Penn State, off to its slowest start in 28 years, is looking for leaders.
With a 4-3 record (its slowest start since 1983, according to an article by Stephen Pianovich of the Daily Collegian) and sitting at the bottom of the Big Ten standings (OK, not really the Big Ten standings, given that the Big Ten season hasn’t started yet, but they have the worst record so far), Penn State isn’t quite up to tempo.
In fact, as Russ Rose noted in an interview with Matt Howland of the Daily Collegian, as a team, it’s missing a few beats.
Even though you might have been the leader of your high school or your club team, you go into a college situation where most of the players are deferring instead of stepping up and doing things. I recruit kids and I expect them to be able to come in and play. I think what has enabled the top teams in the country to maintain being the top teams is the young kids that they recruit are able to come in, adapt, and some teams don’t miss a beat. Right now, we’re missing a number of beats.
Missing beats. Out of synch. Bad connection. Two words come to mind: youth and inexperience. Here’s Coach Rose again, from the Matt Howland article:
We’ve got a lot of young kids out there playing, and I think they’re a little hesitant to be as aggressive as they need to be to make the good decisions. Those things will probably develop with time, but until that happens, it’s a struggle, for sure.
To underscore just how young and inexperienced this team really is, take a look at Penn State’s statistical leaders through the Texas match in the Tables below: Attack Leaders – all sophomores and freshmen; Set/Serve leaders – one junior, one sophomore, one freshman; Recept/Dig leaders – one junior, three sophomores, two freshmen; Block/Points leaders – four sophomores, three freshmen.
That’s youth (and inexperience).
Attack Leaders - 2011
Set/Serve Leaders - 2011
Recept/Dig Leaders - 2011
Blocking Leaders - 2011
Video Interview with Lacey Fuller
Oh, and here’s Lacey Fuller in a “Tuesday Talk” video interview with the Daily Collegian: