July 30, 2010

Because it's Friday: 'Pennsylvania Guys'

If you haven't seen this video yet, and have at any point spent time in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you're in for a Friday treat.

This video doesn't really have anything to do with Penn State--there is a cameo by the "JoePa screaming" photo, and the chipmunk logo--except that you probably have met some folks like this in your time around State College, or the long drives to and from campus. Oh, those rest stops along Rt. 80, how I miss thee!


Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

Linkbacker U knows Penn State is the only 'Linebacker U'


Try telling this guy Penn State isn't Linebacker U...

If there is one thing that really ticks us off here, it's when someone claims another college football program has taken over the "Linebacker U" nickname from Penn State. When that happens, rest assured, because that person is an idiot.

I know this to be true for one reason--Dennis Dodd thinks Ohio State is the new Linebacker U, and Dennis Dodd is, now beyond reasonable doubt, an idiot.
Three times since 2002, Ohio State has played for the national championship, winning one. Best of all in this Buckeye company town: It has eviscerated Michigan lately, stuffed the remains in a 55-gallon drum and hidden what's left out in the woods. Along the way, it arguably has lapped Penn State as Linebacker U. in the last decade, produced a Heisman winner while fervently following the precepts of a bookish man who believes that the punt may be the game's best weapon.
Let's be clear on this. Ohio State could not have even arguably lapped Penn State as Linebacker U. That is because there is no argument to be had. I'll make this short and sweet. No matter how hard Dennis Dodd, or anyone else, tries to change college football history and culture, Penn State will always be Linebacker U. This is not like Miami as Quarterback U, or USC as Tailback U, as those programs have only a modest working relationship with those monikers. No, the Linebacker U nickname to the Penn State culture is on the level of Bear Bryant to Alabama, the "Blackshirts" to Nebraska, or the "Script Ohio" to the Buckeyes--it's ours. Dodd can say otherwise all he wants. But nothing will change it: Penn State is Linebacker U, end of story.

Jay Paterno takes us back to a time when Coca-Cola was served in Beaver Stadium.
"In the early 1970s I sat in the open end zone bleachers. After the 1978 expansion I sat in SK -- the “Kids’ Section,” where kids sat at the price of (I hope you’re sitting down for this) $4 a game. The price jumped to $6 a game. Adjusting for the rate of inflation, that 1978 ticket would cost just over $20 today.

I sat in the end zone all the way until the 1983 season, when I started working in the press box for Sports Information.

Working at the stadium was something a lot of my friends did. Whether it was selling Cokes (Coca-Cola was the official PSU drink then) or programs, parking cars or scalping tickets, there were a lot of jobs that State College kids worked on game days."
As always, JayPa gives us a good read.

Jared Odrick signed a deal this week with the Miami Dolphins. And it's quite nice at that. From CFT:
"Jared Odrick's deal has $7.133 million guaranteed and max package of $13 million over 5 years, according to league source."
This kid deserves everything he gets, because he's sure earned it. Congrats, Jared!

The Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon is next week, with all the hoo-ha that comes with it. Time to get excited, folks, cause FOOTBALL is just around the corner. Adam Rittenberg gives us the rundown for next week:
"I've been told that division alignment and scheduling are the top two priorities and should be resolved before Sept. 1. The Big Ten will present data and proposals to the athletic directors, who expect to reach a consensus, like they have on other major topics in the past. Although divisions and a championship game are very likely, nothing is guaranteed. Don't expect any resolution on a championship game next week, although the league certainly has no shortage of options. The Big Ten could go with a rotation or a permanent site, as Roy Kramer advocates. Venues like Detroit's Ford Field, Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, Chicago's Soldier Field, Cleveland Browns Stadium and Green Bay's Lambeau Field all have expressed interest in hosting the event."
And so much more! Can't wait.

Ex-Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli has enrolled at Ole Miss, proving that the SEC will take anyone if it means the chance to win even one more game. But if you're looking for the dramatic side of this story, worry not, because SI.com's got you covered.

You probably recall my little rant on Ron Musselman's July 22 recruiting article, in which he deliberately drove the storyline to infer that Joe Paterno is dooming Penn State recruiting, forever and ever. Well, I'm back talking about Ron again, but this time it's not going to be a rant, or a fisking, or anything else.

But first, a little background on today's PPG circus. On Tuesday, Ron Musselman went on 1250 ESPN in Pittsburgh talking about, as one FOS($) poster described it, "how much of a down year this will be and that Joe will get his 400 wins and then go. He cited that the offense will be terrible and that Newsome might have the ability but lacks experience and leadership skills. He said Paul Jones is the best athlete and called Matt McGloin starting a joke. He also predicted a '...smackdown by Nick Saban and Alabama'"

Now, I'll buy the idea that Penn State could have a down season this year--if by "down" you mean nine wins--or that Alabama might be able to beat the Nittany Lions by more than a touchdown or two. But for Ron to trash Penn State like it was his cheating ex-girlfriend seems to be a bit over the top here.

There is no way I could possibly sit here and counter every negative thing Ron writes or says about Penn State. There simply aren't enough hours in the day for that. So, seeing how the internet is probably the single best STFU tool every invented, let's take a quick look at Ron's analytical track record on Penn State football, shall we?

I said good day, sir!

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

July 29, 2010

Thursday Question: 2010 Preseason Big Ten Rankings

Be sure to vote in the polls at the end of this post, where you tell us your No. 1, 2 and 3 teams!
Next week begins the annual Big Ten Kickoff festivities. Each year, the Big Ten media votes on its preseason top-three teams in the conference, which always draws a ruckus from the message boards and (ehem) blogs. So, naturally we thought here at Linebacker-U.com to give our own preseason top-three teams. That's the topic for this week's Thursday Question, and should be a fun one.

But first, here is the consensus vote from all five of your favorite LBU writers. It was very close for first, as the Hawkeyes got one more vote than the Buckeyes.

Linebacker-U.com 2010 Preseason Big Ten Rankings

1. Iowa
2. Ohio State
3. Wisconsin

Our individual picks...


I know this is probably going to rub some of the avid readers of Linebacker-U the wrong way but my top three does NOT include Penn State. When the dust settles I see the Big Ten race finishing like this:

1. Iowa
2. Ohio State
3. Wisconsin

Iowa – last season was a great season for the Hawkeyes and I don’t know why they would slip. The offensive line is supposed to be a weakness but when was the last time Iowa couldn’t plug in a couple of their corn-fed road graders and be at least an above average line? The defense will be outstanding with one of the best defensive lines and defensive backfields in the Big Ten. Adrian Clayborn will destroy people and Tyler Sash is always in the right place at the right time. They get their toughest opponents (Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State) all at home.

Ohio State – I would have put THEosu at the top but they have a few more weaknesses than Iowa including the schedule; they have to travel to Wisconsin and Iowa. A lot of Ohio State’s success will be determined by the passing of Terrelle Pryor, if he can continue to improve they may run the table. Unfortunately that’s a big “if” and I think he’ll slip up once or twice, especially against good defenses like Iowa’s. The secondary is a concern and while the offensive line has experience and talent they haven’t lived up to Big Ten champion status. The Buckeyes will win a lot of games, I just think Iowa will edge them out.

Wisconsin – I know expectations were high for the Badgers last season and they really didn’t meet them but they still had a great season. They return 18 starters and, once again, a smash-mouth offensive line and a deep backfield. If QB Scott Tolzien can continue to improve they will have an offense that will wear opponents down. The defensive line is a tad suspect and the linebackers aren’t fantastic, although they are experienced, but they should be rested with their ball controlling offense. Just like Penn State the Badgers are suspect on special teams but they don’t play PSU and they get OSU at home for a night game. A trip to Iowa and a late season jaunt to Michigan could be the difference between a top 3 finish and a middle of the pack season.


