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The NitWits 2017 Akron Recap

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The NitWits 2017 Akron Recap

The NitWits 2017 Akron Recap

The panel discusses Penn State's shutout win over Akron, and looks ahead to The Nittany Lions' next game against Pitt.


The NitWits 2017 Akron Recap


So we are continually planning, .

>>> welcome to the nitwits.

Penn state demolishes akron 52-0 in the season opener.

We're here to break it down and look ahead.

We're joined by kneel rudel, mark brennan, and a member of the 1982 national championship team, former penn state offensive lineman, and now arthur.

That's right, adding that to the resume, the lions roar, joe paterno, paterno will, thank you so much.

>> thanks for having me.

>> what did we like most about the 52-0 season opening win?

>> offensively, i thought we all thought they were going to break out and obviously they did.

I was impressed with the waves of depth they showed early in the first quarter and kept getting stronger as the game went on.

Obviously the shut-out was important to them.

I think overall was a terrific start.

>> i survived being put next to neil in the press box.

>> he can move.

>> you know what really impressed me.

They have a nine-play opening brave.

Barkley didn't touch the ball once.

Akron was taking that away.

Penn state took what akron was giving.

That ended up in a an interception but it really sets the tone.

When you talk about defense, they had 34 guys make tackles in that game.

>> that's incredible.

They didn't have one guy making 15 tackles.

They were able to get all of these young players out there.

That defense, i don't know if there's a superstar on that defense, but they are so deep, so athletic so fast, i mean, again, the numbers speak for themselves.

34 guys making thatles.

Nobody made more than five.

It was just an unbelievable effort by the defense.

>> my observation as a former player, we're here talking about a defense.

This offense, oh, by the way, scored 52 points.

Didn't look like they really struggled and it was 35-0 at halftime.

It was evident by having barkley and mcsorely play as much as they did in the second half, but i think there's a little bit of a showcasing thing.

Barkley is a talent and i'm glad penn state fans got to see him play.

Clearly evident penn state, they've got a versatile arsenal.

I can't even keep track how many different players mcsorely threw accurately.

Holes were wide open.

I realize it's akron, but this bodes well.

It appears to be a continuation what we saw in the latter half of 2016.

>> you're completing passes to another quarterback, that tells you he's actually gaining yard an.

That tells you he has some weapons >> you do.

>> it's been a while where people can be excited about an offensive line there.

These guys look like they're going to be the real thing as they continue to grow up.

The center, mcgovern.

Made a few stabs but this line looks likes it's going to grow into strength.

>> it's early and it's akron.

Joe paterno, dick anderson as well, would always pass judgment on the progress you'd make from week one to week two.

And you certainly didn't want to regress.

You certainly wanted to learn from the mistakes that you made but they are young.

What i like is the fact they got a skillset that's arguably the best in the country.

That's a great feature to have in a group that's still learning and still going to be accountable to play some pretty strong opponents here as the big ten schedule starts.

>> bill, you played in an irera when the offensive lineman were 260, 270.

You have a guy like baits, who is 315.

Chaz wright.


It's unbelievable how the development -- can you address that?

>> it's getting bigger.

My teammate, was 13th in the nfl when i arrived as a rookie in 1983.

He marvelled how mobile bigger people were getting at that time.

6'2", 330.

Lineman were considered big then.

Joe paterno, while i was at penn state, put weight limit on most of us.

You weren't allowed to exceed a certain weight.

I detailed in the book, dave, from fair lawn, new jersey, came in heavy prior to the '82 season, but to your point, it is all about now seeing bigger people, be nimble, mobile.

I mean, 6'8", 6'9" guys, brian mckinney comes to mind how they're morphing, taking power forwards from basketball teams and morphing them into lights out offensive lineman.

Jonathan ogden comes to mind, things like that.

>> you mentioned barkley was not involved in that first series but got his at some point.

Did he live up to expectation?

>> this is probably why they helicopter him in.

That they would get more than -- i think they got 18 touches which i thought he would get more.

Boy, is he explosive.

He looks like a video game player compared to everybody else, with the speed, the tackling, the shiftiness and cutting.

The acting defenders wanted no part of him when he got in the nfl.

>> if i'm critical of one thing, what 0 are you doing putting it back on a return?

You have so many athletes, i get they would love to see him move up in that heisman race.

He's going to do that on his own.

You see plays he's making, hurdling people like that.

That's what gets you in the heisman race.

The last thing you want to do is have this guy get hurt, doing something like that.

When you have, this isn't like you have -- with all due respect, javon walker.

This is not like you have walk-ons.

You have tons of athletes returning those kicks.

>> it's a great point.

Games like akron enable a coach, if it gets out of hand early, to play, to see what kind of depth you have.

