October 31, 2011
Posted by Joe Chuba
Nittany Lion play-by-play voice Steve Jones analyses the state of the Lions at the bye week.
This football team absolutely needs a bye week, and they have it. They went through a very tough and physical pre-season, then nine straight games. A break was needed.
Joe Paterno looked back at last season, and felt his team was not tough enough in certain situations. He wanted to win fourth quarters. Penn State led Florida going into the fourth quarter New Year’s Day, but lost the game down the stretch. He wanted his team to be physically tough and mentally tough. Thus he added the “JVP” period to the pre-season. It was originally thought of as a wild card period where Joe would select the drill. Well, the drill was extra conditioning every single time. He would then follow the extra conditioning period with a very tough drill such as a 9 on 7 drill, a pass thud, a mini scrimmage, or a two minute drill. He wanted to see who could overcome fatigue and play at a high level. It helped the coaches make decisions on personnel, and instilled in the players what it would take to survive a tough game.
Well I think we have watched that move pay incredible dividends this season. The way they rallied and won at Temple, the way they put away Iowa in the fourth quarter, shutting out Northwestern in the second half, and winning the fourth quarter to beat Illinois.
Against Illinois we all saw the struggle by the offense. Before the final drive they had a total of 139 yards. Then, in the clutch drove it 80 yards to take the lead. Silas Redd became the 12th Nittany Lion to ever rush for 1,000 yards in a season, and once again played well. Derek Moye, what can you say about what he did!? We told you the situation in the pre-game show -available on an emergency basis, could play if needed - but that he did not run a single play in practice all week. Well, it was an emergency, and you saw what he did. That is one of your captains, and one of the playmakers. What a difference he made.
The defense was great most of the day forcing seven three and outs. When Nathan Scheelhaase decided to run that changed the game. But this defense made big plays with four takeaways and gave up just one touchdown.
Special teams were won by Penn State again. Anthony Fera hit a field goal, was consistent on punts and Brad Bars blocked a punt to set up Fera’s field goal. We saw what happened on the two Illinois field goal attempts.
So it is the off week. Time for some practice to stay sharp, and let some of the bruises fade before an incredible stretch run.
Author: Joe Chuba
Bio: Sports Producer for WPSU-TV
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