At the top of the Big Ten I'm going to have to go somewhat against the grain and name Iowa my favorite to win the conference. Why Iowa, when the popular opinion is Ohio State?It's as simple as I've got more confidence in Stanzi leading a team than I do in Pryor at the helm. Both defenses should be stout and while Ohio State should have the more potent running game, Ricky Stanzi is the chip that puts Iowa over Ohio State.

After that, I'd have to say Wisconsin probably takes the third spot, but if a lot of unknowns fall into place Penn State certainly could be in the mix. The Badgers didn't take the losses at so many key positions from last year, however several teams could realistically be in play here. It's always dodgy looking at things this early when a down has yet to be played and injuries and breakout players have yet to emerge, that being said, the top two seem to be a level up on the rest of the conference.


1. Iowa
2. Ohio State
3. Wisconsin

I was so incredibly concerned putting Iowa on top, but as much talent as the Buckeyes have going into the season, I'm just staring at Ohio State's trip to Kinnick Stadium on November 20. If Iowa wins that game, does it mean overall for the season the Hawks are the best team in the conference? Not really. But Iowa is returning eight starters on a defense that just got better last year. As a Penn State fan, I'm actually more concerned about Iowa's defense than Ohio State's defense, considering both those games are away.

So Iowa and Ohio State are a draw for me, but that's kind of a cop-out; I pulled the trigger on Iowa, and I'm sticking with it.

As for Wisconsin, I was going to try another cop-out here, putting Wisconsin and Penn State as "tied" for third place. But again, that's stupid. Wisconsin is returning 10 offensive starters, including all five starting offensive linemen. The defense isn't better than Penn State's but the offensive line alone will win the Badgers a few games this season.


Top Three Big Ten Teams:

1. Ohio State -- As much as it may pain me to say it...this is the year we really regret not signing Terrelle Pryor. His third season as a starter, this is the year he lives up to the hype and delivers for "The University of Ohio State." They bring back the overwhelming majority of their starters on both sides of the ball, and are the clear favorites to win the conference.

2. Iowa -- We saw how good the Iowa running game could be last year, and Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher were only freshmen. Now sophomores, the ground game should be even better this year. Combine that with a senior quarterback and beastly Adrian Clayborn, and this team should be a BCS contender yet again.

3. Wisconsin -- Third one is a tough one. Penn State could be in the mix, but I'm counting them out. John Clay is back for his third season in Camp Randall, and if last year is any indication this is the year he can push Wisconsin over the proverbial hump. But like here in Happy Valley, strong quarterback play is a concern in Wisconsin as well. Scott Tolzien returns as a second year starter, but he's going to have to improve on his 16/11 touchdown to interception ratio to give the Badgers a chance at the title.


1. Ohio State
2. Iowa
3. Penn State

I believe I deserve props for thinking outside of the box on this one…Terrelle Pryor turned a corner towards the end of last season and his solid performance in the Rose Bowl only helped to solidify my beliefs. The Buckeyes also return defensive end Cam Heyward, who made life a living hell for Daryll Clark and the Penn State offense in last year's embarassment at Beaver Stadium. The Buckeyes are loaded at just about every key position and until somebody can prove otherwise on the field, I see no reason why they should be ranked anywhere but #1 in the Big Ten.

Sure, Iowa returns most its key players including punter swallower Adrian Clayborn, safety Tyler Sash, all of their tailbacks including newly healthy Jewel Hampton, and yes dare I say it - Ricky Stanzi. With that being said, if Iowa plays as many tight games as they did last year, especially due to numerous 'Stanziballs''being thrown, they will not be as fortunate as they were last year and will likely suffer a couple more losses than many of us expect.

I'm just not sold on Wisconsin being in the top three at season's end. I admittedly haven't been reading my Phil Steele magazine as of late so this is coming off a total hunch and can't back it up based on which starters are returning, but I feel very hesitant to put them in the top three. To be fair, Penn State is a shaky top three prospect as well, especially given the brutal schedule plus the quarterback situation which has been documeneted more than Tiger Woods and LeBron James combined.

I know I predicted an 8-4 season for PSU in an earlier TQ segment but I feel when push comes to shove, they will emerge in a distant third. The senior-laden offensive line will gel together rather quickly which means everything depends on that QB situation getting settled. If in fact, a decent QB emerges from the pile, a nine or perhaps even a ten-win season is possible. Plus, who else besides PSU or Wisconsin is worthy or a top three preseason ranking? Michigan State will be improved but they just don't have the horses to win 9 or 10 games, especially with one of the worst secondaries in college football, and the rest of the Big Ten teams that I haven't mentioned all have fatal flaws of their own that will prevent them from being anything more than a middle of the pack team this year.

2010 Preseason No. 1 Big Ten:

2010 Preseason No. 2 Big Ten:

2010 Preseason No. 3 Big Ten:

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

Linkbacker U can't help but root for Doug

Senior center Doug Klopacz (68) will finally get his chance to shine this fall, after an unfortunately injury-plagued career.
Doug Klopacz has waited his turn. This year, he might finally get to take it. After spending two seasons rehabilitating from an ACL tear before the 2008 Temple game--an injury which set him behind the 8-ball in the depth chart--Klopacz is fully healthy, and is ready to take charge of the center position. He spoke with PennLive.com about where he is and how he sees things going forward.
"It’s nice (to be starting)," says Klopacz, who still wears a brace on the knee in practice and games. "I got setback with my knee two years ago, but that’s the way things go, that’s life. You got to keep going and hope for the best and hopefully things work out, and that’s kind of what it’s looking like for me right now. So, I got to keep pushing and doing what I got to do."
Talk about a "Penn State" kind of kid. It's fantastic to see this kind of story unfold. Let's hope there's a happy ending in store.

Preseason depth charting is the name of the game this week, as you're all aware of the "official" depth chart released and covered here on Tuesday. Bill Kline over at the Allentown Morning Call offered up a pretty blunt--and a bit scary--assessment of the pending quarterback controversy--at least among fans--in Happy Valley.
Listing the top two quarterbacks alphabetically, with an ‘OR’ between them, signifies little. Newsome (right) closed spring practice as the starter, though the competition will continue into August. Jones is the wild card, having thrown two TD passes in the Blue-White Game. Fellow freshman Robert Bolden, who arrived in June, could earn a spot here if he isn’t redshirted. Receiver Derek Moye said Bolden “seems like the best athlete” among the quarterbacks.
It'll be an interesting September.

Just reLAX. When Penn State hired Jeff Tramboni as the new men's lacrosse coach, it might have done more than just look like a good move. It may have just saved a great player from leaving the program.
Inside Lacrosse reported in May that Mackrides had received a temporary release from the Nittany Lions lacrosse team to explore possible transfer options. That decision followed former Penn State coach Glenn Thiel's retirement after 33 years in Happy Valley.

Since Mackrides' decision to ask for a transfer, Penn State hired former Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni to take over the program, just a month after making a second consecutive appearance at Championship Weekend. Mackrides is said to be comfortable in the current place.
And you thought football and basketball were the only drama playing in town.

Curt Warner wants a playoff. So, naturally, we listen to what he has to say about it. From Big Ten Guru:
"We can still keep the bowl games and have the best of both worlds. There's a ton of bowl games out there, and some teams will be in the mix for that. Others won't and you can take it for what's worth," he continued.

So when will we see this happen? In our lifetimes?

"I would say in the next 5-10 years we'll see it leaning in that direction a little more so," Warner stated.
Say it with me... YES!

Get your parking passes early. Cuz they're going to cost you a pretty penny on gamedays this season, as WFY warns us:
There is a big price increase for Beaver Stadium parking this coming Penn State Nittany Lions football season. Parking passes bought day of game will go up in price from $20 to $40. Wow, I thought $20 was steep. Parking passes bought in advance will be $12 which is a lot more reasonable.
I'll just park in a free lot in town, thanks.

