2/29/2008

Happy Leap Day!

In honor of the bizarro day when everything is supposed to be reversed and/or devil may care, I present - the College Coaches All Star Football Team:



Media Guide -

Offense:

Quarterback - Not really sure what the recruiters were thinking here- we're easily 20 deep in the Quarterback position - hopefully one or two of them can kick. So, naturally, there is a controversy at starting quarterback - we toyed with the idea of rotating qbs, but that's just too confusing - besides, the guy who was really an advocate of the system, Stevie Spurrier, clammed up after it was announced that he'd be starting.

Backups: oh there are plenty - but Jimmy Tressel is at the top of the heap - although he does insist on wearing a tie under his uniform. Little Ricky Neuheisel has shown a real talent for placing long snaps, so we plan to use him on special teams.

Running backs - We're a little thin on running speed, but we're confident that our fullbacks will pick up the slack. We're also planning to convert a few of those quarterbacks into RBs, as that's where we think they'll be most successful.

At running back we'll start Mack "The Knife" Brown and our starting fullback will be Dan "The Darkness" Hawkins.

As for the offensive line - we're a little Guard heavy, but we're sure that the kids can adjust. Making up the starting line are: Dave Wannstedt, Leslie Miles, Ron "Charming" Prince, Sly Croom and Phil Fulmer (did you know that Phil hopes to be a journalist one day?) - Ralph Friedgen and Mike Sherman (although he'll also be playing defense!) will rotate in, as needed.

Starting at Tight End we have Al Golden and Gary Pinkel, who will be sharing the position.

Wide receiver - now this is an important position, as you know, and we've found that the better you "know the game" the better you play- so our obvious choices for starting wideouts are, Tommy Bowden, Skip Holtz. and flanker, Ty Willingham, will see playing time as well.



Defense:

Defensive Line: Alfie Groh, Butch "Flick" Davis, Mike Sherman and Doug Martin make up our starting defensive line.

At Linebacker we have Greg Schiano, Kirk Ferentz and Randy Shannon as starters. When we're running a 3 - 4, we shuffle in Gary Patterson.

And our star position - Defensive Backs. The amount of talent at this position is extraordinary - It seems that every kid on our team was a DB - quick little snots who can't really play offense (well) or play up front - but they have a fire in their bellies that you just can't ignore...

At Cornerback we have:

Joey Paterno, senior, who leads the team in career interceptions, (although, he can be overpowered when up against a tight end) shares the field with Urban "Just Call Me Country" Meyer; the ever passionate Dickie Rodriguez will rotate in.

At safety, we'll play Ronny "Redacted" Zook and Pete "Don't call me" Carrol.

On special teams we are, sadly, lacking. we're still working on building up that team.

While the players have had a few problems with clashing egos we're throughly excited about this team's potential

-- Chas Weis, Speech and Drama (class of '78)

2/28/2008

NCAA Football 2009 on Wii

Vote for the Nittany Lion to be on the front cover of the inaugural NCAA Football Wii game.

EAsports.com


(HT: This Guy)

2/26/2008

Dan Connor: Kidder or a tad bit odd?

or maybe it was the cold medication?

Below is the text from Connor's Q&A from the combine...

HEY! I love that little Matt Roloff


Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why?
Dick Butkus because of his passion and intensity.

In college, what player hit you the hardest? Who was the recipient of your best hit?
Joe Thomas hit the hardest. Kellen Davis in 2006 was the recipient of my best hit.

What TV-show marathon will keep you on the couch all day?
Matlock

What are the five most-played songs in your iPod? What's the one song you hope nobody ever finds out is in your iPod?
Wang Chung "Let's Go;" Tiny Tim "Tiptoe through the Tulips;" Kenny G "Songbird;" The Gleaming Spins "Are You Ready;" Wham "Wake Me Up Before You Go."

What celebrity would play you in the movie version of your life and why?
Wilfred Brimley. We are very similar.

What is one thing your teammates don't know about you?
I play guitar.

What reality TV show would you like to be on and why?
Little People, Big world.

What's your proudest moment in football? Proudest moment off the field?
Winning the Orange Bowl. Graduating college.

When you play Madden, what team do you use? Do you put yourself on the team?
I don't play it.

