Natty Asks: Any updates on FOS getting a full-time recruiting guy?
Mark Harrington Answers: We are still working on this and continue to ask readers to bear with us. We need to approach this the right way, especially given the recent ESPN Magazine article on team sites and how some struggle between serving as reporters vs. recruiters. This was an article that was not very flattering to some fan sites out there based on apparent tactics used with recruits. As always, we continue to strive to do things the right way.
But we are pursuing the issue. Remember, though, our own Bob Lichtenfels is the guy who broke the Brackett verbal, broke the Ogbu verbal, broke Daryll Clark's qualification and has provided a wide range of insight and reports on everyone from Rolle and McCoy to Quarless and Odrick.
wvulionatheart Asks: What kind of year are we having so far? It's really a pretty broad question, but what kind of impressions are you getting from the recruits? I know we only have two commits, but if we were to have a 7-9 win season, how much of a difference would that make to some of the top end kids? Are we really in the hunt for Myron Rolle and LeSean McCoy, or are they just the next Kevin Jones or Chad Henne?
Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Myron Rolle seems genuinely interested in Penn State, he really likes Coach Paterno. McCoy on the other hand is tough to read, but he likes Coach Larry Johnson.
PSU is still in the running for Sam Young and Dan Wenger as well. Phillip Taylor and Jared Odrick are also high on the Nittany Lions. Kids do look at wins and losses, but it didn't stop Derrick Williams and Justin King from going to Happy Valley.
NWNittany Asks: Expert opinion wanted: what is the rationale for our lousy offense in 2004 — Was it:
(a) poor play selection/game day coaching
(b) poor preperation
(c) poor execution
(d) no horses/no horses at key positions
(e) no luck
(f) all of the above
(g) something else
Mark Harrington Answers: Well, since I don't proclaim myself as an "expert," I probably should not answer this given your request, but I think the offensive issues come down to a few factors.
First, the offensive line's play wreaked havoc on the pocket and lanes. The quarterbacks were running for their lives and forcing passes. Add to this the fact that opposing teams could stick eight and nine in the box with no threat from an effective passing attack and the Lions were in trouble.
Second, the play-calling situation caused cofusion and ate up the clock — resulting in an inability to adjust, stupid penalties and frustration all around. It was a real disservice to the team and hopefully will be addressed.
Finally, I personally think a lot had to do with attitude. I am a big believer that attitude breeds performance. I don't think the offense believed it could succeed. Fix that and your halfway to success.
Mark Brennan Answers: Anyone else buying this bit about Harrington not billing himself and an "expert?"
As Mr. Expert ... I mean Mark said, everything here starts with the offensive line. And that's the real concern for this season, especially when three players with significant starting experience missed most or all of the spring. The Lions are fortunate to have a less-than-taxing non-con slate so the line can develop a bit of chemistry.
And the play-calling issues must be addressed. Let one coach handle the job. Galen Hall is the logical choice, given his background.
SafeHaven Asks: From many first-hand observations, Warren Wilson was one of the outstanding performers at the WR position at PSU Nike this spring. Since then there has been virtually no information as to his interest level in PSU and vise versa. Do you believe that Williams would be considered a Plan B recruit in spite of his impressive camp and might not be offered? Do you believe it would be a mistake to offer WW until the staff knows the fate of Hazelton, Harvin, et. Al.?
Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Not at all. This kid is as impressive on film as he is at a combine. The staff has a good feel for where they're at with recruits and I'm pretty positive they know there's not a lot of hope with Hazelton and Harvin — both are looking south.
MyBloodisBlue Asks: With Pitt offering Kevan Smith is he going to be a lot harder to get now if Penn State were to offer him?
Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Smith committed to Pittsburgh after your question was written. Actually, I don't think Penn State takes more then one QB unless it would be someone like Pat Devlin.
zeta1344 Asks: How many top-end players (McCoy, Odrick, Young, Rolle, Bell, Gbadyu, Gloster, Walton etc.) do you see us landing this year? Also, I know it's very early, but based on your initial opinions of them, which recruits could you see having instant playing time in their freshman year for us based on their current talent and our future positional needs?
Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Odrick, Young, Wenger, Taylor, Walton, Rolle, Bell and Gbadyu all seem to be legit targets, and they seem to have a very high interest in Penn State. I'm sticking to my guns on the Florida kids, it's tough to get the high end talent without a foundation of Florida kids in your system. Rolle would likely start from Day One wherever he goes. It would also be very hard to keep Chris Bell off the field.
CarolinaDave Asks: How do we stand with LB Jeremiha Hunter? Does he have a considerable interest in PSU? Is he planning any visits to PSU? I have not seen a recent update on him. Also, is Penn State a serious contender for Aaron Smith?
Bob Lichtenfels Answers: Hunter is interested in Penn State. I have not had an opportunity to speak to him much, because everyone is calling him and I'm not going to be a hinderance on a kid.
zeta1344 Asks: Roughly how many posters have been banned from FOS? It seems the staff here is very patient with some rival visitors and even a couple of the regulars here, who tend to bend the rules consistently, which leads to watered down discussions on Audibles. I am no Priest by any means, but I see all these lame attempts at covering up vulgar words like $h.. or phu.. b!t.. a lot lately, and this can get out of control, along with name calling, and good threads turn ugly. Need I remind about our young Lion audience ... what kind of example does this set? This is also in regard to rivals who come here to blatently induce arguments ... anyway, I'm blabbering, so yeah, doya know how many you have banned?
Mark Harrington Answers: Fight on State has very basic "rules of engagement." However, some folks do bend or break the rules. If you see this please send us a private message to us and we will review the issue. Unfortunately, given the sheer volumes of posts we see we cannot read every post, but do depend on users like yourself to police the community.
You do not need to remind us of our young audience since we have made it a point to make the FOS community welcoming for all ages — an apparent unique approach based on many other fan sites we have encountered. We do believe in open, intellegent debate and do not practice blacklisting users or deleting posts because their opinions differ. Also, FOS is part of a larger community of college football fans, which means there are fans of other sites who visit FOS. I believe it says a lot that we have fans of Ohio State, Michigan, Pitt, Maryland, etc. that seemingly spend more time on FOS than on their respective boards. We do expect these users to adhere to our rules and "respect our house." So, please let us know if users are not following the rules, however, do not expect us to delete posts if they simply differ in opinion.
Mark Brennan Answers: Harrington is obviously the expert ... I mean more experienced person when it comes to message boards. But I've been surprised at how few people we've had to ban. If someone starts getting out of hand, one of the monitors typically asks him or her to tone it down. And FAR more often than not, the party in question complies.
PowerLion Asks: FOS has only been around for a few months now, but amazingly has been granted inside access to the program like I have never seen before. You guys have interviewed Mike McQueary in the thick of recruiting, interviewed Tom Bradley, interviewed Tim Curley, interviewed Derrick Williams, been invited to camp, got the most amazing PSU magazine cover I have ever seen with Poz and Connor, are now tied with Lift for Life, etc. So many have tried to accomplish this for so long — what's you secret?
Mark Harrington Answers: First off, thank you. Secret? I don't think there is any secret. I think we try to do things right — we're fair with our coverage and reporting, we treat people with the respect they deserve and we don't try to act like we are experts with all the answers. It is exciting to see the reaction all around to FOS.
I also think we have struck a great balance by joining the Brennan team with the Playbook team. Mark Brennan is a tremendously respected writer who is passionate. The Playbook crew know how to deliver a top notch fan experience and community, so I think it was a beautiful marriage.
What's more exciting is that we've only been at this for six months ... buckle up.
Mark Brennan Answers: Oh man. Now I feel bad for making all those "expert" cracks about Harrington. I take it back, Mark, every last word of it.
Now Lichtenfels, there's an expert for you.