August 31, 2010

Joe Paterno Press Conference Recap:
Youngstown State

Chaz Powell (5)
Chaz Powell could play offense
or defense this Saturday, depending on
some key injuries in the Penn State secondary.
Here's the long and short of what happened today at Joe Paterno's first game week press conference. The season opener against Youngstown State is four days away (!), and the quarterback situation isn't getting any better. But more on that in a minute.

Quick hits:

  • Being a team captain is a lot like being an officer on Omaha Beach. Yikes.
  • Andrew Szczerba's back isn't any better, and might not play for a few weeks. (I guess injury information isn't secret after all)
  • Chaz Powell is moving back to offense. This is due to an unusually high number of injuries at the wide receiver position--Curtis Drake's broken leg, and Christian Kuntz's knee injury this past weekend. And with Szczerba's absence, they may take some time working in a sufficient gameplan for TE Garry Gilliam, meaning more WR sets.
  • Linebacker will be a strength of the team, despite what the pundits are saying. Mike Mauti is fine.
  • Stephfon Morris might be out, but it depends on how his neck injury heals. Powell can be moved back to defense if Morris can't go.
  • Drew Astorino is doing alright, and should go.
  • The offensive line is getting better. Joe and the staff are "very encouraged," which means they might actually be good. Joe doesn't praise units that aren't doing remarkably well. If they weren't, the wouldn't remark on them, right?
  • Joe Paterno was asked about the quarterbacks, a lot. The gist of it all? Everything is fine, but unknown.
  • Paul Jones was redshirted because of academics. Joe's worried about a few players, but wouldn't name them, and asked the guys not to ask about them.
  • Both quarterbacks, Newsome and Bolden, can play. But they're obviously young.
  • Hopefully a starter will be named tomorrow night.

So how many questions did Joe get about the quarterbacks? This many...

Ollie Ogbu and Brett Brackett voted 2010 Penn State captains

At his first game week press conference today, Joe Paterno revealed Penn State's 2010 team captains, seniors Ollie Ogbu and Brett Brackett. They aren't exactly surprise picks, but it is interesting that just two players this year were given this honor, as opposed to the usual three, four, or even five (2008) captains we've seen in recent years.

Ollie Ogbu:
"I have looked up to so many great captains, like Sean Lee, Daryll Clark, Josh Gaines and Terrell Golden, so to be a captain myself, it feels really special," Ogbu said. "It is a big honor to be voted a captain by my teammates."
Ogbu's always had one of the best attitudes on the team. He's also been a significant contributor to the team on the field for his entire career. I like pick #1.

LB-U's Guide to Tailgating Part II: Repast

Now that you’ve placated your tailgating visitors with satisfying drink it is time to quell their crescendoing appetite. Before getting into food composition, it’s important to specify rule numero uno. Rule of thumb #1: more is better. It is better to take food home then it is to run out… anytime.

Again, let me lay down some ground rules, this is not meant for the guy that tows a whole hog smoker behind his RV. God bless you sir, but no, this is meant for the average guy, the guy trying to make a name for himself with all his football buddies, their significant others, and coworkers.

What do you think?

Notice something different? Let us know your thoughts on the new layout. Did we miss something? Forget something we had in the old layout? Should we add something new that you want to see? The suggestion box is open.

Send us your thoughts: Staff.LBU(at)gmail(dot)com

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LB-U's Guide to Tailgating Part I: Libations

Ed Note: for those of you that followed me over at The Nittany Line, I posted this years ago so I've just wasted a mouse click and 10 seconds of your wasting company time busy workday. I apologize.

As concerned and responsible Tailgating citizens, we at Linebacker-U feel it's appropriate to dish out the best of our years of knowledge and lessons learned from miserable failures when it comes to this great college pastime. Today’s edition: merry drink. Some ground rules here, we are assuming if you made it this far you do not belong to a frat or underage drinking faction because you would already know that anything that contains alcohol will suffice. The same goes for the individual that doesn’t have the delusion of going to the game but instead has plans to hang out and get inebriated. Again, anything that has fermented for more then a week will do. Try Mad Dog 20/20; it’s cheap and effective. No, this is aimed at you, oh master of pregame ceremony, the guy trying to look 50 Cent house party-esque on an MC Hammer budget for his gaggle of friends and coworkers.

August 30, 2010

LBU Quiz: Who is 'The Father of Linebacker U'?

Nate Stupar tackles Justin Brown (2)
Nate Stupar (34) might be the next great linebacker at Penn State,
but do you know who earned the reputation as "The Father of Linebacker U"?
We're going to give you a little history lesson this week. We might even do this every week on a new topic--ala the Aflac Trivia Question. But first, let's test your own Penn State and Linebacker U knowledge.

The Nittany Lions have been known for decades as "Linebacker U." Great linebackers have stamped their reputation into Happy Valley like no other position at no other college football program.

But what, or who, is behind the creation of this 'backer dominance? That's our quiz for all you Penn State historians out there. Who is "The Father of Linebacker U"?

Note: Please don't give out any hints in the comments, as we'll reveal the answer, including the full backstory, on Wednesday.

Who is 'The Father of Linebacker U'?

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Christmas is here; its game week!


As an adult there really isn't anything better than the start of a new college football season. Even in the dark years of Penn State football I still was excited when game 1 rolled around. It's like Christmas for adults, we have all these shiny presents in the form of a new team to unwrap and see what we got. Did we get the proverbial Playstation 3 in the form of a Big Ten champ or did we get a team equivalent to a new set of tube socks.*

NOT what a kid or a Penn State fan wants

While this isn't our first rodeo as individual bloggers this is the first season as Linebacker-U, so I thought I'd give you all a heads-up on what to expect. Here's a look at what you will find here on a weekly basis at Linebacker-U.

August 29, 2010

Penn State releases Week 1 Depth Chart

Devon Smith Autograph
Devon Smith has earned a bigger role on both
offense and special teams.
Tony Mancuso of's all-sports blog gave readers an exclusive sneak-peek at the football depth chart for Penn State's opener against Youngstown State.

Here are some highlights:

-The quarterbacks are all listed with an "OR" next to their names, meaning a decision between picking one or even two of the three hasn't been made. Don't read too far into Matt McGloin being listed first. It's probably just by eligibility, which McGloin is a redshirt sophomore.

-Andrew Sczcerba is off the depth chart, due to nagging back problems. Garry Gilliam is the starter, with Kevin Haplea at No. 2. Mark Wedderburn is No. 3. That's two true freshmen, and a sophomore.

-Anthony Fera is the starting punter.

-Devon Smith has apparently earned a kickoff return specialist job. Stephfon Green is bumped to the No. 3 return man spot. It will be Smith and Chaz Powell.

-Smith is also the No. 3 punt return specialist, with Justin Brown at No. 1 and Drew Astorino at No. 2. But that order is non-binding, as that basically means Brown is the normal guy, with Astorino as the "Hands" guy. Smith will probably get time later in the game, if it's under control early.

-Ty Howle will handle short-long snaps (FG/PAT), while Emery Etter will handle long-long snaps (punts).

Check out the full depth chart here.

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Newsome likely to start vs Youngstown State

Kevin Newsome Dropback (2)
Kevin Newsome (12) is likely to get
the official start on opening day.
You know that huge bubble of media speculation about true freshman Robert Bolden becoming Penn State's starting quarterback on opening day? Well, we may have just seen it burst. Reports came trickling out of Penn State's final scrimmage this weekend, as the team ends the camp portion of practice, and heads into actual game preparation on Monday. Scary, I know.

During Friday's practice, Kevin Newsome apparently looked like the best overall quarterback, something we've heard non-stop the last few weeks... about Bolden. Newsome had apparently run an offense mostly resembling the Nittany Lions' schemes from 2005 and 2008, in which a running quarterback was a very big factor. But the passing game had also hinted at Michael Robinson ca. '05 or Daryll Clark ca. '08, in that a heavy QB-TB rushing attack was supplemented with a devastating pass game that struck just when the defense was fully locked on the ground game.

But why should one practice have such an impact, as to sway conventional and almost uniform belief that Bolden has basically won the majority-time quarterback job? Because during Friday's practice, Bolden was reportedly playing much less like the boy-wonder the media had been making him out to be, and more like a very talented, but very raw true freshman quarterback. It should also be noted here that the coaching staff continued to play the quarterbacks without the protection of red jerseys.

Matt McGloin (2)
Even if Matt McGloin is out of the race,
he'll still be a valuable backup quarterback.
Matt McGloin, the darkhorse in this race, seems to have now settled in as the official backup quarterback. Earlier in the week there was a rumor out that Newsome and Bolden would each receive 40 percent of the snaps in practice from now on, while McGloin would see 20 percent.

I was really starting to get on the Bolden Bandwagon this season; really, I was. If he does end up starting, and Newsome comes in as the "change of pace" quarterback, that's great. But if Newsome is The Guy for 2010, it's just as good.

How can I say that it's just as good? Because we just don't know which guy will do better when three separate BCS Bowl winners are breathing down his throat. I'm excited for 2010, even with the unknown that is the quarterback position. I'm excited because of the young talent that this team has, yet not forgetting the powerful upperclassmen in the starting lineup as well.

Penn State seems to have been written off this season, by the media, by most of the fans, and by everyone else. They say Penn State is just going to have a "meh" season this year, and hopefully send Joe Paterno out on a winning note in 2011. I'm not buying that. This team, starting with the quarterbacks, has so much raw talent, it is probably more talented than any Nittany Lions team from the last 10 years. The experience will come. Hopefully it can come quickly to the quarterback, or quarterbacks, whoever he or they might be.

Odds 'n Ends...

-Andrew Sczcerba might not see action until week 3, as his back problems haven't gotten any better. That means RS frosh Garry Gilliam will get to start game one of his Penn State career.

-Johnnie Troutman is making a strong push for DeOn'tae Pannell's spot at left guard. Some are saying that if that were to happen, Troutman would go to left guard, Pannell to right guard, and Wisniewski would go back to center. I'm not crazy about that, but if it happens, it wouldn't be crushing; would probably only make the line that much better overall, to have the best five on the field.

-If you're wondering who No. 93 is on the field next week, it's James Terry. He's pretty good, so learn the name-number association.

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August 28, 2010

600 fans by kickoff... can you get us there?

Update: 600 Fans! You did it in less than 6 hours! Great job everyone! keep it up, and we'll have 1000 by homecoming...

We're hovering somewhere around 580 fans on our Facebook page.

We want to get that number past 600 by noon on Sept. 4... yeah, kickoff.

Here's the deal. We need your help in reaching that goal. So get on Facebook right now and suggest our page to your Penn State friends, or share one of our stories on your own wall, or even a simple "Like" from every one of you on each of our stories will spread the good blue and white word!


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August 27, 2010

Penn State D-I Hockey Arena Location Rumor

The parking lot near the Shields Building,
across from the BJC is the most likely place
for Penn State's new hockey arena. (Image: PSU Map)
After hearing a rumor this week, I decided to check it out. (What's this? Actual reporting?) So I asked around, and it seems that Penn State is looking at building a hockey arena near or in the Shields Building parking lot, across from the Bryce Jordan Center.

With all the hype around football season, it's not unexpected that the hockey situation has flown pretty far under the radar. But after years of winning club titles, Penn State will finally make the jump to D-I hockey. The Icers have been one of the most successful teams at Penn State, but because of the level at which they play, they're not paid any attention.

We'll try to keep up on this story best we can here at LBU.

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Linkbacker U is waving good bye to summer

There is less than one week until college football. This time next week, a full slate of games will already be in the books.