Who has been the biggest influence on your football career and how?
My parents have been very supportive through my life and greatly influenced me.


and Wham! But then, if he were a true fan, he'd know that it's "go-go".

Men's Volleyball Ranked #1

In new national poll. Marks first time since 2002 that Penn State has occupied the #1 spot.

Anaylists are bullish on King

Justin King had a great day today at the Combine - he ran a 4.31 40 -

NFL.com still has him listed as a WR but - which must be a snafu in their program. Regardless, that ties for the fastest time ran today (and for 2nd fastest overall). He also placed in the top 10 (for both WRs and DBs, btw) in the Long Jump, sailing 10'7".

In their recap the pundits said that "they" have to go back to game tape - they know that Justin had some trouble (especially against Indiana) during the season, but such a fine performance deserves a second look.

Hopefully this is one of the films they review...(video HT: Run up the Score)

He's not uber strong - he had only 14 reps on the bench press - but at least he participated.

So, good for you Justin -

The NFL network is running footage and analysis from the Combine all day.

All this NFL talk

made me think of our favorite former Nittany Lion, Paul Posluszny, and wonder how he is doing following his season ending injury (broken arm) and his recent trip to Iraq to visit the American troops during the Super Bowl.

On Buffalobills.com you can find a variety of articles, photos and videos featuring Paul. In one video, he discusses his injury and his recovery strategy. Poz missed 13 games as a result of his broken arm, but only on the field. He went to practice and spent every game on the sideline so he could learn and watch the development of each defensive scheme. He'd been well on his way to having a great rookie season (amassed 25 tackles in 3 games played) - and we certainly hope that he, and the Bills, have a good 2008 season.

Our boy has let his hair grow out a bit - that's fine.

2/25/2008

Flu and Workout do not Combine

So, Danny Connor missed the Linebackers' workout today at the NFL Combine due to being "fluish" - oh well - he'll have Pro Day (March 18th) - btw, Florida, Virginia and Georgia host pro scouts the same day - hmm.

BTW, here's what the NFL.com scouting report says about Dan:
Positives: Has good upper-body thickness, broad shoulders and a big back with good definition in his arms and chest (lower-body frame needs further development)...Possesses good speed and initial quickness, doing a nice job of breaking down and tackling when in space...Shows good mobility to slip blocks and good change-of-direction agility moving down the line...Has enough speed and toughness to be effective containing the inside running game...Intelligent and instinctive player with the vision and instincts to locate the ball through trash...Hard worker in the weight room and has really matured in his training and has taken on more of a leadership role since his 2005 off-field incident...Plays with good aggression and, while he is not a vocal type, he does have command of the defensive squad on the field...Has a good knack for recognizing blocking schemes, getting his hat right into the action to wipe out draws and screens...Locates underneath targets and has enough mobility to slip through blocks and disrupt the pocket...Reads plays quickly, getting in good position to make the play before blocks develop...Can slip blocks and deliver a blow to the ballcarrier...Uses his hands well to bounce off blockers and jam tight ends at the line...Will not hesitate to take on lead blockers and shows better toughness playing inside the tackles than on the edge...Usually in position to make inside plays and, while he is not stout at the point of attack and has some problems getting over trash, he plays with good leverage and knee-bend when he keeps his pad level down...Uses his hands well to control short-area receivers and can generate good leverage on the outside when he uses his hands to defeat blocks...Possesses the speed and burst to make plays while moving toward the sideline, as he hits with good pop, keeping his head up and wrapping with his arms...Needs to be more fluid is his sideline pursuit, but he plays downhill well and has the ability to play well in the flow in attempts to get to the ball...Not really a big hitter, but is a reliable tackler who can break down and will face up and wrap tackler working in space...Has enough hip snap to turn on the ball in flight and can locate underneath targets, but compensates for a lack of explosion out of his breaks by taking good angles to the ball...Shows good timing and anticipation on the blitz, but needs to develop a variety of moves...Is frustrated when his initial move fails, as he does not always find the rush lane, making him more of a contain than a press type...Times leaps to break up passes, reading the quarterback's eyes well to react to the ball in flight.