I really saw no reason why those guys, to your point, why is he returning kicks?

He has miles sanders as freshman, but keeping those guys in, they are obviously proven commodities.

What are we doing, let's keep them healthy.

Let's give some other guy much-needed playing type, get them exposed to this and be ready in case there are injuries.

>> especially with a 35-0 lead.

It's one thing when you fell behind, the fact that it's different.

But i don't -- i think it's a conscious effort to get him some more stat, and get his all-purpose numbers to a point, because maybe he's not going to get quite as many carries or wasn't yesterday >> and we're the only ones to find something negative out of that game.

>> take it on me, it's usually with the wet blanket, neil.

But i'm the one who brought it up, people.

>> we're going to take our first >>> we now return to the "nitwits."

A round table discussion of penn state football.

>> welcome back to the ni" "nitwits."

We continue to discuss penn state's 52-0 victory saturday.

We heard the good and praise.

What areas do the nittany lions need to address before heading into next week?

>> i'm not crazy about with the 38-0 lead, still having your starting quarterback in there and your great running back and still throwing.

That's something new to us old schoolers.

But, then i watched alabama and florida state last night, and you want to talk about big boy football.

And that's what james franklin is getting -- building and getting his team ready to play, later in the year.

So i do understand that you can only play -- i said to you at halftime.

How many series is mcsorely going to get?

You said one.

And he ended up playing four more.

>> i'm rarely wrong.

>> so, i can kind of see that.

I agree with you on the kick-off situation.

But, i kind of what justify, you know, making sure these guys -- bill, you probably -- >> you know, it may have been coach franklin had these guys on a play count, much the same as nowadays major league baseball, had a pitch count.

Maybe had certain places he wanted to run or certain looks to get his offense.

You can always work on some things.

It won't that long but that doesn't necessarily mean we're ready to go to columbus, ohio state, and take those guys on.

It's early.

I'm sure the coaches breaking down film, pointing out to these players it's a great start.

We have a rival game coming up in six days.

Let's focus on that next game and limit it to that.

>> one player, daesean hamilton had a couple balls he should have gotten.

Hopefully he got that out of his system but overall, again, we're nitpicking here, when you win 52-0.

You're kind of nitpicking.

Davis missing the field goal.

Again he's been money.

If you're going to miss one, miss it in this game.

Maybe he got it out of that system.

I thought alex barbir, was a retro kicker, hopefully he gets his feet under him a little bit.

>> you talk about hamilton, as receivers in general, johnson did a good job in his first break-out game.

Hamilton had a shot at three balls.

One was an easy catch over the middle, but blacknall didn't catch a pass which was a surprise and charles didn't catch a pass and both of them had late penalties.

>> when you have are gesicki catching sick ball, that's taking away from somebody out there.

They have so many weapons out there in the receiving corps that you're going to see games when somebody disappears because people are trying to take them out of it.

Tompkins had a couple catch, one or two catches.

Polk they tried to get involved.

There were a lot of people involved.

I think that's the more important part.

Making sure everybody gets a catch.

I think making sure you spread the ball around.

>> receivers did bock well.

And as mentioned, had a great game.

Hard to believe they haven't had a punt return for a touchdown since derek williams in '08.

>> you like to see special teams play early, we have talented people, big play people with speed, illusiveness, it was encouraging to see that.

They were hitting on all cylinders yesterday.

Is that a sign of things to come?

Let's hope so.

Maybe the weather was just that.

I didn't sense too many mishandled snaps or fumbled footballs.

It's an encouraging start.

Let move on to pitt.

>> the sideline reporter, i had a chance to talk quickly after the game.

Nobody was more jacked up about tompkins doing that.

As a former player, he probably enjoyed that.

Nobody enjoyed them winning the national title than you did, having gone through it yourself.

>> only player on that sideline, are antsy, the defenders, going out and getting out quickly.

But it's exciting.

Special teams practice so hard, it's so infrequent you bust one and run it to the house.

Everybody gets to the oneway, jacks the crowd up.

I hope we see more of it.

I hope we have a potential to do it on a frequent basis.

>> you have so much more depth and so many of athletes.

>> and attendance yesterday, considering their was a driving rain before the game -- >> absolute limit.

>> this was the first north of 100,000 for a home opener since 2010.

>> it's halftime on the "nitwits" but when we return, we're going to turn our attention to pitt and talk to bill about his book.

The "nitwits" will be right >>> hi, i'm penn state offensive line coach.

Matt limegrover you're watching "nitwits."

>> joining us is bill contz, member of the 1928 championship team and an author.

Why tell you tell us your story.

>> it's a collection of stories.

While challenging is a literary agent.

It was a labor of love to some degree.