That being said, expect a bit of a change in our "Linkbacker U" posts, as they might not be a daily morning feature during game weeks. Of course, you all out there have the final say in these kinds of things, so if you want us to keep it going on a daily morning basis, please let us know. Our new staff email is Staff.LBU(at)gmail(dot)com and we want to hear from you on this, as well as during the season. Send us your thoughts, questions, and input. Maybe we could even start a weekly mailbag feature. But again, that depends on you, the readers.

So, on with the final summer-edition of Linkbacker U...

But it's not the Nittany Lion Hotline anymore. Joe Paterno may not be a weekly guest on the Thursday night radio show hosted by Steve Jones. But the show will go on, and this week we (well, not we, since I live 250 miles away) got some air time with Tom Bradley and Galen Hall. The Collegian had a nice recap of this week's show.

FedEx Discover Orange Bowl. Discover Financial Services will be the new sponsor of the Orange Bowl game. This isn't really incredible news, but I thought it was interesting to see this photo used in the story by

So, 7-5 is now good enough for Michigan? UM AD Dave Brandon has been in the news a lot lately, specifically after he basically said Michigan and Ohio State were going to be in separate divisions, period. But talking to the Free Press this week, he said there was no "win benchmark" for Rich Rodriguez to keep his job as Michigan head coach. Specifically, the record of 7-5 was mentioned by Brandon as an example of what wouldn't get Rich Rod fired. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch what goes down in Ann Arbor this year.

Maybe we didn't want him after all. Remember Dominique Easley, the top rated New York recruit who screwed Penn State for Florida this past recruiting class? Well, things aren't so peachy in Gainesville, according to Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post. Lieser reported this week that Easley and fellow lineman Ronald Powell skipped practice on Tuesday, because... get this... the older players were too hard on them. I don't know what happened, but someone isn't handling the situation correctly. Players can be upset with stuff. Coaches can be upset with players. Players can be upset with other players. But someone has to step up right away and smash some heads. Otherwise, that's a pretty crappy way to run a college football team.

U-N-See ya later bowl games. Hello probation. The possible infractions by Butch Davis and North Carolina just got a whole lot worse. The NCAA can deal with things like Michigan's practice situation, but when it comes to academic impropriety, watch your ass. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, their problem is exactly that.
"During the course of the joint investigation by the NCAA and the university into possible agent violations we have learned of a situation that includes possible academic misconduct involving a former undergraduate tutor and student athletes on the football team," Chancellor Holden Thorp said during a press conference on Thursday.

Davis confirmed that the tutor in question was also hired by his family to tutor his son, and said he is cooperating fully with the investigation.
The tutor in question has apparently been accused of writing papers for several football players. Can you say... lack of institutional control?

Quick hits...

Penn State will go 8-4 according to several computer models.

Texas and USC will play a home-and-home series in 2017 and 2018.

Michigan-Ohio State breakup news gets a once-over from Phil Steele.

OMG ESS EEE SEE, courtesy of USA Today.

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August 26, 2010

Big Ten Divisions: Nine Games Good; Divisional Split Bad

It was expected for a while that the Big Ten would adopt a nine-game conference schedule. Today, we found out that nine games it will be--in 2015. Per, from Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez:
University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez confirmed Wednesday that when a two-division format for football is unveiled by league officials next month, UW and Iowa will be separated... [Alvarez] also said the Big Ten will adopt a nine-game schedule for football, but it won’t go into effect until 2015, allowing member schools to address previously contracted games.
It seems like Jim Delaney & Co. are really going with the whole "competitive balance" thing. Delaney also spoke with the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein about the whole Michigan-Ohio State conundrum hissy-fit going on, and why it's a good idea to play The Game mid-season:
"If Duke and North Carolina were historically the two strongest programs and only one could play for the right to be in the NCAA tournament, would you want them playing in the season-ending game so one is in and one is out?" he asked. "Or would you want them to play and have it count in the standings and then they possibly could meet (again) for the right to be in the NCAA or the Rose Bowl?"
First off, how late did Delaney stay up thinking of that analogy? Second, don't go making fun of Michigan's recent record. North Carolina and Duke haven't always been elite every single year, but their rivalry game is still great to watch on TV--a few times per year. But back to Alvarez's conversation with Andy Baggot ( The argument has boiled down to the "Big Four": Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State. You can imagine why those four teams matter the most:
"Alvarez implied that it shouldn't be hard to figure out how the 12 schools will be arranged in the two divisions. He said there are four distinct tiers of teams, led by the four that have won national championships in the past 25 years: Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State."
You have to admit, it does make some sense. I know the league doesn't want to do this half-assed, by splitting the just elite brand name teams, not going all-out to make the Big Ten as competitively balanced as humanly possible. But what has come next just makes me cringe. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg took a stab at what the divisions will look like next season, considering the Big Four split and separation of Wisconsin-Iowa.
Division 1
Michigan State

Division 2
Ohio State
Penn State
Just smash my head with a baseball bat while you're at it. These divisions suck so terribly, I'm not even sure I want to suggest my own, completely irrelevant divisional breakdown.

But then I think about what I told someone the other day: Even next season, there may in fact be five mandatory intra-divisional games against so "meh" Big Ten teams in terms of interest. But there are three other conference games that need filling. You don't think that Penn State-Michigan or Penn State-Nebraska wouldn't be a mega ratings monster every season, or at least on a few-years-on, few-years-off basis?

It's not much, but it's something to hold onto. At least Penn State doesn't have the kind of history with a rival in this league. In my view, Iowa-Wisconsin fans have more to bitch about right now than Michigan-Ohio State fans.

But no one cares what bloggers think.

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Thursday Question: Best Case Scenario 2010

Stephfon Green, Jack Crawford & Andrew Dailey (7)
Can the new starters like DeOn'tae Pannell (50) and
Doug Klopacz (68) on the O-Line
gel in time for Alabama and Iowa?
Penn State has been universally labeled as "down" in 2010. But are the Nittany Lions capable of shocking the talking heads, and pull off another double-digit win season, or more?