Negatives: Has adequate muscle mass but good definition, and shows just marginal thickness in his calves and ankles, making it questionable whether he can plant his foot and anchor vs. a strong double team...Not physical in his attempts to shed blocks and needs to improve his overall strength and use his hands better, as he struggles to take on and shed blocks when working in-line...Has the lateral quickness to work down the line, but lacks the second gear needed to chase and is much better in the box...Lacks natural hands for the interception and must deliver his punch with more force...Can extend for the ball away from the frame, but prefers to use his body to catch...When he takes a straight shot into the backfield, he shows good timing on the blitz, but he lacks an array of moves to execute if his initial one fails...Bit top-heavy and can be driven off the ball because of a lack of a good anchor at the point of attack...Needs to stay lower in his pads and use his hands better to avoid cut blocks...When he gets high in his stance and keeps his hands outside the framework, linemen can wash him out...His narrow base causes him to struggle shedding blocks vs. the bigger blockers...Lacks fluidness in his backpedal and takes false steps in transition, making him a bit of a liability handling receivers outside the short area...Better playing between the tackles, as he doesn't have the timed speed to get to the corner to force the outside running game back inside...Has had off-field issues in the past and while he has matured, teams will want him to show that he is accountable off the field...Adequate blitzer, but he will need to develop better pass-rush moves rather than just a straight-forward charge, to be successful doing this at the next level...Has decent strength, but he gets into trouble when he looks past blockers to the ball.



Tomorrow the DBs work out - and, I have no idea if Justin King will be working out because the NFL has him listed as a wide receiver, but I did not notice him in any of the drills yesterday - granted, I wasn't really looking for him. But, here's the NFL's write up on JK...
Positives: Physically, has everything scouts are looking for. Tight skinned, athletic build, good size and rare straight-line speed. ... Smooth hip turn in transition to stick with receivers out of their breaks. ... Versatile athlete who has seen time at wide receiver. ... Shows the ability to pluck the ball out of the air. ... Flashes explosiveness as a hitter.

Negatives: Left out on an island in 2007 and really struggled down the stretch. ... Has the athleticism to run with any receiver in the country, but seemed to struggle with more refined route-runners. ... Too often seemed satisfied with breaking up passes when opportunities for interceptions were there. ... Finished 2007 with 15 passes broken up and only two interceptions. ... Not particularly aggressive or physical in run support.

Yet another busy weekend...

Watching the combine, trying to decipher scouting "notes" is fun;

Penn State basketball continues to advocate a 20 minute game;

Penn State men's volleyball and gymnastics continue to roll through their (respective) seasons - and the Women's softball team had a very successful trip to the Carolinas.

Beautiful women playing unattractive roles continues to dominate at the Oscars;

Penn State engineering grad student placed 3rd overall in Food Network's Ultimate Burger recipe competition (rocket scientists rule!);

Shopping, dinner with friends, church as well - but not really as interesting.

2008 NFL Combine - Jump, Jump, Jump!

So, our hero, Anthony Morreli, braved the scrutiny of the NFL Combine Quarterbacks' workout this weekend. Tony ran a 5.0 in the 40 - which isn't good but oh well. He did place in the top 10 (tied for 8th) in the vertical jump. His leap reached 26.5" - to put that in perspective - the top jump, so far, came from RB Carl Stewart with a jump of 39" (what?!) - and three offensive linemen jumped 26.5 as well.

So, according to NFL.com, the 411 on our man's "negatives" is as follows:
Not strong in upper or lower body. ... A bit of windup in his delivery. ... Very inconsistent in accuracy. ... Poor mechanics when any pressure arrives. ... Happy feet and throws off back foot, even when there is no pressure. ... Struggles to get past first read -- birddogs that read from the snap. ... Makes some questionable decisions. ... Limited mobility, both running for first downs and moving within the pocket to free himself to make the throw.


My responses...
Okay...sure...yes...mhmm...affirmative...I agree...he is a birddog (ya better git away quick)...yup...and, correct.

The most impressive performance to date is probably Darren McFadden's 40 - 4.27 seconds - which is a little unreal.

Linebackers work out today.

2/21/2008

Blue/White Game 2008 - Just a Reminder...

The game is April 19th, at 2pm.

Admission to the game is free.

Parking is also free and lots (all around the stadium) open at 8am.



