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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead took time for this week's assistant coaches conference call to talk Nittany Lion football during Indiana week.
Catch up on the Q&A session with a few highlights.
The Best is Still Ahead
When asked how close the Nittany Lion offense is to reaching its full potential, Moorhead noted that although Penn State's offensive may be putting up impressive numbers, the best is still yet to come.
"I think, you know, the old saying that no one rises to low expectations - every time that we take the field our expectation level when a possession begins, it's going to end with a touchdown," Moorhead said. "To this point in the season, we are averaging 40, close to 500 yards of total offense, but I do think that we have more in us. I do think we have to continue to improve on a weekly basis with our preparation, our play calling and our execution, but I definitely think that our best football is still ahead of us."
Barkley Shining Bright
For Moorhead, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has reached a point where there isn't much left in terms of surprise when it comes to his incredible play-making ability.
"I don't think that anything the kid does can surprise you anymore," Moorhead said. "I think the Iowa game was a microcosm of the kid's skillset. 350-plus all-purpose yards, he did it on the ground, did it catching the ball, did a very good job in pass protection. I don't get to see every player in the country on a weekly basis but if there's a better one, I'd be hard pressed to believe it. The kid has just done a fantastic job in his role, he has been a great teammate, a great leader and obviously when you have arguably the best player in the country on your team, you look to find ways to scheme to get him the ball because he's a game changer."
When asked about what he believes is the next step for tight end Mike Gesicki, Moorhead was pleased with the progress the Preseason AP All-American has made, only building off of a solid 2016 season this year.
"I think Mike has done a fantastic job in the pass game building off of the things that he did last year," Moorhead said. "It's great to have a target like Mike up the field, particularly in the red zone where he can create matchup problems. The things that Mike identified coming into the season as areas he wanted to improve, his blocking and his ability to run after the catch, are two things that I think he has done a very good job of thus far and he's certainly a guy like Saquon [Barkley], like the receiving guys, like Trace [McSorley], he's a guy who can really break open the game and help us continue with our explosiveness."
Creating Situations for
Moorhead was asked just how much goes into play calling when it comes to a decision to go with a tried and true call or opt for a call that might help the Nittany Lions get better in an area of weakness.
don't think we're going to try to do things - to major in the minors, we're not
going to do things that we're not particularly good at," Moorhead said. "We're
really going to try to put a game plan together that, I mean it sounds cliché,
that maximizes our strengths and minimizes our weaknesses and in those
situations where we need to be a little bit better running between the tackles,
I think we're fifth or sixth right now in the country in yards per carry right
now and Saquon averages a first down essentially every time he touches the
ball. It's really just a matter of trying to create an advantageous situation
either by numbers in the run game or matchups in the pass game and putting the
kids in the best situation to be successful."