BSD "sat down" with Penn State historian Lou Prato, in a two-part Q&A.

Jack Tatum died Tuesday from a heart attack. He was a giant in both college and the NFL, and will be missed.

Michigan State can go to the Rose Bowl this year, according to Pete Fiutak, who obviously had one too many before making that prediction.

Former PSU lineman Phil Taylor is looking to breakout this year for the Baylor Bears.

The Big 12 might change its name. As if we couldn't see this coming.

The Miami Hurricanes were voted into three different spots on SI.com's list of the 25 most hated sports teams. The 1986 football team was No. 1. Funny, I actually really, really love that year's Fiesta Bowl appearance by the Canes.

Check back later today for this week's Thursday Question!

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

July 28, 2010

Inside The Bloggers Unwashed, Unshaven, Studio: Michigan Edition


As part of Michigan week here at LBU, ITBUUS continues its weekly series with a little Q&A session courtesy of none other than Brian Cook of MGoBlog fame. I believe the man requires no further introduction...and if you think he does, then it's safe to presume you just started using the Internet after a prolonged absence living in an eco-village.

LBU: According to your site, MGoBlog launched in December 2004. What sparked you to begin your long, strange, trip into the blogosphere, especially at a time when the word 'blog' wasn't part of the mainstream lexicon? How does it feel to be the Lo Pan of Big Ten bloggers?

MGoBlog: I was annoyed with the coverage of Michigan football, which I felt was shallow (surprise!) and thought I could do better. I'd written in college and thought I'd be an engineer for a limited period of time and then move on to something else, so I'd been trying to get stuff off the ground since I graduated. This is the one that stuck.

LBU: You've clearly stated on your site numerous times that you're not clamoring for Rich Rodriguez's ouster. How much longer do you give him to turn things around? Is the 3-3-5 defense that he's installing a stroke of genius or something that reeks of desperation?

MGoBlog: It's an ugly situation because I don't think a lot of Michigan fans really got how terrible Michigan was in '08 and how far they came in '09 even though they sucked as much as they did, and I don't think some of them understand how much Michigan did suck in '09 and what a reasonable expectation is in 2010. Also, no one knows what rebuilding looks like because the last person to try that at Michigan was Bo [Schembechler] and 1969 was an entirely different universe when it came to that sort of thing. I immediately discarded any ideas that "this is Michigan" when I saw Nick Sheridan take the field; it wasn't Michigan.

Nothing clears a room full of Michigan fans faster than Nick Sheridan.

So, my requirements are about the lowest you'll see: a 7-5 regular season and approximate yardage parity. That would represent a major step forward from last year and set Michigan up for a do-or-die 2011. That's when the rubber hits the road: Contend for the Big Ten in year four or it's time to move on.

As far as the 3-3-5 goes, I think the change has been seriously overblown. Michigan is going to shift between a lot of fronts this fall. The 3-3-5 will be one of them but I'm guessing we see Craig Roh line up with his hand down about half the time. I think it's an interesting idea, because Michigan can deploy their DL with two DE/3-tech types (Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen), one NT (Will Campbell), and one DE/LB sort (Roh); if they can pull off both sets this makes them very hard to prepare for. The coaches keep pushing the word "multiple"; if they can pull off multiple they can make a major step forward. They probably can't. If they can't, they're at least giving themselves options.

LBU: The basketball program inexplicably took a step back last year despite returning just about every key player from the squad that won a game in the NCAA tournament a year earlier. How did things manage to go haywire?

MGoBlog: Hell if I know. Michigan did swing from being a very lucky team to being one of the three or four un-luckiest teams in the country according to KenPom, so that's part of it. I think Michigan fans knew that the team was vastly overrated going into the year, more of a fringe top 25 team than the #15 they got. So part of it was just external observers doing what they do: get stuff wrong.

Past that, all I can offer is the idea that losing the two senior walk-on guards seriously disrupted the chemistry of the team, leaving the two upperclass stars estranged from the rest of the players--DeShawn Sims said something like "I don't know you guys that well, but I'm sure you'll do fine" at the banquet -- and the coach. Manny Harris was suspended for a still-undisclosed practice incident midseason.

I've never been much of a believer in intangibles, but after last year's basketball season I'm coming around.

LBU: Better spring practice highlight video: Tate Forcier's "Weapon Of Choice" or Denard Robinson as "Flash Delirium?"

MGoBlog: That is a tough one. I lean towards the latter because as far as passing statistics go they're about equal, and Denard's ability to give Usain Bolt a run -- ha -- for his money promises ridiculous things if he can replicate that passing performance against a Michigan second team defense that's presumably even worse than the first team defense Michigan fielded a year ago.

He can't, of course, but if Robinson actually ends up starting I expect he'll play better than Forcier did as a freshman. This isn't a hard call to make since he'll be beating out a sophomore Forcier.

LBU: If you were to venture a guess, which Michigan football player would you say wrote this fine masterpiece of a 400-level paper?

MGoBlog: That's pretty old; I first remember seeing it on a local blog called something like "Found at the Fishbowl*" when I was still a student. So... think 2002, 2003. I can offer up a few people it probably wasn't, but athletes are athletes, man. It probably wasn't an offensive lineman or kicker. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

*The Fishbowl is a large public computing area in one of Michigan's main building surrounded by glass walls.

Thanks, Brian!

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

Wednesday Recruitin': The August Rush

Apologies for not having our normal Tuesday recruiting segment. I got caught up in the depth chart stuff last night.

The LBU recruiting board is finally updated, so be sure to check that out. There is quite the buzz around the recruiting circles, as now that Angelo Mangiro is on board for 2011, everyone is waiting to see how the next few weeks will shake out. Commitments die out before football season, so August and these last few days of July will be critical for setting up a big winter if Penn State wants to end this recruiting season with a bang.

NC DB Dominique Noble isn't the highest-rated recruit on Penn State's recruiting board this year, but if the Nittany Lions could grab him out of North Carolina, and away from a rising program like Georgia Tech, it would help solidify this class as anything but a bust.

Oh, and he was on campus yesterday! I'll probably do a short update about that, if anything interesting comes from the visit. So keep an eye out for that.

Noble told BWI ($) that Penn State will have to work for his commitment:
"I really do like Penn State. At the beginning of this, they were like at the top. Hopefully for them they can change my mind, but if not, it will be Georgia Tech."
That's not the kind of thing you want to hear, but you have to imagine that GT is going hard after a guy one state over from them. Noble said he wants to basically be catered to up and down, which doesn't seem to fit right with Penn State's (read:JoePa's) image. Still, Penn State shouldn't drop the ball here, and better swallow its pride and schmooze this kid.

MD DL Darian Cooper has a strong relationship with Larry Johnson, Sr., giving Penn State a unique in-road with the DeMatha prospect. Cooper told FOS ($) that it's not always a bad thing when a recruiter doesn't call a prospect every single day. He cited Johnson telling him how one call per week would be the norm, and Cooper liked the fact that LJS wasn't breathing down his neck 24/7. So, for all those out there freaking out about Penn State's perceived lack of aggression on the recruiting trail, keep in mind that one shoe doesn't always fit every recruit.

WV RB Alan Wasonga is quietly becoming Penn State's No. 2 tailback target for 2011, should Savon Huggins not work out--heaven forbid that should actually happen. Wasonga is rated as the top prospect out of West Virginia, but has been rumored to have Penn State as his No. 1 choice. The problem with that, though, is that Penn State hasn't officially offered him a scholarship. But again, that could be on hold until well after the staff evaluates how his visit went yesterday (7/27), or if Huggins pulls the trigger early.