The game, generally, pits the 1st string offense against the 2nd string defense (and #1 D against #2 O) - they even it out a bit during the day - but it's intended to showcase the talent and let some of the newbies (red shirt freshmen and early admissions) get some "game" time.

The assistants coach the 2 squads and Joe sits up in the booth calling color commentary.

As we've discussed, there are a ton of activities going on in Happy Valley that weekend - and we'll post more detailed information about the tailgate and other events as it becomes available.

Can't wait!

2008 NFL Combine - Do You Feel a Draft?

Three Penn Staters are participating in the NFL combine (today through next wednesday), Dan Connor, Justin King and Anthony Morelli.

Linebackers and D Backs don't workout until next week - but they will, most likely, show footage from the weight room and other skill tests.

NFL Network (and NFL.com) Scheduling:

Thursday, February 21
ALL DAY – NFL.com: Video on Demand content available.
2:30 PM – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7:00 PM – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine (re-airs at 11:00 PM)

Friday, February 22
ALL DAY – NFL.com: Video on Demand content available.
2:30 PM – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7:00 PM – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine (re-airs at 12:00 MIDNIGHT)

Saturday, February 23
11:00 AM-2:00 PM – NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available.
11:00 AM – Workouts: Kickers, Offensive Linemen and Tight Ends
(re-airs in its entirety at 4:00 PM with cut-down versions at 8:00 PM & 11:00 PM)
2:00 PM – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7:00 PM – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine (re-airs at 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM)

Sunday, February 24
11:00 AM-2:00 PM – NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available.
11:00 AM – Workouts: Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs
(re-airs in its entirety at 4:00 PM with cut-down versions at 8:00 PM & 11:00 PM)
2:00 PM – NFL Scouting Combine Press Conferences
7:00 PM – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine (re-airs at 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM)

Monday, February 25
11:00 AM-2:00 PM – NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available.
11:00 AM – Workouts: Linebackers, Defensive Lineman
(re-airs in its entirety at 4:00 PM with cut-down versions at 8:00 PM & 11:00 PM)
7:00 PM – NFL Total Access from the Scouting Combine (re-airs at 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM)

Tuesday, February 26
11:00 AM-2:00 PM – NFL.com LIVE: Five live streams from workouts available.
11:00 AM – Workouts: Defensive Backs
(re-airs in its entirety at 4:00 PM with cut-down versions at 8:00 PM & 11:00 PM)

Wednesday, February 27
8:00 PM – 2007 NFL Scouting Combine Wrap-Up Show
(re-airs at 11:00 PM and on 2/28 at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM)

2/19/2008

Signs it's the off season: Television

Television is boring without college football - especially following bowl season - when it seems that every channel is airing a game - every day. Saturdays are tough - but then, I'm usually at or watching PSU on Saturdays so - what I miss a little more are the "off day" or "get to know your Big East teams" games and the college football tv shows. Although I stopped watching College Football Live daily about mid-season.

I regularly announce, really to no one in particular, that I miss football! even professional football!

Sure there are other sports out there - Hockey, Basketball, Golf, Tennis, and now, Auto Racing - they're all fun, at times, but it's not the same.

I'm enjoying the Big Ten Network, that is, when they show Penn State - I've yet to see Men's Gymnastics or Men's Volleyball (you know, the sports where PSU is atop the national rankings) - PSU does not seem to be a priority on the network - you never see PSU in "The Big Ten's Greatest Games" (granted, it's basketball season* - but still). It's fine, I didn't expect it to be all PSU all the time.

I watch a good amount of DVR'd games. I rewatched the Alamo Bowl the other night (sadly, it's a recording of the "edited to fit the 2 hour time slot" rebroadcast). I fast forward through the first 2 scores - the rest of the game is pretty good.

I get so elated when ESPN Classics airs a PSU game - but currently, it's all basketball and poker - but...

As the guys on ESPN noted - the first college football game is August 30th

*PSU basketball (mens and womens) has been painful to watch these past few weeks - I've tried - really I have.

Meme Rees light the corner of my mind...

I've been tagged - for a meme by Allison over on BCS Frenzy.

So now I have to name five things that you probably don't know about me...

1. My new current favorite TV show is "Paranormal State" - and yes, it's mostly because the kids are from Penn State.

2. I can yell "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" for 19 seconds.

3. I've never climbed Mt. Nittany.

4. My favorite sports movie is "Pride of the Yankees"

5. I've never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - and the thought of doing so can actually make me gag.

I'm supposed to "tag" people - but I was never a big fan of that -

2/14/2008

I heart Penn State

Happy Valentine's Day.

In honor of the Roman Martyr, who may or may not have been a priest, or a bishop or seven different people, only later to be romanticized by Geoffrey Chaucer, and eventually removed from the Calendar of Saints, I thought I'd list some of the things that I love about Penn State Football (my true Valentine):

1. The uniforms. Navy is such a flattering color - and an investment in a jersey is an investment for life - no worries about whose name is on the back.

2. Tailgating - (get out, really?) I love cooking, eating, and entertaining in the cow pastures. I grew up tailgating over on the East side of the stadium, so I'm a grass purest. Sure it can be convenient to be on the pavement in bad weather - but nothing, nothing, beats standing in a field, with great friends, with good food and drink, toasting the Nittany Lions, nothing.

3. Defense - it's my favorite. Offense is exciting and necessary - but the real thrill is when the Defense is on the field. I love cheering on the squad - it's also when the crowd can really get into it and try to be a factor. Tipped passes, interceptions, blocked kicks - those are the best.

4. Paul Posluszny and players of his ilk - this would include, Sean Lee, Tamba Hali, Kenny Jackson, to name just a few. The fellas that just embody the "Penn State Player" - their enthusiasm for the game and their school is contagious. Smart kids with what appear to be good hearts who truly appreciate what they are doing. These are the kids who warm (and on occasion, mend) my Penn State Heart.

5. Pre-game. I love the Blue Band - sure they can be cheesy - but they really are great and they play my favorite songs every week - I love the drum major and the "flip" - no matter how late it is in the season - I get a rush walking through the gangway into the stadium - filled with the familiar sounds of cheering fans and Penn State fight songs.

6. State College - as soon as I get on the 322 by-pass I start to smile - it's such a great little town -

7. The Penn State Way. True, right, wrong or false I love the reputation that Penn State projects (whether or not it be held by all) - The tradition of guiding young people to be the best students, athletes and members of society that they can be - and winning more than a few games along the way. This is perhaps why it stings a little more when the kids deviate from our "image" of them - but sometimes love hurts.

So that's just a quick list - there are innumerable reasons for why I love this team -

Gone in 40 Seconds...

The NCAA Football Rules Committee announced the newest proposed changes to the game.

Most notable are, yet again, the changes regarding the clock.

As we all know, the play clock in college football is 25 seconds - that is, 25 seconds following the referee marking the ball ready - the proposed rule would institute a 40 second play clock that would begin counting down at the end of the previous play. There are exceptions for timeouts and injuries (use 25 second clock). My anger in brewing, but wait, there's more...

While the clock will stop when a player goes out-of-bounds, it will now start again when the ball is set (rather than at the snap of the ball) - EXCEPT during the last 2 minutes of each half, when the clock will only start with the snap.

These recommendations are a direct result of television and requests that the college games be shortened. The Committee Chair, Michael Clark, head coach at DIII Bridgewater, was quoted to say "We wanted to find something the TV people are looking for without taking away plays from the game. The hope is we got it right."

THIS IS COLLEGE FOOTBALL - it is not the NFL - it was not created solely to entertain and sell horrible mass produced malt beverages in a neat and compact time period. And yes, I do realize that I'm being so super duper naive about the priorities and contributions of mass media to college athletics. I know that the power, influence, impact, and yes, importance, of the Sports media far outweighs my opinion - but that's not going to stop me from having one.

There are soooooo many ways that these new rules could go wrong and/or be abused - and this is just what we need - give the clock people more responsibility.

Hate to think what will happen once Dickie Rod gets his hands on this...


There are some other proposed rule changes:

The definition of a chop-block has been simplified to be "any high-low combination block" is illegal regardless of formations and locations.

Another change for kick-offs - the receiving team will have the option to take the ball at the 40 yard line following out-of-bounds kicks.

No more sideline "warnings" - crowding the sideline will result in an immediate penalty.