In today's Thursday Question--the final TQ of the off-season--we tackle part two to last week's question, which asked what might be the worst case scenario for Penn State football in 2010. As you would expect, this week's question heads to the other end of that spectrum, as we look at how high this team might go over the next few months.

Thursday Question: What's the best case scenario for Penn State in 2010?

Galen 10-2

Realistically speaking there’s no way Penn State goes undefeated; if they do the unthinkable and run the table, I’ll eat my mattress*. Let’s say Penn State beats all the teams they are supposed to and plays well enough to win all their ‘toss-up’ games. That leaves the big three of Alabama, Iowa, and Ohio State. Even if Penn State plays well in all three games I still think they lose two. So let’s say they pull one out, the best case scenario is for them to beat Bama. I know most pundits will tell you that losing early is better than losing late in the season but not in this case. If Penn State pulls off a shocker in Tuscaloosa against the top ranked team in the nation on national TV not only will they get a Colbert-esque bump in the polls but they’ll hold the nation’s attention for a couple weeks which could even help in recruiting. Not only will they beat the #1 team but they beat a team from the OMG!1!!! EESSSSSS EEEEEEEE SEEEEEE!!!! ESPN would be talking about them for weeks. Or until they lose to Iowa.

*I’m tempting fate here, the last time I read this phrase was on a message board and it was “I’ll eat my mattress if Derrick Williams commits to Penn State

Mike 11-1

I'm going to go big. I will say that Penn State can go 11-1 and grab a Big Ten championship. No, I'm not crazy. This is the absolute best case scenario. I truly believe that this team has more raw talent than even the greatest teams Joe Paterno has ever assembled. Are they as good of a team than 2005, 1994, or 1982? No, but that's only because this team doesn't have the overall experience that those senior-laden squads were fortunate enough to possess.

Penn State can beat Alabama. Penn State can beat Iowa. Penn State is 2-3 against Ohio State the last five meetings, including a win in Columbus. They don't play Wisconsin, a Big Ten title contender, or Purdue a probable bowl team. Temple, Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern are bowl caliber teams, but aren't better than Penn State. If Minnesota, Indiana, or Illinois beat Penn State this year, it would be an earth-shattering upset.

I was going to pick 10-2, but I just can't help thinking that the potential for this team is just too great. Two losses is the safe pick, and will probably be the most realistic. But hell, I'm a hopeless optimist when it comes to Penn State football.

Ryan 10-2

Obviously best case scenario is to win every game, but I don't think that is even in the realm of possibility this year. They will lose two out of the three games to Iowa, Alabama, and Ohio State.

In order to go 10-2 and have a successful season, a couple things have to happen. The offensive line must gel, and gel early. Quinn Barham's transition from guard to tackle must go smoothly, as he protects the new quarterback from opposing pass rushers.

Speaking of the quarterbacks, obviously the starter doesn't need to be the focal point of the offense, but he has to limit turnovers. If he throws ten interceptions or less, than this team will be successful.

And finally, the front seven has to live up to expectations and fill the holes left by the departed seniors and juniors before them. Devon Still needs to be as good as advertised and team up with Ollie Ogbu to stuff the run.

If the team is able to hit on all these points, and is able to stay healthy, than a 10-2 season could be on the horizon. I'm not holding my breath.

Tim 10-2

Penn State goes undefeated, defeats Boise State in the title game. The Blue and White sky opens up with a beautiful rainbow, chocolate-filled river streams flow, and the townsfolk cheer in the streets knowing that it's safe to leave their homes once again...

Barring that scenario of course, a 10-2 record which includes beating one of the three penciled-in losses (i.e. Alabama/Iowa/Ohio State). This would require the offensive line to gel quickly enough, for Robert Bolden to be as talented and poised beyond his years as insiders and media folks make him out to be, and for the defense to hold its own while the offense gets its act together.

Yea, I'll go with the former...

What's your best case scenario for Penn State in 2010?

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Linkbacker U Wants a Seat at the Hater's Ball


Reason Number #652 Why I Love Deadspin

Yesterday, the good folks at Deadspin released their annual Hater's Guide To The Top 25 in which readers are taught the best way to get under a fan's skin of their particular school. Take for example, Alabama:

Oh hey, look who's numero uno. It's Orange Satan and his little fiefdom of tardbilly mouthbreathers. I liked the Tide much better back in the old days, when Mike DuBose was bending receptionists over his desk. I don't need the state of Alabama to have any pride whatsoever. They should never be allowed to feel good about themselves...
Ohio State:

Oh, sweet fucking Jesus, you people again? Haven't you people pissed away enough titles? Shouldn't you be banished to NAIA so that we don't have to see you lose the national title by 47 points to an SEC team? It's because of YOU that people from the South are actually starting to feel good about themselves again. That is crap...

Iowa is the number one producer of corn among all American states. Many of its farmers are heavily subsidized to grow corn, turn that corn into syrup, and then rape every other foodstuff in the grocery store with that syrup so that you and your kids get fatter and fatter and fatter until you look just like everyone who lives in Iowa...
Penn State of course, was not spared the wrath of the haters. I'll let you take a guess as to what the topic of ridiculing choice was...No, seriously take a guess...

Okay, fine. Here's the entire list, scroll down to #19. And don't say I didn't warn you.

Trey Burke Heads To Greener Basketball Pastures...But Not Really.

Well, it's official: A few months after de-committing from PSU over concerns about the stability of the current coaching staff, point guard Trey Burke has committed to play for Michigan. Color me baffled on this one, Burke was long praised for his athleticism and drew a lot of comparisons to Talor Battle for his willingness to be aggressive with the ball. Michigan coach John Beilein's system is a variation of the slow-paced Princeton offense which puts a heavy emphasis on perimeter shooting (four players start on the outside of the perimeter) and sharing the basketball.