MD ATH Darius Jennings will be on campus next Tuesday. This is great news, after he reportedly rescheduled a planned July 31 visit. Usually, rescheduling a visit means a recruit has cooled on that school. Luckily, that isn't the case with Jennings.

MD OL Donovan Smith will be visiting PSU this Friday (7/30). This will be his third visit to Happy Valley.

OH LB Andre Sturdivant told BWI how his sit-down with Joe Paterno ($) went.

MD LB Connor Crowell named his top three schools ($), which included Penn State.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

Linkbacker U is getting to know the Quarterbacks


Dissecting the Competition

We get it. Two freshmen quarterbacks. Three scramblers. One walk-on. None of which excite the Penn State faithful. But what about beyond the game...once they take their helmets and jerseys off and are actual people. StateCollege.com talked to each of the quarterbacks (wonder who their connection was) and found out a little more about them.

Kudos to you Mr. Newsome. The Goofy Movie is a phenomenal film.

No where to go but up....Right?

The special teams for Penn State last season was..well.. special. And that was WITH Jeremy Boone. When Collin Wagner is one of the only sure things for the special team unit, you know there are going to be problems.

Audrey Snyder of the Daily Collegian broke down the current state of affairs in the special teams unit, telling us a couple things. Wagner is expanding his range, the punting situation is still up in the air, and at least one member of the kick return unit from a year ago can now focus on his duties on offense.

"We have some guys that can step up and do the return game and stuff like that," Royster said. "I doubt I'll be too involved with that, but definitely catching the ball out of the backfield and trying to split out. I think we'll try and get into that."

Basketball in July

Thankfully basketball season is still a long way away, but the mass exodus at the end of last year opened up many a spot on the roster, and so far so good for their replacements, Talor Battle told the Pitt Stop

Not sure whether this is simply PR on Battle's part or not, but I guess when Battle has good things to say about his teammates, that's good to hear on a few different levels.

Speaking of Basketball, We've Got Company.

Jim Delaney was just too kind. He knew that us Penn State basketball faithful were getting lonely in the Big Ten cellar. So he invited Nebraska to give the Lions a run for their money on the court. Black Shoe Diaries talked with Brian from Corn Nation to discuss the newest addition to Big Ten basketball.

"Brian: Again, we've been competitive. We just haven't had the wins to show for it. We won the league tournament in '94, and have a handful of upsets over Missouri and Kansas when they were ranked in the top 2 or 3. Case in point, we led Kansas in the second half during both games last year, but couldn't pull them out in the end.

Nebraska will be more competitive in the Big 10. We've had a few rough seasons, but our youth is very talented and after last season...experienced. Keep in mind, Nebraska led the Big 12 in scoring defense for the majority of the year in 2009-10. We fit the Big 10's style of play a bit better than the Big 12. I'd say that Nebraska will compare to an Iowa or Minnesota in terms of what they are capable of."

That pre-season optimism sounds all too familiar. I'm not buying it.

Checking in on our Old Friends

They won't be running out of the Beaver Stadium tunnel this season but they're still Lions in our book.

Bleeding Green Nation reports that A.Q. Shipley is doing well in the first team offense while Jamaal Jackson is out, Micky Shuler signs with the Vikings, and PackersNews.com says Andrew Quarless still has his work cut out for him.

“We’re probably going to have a lot of conversations like we had a few years ago (about Finley) where we have a young guy who’s got a long way to go,” McAdoo said of Quarless. “Really there’s not a lot to talk about right now. He’s a young man that has to learn how to practice the right way, he’s got to learn how to keep his pads down, he’s got to learn the offense.”

At Least not all Conferences Suck at Math...

Finally a conference that has as many teams as it claims to have. The Pac 10 added two more teams in Colorado and Utah, and just recently changed its conference name to indicate such. What a novel concept huh? Doesn't seem the Big 10 or Big 12 grasp this higher level of thinking.

July 27, 2010

Penn State releases 'Official' 2010 depth chart

The 2010 Penn State football media guides are out, and of course, we're all chomping at the bit to see where the chips fell after spring and summer practice. Here is the "official" depth chart: (I'll have some notes below each position)

Quarterback Kevin Newsome (12) should have plenty of protection this season from the strong right side of the offensive line, anchored by right guard Stefen Wizniewski (61) and right tackle Lou Eliades (77).
11 Matt McGloin (6-1, 206, Jr/3) or
12 Kevin Newsome (6-2, 221, So/3)
10 Paul Jones (6-3, 239, Fr/4)
16 Shane McGregor (6-1, 200, Jr/3)

Notes: Don't freak out about Matt McGloin and Kevin Newsome being listed as co-starters right now, cause it doesn't mean much... Then again, this entire depth chart could change by Sept. 3... true frosh quarterback Robert Bolden will be added later, as those frosh who entered in the summer are never included in the preseason depth chart.

22 Evan Royster (6-1, 224, Sr/1) - TB
21 Stephfon Green (5-10, 197, Sr/2) - TB
26 Curtis Dukes (6-1, 242, So/4) - TB
37 Joe Suhey (6-1, 221, Sr/2) - RB
33 Andre Dupree (5-10, 234, So/4) - RB

Notes: Looks like Dukes is the new power back until Brandon Beachum returns to full strength... there have been reports that Mike Zordich will stay at fullback, but isn't on the depth chart yet because of his situation in JoePa's dog house.

80 Andrew Szczerba (6-6, 260, Jr/3)
89 Garry Gilliam (6-6, 265, So/4)

Notes: Kind of surprising Kevin Haplea didn't make the chart here, but Penn State usually only goes two-deep at tight end... Brennan Coakley has apparently elected not to use his final year of eligibility, which explains his absence from the chart.

6 Derek Moye (6-5, 201, Sr/2)
19 Justin Brown (6-3, 213, So/3)
8 Brandon Moseby-Felder (6-2, 181, So/4)

83 Brett Brackett (6-6, 232, Gr/1)
7 Curtis Drake (5-11, 173, So/3)

5 Graham Zug (6-2, 183, Sr/1)
4 Shawney Kersey (6-1, 193, So/4)
20 Devon Smith (5-7, 160, So/3)

Notes: A bit surprising here that Brackett is getting the starting nod ahead of Drake in the slot... otherwise, nothing remarkable at wide receiver.

Senior center Doug Klopacz (68) will finally get his chance to shine this fall, after an unfortunately injury-plagued career.
67 Quinn Barham (6-3, 293, Sr/2)
78 Mike Farrell (6-6, 297, Jr/3)
76 Nate Cadogan (6-5, 296, So/4)

50 DeOn'tae Pannell (6-5, 316, Jr/2)
74 Johnnie Troutman (6-4, 316, Sr/2)
75 Eric Shrive (6-6, 292, So/4)

68 Doug Klopacz (6-3, 284, Sr/1)
54 Matt Stankiewitch (6-3, 295, Jr/3)
60 Ty Howle (6-0, 290, So/4)

61 Stefen Wisniewski (6-3, 298, Sr/1)
64 John Urschel (6-3, 274, So/4)
73 Mark Arcidiacono (6-4, 272, So/4)

77 Lou Eliades (6-4, 304, Sr/1)
52 Chima Okoli (6-4, 291, Sr/2)
58 Adam Gress (6-6, 292, So/4)

Notes: The offensive line looks to have stayed the same since the spring, with Barham, Pannell/Troutman, Klopacz, Wiz, and Eliades on the first team... I wonder if Okoli found a new home at right tackle, as he was floating between the OL and DL... the rest of the two-deep line doesn't exactly shock me.


81 Jack Crawford (6-5, 271, Jr/2)
44 Kevion Latham (6-2, 242, Sr/2)

56 Eric Latimore (6-6, 267, Sr/2)
90 Sean Stanley (6-1, 242, So/3)

Notes: This looks like the best four-DE rotation in a long time. I won't say the individual talent is more impressive than, say a Tamba Hali or Aaron Maybin, but the quality of all four combined is making me giddy.