Instant replay will be allowed on fumbles leading to immediate recovery - huh? my guess is that this will close IR loophole of fumble recoveries not being reviewable when the fumbling team recovers the ball.

The 5 yard "incidental" face mask penalty would be eliminated - grabbing of the face mask which has "no impact" on the runner (or his safety) would be a non-event.

And yet, a penalty for horse collar tackles will be added and the language regarding helmet to helmet infractions will be clarified and strengthened.

Coaches who successfully challenge a call will retain a second challenge (for a total of 2).


- Much info found at Rivals.com and be sure to follow Every Day Should Be Saturday to see how Mr. Swindle reacts the proposals.


Of course, these are just proposals, that need to be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel - but I'm not holding out much hope.

2/11/2008

I don't understand the bickering

Your team "steals" a few recruits; our team "stole" a few recruits - who cares - it's part of the game.

If um fans expect PSUers to be happy because one of our verbals jumped ship at the last second - it's not going to happen.

Are we going to blame your new coach and attack his integrity? of course we are.

We don't like your coach - we're not going to like him. Personally, my new fondest memory of him is when he was crying at the end of the pitt game - I hope to see a lot more of that in the future.

But that's okay - a few ticked off Penn State (and purdue) fans won't change much.

With all this talk about coaches...

Did anyone really think that Lloyd Carr was classy? wasn't he notorious for being callous and walking off the field without shaking hands?

Wasn't he the one who had the Big Ten officials in his back pocket?

Was Bo Schembecler a big teddy bear?

No - they were football coaches who, for better or worse, won a lot of football games the "old fashioned way". But the old ways are becoming more and more obsolete. Football coaches today need to be celebrities and "figureheads" as well as the managers their respective team(s).

2/06/2008

2012 Yearbook

The class of 2012 (so far) -

Mike Yancich


Michael Zordich (x2)


Matt Stankiewitch


Mike Matui


Mark Wedderburn


Jack Crawford


D'Anton Lynn


DeOn'tae Pannell


Brandon Beachum


Pete Massaro


AJ Price


D'Anton Lynn and Brandon Beachum are in a dead heat for best smile ever!

Yancich and Zordich make me wish I were 18 again.

Photos: Scout.com

Pryor confirms delay at news conference


Wants to visit Penn State and Oregon. He says that he is comfortable with the Penn State coaches and that "Coach Jay" is a great guy (he's young).

No word on when decision will be made.

So much can be read into this. It would appear that once again PSU has done an expert job on recruiting a parent. Word is that Terrelle's dad is the reason for the delay and that he really wants his son to go to Penn State.

We shall see.

UofM forum dwellers are imploding en masse -


image from Scout.com

Recruiting Update

And so begins the Reign of Dickie Rodriguez-

Verbal Commitment, Running Back, Michael Shaw has sent a letter of intent to Michigan.

That's FOUR 4 star Running Backs in um's recruiting class - I'm probably going to be sick now.

Dickie has also "stolen" WR Roy Roundtree, a long standing Purdue commitment.

UPDATE

Scout now reporting that Shaw announcement was premature - press conference today at 1pm. I'm guessing that the selection won't change.

Good News Update

LOI from D'Anton Lynn (S) received

LOI from Mark Wedderburn (TE) received

LOI from Deon'tae Pannell (OT) received

Bad News Update
Shaw's decommitment is now official. Nevermind - Brandon Beachum is way cuter anyway.

Commence the acceleration of heartrate...NOW!

It's National Letter of Intent Day for college football.

So far, here's what we know...

Terrelle Pryor will not announce his college choice today - he is planning an official visit to Penn State and would (now again) like to visit Oregon. What exactly happened to bring about this adjustment is not entirely clear - but it seems that the Old Man worked a little magic on Terrelle's parents (it's the glasses; look directly into the glasses) - he could, of course, change his mind and announce at any time. Update Pittsburgh Post Gazette article on Pryor's actions. Take it for what it is worth - all speculation at this point.

Linebacker Michael Mauti and RB Brandon Beachum early enrolled this spring - so we may have a chance to see them in the spring game.

Letters of Intent have been received from:

DT Pete Massaro;
OG Matt Stankiewitch;
WR A.J. Price;
LB Mike Yancich; and,
DT James Terry.