Not to mention, Michigan has appeared to have come down to Earth after that unprecedented NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009 and are expected to duke it out with PSU, Northwestern, Indiana, and Iowa in the Big Ten's basement. We're not sure whether this is the best fit for Trey, but nonetheless here's a reminder of what could've been:

Brian Kelly Now Has Control Of Your Television

It appears that Jay Leno isn't the only person with leverage over at NBC:

Kelly said he and athletic director Jack Swarbrick have had conversations with NBC officials about how coverage plans will work with the Irish's up-tempo style, which is basically hurry-up, no-huddle.

"We've talked to NBC about the way we like to play the game versus maybe how it was played in the past," Kelly said Tuesday. "There is certainly a need for us to address it and I think we're working with NBC to make certain that they get what they need from an advertising standpoint. But, also as the network that carries Notre Dame, that we're able to do things we need to do as well."

Pretty sly tactic on Kelly's part, making sure that NBC doesn't disrupt his team's momentum with a poorly-timed commercial break by getting them to adjust to his offense. Such are the joys when you're Notre Dame and you have your own psuedo-TV network.

And In Other News...

Per Boise State's AD Gene Bleymaier wants to the NCAA to mandate home-and-home football series. They're just so cute at that age (scroll down to see the article).

Former Michigan State guard Chris Allen has transferred to Iowa State. Coupled with the addition of Chris Babb, Iowa State is swiftly becoming a safe haven for exiled Big Ten hoopsters.

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August 25, 2010

NCAA 11: Updated Penn State Roster, Depth Chart

For all you gamers out there, I've waited as long as I could do put this together, but you can now get a completely updated Penn State roster and depth chart for NCAA 11 on XBOX 360. Just go to roster share, and download the roster from my gamertag: ZombieNationPSU

The original rosters are based on the ones from Operation Sports, so due credit there. But I've added/removed some PSU players, changed the depth chart a bit, and adjusted the ratings for certain players. Don't worry, you're not going to get some super-human football team. These are very human, accurate player ratings here.

Plus, I've done some relevant work to other teams' rosters/depth charts, like moving Alabama's Marcel Dareus off the starting lineup (off the depth chart completely, due to probable NCAA penalties), and swapping Tate Forcier for Denard Robinson, as all signs are pointing to Robinson getting the nod to start this year. Of course, you can do anything you want to these rosters once you have them. But I've gotten the PSU part of it as close to realistic as the game will allow.

For PSU, I recommend (in Dynasty Mode) redshirting Brandon Beachum, Curtis Drake, Zack Zwinak, and Miles Deiffenbach. Start Kevin Newsome, but use Robert Bolden about 40-45 percent of the time.

Have fun!

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Linkbacker U is wondering what is an ambassador coach

Bowden Shown the Door...can the same Happen to Joe?

Retired? Don't think so. Bowden was not ready to go, and he tells us exactly how it went down.
“First thing he says is, ‘This ain’t gonna be pretty.’ It went downhill from there,” Bowden said. “Those were his first words; I couldn’t believe it. He said, ‘You have two options: One is to stay on as an ambassador coach for one more year. You can still be the coach, but we don’t want you to go on the field.’ I’d get paid for doing nothing. That’s stealing from FSU. I said, ‘That’s out, forget it. What’s the other option?’ He said, ‘We don’t renew your contract.’ ”
Hmm a figure head coach with limited responsibility? Doesn't sound familiar to me. In all seriousness, it's terrible the way they showed Bowden the door at Florida State. Especially given PSU's recent success, it seems Paterno will be able to live on his own terms.

All is Golden at Temple

Five years ago, Temple and football were rarely mentioned in the same sentence if it wasnt the butt at the end of a joke. Let's just say, they've come a long way.
There were more pressing matters to deal with. The team’s academic study lounge contained a pool table, on which a crafty janitor used to hustle players out of money before practice. The practice field had two different types of turf and a 3-foot drop-off at the back of one end zone that repeatedly caused injuries. Players had to dodge eggs aimed at them from a nearby high-rise public housing building.

On top of all that, syringes, crack vials and broken 40-ounce beer bottles littered the area around the football facility, which often reverberated with an orchestra of passing trains, sirens and gunshots.

“It was indescribable, to be honest with you,” Golden said. “It was that bad. This place was dead. We had to take the paddles out.”
Now Golden has Temple competing for MAC Championships. The team has been improving every year and who knows, maybe this is the year they upset the Nittany Lions.

Sacrificing Pageantry for Padded Wallets?

Stop the press! Stop the press! Michigan and Ohio State are potentially going to be in different divisions and won't play at the same time as they usually do. They may play twice! This is an outrage!

“One of the best things that could happen, in my opinion in a given season, would be the opportunity to play Ohio State twice,” Brandon told Ann Arbor radio station WTKA.

No, it wouldn’t be the best thing that could happen. It might be fun the first time. It might be unique. It might be new. And then soon enough, it wouldn’t be.
"Everything else about it diminishes an event built and maintained for five generations. When you control a 100-plus-year-old tradition, you don’t make decisions based on a four-year television contract. To do so is symbolic of the NCAA run by MBAs, where a projected spreadsheet means more than a history book. It is about selling out a century plus for an overnight rating and then trying to explain it away with specious and short-sited reasoning."
That's one argument. To me, what's wrong with playing twice. The Yankees and Red Sox play EIGHTEEN times each year and that's just the regular season. Those games still usually have just as much hatred, build up, and excitement. I know it's been a while since kindergarten, but I think I learned two is greater than one.

Former "Bachelor" Not in Love with Penn State

Add Jesse Palmer to the long list of pessimistic Penn State "experts" and small list of ESPN employees who actually knows something about this year's squad besides who the coach is.

Palmer predicted the Lions to lose five games, and said that the team is ranked entirely too high. Can't say I can really argue on either of those two points.
"You look at that schedule: at Alabama early, they go at Iowa, they go at Ohio State. In my opinion it's a team that will lose five games this year," Palmer said. "I don't think Penn State should even be in the top 25."