71 Devon Still (6-5, 304, Sr/2)
93 James Terry (6-3, 311, Jr/3)

85 Ollie Ogbu (6-1, 300, Sr/1)
47 Jordan Hill (6-1, 311, So/3)

Notes: From what I've heard and read, Brandon Ware is off the chart because of his academic issues, but if he can get his grades in order, he could see time this fall in the two-deep... the D-line overall seems short height-wise, though.

Since spending the 2009 season at safety, Gerald Hodges (6) has shot up the depth chart at his new "Sam" outside linebacker position.
48 Chris Colasanti (6-2, 239, Sr/1)
33 Mike Yancich (6-2, 231, Jr/3)

34 Nate Stupar (6-1, 226, Sr/2)
42 Michael Mauti (6-2, 229, Jr/3)
54 Jamie Van Fleet (6-0, 227, Jr/3)

15 Bani Gbadyu (6-1, 237, Sr/1)
6 Gerald Hodges (6-2, 228, So/3)

Notes: The two-deep is interesting, with Yancich moving inside, and Hodges locking up the backup SAM spot... I guess Mauti is staying on the outside, kind of figured that would happen.

1 Nick Sukay (6-1, 209, Sr/2)
23 Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (5-10, 194, So/4)

28 Drew Astorino (5-10, 198, Sr/2)
13 Andrew Dailey (6-2, 220, Sr/2)
27 Jacob Fagnano (6-0, 204, Jr/3)

12 Stephon Morris (5-8, 182, So/3)
2 Chaz Powell (6-1, 193, Sr/2)
14 Mike Wallace (5-9, 183, So/4)

8 D'Anton Lynn (6-1, 204, Jr/2)
5 Derrick Thomas (6-0, 177, So/4)
4 Evan Lewis (5-10, 194, So/4)

Notes: If you watched the Blue-White Game, this two-deep secondary is totally expected.


36 Collin Wagner (5-9, 173, Sr/2)
30 Anthony Fera (6-2, 212, So/4)
28 David Soldner (6-1, 222, Jr/3)

30 Anthony Fera (6-2, 212, So/4)
95 Russell Nye (6-0, 163, Jr/3)
5 Graham Zug (6-2, 183, Sr/1)

83 Brett Brackett (6-6, 234, Gr/1)

61 Stefen Wisniewski (6-3, 298, Sr/1)
57 Emery Etter (6-1, 230, So/4)
60 Ty Howle (6-0, 290, So/4)

2 Chaz Powell (6-1, 193, Sr/2)
21 Stephfon Green (5-10, 197, Sr/2)

19 Justin Brown (6-3, 213, So/3)
5 Graham Zug (6-2, 183, Sr/1)

Notes: Thankfully, Anthony Fera is back... I was seriously concerned about the punting and return games going into this fall, but I really, really like which players are getting the opportunities to start here. Penn State looks like it's finally gone with the absolute best talent available on special teams.

That's about it for now. This depth chart will surely change between today and game week, so take everything you just read with a huge grain of salt.

Coming later/tomorrow: Tuesday Recruitin' could be delayed tonight until tomorrow, but I will try my darnedest to get it done before midnight. Otherwise, you'll have something nice to wake up to tomorrow besides our usually fantastic morning posts by Ryan. Plus, I think Tim should have the Michigan blogger Q&A with Brian from MGoBlog. Should be a fun day!

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

LBU Video: David Kimball: He'll Flip Ya.

To nobody's surprise, our latest "10 Minutes or Less" video featuring the 2002 primetime massacre of Nebraska garnered quite a few hits and had the operators on our contents board working overtime...What's that? You mean you haven't watched it yet? What the hell's the matter with you?

Anywho, the majority of the comments seemed to revolve around two things:

  1. The fact that the video includes a clip of former defensive end and more recently convicted murderer LaVon Chisley intercepting a pass late in the 3rd quarter. This prompted me to edit the YouTube annotations with an appropriate murder joke. As somebody who grew up watching Norm MacDonald make such jokes about OJ Simpson every weekend on SNL's "Weekend Update" segments, I'm rather de-sensitized to such things.
  2. The fact that the video failed to include a clip of kicker David Kimball laying a good hit on Nebraska running back Josh Davis on a kickoff, flipping him like Fenster in "The Usual Suspects." In my defense: The hit took place late in the game with the outcome long since decided and it wasn't exactly a Paul Posluszny stuffing Laurence Maroney caliber of hit that everyone remembers to this day. I didn't even know about it until I got several comments whining about its abscence.
So, with that being said, we decided for once to listen to the commenters and are pleased to present to you a 'deleted scene' extra because let's face it: Watching PSU pummel Nebraska never gets old.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

Linkbacker U is in an Empire State of Mind


"Let's Hear it for New York"

Nebraska may be the Big Ten's most recent addition, but it may not be it's last. Jim Delaney wouldn't specifically talk about expansion with the New York Post, but did stress the importance of the city that never sleeps.

"Anyone who forgets that forgets at their peril," Delany told The Post in a telephone interview. "It's the center, it has been the center of media activity for a hundred years. It's the center of financial activity and it has been that way for 150 years. To me it's sort of where a lot of things start in the county."

A New Jersian myself, I would love to see the Big Ten expand east and admit Rutgers into the conference. Their stadium is expanding and they are in the process of developing a legitimate football program that is already on par with many of those in the Big Ten.

And I am personally shocked that a New York paper would cover anything college sports related at all.

McGloin just wants some R-E-S-P-E-C-T

So it's no secret that many are doubting the Penn State quarterback situation this season, not even to Matt McGloin himself. Kevin Newsome, Paul Jones, and Robert Bolden were all highly rated recruits coming out of high school, but McGloin earned his way onto the team as a walk-on.

Now in a reportedly close race with Newsome for the starting job, McGloin is out to get the respect he feels he deserves.

“I can control a game. And I think the team rallies around me because of this,” McGloin said. “I can be a leader in and out of the huddle. I believe I can get the job done and a lot of the guys on the team think that way as well.”

I'm content with either McGloin or Newsome under center, as long as they don't mind handing off to Royster a few dozen times per game.

You mean the 'Bama game didn't happen yet?

Not quite sure what kind of hogwash goes on at VictoryBellRings.com, but they're under the impression that this Alabama game hasn't been played yet. I kind of thought that Penn State already lost by 30? Or at least thats the way everyone is making it seem.

But Victory Bell Rings doesn't seem to think so. They are featuring a three part series on how Penn State can knock off the defending champions. And they bring up one excellent point about the supposedly rock solid 'Bama defense.

"Starters–Maybe the most glaring issue the Tide have to deal with is the loss of 8 defensive starters to graduation/NFL as well as the loss of Marcel Dareus (Who was by the way the MVP of the National Championship Game) due to an NCAA investigation. That leaves Alabama 2 defensive starters as well as Dont’a Hightower who will be coming back from injury.

While Nick Saben is known for his defensive mindedness, coaching a new core of players to a high level only a game into the season is no small task. Alabama fans will point to their 5th ranked recruiting class, one which is chalk full of talented, speedy defensive players, but to assume that all of these players will A) Replace the leadership, and B) Dominate out of the gate, is a little too much. It is possible, but generally talent will get you far, but talent coupled with experience will win you games."

I definitely recommend heading over there to read more.

Arrington Number 2

NittanyWhiteOut keeps chugging along with their 44 best players under the Joe Pa regime. John Cappelletti was number one, and they decided LaVar Arrington was second best. Ranking the best all time Penn State linebackers is probably even more difficult than picking your favorite creamery flavor, but theres no doubting he had the more success than his teammate picked before him in the 2000 NFL Draft: Courtney Brown.