UPDATE

LB Michael Zordich;
DE Jack Crawford.

2/05/2008

Millionaire Matchmaker - ie College Recruiting

I watched that show - Millionaire Matchmaker - the other night on Bravo. I found it to be hilarious, repulsive and embarrassing - all at once - so, of course I watched.

It was the episode when the hapless Julien alienated every young lady he met - including the Matchmaker, her VP of Matching, and his "date" Jacqueline.

I was thinking about it this morning - To qualify as a Millionaire you have to be "checked out" - they don't ask for financials or "proof" of worth - but you have to have some obvious holdings - ie real estate (then again, isn't every homeowner in California a millionaire?). And then, young ladies, personally picked for their compatibility, are introduced as possible dates. There are a lot of rules regarding contact, activities and so on...

It reminded me a lot of College Recruiting -

In the past - it might have been the schools who were the Millionaires - tons to offer - could pick and choose their favorites - and while that is still true to some extent - the kids, the student athletes, have really shifted into the role of Millionaire - sure they still have to get an official "offer" (well, most of the time they do) from their school of choice - but when you look at the number of scholarships a top prospect gets these days - it's pretty easy to determine who is doing the choosing.

The prospective recruits are ranked and labeled with "stars" - and, generally, the more stars you have, the more "elite" schools that will be interested in you.

Every year there is some hotshot recruit - who has been tearing up the field since his Pop Warner days - and has team representatives falling over each other trying to get a look at him. There are zillions of YouTube clips evidencing their talents. The kids are bombarded with sports media attention, all star games, and televised press conferences. It's impossible to ignore the attention, and power that is bestowed upon these teenagers - they, and to some extent their parents, coaches and "recruiting advisors" become celebrities. Every statement, action, inaction, clothing choice and/or dietary habit is reported, analyzed and then regurgitated to the pack of ravenous fanatics. Any little movement they make is interpreted and can set message boards afire with speculation. These kids, and the choices they make, can affect an enormous pool of people and their mental well being.

Some kids go for the legacy - "I want a team, just like the team, that recruited Dear Old Dad". There are the "I just want to be able to say that I played at Alabama" kids, they might walk on or take a scholarship knowing that they might not see a lot of playing time.

The trend today, though, seems to be playing time, which directly correlates with "getting to the next level." Kids want to know that the school they choose will do all it can to promote and prepare them for playing professional football. A big factor in recruiting is being able to promise national exposure. Illinois is a team that has taken full advantage of this - They were in the position to make a lot of promises - come play here and you'll not only get to play, but you'll be playing in the Big Ten on National Television. We'll build the team around you and I will be your biggest cheerleader.

There are still kids, of course, who just want to be college football players - and 90% will never play on Sunday (not even in the Big East) - they love football and want to get an education. To me, regardless of talent and/or expectation - every kid who sends over a Letter of Intent tomorrow should be just giddy with the prospect of playing college football - on the other hand, there are a lot of college coaches who will not sleep well tonight worrying about the phone line to the fax machine and whether or not there are any last minute changes of heart.

As far as we fans go - Sports fans are competitive people - we want our favorite team's roster to be filled by the best possible players - and there is also the whole ranking of recruits and recruiting classes which is just one more thing to compare and contrast. There's no doubt that when a tippy top kid commits to your school that it's a rush - it's a promise for the future, even though you have no idea of what this kid can really do or how things will work out.

A labeled "Millionaire" is not always going to pan out to be a long term companion - or even a good date - just as a five star prospect won't always develop into a playmaker - as in life, it's generally the 3 star kids who are the best.

2/04/2008

Busy Weekend!

On Saturday the Groundhog saw his shadow (6 more weeks of winter) - of course, it doesn't feel like winter right now.

Also on Saturday, The Penn State Nittany Lion Mens Basketball team beat the number 8 team in the Nation, the Michigan State Spartans.

I kid you not.

They won by 9; their last 20 points came from free throws.

I'm still not kidding.

On Sunday, the New York Football Giants won the Super Bowl - holding the previously undefeated New England Patriots to 14 points. Former Penn Stater and Giant Rookie, Jay Alford recorded 2 tackles during the outing - the most notable being a sack during the Patriots' final drive. Kareem McKenzie and the rest of the Giants' offensive line played a solid game - allowing only 8 yards in sacks. Kyle Brady, for the Patriots, had one reception - for 3 yards.