"Youre ranking them at 19 based on how they finished last season and I get that," Palmer said. "After losing Daryll Clark at quarterback, it's a very unsettled quarterback situation right now. Potentially it looks like the sophomore walk-on Matt McGloin could be the starter against Youngstown State in week one."
New Women's Lacrosse Coach Recruits Top Ten Class

It didn't take new women's lacrosse coach Missy Doherty to make a splash in Happy Valley. She's been here for already a matter of months and already has one of the nation's top recruiting classes under her belt.
"I am extremely excited about that incoming class here at Penn State," said Doherty. "They are a talented group of athletes and I am looking forward to having them contribute quickly. This will be an exciting year for our program, and it is great to start my career here with such a talented group of athletes."
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August 24, 2010

Tuesday Recruitin': Deion Barnes down to five schools

Updated 8/25, 7 p.m.

Deion Barnes (ESPN Photo)
Philly lineman Deion Barnes cut his list to five schools this week. Michigan, Penn State, Pitt, Georgia and South Carolina made the list, but it still looks like Penn State is the team to beat. He plans to visit for Penn State's night game against Michigan on Oct. 30, and might announce his decision at the 2011 U.S. Army All-American Game. (Damn, is it really time to start thinking about that game again?) And just a little extra from M-land, thinks Rich Rod is walking a tight rope with Barnes, Anthony Zettel, and the two defensive ends already on board. It's interesting.

Zach West is expected to announce tomorrow. It's between Penn State and Kentucky. Update: He picked UK

Miles Shuler is done with Penn State, as he told$) that he won't use an official visit for the Nittany Lions, then told that his final list included Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Nebraska, Florida, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Michigan. Notice which team is missing?

This one seems to be a direct result of things breaking down--I still can't figure this one out--with Savon Huggins. The two were probably going to commit to the same school, or at least stay within the same few schools until the very end of the recruiting process. I don't mean to cast Shuler as a tag-along here, but that's exactly what it's looking like.

If there is one thing that I agree on with the OMG!WECAN'TRECRUIT crowd, it's a sense of total befuddlement as to why Penn State has just stopped recruiting some kids that seemed like sure things. How many recruits this year have said something to the effect of "Penn State hasn't been in contact in a while," or "I haven't heard from coach [insert PSU assistant coach] in a few weeks." I don't pretend to know what goes on in Mike McQueary's head. He's the recruiting coordinator, and has done a fantastic job the last five seasons. But this year is just weird.

Dominique Noble committed to Georgia Tech this week, per his Facebook page.

Offer Watch -- Burke(VA) Lake Braddock receiver Matt Zanellato (Rivals/Scout/ESPN) is reportedly gaining more interest from Penn State:
"They only have four offers out to guys who play receiver, but he told me that those guys are primarily defensive backs. He told me if they offer a kid who is just a receiver, I will be getting that offer."
Zanellato isn't what you'd call an elite athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but he did make 43 receptions for 650 yards and seven touchdowns, which isn't bad for high school. Zanellato played for Robinson last season, which is a ground-churning offense that featured two 1,000-yard backs last year. So the 650 yards, when taken into that context, is much better than it is upon first glance. Unless you're coming out of a juggernaut prep school with pro-level quarterbacks, you're not going to put up big numbers through the air in high school. Lake Braddock, however, is a very pass-happy offense. Zanellato should thrive this year, which will bring his stock way up.

2012 -- Frederick(MD) Frederick receiver Jalen Gee is probably going to be very high on the recruiting rankings when next year rolls around. Penn State is in the early running.

**I've finally gotten around to updating the offers/recruiting board, so go check it out!

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TMI: the Michigan State edition

Finishing out our look at the school behind the football team we bring you our hated nemesis Sparty and the fight for the trophy no one wants. Gratuitous ugly trophy shot in 3...2…1…

It's so ominous it takes two guys to lift that thing

About the University

In 1855 Michigan Governor Kinsley S. Bingham signed a bill establishing the United States' first agriculture college, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. The first president, Joseph R. Williams, designed a curriculum that required more scientific study than practically any undergraduate institution of the era. Despite Williams' innovations and his defense of education for the masses, the State Board of Education saw Williams' curriculum as elitist. They forced him to resign in 1859 and reduced the curriculum to a two-year vocational program.

In 1860, Joseph R. Williams became acting lieutenant governor and helped pass the Reorganization Act of 1861. The College changed its name to State Agricultural College, and its first class graduated in the same year. The Civil War had just begun, and the first alumni enlisted to the Union Army. The following year, Abraham Lincoln signed the First Morrill Act of 1862 to support similar colleges, making the Michigan school a national model. In 1909 the college officially changed its name to Michigan Agricultural College (M.A.C.). During the early 20th century, M.A.C. expanded its curriculum well beyond agriculture. By 1925 it had expanded enough that it changed its name to Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science (M.S.C.). In its Centennial year of 1955, the State of Michigan renamed the College as Michigan State University of Agriculture and Applied Science. The State of Michigan allowed the University to drop the words "Agriculture and Applied Science" from its name nine years later. Since 1964 the institution has gone by the name of Michigan State University.

For those of you that don't know, the reason that God-awful trophy is played for is because both Penn State and Michigan State are the nation's oldest land-grant universities, both founded in 1855, although MSU beat us to the punch (Michigan State on February 12 and Penn State on February 22). And no, it wasn't some 5th grader's shop project either; it was designed by former Michigan State coach George Perles.


The athletic teams of Michigan State University are known as Spartans.

Linebacker-U, using burnt out internet memes since 2009!

In 1925, when MSU was an agricultural school, its teams were referred to as the Aggies. Looking to move beyond its agricultural roots, Michigan State held a contest to find a new nickname. They decided to call the teams the "Michigan Staters". Local sports writers for the Lansing State Journal and the Capital News didn't like the new moniker so they went through the losing entries to find a shorter and more heroic name. They decided on the "Spartans". The "Spartans" quickly caught on as the teams' new nickname.