Catching Up with Sean Lee

If only he didn't get hurt. Sean Lee could have possibly been the most talented linebacker since Arrington. But nonetheless, he overcame the bumps, bruises and torn ACL to get off to quite the start in the NFL. DallasNews.com sat down with the former PSU linebacker to find out how his transition to the pro ranks is going.

July 26, 2010

TMI: the Michigan edition


It's Monday so that means it's time for our weekly installment of TMI, a look at the school behind the football program. Last week we covered Minnesota who appear on Week 7 of Penn State's schedule. Following a trip to Minneapolis, the Nittany Lions are home to take on an arch nemesis at primetime. It will be a big game with a big opponent which means we have to know our stuff and knowing starts with Too Much Information: the Michigan edition.

About the University

Everyone knows that the University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor (if you don't well, now you do), but few know that the city of Ann Arbor was once hoping to become the capital of Michigan. In 1817 the university was established, then called the University of Michigania, not in Ann Arbor but in Detroit. At the time Michigan wasn't even a state in the union and Ann Arbor was hoping to become the state capital when it joined. Unfortunately, Lansing was selected over Ann Arbor.

Its ok Ann Arbor, I'm not a capital either

When Lansing was chosen as the capital, Ann Arbor offered the original 40 acres set aside for the capital to Michigania (I like that I think I'll use that name for the rest of this post). In 1837 the university moved to Ann Arbor and it's been a beautiful marriage ever since.

In the 1920's and 30's UM gained the nickname "Harvard of the West," when Ivy League schools applied a quota to the number of Jews to be admitted. As a result Jewish students from New York that were turned away because of the admission limits, flocked to Michigania. In a speech on the UM campus John F. Kennedy referred to himself as "a graduate of the Michigan of the East, Harvard University," which resulted in many parodies of the "Harvard of the West" moniker.


Of course the athletic teams of the University of Michigania are called 'Wolverines' but there is not one single story behind the nickname. At one time it was believed that the state of Michigan was home to an abundance of the ferocious skunk-bears but there has never been a verified trapping of a wolverine inside the state's borders, nor have the skeletal remains of a wolverine been found. Former Michigania coaching great Fielding Yost suggested that the nickname came from the trading of wolverine pelts which occurred at Sault Ste. Marie for many years. Another theory involves the French who first settled in Michigan. The Frechies had a gluttonous or "wolverine-like" appetite and were given the moniker but that just sounds silly.

As far as the mascot goes, it's been widely accepted that the Wolverines have none, you won't see any plush Wolverine-like character roaming the sidelines on Saturdays, but we don't buy it. In fact, we at Linebacker-U have done some extensive research and found that the University of Michigania once had a mascot and it had nothing to do with Wolverines. No the long lost and forgotten mascot of Michigan was Stickman.

The reason this information has been lost was because of the antics of Stickman. The University wants us all to forget because the history of Stickman is disturbing. At first he was your normal mascot, showing up at athletic events and revving up the crowd.

But things didn't work out well for Stickman, he got himself into a lot of trouble. Stickman had a very serious drinking problem. He would drink way too much and do unspeakable things.

He would get sick at the most inopportune times.

As bad as his relationship with family members was Stickman's relationship with animals was even worse.

In his drunken stupor he would often taunt them:

Causing attack from alligators:

And giant mosquitoes:

It got so bad that the Michigan board of regents unanimously voted to remove Stickman as mascot and go without one:

So the next time you run across a Michigan fan and they try to tell you that Michigan has no mascot don't fall for it, we know better.

Football related data

Last Season: 5-7

The Wolverines started competing in football in 1879 and have won or shared 42 league titles, more than any other football program in any conference. Michigan claims 11 national titles although only one (1997) occurred after 1950. The aforementioned Fielding Yost collected 6 national titles including 4 in a row from 1901-1904. Michigan played in 39 bowl games compiling a record of 19–20. Michigan has had 3 Heisman Trophy award winners and 25 Heisman candidates total. Since 1898, there have been 126 Michigan players that earned first-team All-American honors. Michigan has 35 members selected to the College Football Hall of fame and 8 members selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Famous Alumni

There are currently 70 Michigan Alumni on NFL rosters. There were 26 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Nobel Prize winners and 116 Olympic medalists that attended the University of Michigania. 8 former Wolverines were astronauts including several that landed on the moon.

Michael Phelps attended the University Michigan and swam competitively for Club Wolverine, a swimming club associated with the university.

Yeah, but he still couldn't beat Mark Rubin

U.S. president Gerald Ford was a Wolverine. Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, attended law school at UM and so did former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. Dr. Death himself Jack Kevorkian attended Michigan and so did "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski.

Some famous Michigan Alumni in Hollywood include actors James Earl Jones, David Alan Grier and actress Lucy Liu.

Darth Vader: Luke, Obi-wan never told you I was a Wolverine


Like I'm gonna mention Lucy Liu without a pic

Madonna, Derek Jeter, and rock legend Iggy Pop attended Michigan but did not graduate.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

Linkbacker U is wishing you a happy Penn State Week

Happy Penn State Week!

If you're lucky enough to get the Big Ten Network on your television, than this is the week for you. The Big Ten Network will recapture some of the greatest Nittany Lion moments of the decade all week long. From the 2001 NCAA Tournament game against North Carolina to the overtime thrilling Orange Bowl in 06, you'll be able to relive the past this week. And thank heaven's they're focusing on the past, rather than the future in PSU athletics.

Blame Joe? Not so fast my friend...

Type in Joe Paterno on Google, and 99% of the articles will either have to do with him closing in on 400 victories or him having a negative affect on Penn State recruiting. VictoryBellRings.com doesn't quite see the recruiting "problem" the same way as those Joe Pa naysayers.
"Lets get back to the original point. Joe. As of late, critics of Paterno have pointed out that while Nick Saben and Co are out visiting players, Joe hasn’t made a in house visit since Terrelle Pryor (although he came close this past year). Disptite this statistic the program has still pulled together a Top 10 recruiting class for 2010 and as well as many strong classes in the past decade. All of which occured without Paterno’s direct intervention in the household.

While there is something to be said for the All-time winningest coach visiting your house, recruits are really looking for three things. Winning, Playingtime, and a chance to go pro. Penn State has gone 51-13 since 2004, and none of that winning has been related to Joe Paterno eating cookies and telling odd stories to recruits."

Speaking of Joe Pa...

Wow. The same person notorious for his distaste for the media-Joe Paterno- sat down for a one on one interview with the Reading Eagle. Same usual stuff you'd expect..not naming a successor, or when he'd retire, and likes Nebraska joining the Big Ten.

But he had something interesting to say about a certain person the Cavaliers were not able to sign this off-season. And no he's not taking his talents to South Beach. Tom Izzo is staying at Michigan State, but Joe talked about how the dollar signs are affecting coach's loyalty.
Q: You've always had great respect for Bobby Bowden. His situation and your situation appear to be so unique. Do you think we'll ever see any more coaches staying at one university for 20, 25 years?

A: It doesn't look that way. With the kind of money they're paying some guys they have two good years and they're up to 2 or 3 million bucks (a year). They're moving around because people are offering them more money.

Take a guy like (Michigan State basketball coach) Tom Izzo, a guy who I admire and respect. I think he's a great coach. I never thought he would even talk to the pros. I understand even he's talking to some people (Izzo turned down the Cleveland Cavaliers in June).

It's the money and maybe the challenge. I don't know why they're moving around.

I keep telling guys: "If you have a good job stick around and make it happen. Make your institution better."