Who needs a hug?

I'm certainly not a Giants fan - but it was an entertaining game and it's almost always good to see the underdog win -

2/01/2008

it's the end of the season as we know it...

know it.

And no, the Pro Bowl does not count as a football game - and neither does arena football - I don't care how dreamy Jon BonJovi is.

This weekend is the last football game of the 2007-8 season - the Super Bowl. I care so very little for the 2 teams playing that I probably wouldn't even watch - if it weren't the Super Bowl.

I don't have any big plans - I'm constantly amazed that the biggest game of the year is played at the most inconvenient time - late(ish), on a "work night" - it really doesn't lend itself to easy entertaining - which is sad - because for me, a big part of football is tailgating (really?) - be it in the parking lot or at home - every party, as you know is just a modified tailgate -

Super Bowl Sunday has become as commercial, secular and devoid of its true meaning as have many of our other favorite holidays, like Arbor Day. But if you're going to attend or host a Super Bowl party - here are some ideas...

Over on Ladies... they've posted a recap of the Football Foodie series - some excellent ideas over there, I've tried a few recipes myself. Also the Ladies chronicle how to "not throw a Super Bowl Party" - it's a gridiron thing.

The Martha Stewart Show today was all about how to throw a football party - I didn't get to watch it (dang work) - but I did DVR it and will be sure to review all the pointers before Sunday! From the previews, it looks like she may have two men come out and explain the rules of football - thank goodness for that! And you can get more game day recipes at Martha Stewart.com. What would we do without our Martha?

there are some good recipe ideas on The Food Network as well - but I must say that I'm a little disappointed that self-proclaimed football fanatic Guy Fieri would suggest a caesar salad - seriously? salad? caesar salad.

Martha Stewart? Food TV? wa? look, just because it's football doesn't mean the food can't be good - and since I'm not a fan of either team - I'm happy to be distracted by other things -

So, who do we root for? Kyle and Tommy Brady? or Kareem MacKenzie, Jay Alford and "Archie's other boy"? It's sooooooo distasteful - bleh - So, I hope that the Penn Staters do really well and look like the stars that they are - and that the ny giants stink up the joint, looking as bad as a team can, and win.

Blue/White Game 2008 - It's not too early to start planning

If you haven't made your travel arrangements yet - you really should - the Penn State Football Spring Scrimmage is less than 80 days away!

The weekend is guaranteed to be full of fun and excitement -

the Penn State Baseball team and Fergie (no not Eugenie's mum) will kick off the weekend Friday night (April 18th) - The Baseball team will host Indiana at 6:35pm (individual game tickets go on sale today) - And Ms. Ferguson will be performing in the Bryce... no wait, she'll be performing in BEAVER STADIUM (!?!?!?) as part of the "Gridiron Bash" - a nationwide event being hosted at and around various schools' spring games - tickets for the Fergie concert were to go on sale on January 25th - no sure if they're sold out - the sale date is now listed as "TBA". Here's a little preview of what to expect

I really have no idea.

Saturday, April 19th, is, of course, the Blue White game at 2pm - complete with player photo/autograph opportunities before the game. Parking and admission to the game are free - so it's a great time to test all your new tailgating gear and recipes - and get to see some practice football as well.

The baseball team also has a game Saturday afternoon (again hosting Indiana).

We'll have more information and discussion regarding Blue White weekend as the weeks roll by...

Other quick bits...

Football Recruiting is winding down/getting interesting - as National Signing Day nears and Terrelle Pryor announces that he might delay his commitment announcement - and PSU has picked up two more promising verbals.

The Men's Volleyball team is doing well - obviously inspired by the success of the Ladies team, they're currently ranked #2 in the country and win their 800th program win on Monday. They head to New Jersey this weekend for a match against NJIT on Saturday.

The Men's Gymnastics team is currently ranked #1! They host top ten ranked Minnesota on Saturday.

The Wrestling team suffered a bit of a slump after the National Duals - but they've held on to the #8 national ranking - tonight they go up against Northwestern, in Evanston and on Sunday they visit Illinois.

Only one more month of basketball - we'll just leave it at that.