Football related data

Last season: 6-7 – lost to Texas Tech in the Alamo Bowl

Since joining the Big Ten Penn State leads the Land-Grant trophy series 13–4 and the all-time series 14–12–1. Michigan State has won 6 National Championships although the last came way back in 1966 and the '65 season they were voted in after losing the Rose Bowl to UCLA. They have played in 4 Rose Bowls winning 3 of them and making UCLA their bitch twice in the 50's. Their last Rose bowl came back in 1988 and lately the bowls they've attended have the words "Sun," "Aloha," and "Alamo" in them.

While there haven't been a lot of memorable Spartan teams they did play in one of the "games of the century" against none other than Notre Dame (who seems to play in a lot of "games of the century"). The game was played in Michigan State's Spartan Stadium on November 19, 1966. Michigan State entered the contest 9–0 and ranked #2, while Notre Dame entered the contest 8–0 and ranked #1. Notre Dame elected not to try for the end zone on the final series, thus the game ended in a 10–10 tie with both schools recording national championships.

Also, MSU has the biggest comeback in NCAA history that came in 2006 against Northwestern. The Spartans, after falling behind the Wildcats 38–3 with 9:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter, rallied to score 38 unanswered points to defeat the Wildcats, 41–38.

Famous Alumni

Michigan State has 9 College football hall of famers and 2 Pro Football Hall of Famers. They have 31 players currently on NFL rosters.

Michigan State doesn't have the amazing list of celebrities that some of the other schools on PSU's schedule but they do have a few. Teamsters president James P. Hoffa was a Spartan as was Quicken Loans founder and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Kirk Gibson, Steve Garvey, Rod Brind'Amour, and Robin Roberts where MSU Alumni. Hollywood members that cheered for Sparty include Robert Urich and James Caan.

Comedian Dick Martin called MSU home. Before he was catching predators Chris Hansen was a Spartan.

What would TMI be without some eye candy? Worthless that's what. Fox news anchor and erstwhile E! Entertainment Television regular Suzanne Sena graduated from MSU.

Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary attended but did not graduate.

Linkbacker U welcomes back Mike Mauti


Going to keep it short and sweet today. No ground breaking news going on, so its just many different preseason breakdowns as we take you up to the start of the 2010 season.

Taking a Look at the New Era of PSU Linebackers

No need to tell you that it will be a new wave of students attending Linebacker U this fall. Sean Lee, Navorro Bowman, and Josh Hull all passed with flying colors, and it's up to their successors to follow suit. Black Shoe Diaries breaks down the new crop of linebackers, and interestingly lists Mike Mauti amongst the starters.

Mauti looks to return to his 2008 form after suffering a devastating knee injury in 2009. Penn State has proved over the years that if you are a young talented true freshman LB, they will find some snaps for you. Mauti joined a list of recent Penn State LBs to earn significant playing time during their true freshman season (Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, Sean Lee). Although not 100% Mauti is still one of, if not the best, option at OLB for Penn State. Depending on his knee and development, Mauti could slide inside to MLB like Posluszny and Connor. Junior Nathan Stupar is currently the backup.

Surprised to see BSD listing him as a starter over Nate Stupar. Haven't seen this anywhere else, but can't say I am disappointed. Mauti was a top recruit and certainly has all the talent in the world to be the difference maker in the linebacking group...if he is healthy.

More on Mauti: Unleash the Beast

Finally. After missing a year after tearing his ACL, Mauti is finally a full go. He is participating in full-contact practices and couldn't be happier, he tells ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

"I was like, 'Oh, this is what it feels like to be hitting again,'" Mauti recalled. "But it definitely felt good to get out there and start hitting and get that feeling again."

"I've probably watched more football than ever," Mauti said, "so I'm just really looking forward to getting back out there come September, and make plays. The way I look at it is I've had the last year to prepare for this season."

Crawford Ready to Step Up

No Odrick? No problem, says Jack Crawford. He's up for the challenge, and ready to make this defensive line his own, he told

“Jared was a big leader on the field, and he had tremendous talent, and we just have to fill those shoes. I have strong confidence that we can,” Crawford said. “If we can play with the same speed throughout the whole game, there’s no doubt we can be the best, if not one of the best defensive lines in the country.”

Any chance Jack can play quarterback too?

Trey Lewis Talks about Joining PSU

A little late on this one as Victory Bell Rings had this posted a few dgays ago. But nonetheless, here's recruit Trey Lewis on joining the Nittany Lions. If you only knew what you were getting yourself into.

PSU Athletics starts season strong

It's early, but a win is a win, especially over a ranked opponent. So when the women's soccer team knocks off the 24th ranked West Virginia squad, that's nothing to scoff at. points out that PSU is now 1-0 overall, and shares the upcoming schedule with its readers. Reminder: there is more than just football here in Happy Valley, and this is the year to be grateful for that.

August 23, 2010

Brandon Beachum will Redshirt 2010

Brandon Beachum Pregame
Brandon Beachum (#3) will redshirt the 2010 season.
Per Sean Fitz, a good move by the coaches...
"It has been decided that running back Brandon Beachum will take a redshirt this season, according to sources close to the situation."
I was really hoping to hear this news. Beachum is a great talent in the backfield, but has had some tough luck with the ACL tear last season. He showed that he's a power back all the way, able to break tackles, yet fast enough to make defenders miss.

With Royster gone next season, Penn State needs two backs that can pound the rock. Beachum and Curtis Dukes will be a fantastic duo to chose from. Combine one (or both) of them with a speedster like Stephfon Green or Silas Redd (who won't redshirt 2010, btw), and it's a regular thunder-and-lightening combo not seen since Curtis Enis and Aaron Harris--unless, of course, we get on this season in Royster and Green.

Anyway, good news. Let Beachum heal up to 100 percent. Then unleash hell on the Big Ten in 2011.