You see people getting fired who have done a good job. You have a couple good years and all of a sudden someone else comes around with a little better deal and you start thinking, "If I stick around here, they're going to fire me in two years, anyway; I might as well move.
Joe Pa's Best

So we're 44 days away until Penn State takes on Youngstown State (yours truly has the call on Comradio *shameless plug*) which means the first in Nittany White Out's "44 for 44" series, ranking the top 44 players to play for Joe. Counting up rather than down, they start with number one and none other than the Heisman Trophy winner himself, John Cappelletti.

"For a program with as much history as Penn State, it still comes as a surprise that just one Nittany Lion has earned the greatest honor in the college football world. But that man, who epitomizes all that is great about Dear Old State, stands on his own."

Just Saying...

Remember the last time a PSU quarterback was up for the Johnny Unitas Award? Certainly there won't be one this year. But Pat Devlin is the ONLY FCS player on the list. Oh how different this year could have been...

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

July 25, 2010

Angelo Mangiro verbals to Penn State

Looks like Penn State hasn't lost its recruiting touch this season. The Nittany Lions are just finding its touch a little later than usual. New Jersey super-star guard Angelo Mangiro gave his verbal commitment to play football for Penn State today, catching at least this website off guard a bit. We hadn't expected a verbal from Mangiro until August.

But this is fantastic news for Penn State, which along with Joe Paterno has come under serious fire from the media types this summer for not putting together a top-five recruiting class before the 2010 football season even starts. Yeah, I find that ridiculous, too.

Mangiro's commitment is a big one. He's widely regarded as one of the top recruits in the Garden State, and almost unanimously the best non-skill player from the region. I'm 99 percent sure Dick Anderson was in charge of landing Mangiro, as Anderson is the center and guards coach, and the New York metro recruiter for the Nittany Lions.

Stay tuned as we'll have more updates later.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

July 23, 2010

10 Minutes Or Less: 2002 Penn State vs. Nebraska

Ah, my freshman year of college: It's a time that I fondly look back upon as it invokes memories such as meeting people that I still call 'friends' to this very day, discovering the joys of beer, and 'Wal-Mart runs' which consisted of a few friends and I getting dropped off at a local Wal-Mart that was several miles away from campus, buying a whole bunch of cheap DVD's, and then walking back to campus in the dark through these creepy backwoods while debating about which one of us would die first if we were in a horror film.

What really causes me to look back fondly on my freshman year though, was the fact that it was during the same season where on a muggy September night, Penn State annihilated a 7th-ranked Nebraska squad 40-7 on national television, sparking a (what nobody thought at the time) brief return to PSU's winning ways after suffering back-to-back losing seasons. It's one of the few memories from the Dark Years that I haven't tried like hell to erase from my mind and remains my favorite non-2005 Ohio State Beaver Stadium memory.

While the players merely saw this game as an opportunity to prove their worth to a national TV audience in primetime, the fans took things a little more personally. You see, this was the first time Penn State and Nebraska met after that controversial 1994 season where the Huskers were handed both the AP and Coaches Poll national titles instead of having them rightfully split between the two schools. "Fuck Nebraska"chants were highly audible from the student section and while I don't flinch at college kids cursing an opposing team, I was rather appalled by their behavior post-game. Everywhere I walked there was some jackass getting in the faces of Nebraska fans and yelling Go back to Lincoln! and other incendiary comments that were more expletive-laced. It was a moment where I began to realize that PSU's fan base (at least, the students) were no classier than any other school's, especially considering they were doing this to arguably the nicest group of opposing fans in the country.

I could go into a barrage of details on the game itself but that would take away focus from the video. Instead, here's some things to look for in the video:

  • "Operation Visine." Still a few years away from the advent of White-Outs, the athletic department encouraged PSU fans to wear blue in order to combat the well-traveled Nebraska fans' "Sea of Red." Certainly, images of Nebraska's trip to Notre Dame in 2000 had to have been haunting Tim Curley in his sleep.
  • Zack Mills back when he could throw the ball well. He was still a month away from suffering a shoulder injury at Wisconsin where he would never be the same passer ever again.

  • Larry Johnson starting to show flashes of what would turn out to become a record-setting year for him (i.e. the first and only Penn Stater to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season)

  • America being introduced to Michael Robinson, followed by Bob Griese claiming the kid will never play quarterback. Griese was right, as usual...

  • Karma biting Nebraska in the ass, two plays after the refs nullified a fumble recovery TD by Michael Haynes from Nebraska QB Jamaal Lord by ruling it an 'incomplete pass,' Rich Gardner turned an overthrown pass by Lord into a pick-six that blew the game wide open. It was easily one of the most electric moments I've personally experienced in all my years attending games at the Beav. This also occurred before the stadium security began cracking down on people in the student section who created a hailstorm of nachos and water/soda after every touchdown. I was fortunate enough to be sitting only seven rows away from the field, so I only took a few drops of water to my shirt. Others probably weren't as lucky...

  • 110,753 fans setting a Beaver Stadium record for attendance and probably breaking several fire codes in the process. It's a record that I should add, still stands to this very day.

    Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

Linkbacker U finally gets some common sense on JoePa

Unfortunately, sane arguments don't pay the bills... Jeff Rice over at the CDT took his sweet time getting to the point--about 500 words into the article and we still didn't know what it was really getting to--but his point was well worth the wait. Weird, right? A mainstream sportswriter actually making a point at all?
Look, Paterno is not without character flaws. He can be more than a bit of a hothead, as stubborn as an old lawn mower and has an impulse to control things and people that just can’t be controlled that can drive him and those around him crazy.
I bet you all those JoePa detractors are fired up after reading that, huh? I mean, seriously, that old kook is past his prime, and ruining Penn State football!

But not so fast, my pessimistic friends!
Paterno has always kept his program behind lock and key, but the machine that helped build Woods and James has also turned college football into a three-ring circus. He tolerates it to an extent because of the money it brings his program and, in turn, the university, but he’s an old-school coach, with the emphasis on school. He believes as much as anyone in the concept of the student-athlete but knows that grade-point averages aren’t what draws ESPN to college campuses.

If Paterno is being a little selfish and refusing to step aside and give someone else a crack at leading one of the nation’s top programs, so what? That selfishness might mean a few more stud athletes get their degree, or a kid who grew up in Pennsylvania dreaming of playing for Joe Paterno will get to do just that.
Now if that isn't one of the most commonsensical string of words to come off a mainstream sportswriter's fingers this entire off-season, you show me otherwise.

But you know why this article is a problem? It won't draw nearly as many links (I like to think I do my part), and sure as hell won't generate as much fired up controversy as a certain other article LBU covered yesterday.

Penn State would be wise to put Kevin Newsome in position to succeed this fall, ala Michael Robinson 2005.

Kevin Newsome. Not the worst starting QB in the Big Ten? According to The Rivalry, Esq., that's the case. Their fantastic series breaking down the Big Ten starting quarterbacks continued yesterday with Kevin Newsome, who comes in No. 9 on the list.
I have confidence that if Newsome starts, PSU will find ways to use him effectively...unlike say Jim Tressel, who let Pryor wilt in a confusing Shotgun Spread for way too long before simplifying his gameplan ("Oh damn, you're telling me that's not Troy Smith back there? Whoops..."). Newsome can run like TP, but it remains to be seen whether he can make the 8 yard throws that keep secondaries honest and make the (I presume) run-focused Spread HD that much more effective.

Overall: C-
I'll take it! Seriously, though. Read the whole post. Don't get frustrated by the negatives, because they're all true. But get excited because they/we only had the Blue White Game (*see below) and a few snaps last season to go off of. If Jay Paterno and Galen Hall whip out the old Michael Robinson playbook, this offense will be rockin' in 2010.

Ain't no party, indeed. BSD catches us up on the whos and whats of the SEC domination of the universe, and how the media just gobbles it up.

