Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Bench, the Board, and the NFL Draft

Steven Bench has decided to continue his football career someplace other than Penn State. 
"I mean, it's been a hard decision," Bench said Wednesday. "I was sold on Penn State since the day I got an offer, since the day they called, really. I just wish it would've worked out. I still love this place and I wish it didn't come to this, but I have to make the best choice for me. And I think the best thing for me to be successful is to not play at Penn State and to play elsewhere."

Bench said he left his meeting with O'Brien under the impression he was behind Ferguson on the depth chart.

"It's out of my control, but I wasn't happy with it," Bench said. "I'm a competitor, so I'm not going to agree with that decision. But, at the same time, it's his decision and it's out of my control. I feel that it kind of left me no choice. I don't want to back anyone up. I want to play. I came here to play football."

So instead of working harder to move up the chart, you transfer somewhere else so you don't have to work?   I'm sorry if that sounds like sour grapes, but if it sounds like a duck and looks like a duck . . . You can call it whatever you want.  There is no I in team, but there is a U in suck.  This is where I'm supposed to wish him luck and feel bad because of his tough decision.  Whatever.

On the other hand, it also assuredly means that Hackenberg will not red-shirt this fall.  With the scholarship limits, I'm not sure PSU can afford to red-shirt anybody.  And Bench's departure opens up another scholarship for someone that actually wants to earn a spot on the team.

In the BOT election, a total of 26,861 alumni have voted as of this past Wednesday.  That means a total of 4,931 people voted in the previous 7 days, a considerable drop off from the first two weeks.  And unless something remarkable happens in this last week or so of voting, the total participation will be markedly down from last year's 37,579.

I'm not sure what that means.  Have the alumni lost interest?  Have they given up hope for change?  Are they waiting until the last minute to cast their vote?  Who knows?

And in the NFL draft to date, three Nittany Lions have been picked:

Jordan Hill was the 25th pick in the third round (87 overall) by the Seahawks.
Gerald Hodges was the 25th pick in the fourth round (120 overall) by the Vikings.
The Vikings also took Michael Mauti with the 7th pick in the 7th round (213 overall.)

Congratulations Jordan, Gerald and Mike!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Something old, new, borrowed and Blue

Something old, new, borrowed and blue--the Spring tradition of the Blue White football game may be old, but Coach O'Brien spiced it up with some personal commentary and play calling in the second half, and Michael Mauti was borrowed, so to speak, to help announce on the air waves, while Blue (the defense) rolled to a 67-47 win over the White (the offense) before an estimated crowd of 28,000 fans who braved the cold and wintry mix of sun and precipitation.  This is the second year under O'Brien that Blue has won.

I won't belabor you with analysis of the "game" since the scrimmage is a far cry from the real thing, but I will pass on some first impressions I had from actually being at the game (i.e. not watching it on TV and having the ability to pause and replay.)

I think our running game will be pretty good.  Yards right up the middle were tough, and that may be more to the credit of the defensive line than a problem with the running game.  But I watched a couple of guys with some speed to the edge and some nifty moves.  Akeel Lynch ran for 83 yards and a touchdown and appears to be the "real deal."  I was particularly impressed with Deron Thompson (who added another 97 yards rushing.)

As for QBs, Bench came out throwing and looked pretty good in his opening drive.  However, he had less success as the game went on.  Conversely, Fergusen didn't look particularly good in the early going, but had some nice throws and got into more of a rhythm as the scrimmage progressed.  None of the other QBs really left any impression on me.

O'Brien came out in the second half and tried to thaw the crowd out.  He got the WE ARE . . . PENN STATE chant going and suggested they start the wave.  We complied.  He also piped his mic over the PA System for a series so we could hear the play calls.  I REALLY like this guy.

Zwinak left early with a hand injury, and Allan Robinson wasn't a major factor as a receiver, but he had a really nice reverse for twenty some yards where he actually doubled back (essentially a double reverse that wasn't drawn up as such.) 

All of the players who ran, caught or threw for a score today were freshmen or sophomores.  Depth may be an issue in the linebacker area, but I thought the D-line did a pretty decent job, and I thought the secondary held their own.

There were no punts in the game, but an extra point and a mid-range (37-yard?) field goal were missed. Concerned about the kicking game even though Ficken seemed to turn things around the latter part of last season.

Five Nittany Lions were recognized for their efforts during halftime of the game. Rising sophomore cornerback Jordan Lucas and junior defensive end C.J. Olaniyan were presented the Jim O'Hora Award. The defensive award is named in honor of Jim O'Hora, a long-time Penn State assistant coach who was a member of the coaching staff for 31 years.

Senior center Ty Howle earned the Red Worrell Award, presented to the offensive player whose spring contribution is most worthy of special tribute.  The Nittany Lion coaching staff singled out Lucas, Olaniyan and Howle as the defensive and offensive players, respectively, who have best demonstrated exemplary conduct, loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement during spring practice.

Junior guard Miles Dieffenbach and junior linebacker Mike Hull were recognized as co-recipients of the Frank Patrick Total Commitment Memorial Award.  This award goes to junior class squad members who consistently follow through with their responsibilities in all facets of the football program and do so in exemplary manner. This includes academic pursuits, off-season preparation, in-season commitment, demeanor and community service.

Full descriptions of the awards and some past winners can seen at the Penn State web site.

133 more days to go until the opener.
What were your thoughts on the Blue White Game scrimmage???

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Election Update

As of this evening, 21,930 alumni have voted in the BOT election.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Vote For David Mullaly

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Voted!

Have you?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy 4-09!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Did Erickson Sell-Out Penn State?

Just when you think the whole catastrophe couldn't get any worse, you read something like this from the Sun Sentinel . . .
Ameen Najjar, the NCAA enforcement director until his May 2012 firing, sent multiple emails to Shapiro's jail account to explain why the case against UM was crumbling, according to documents obtained by the Sun Sentinel. Najjar also criticized the NCAA's handling of Penn State's unprecedented sanctions relating to the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal, but focused on the governing body's handling of the Miami case.

An Aug. 7 email from Najjar to Shapiro addressed the Penn State sanctions.

"The Penn State deal is a travesty," he wrote. "The NCAA did not impose anything. Penn State agreed to and self-imposed the penalties, waved all due process and waived any right to appeal. The NCAA had/has NO authority to impose any penalties in that situation and PSU's president sold the school down the river!"

Granted, this is an email from a disgruntled former employee, but it does throw Erickson's actions into a new light.  I always wondered why Penn State was so quick to accept a punishment that wasn't warranted.  Maybe we didn't accept it.  Maybe we created it, and I use the term "we" loosely.  It will be very interesting to see how this new revelation plays out.