it close, but lose a heart breaker. Then the first quarter of the game happened, and I knew nonchalance would have been the way to go. As I mentioned previously in this post, sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to, despite your best efforts. The Lions played on the road against a playoff contender, and lost. Penn State was not ranked heading into this weekend, and probably will not be ranked at season’s end – big losses happen when a top 5 team plays an unranked team. For those that are calling for heads and are u[...]



James Franklin Weekly Press Conference Notes: Minnesota

2016-09-27T13:17:35-04:00

The one where he reads down the injury list for the entirety of the conference Opening Statement Offensively we did not perform up to our standard against Michigan Did not handle their front or their attacking style real well Need to improve on attention to detail and execution Defense is playing hard but needs to be more physical, play the run better and get off field on 3rd down Need to eliminate special teams penalties On Minnesota, played them just 13 times. PSU leads series 8-5 Governor’s Victory Bell mention! Balanced, efficient offense. Big, physical O-Line. Well coached on defense, good size up front and play-makers in secondary Trying to go out and be 1-0 this week Questions On rebound from loss: Not going to overreact, but going to correct the mistakes. Have to learn and grow from it. On McGovern/Cam Brown at top of depth chart: Depth chart is always subject to change but we’ll evaluate all week long based on practice. Brown is at the top of the chart right now, showed a lot of promise and lot to work with. On effectiveness of read option: Defenders have pretty much stayed square and allowed them to hand it off. Evaluating different ways to get Saquon Barkley the ball. On 3rd down offense/Limegrover against Minnesota: Limegrover not a significant advantage this week, but it does help a bit. 3rd down offense starts with running the ball better. Team needs to be more physical. Need to protect better in longer down-and-distance scenarios. On run game struggles: Stats are slightly skewed after last week but team needs to be better. Both Pitt and Michigan have shown strong run defenses this year. OLine has been better but needs to be more physical. On vibe around team after game: Guys’ spirits are about what you’d expect, but team has responded well. McSorley and Gaia have led the way. Team needs to take something away from the loss. On LB Depth: Need to have guys who can make calls and make adjustments, as well as guys who have the body type to take on blocks. Didn’t move many guys, expects Von Walker to play a bit more as well as Farmer. On Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner: Experienced player, efficient thrower who can throw the deep ball very well. 25 career rushing touchdowns set him apart as well. On sticking with RPO: Threat of run or pass from Trace keeps defense from playing overly aggressive, straight hand off would allow defense to key on Barkley. On LB depth when he came in: Missed on a couple guys in recruiting, but if NWW, Cabinda and Bell were playing then the issue wouldn’t be magnified. Everybody has injuries but to lose all three is tough. Never seen that happen in his 22 years of coaching. On fielding a competitive practice with injuries: A lot of times you have to make modifications as you get deeper into the season. May go at a slightly slower speed to get guys reps. On WR matchups this week: We feel good each week about our guys at receiver. Have to make plays though. Separation has to get better. On what McGovern needs to improve: Pass protection, which he didn’t do much of in high school. Working on footwork, technique and fundamentals. Could get away with a lot just by being bigger and stronger. Has improved dramatically in every area. Still times where he looks like a true freshman out there. On Bell/Cabinda: Possible they’re out until November but “possibility is a broad term.” On fan base: Very prideful and very supportive, but they have very high expectations Has seen the team make strides since he started with the program. On new LBs: May see defense become a little more vanilla in to allow younger guys to play faster and with more confidence. [...]