Bobby and Joe will meet on the field again... ESPN's Ivan Maisel came away from the SEC media days with this little nugget I know Penn State fans like us will enjoy:
"Alabama athletic director Mal Moore told me that Bowden has accepted an invitation to the Crimson Tide’s game on Sept. 11 against Penn State. Bowden will see his childhood team play against the team of his old friend and competitor, Joe Paterno. Very cool."
Very cool, indeed.

Erin Andrews suing the Buckeyes? I'm not at all a legal mind, but is this talking about The Ohio State University?
Along with Barrett, the complaint named Marriott International Inc.; West End Hotel Partners LLC and Nashville Marriott At Vanderbilt University; Windsor Capital Group Inc.; Radisson Hotels International Inc.; Ashtel Inc. and Radisson Hotel Milwaukee Airport; Ohio State University and The Blackwell Inn; and Preferred Hotel Group Inc. and Summit Hotels & Resorts.

Marriott, Windsor, Preferred and Ohio State and the Nasville Marriott declined to comment. Ashtel and Radisson could not be reached.
That sure sounds like it.

Don't investigate me, bro! Florida Gators lineman Maurkice Pouncey is denying that he took $100,000 before the Sugar Bowl. Well, duh. What, you thought he would say "sure I did!" I actually kind of believe him. But you better believe Florida doesn't want this kind of story coming down the road at them.

Hello, Mr. Caldwell. Meet Vanderbilt's new head coach.

Win one bowl game, now we get this crap. Pitt is a top-five school, in the "best of both worlds" category of basketball and... football?

If LTP calls it a perfect post, well then... Just because Lake The Posts liked it so much, I pretty much have to tell you about this one by Sippin' on Purple.

*Since you probably want to waste 10 minutes doing something other than work on this Friday morning, here is our 10 Minutes or Less segment from the 2010 Blue White Game:

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email

July 22, 2010

Linkbacker U can't see Larry Johnson Sr. in 'panic mode'


Mike Mauti... the next Poz?

Oh, we can only hope... From PSU's resident AP reporter, Genaro Armas:
"Michael Mauti's brown hair crept out from beneath the cap turned backward on his head, and his arms were crossed in front of his heavily muscled chest. A bystander remarked that Mauti looked a lot like one of Linebacker U's most famous graduates, the stoic Paul Posluszny."
I highly recommend the full article. No, not just because it's all about this site's namesake. But Armas is good at what he does.

Try knowing your audience... Zac Jackson at Fox Sports Ohio likes the idea of the new Lucas Oil Stadium getting into the Big Ten Championship Game race--an idea I happen to like, too. But he sells short the passion of Big Ten football fans along the way, calling out by name Penn State and Iowa fans:
"I think Indianapolis and the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium is the best site choice. I’m all for bringing people and business to downtown Cleveland, but playing it inside in Indianapolis (or Detroit, or even St. Louis) is a much better plan. First and foremost, there’s too much at stake in this BCS system to potentially play that game in eight inches of snow if there’s an alternative. Secondly, the Big Ten’s goal is to fill every seat – easy to do in Cleveland if Ohio State is playing, but is it feasible in snowy Cleveland if not? Ohio State fans will travel regardless (Indy is only an hour-max drive more from Columbus than Cleveland is), but I’m not sure Penn State-Iowa would sell out if it’s played outside in Cleveland on six days notice."
No harm, no BCS foul... Adam Rittenberg at ESPN talked to a BCS big-wig about how a potential Big Ten championship game would impact the Big Ten's regularly-earned second BCS bowl bid:
"I’ve looked back at it and I don’t think you can quantify that [a championship game] has made a whole lot of difference," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said this week. "The jury’s still out on the effect of championship games of how many teams you get in the BCS. We’ll know more when Big Ten and Pac-10 go to championship games, but I don’t see a tremendous advantage or disadvantage."
Rutgers is still respectable, according to Dave Curtis at TSN.

10-3 is where the Detroit News pegs Penn State to finish in 2010.

A tornado watch was issued for State College yesterday.

Fire up those DVRs! Cuz it's Penn State week on BTN!

Let me finish...

This was originally going to go at the top of this post, but I ended up going on such a rant, that I figured you wouldn't read on once you were done with it. So, here ya go.

I was going to wait to break out the "OMG!ONOZ!" but this one just begs for it. Also, I should mention that I generally hate engaging in fisking, but sometimes it's unavoidable. This is one of those times.

Ron Musselman isn't a writer who strikes me generally either negatively or positively, but his July 18 story Recruiting: PSU hurt by Paterno's absence just screams "Hey! Look at me! Link to this article!" So, naturally, that's exactly what I'm going to do this morning.

Let's start out with, as you might have expected, the first "expert" quote on Penn State's 2011 class: "
Penn State is lagging behind this year in... states where they are normally very strong," said national recruiting expert Tom Lemming of CBS... and Maxpreps.com. "I don't expect Penn State to have a real good year in recruiting, unless they go outside of their normal states... If things don't turn around soon, Penn State could find itself in sort of a panic mode."
I would find it very difficult to imagine Mike McQueary and Larry Johnson, Sr. in anything remotely close to panic mode, particularly after pulling in, as Musselman himself points out in a so very by-the-way manner, "a strong 2010 football recruiting class that many experts ranked among the top 10 in the country."

That was in the first few graphs of the article, naturally, since the headline and the lede of the story was written to frame this story in a predisposed light: Joe Paterno is bad for recruiting.

Then there was a few hundred words about this and that, how Joe isn't really all that bad, pointing out that this would be a tough recruiting class for any program, and all that jazz.

Wait, what was that? Oh yeah, sandwiched between the JoePa=bad intro, and this final nugget from Rivals.com's Mike Farrell... (I kid you not, it was the very last graph in the story)
"When Paterno is gone, I think Penn State's recruiting will improve tremendously. They will have a younger, more energetic person in charge who will go on the road and compete with all the top coaches for the best players in the country."
... between those, Musselman basically blew up the entire argument:

-Lemming said of current verbal Shawn Oakman:
"With good coaching, he will be a No. 1 draft pick."
So much for not being able to recruit talent this year.

-Musselman then points out:
"Penn State's 2011 class is expected to range between 14 and 18 players. The fact that no WPIAL players appear on Lemming's list of the top 100 players in the country does not help the Lions."
But why should it matter that the entire state of Pennsylvania sucks for recruiting this year?

-Farrell, before the quote above, said:
"I still think Penn State is going to be OK. I still think they will get some good football players and finish among the top three teams in the Big Ten. But their class won't be anywhere near as good as it was last year."
So which is it? Is Joe Paterno causing the destruction of Penn State football? Or is Penn State going to be OK? Because I swear finishing with a top-3 Big Ten recruiting class, is a supposedly terrible year for recruiting, was pretty fucking good.

-And finally, my favorite, from Lemming:
"Joe Paterno is an icon, he's the biggest name in a college football," Lemming said. "If he's not out there on the road matching up against the Urban Meyers and Lane Kiffins of the world, it is not going to help your program; it is only going to hurt it... Paterno is the biggest weapon Penn State has. Kids want to see him and say he came to their house or school."
Wow, isn't that just a sucker punch to the collective gut of everyone associated with the Penn State football program? What Lemming really said was that without Paterno, Penn State has no remarkable attributes.

As this recruiting season drags on, I'm sure we will know better which way this will all turn out. Either those guys will be proven correct in some way. Or, the more likely outcome, I will be proven correct in my assertion that all these guys are doing is advancing a media-driven storyline that gets hits, sells papers, and draws in viewers.

Penn State will be fine in recruiting. Penn state has been fine in recruiting; very fine, actually. And if I seriously have to sit here and write another 1000 words on why everything in that article was essentially disingenuous, I'm going to throw this keyboard across the room.

Follow LBU on Facebook and Twitter. Subscribe to Linebacker-U.com by Email