We knew we had a reunion for the 35-year team.

This is born out of that as my deadline but knowing there were a lot of stories from that locker room that may not have been ever published.

That as well as a statistical anomaly, i'll call it, serving as a preface for by i got interested in making this vision a reality.

>> i got through much of the book to tell you that you're a good story teller.

Anybody that has an appreciation for football.

But particularly the '80, '81, '82 era.

Just neat behind the scenes stuff.

How you were overconfident against usc and the fiesta bowl and what not.

You hang your hat in the book about, you think the '82 team, you try to build a case that's the greatest team of all time.

Not just in penn state but college football history.

>> i want to say one of the greatest, it's based on the schedule we played.

I stumbled on some statistics early on in 1991 or '92.

I got done playing and flipped over the college football encyclopedia.

A 10-inch book and happened to open on scheduled strength.

Listed there are a couple of penn state teams, a couple of which i played on.

The remainder don't win as many games.

Here we are winning a national title against the who's who of top ten teams. i am not sure.

Maybe i get to talk about that a little bit.

But i keep following it for years and years.

It dawns on me, not a lot of teams that won the national title played one of the most difficult schedules in the country.

That served, as i mentioned, the premise.

These numbers seemed to make sense.

A lot of things i cite are about the '82 teams based on the teams they played, what they accomplished.

So from that aspect of it, i think that argument stands up.

I think there's a compelling read on the numerics of it.

>> some quicker speculative.

You're playing home and home at alabama.

Home and home at notre dame.

At that year nebraska was playing miami.

The east was a beast.

Marino, transferred.

Syracuse was good.

There was a tremendous era of games and you had a great offense.

>> wasn't that the first team that won a national title throwing for more yards?

>> joe recognized much like james franklin probably is, what he has to work with.

In 1928, we returned, minus sean ferrell, jim my romano.

Mike munchak.

>> obviously running the ball would be more of a challenge thatten we would experience.

We had greg gerrity.

John williams, joe coals.

The skill set any one of those guys.

>> kurt warner, i didn't mention the great kurt warner.

So, you know, to the schedule, i wrote this, and i'm thinking to myself, how did i have the misforum for tune to choose wen state.

My conspiracy literally contzspiracy herery.

Joe walked down the offense, getting no recognition whatsoever.

Says, look, i want to schedule every team that won a national title.

We'll show the nation and find out if we're good enough to play.

He schedules alabama, who schedules notre dame.

Who does that unless you're confident enough to know you got talent here to handle the challenge.

>> the '82 team handled the national championship.

Was it better than the '81 team?

>> i get that all of the time.

On paper, based on the draft picks, you have to argue '81 team from the talent perspective.

What comes out of this book and interviews i conducted with teammates.

Was the word chemistry and camaraderie.

Mike zordich, was a freshman, the way he won that was the way the seniors treated incoming freshman.

The '81 had nuclear of seen just.

They had delvecchio, ferrell and munchak, they were a very confident group in their own right.

Team chemistry is a funny thing.

>> where did the game 48-14 rank in your career?

>> being from pittsburgh, it was certainly a thrill to go into pitt stadium.

Play the number one ranked team, a lot of talent on both sides but it was a momentum shift the likes i've never been part of since.

We're down 14-0.

Marino is flicking bullets and picking apart a pretty good secondary with paul langford as those guys.

By halftime it's tied up.

It ranks up there with one of the most exciting turn arounds, if you will.

And i'm sure it was great for fans to watch.

We weren't so sure of ourselves after the first quarter.

On the road, playing at the number one team in the country's home field.

>> coming up on saturday, pitt is coming to beaver stadium and >>> it's prediction time.

Pitt ban they ares coming to beaver stadium saturday.

Gentlemen how do you see this one playing out?

>> i think franklin has really tried to address problems of the past.

He started with the fast starts yesterday, tried to get that fixed, and last year was a problem at pitt, but i think he remembers that.

I'm going to say penn state pretty decisive, 42, pitt 17.

>> i'll go 45-27.

I think penn state will score a lot of points but pitt has a much better offense than what you saw versus akron.

I think you'll see that this season where they're going to score a lot of points and that gives teams more possessions.

Again, i think it's going to be decisive.

They're not going to admit it.

I think there's something stuck in their craw by the way they were treated out there in pittsburgh last year.

>> it's a rivalry game.

You can't minimize the fact that narduzzi is going to sell out.

They beat clemson on the road.

They're road warriors.

Still that mind set, they'll have a competitive aspect.

I know penn state fans, i see a 45-28 kind of result penn state.

>> i'm going to go with 48-3.

Bill, real quick where can people get et book?

>> that book is available in selected stores, barnes &amp; noble,, google books.


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