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Penn State Mailbag: Tommy Stevens, Hockey, Chambers Extension And More

by on March 26, 2018 12:30 PM

It's a busy time of year if you're a Penn State fan. Basketball and hockey are both in their last week of the season and football is just starting up spring ball, so there's a little something for everyone no matter what sport might be your favorite.

In turn it's time to open up the mailbox, and by that I mean Twitter, and answer a few questions about all three teams.

Best/worst case for Penn State football in 2018-19?

It's kind of early to make broad sweeping assumptions about how the football season will go, but that's basically what the internet was invented for.

Generally speaking I think the best case for Penn State this year is a season that is maybe not quite as good as the past two but proves that the program having a historic two-year run wasn't a fluke. That is to say I think Penn State won't be able to answer all of its needs well enough to hit the 10/11 win mark but ought to be competent enough that any losses aren't going to be by a wide margin. Basically this team isn't going to be bad, but it's going to have enough hiccups that it won't be elite either.

Penn State has a somewhat favorable schedule from the standpoint of playing its best opponents at home, so the idea of making it three-straight 10+ win seasons isn't out of the question, it's just not what I'm putting my money on.

Worst case, Trace McSorley can't do it on his own and Penn State's defense can't fill all of its holes with players that are ready to play at the same level as the guys they replaced. Given how Penn State has played as of late it's hard to look at the schedule and say "7 or 8 wins" but considering Penn State didn't exactly cruise through the midseason gauntlet with ease last year, adding a lot of new faces to the mix and removing the big names at the same time doesn't really spell an any easier stretch of games, even if they're at home. 

In short best case: Holding steady but not quite as good. Give them a year.

In short worst case: Talent is there but experience isn't.

What's up with Tommy Stevens?

According to our friends at The Collegian he's walking around campus with a boot on, which would explain why he hasn't been seen at the past two events the media was allowed to watch. Is he transferring? I've pestered Tommy about as much as anyone and he's not telling. You could argue both ways, but until he graduates (which allegedly can happen this spring) nobody is going to be doing anything. Best to just wait and see

In the meanwhile he's probably playing Fortnite and laughing at everyone else.

If Chambers gets an extension, how long is it?

In theory there's no reason he has to get an extension with a year left on his current one. But considering the fact that nobody anywhere makes it to the last year of their current contract, it stands to reason that Penn State's season has warranted an extension if for no other reason than optics. How long? Three years seems like a good and slightly arbitrary number. That would in theory give Chambers until the early 2020s to build on the Tony Carr era on the recruiting trail. And frankly there is no indication that Penn State is going to jump into the market for some coach you're convinced it should hire. This question deserves a whole story but my laptop battery doesn't have enough charge at the moment to write it. Chambers has earned an extension and will almost certainly get it.

What's next after the NIT for Penn State basketball?

This depends, and it's a bit unfair to say, entirely on what Tony Carr decides to do. He by all accounts is going to test the NBA Draft waters because he isn't stupid. What he decides to do after that will determine a whole heck of a lot. Penn State could very well start the season ranked, which is crazy, if Carr comes back. In particular if Penn State can finish off this NIT run with at least a title appearance. Without Carr it's not as though Penn State will lack talent, but it will lack the stability Carr gave the team on the offensive side of the ball, and frankly one of the best players it has ever had.

With the Big Ten cycling out a lot of old faces and Penn State returning nearly everyone but Shep Garner, Penn State being a Top 5 Big Ten team isn't out of the question....if Carr stays.

Does Penn State hockey make it back to Allentown next year?

I'm going to say yes simply because Penn State has yet to really show that it's going to take a step back. There are a lot of things that will have to go its way to do three straight seasons in the postseason, but the rest of the Big Ten will have some new faces while Penn State is in theory going to return most of its key assets. If this team can grow and develop from what it learned this year it ought to be pretty good. The Denver game leaves a bad taste in the program's mouth, but I'm hesitant to say that it's a result of Penn State being overrated or not as good as it has looked.

There's still a gap between the two programs, but there is a gap between Denver and nearly everyone else, except apparently Ohio State. Point being, using the defending national champs as a barometer is fun but it's not the most useful benchmark for a program about to enter Year 7.

What's Penn State hockey's depth look like last year?

There's some nonspecific rumbling that Andrew Sturtz might sign and head to some level of the NHL, but aside from that the good news for Penn State is that most of the big offensive names are back. The bad news, no more Trevor Hamilton or Erik Autio, both seasoned defensive veterans. You could argue that Penn State's defense could be better (actually that's just a fact) but Hamilton and Autio are both savoy vets and Penn State has missed departing defensemen more than I think it has expected to. Peyton Jones being in net won't hurt either.

Penn State has a boatload of new faces headed into the program as well. In the end the talent will be there, but it will be the offseason work and development that will tell the tale. Until everyone sorts out their future though, it's hard to say for certain who will and will not be in Pegula next fall.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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