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BlogPoll 2010: Preseason Ballot

Welcome to the cusp of another college football season and the inevitable preseason poll that accompany its return. I'll be honest with you, you won't see a more worthless post this year than a preseason poll. But what you will find with the BlogPoll is that at least it doesn't handicap teams as the season progresses. In most polls if you're not in the Top 10 to begin the season, you are essentially eliminated from MNC contention before you play a down. The BlogPoll is more fluid, not relying so much on preseason preconceptions, as the product on the field. I'll break down things in a very similar style to how I had handled each week back at The Nittany Line, where I'll give you a look at who each team played and give you a little summary of the movers or trends. In the meantime, here's our preseason offering, mostly generic with weight given to conference favorites (thus Temple's inclusion). Questions, corrections, suggestions and objections are always welcome.

August 22, 2010

Linkbacker U has no room for a Pitt Stop


Cross-State Clash Not in the Fold

Wow I can't wait for rivalry week. I am so excited for Penn State to battle Michigan State for the prestigious Land Grant Trophy! There can't be a bigger rivalry in all of sports than Penn State and Michigan State football.

Obviously, beyond the tally in the win column, I could give two you know whats about this "rivalry" nor can anyone else really. The current generation of Penn Staters hardly even know that the Land Grant Trophy exists. Every Penn Stater and their grandma, especially the Pennsylvania natives, are foaming at the mouth to see Pittsburgh on the schedule.

Sorry to break it to you, but the likely nine game conference schedule means it is not going to happen, says Jerry Depaula of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

"That is one of the challenges I am struggling with as we contemplate going to nine conference games," Curley said. "That reduces your ability to move around the country to make these games happen."

Now I understand the desire by most Penn Staters to stick it to Pitt, but as Jersey native, its the Rutgers series in 2013/2014 that I'm really looking forward to....if it's not a conference game by then.

Prom or Practice? Is Enrolling Early Worth It?

Thinking back to my fondest memories of high school, my second semester of senior easily tops the list. I was already accepted into Penn State and had no responsibilities besides enjoying my final days of high school as much as possible before I left for the valley.

But we've been seeing more and more that players are sacrificing that final semester to enroll in college in the spring. Paul Jones and Dakota Royer enrolled early, and it hasn't quite worked out for them

But was enrolling early really worth it? Surely it was a tough decision for all of the early enrollees who just want to see playing time, but many of the Lions are finding out that their teammates who didn't enroll early are having just as much preseason success.

Though Joe Paterno has been adamant about not particularly liking the early enrollment trend all across college football, only time will tell if the rest of this year's early enrollees will feel the same way.

Great job by the Collegian's Footblog. Obviously enrolling early works much better for some players than others, but it seems that the freshman Bolden, who starts his first non-summer class today, may end up getting the nod to start.

Tate Forced to Not be a Cocky Tool Anymore

I think Tate Forcier missed the memo last year that he actually didn't end up winning the Heisman Trophy. That was Sam Bradford. And he doesn't make Chuck Norris or Jack Bauer poop his pants, that's Tim Tebow.

Now, he may have to accept that he's not even going to be the starting quarterback at Michigan. And that, has finally scared him humble.

Forcier did his best to stay quiet Sunday during media day, until he asked for and received permission from Rodriguez to talk to reporters. After posing for pictures with Robinson and Gardner, the returning starter said he didn't know what his chances were to keep his job when he was peppered with the first of many questions.

"It's way too soon to tell," Forcier said. "Coach Rod keeps it as open as possible and I don't think he's close to a decision."

The three QBs each had a chance to impress the coaches Saturday during a scrimmage at the Big House, but Rodriguez wasn't saying much about the competition less than 24 hours later.

"It's a race that is not going to be settled in the next couple of days," Rodriguez said.

You'd think playing for Michigan would have been enough to make him lose his ego...

A Freshman QB? I'm not the Only Skeptic

Robert Bolden has been the sexy pick to start at quarterback in recent weeks. Is this warranted? Who knows. Hardly anyone has actually seen these practices, so no one knows for sure. But I've been saying for a while that if there was ever a year to start a young quarterback Pat Devlin was the guy. I tend to think it will go with Newsome or McGloin, and Neil Rudel of the Altoona Mirror agrees.

As a starter, the development of Bolden could be severely impeded by a whipping at Alabama, which could then set the quarterback position back even further. If Bolden is viewed as the best player down the road, it's doubly important for him to be standing by mid-October.

One thing possibly working in favor of a freshman starting could be the fact that JoePa has deferred more decisions to his assistants the last few years, and especially lately, and he's given particular leeway to his son Jay, the team's quarterbacks coach and or "co-offensive coordinator" as the BTN called him.

JayPa might be more eager to roll the dice than his dad.

Except that they're still his dad's dice.

Personally, I expect the staff to ultimately go with whichever one has the best chance of making it as an NFL fullback/ special teamer. I'm still banking on Newsome.

Adam Highberger Puts off Dental School, Transfers to DII School to Ball

He was one of the four players to leave the program last year, and was easily the least talked about. The walk-on Adam Higbherger said he wasn't going to use his last year of eligibility in order to attend dental school. He will, but not so fast my friend. Highberger announced that he is instead transferring to the Division II Quincy to use his last year of eligibility.

``I will never look back in my life when I'm 40, when I'm 45 and say, `Man, I wish I would've used that extra year of eligibility.' ... I know I'm going to leave it all on the floor.''
He was obviously not the most talented player on last year's team, but his effort was never questioned. Let's hope he's able to stay healthy for his new school and make a positive impact.

Nittany Lions finish two-a-days, only nine practices remain

Here are some quick items to note...

- Starting tomorrow (Monday), the team will begin its first of nine practice sessions leading up to the home opener against Youngstown State on Sept. 4.

- On the injury front, most everyone is either okay, or getting there. We shouldn't expect any major players to miss the first game, at least as of right now. Stephon Morris is still taking it light. Andrew Sczcerba is still out, but Garry Gilliam is doing just fine with the first team. Drew Astorino continues to have shoulder issues, but that's apparently just a wait-and-see situation. I wrote yesterday that Astorino's backups are more than capable of filling in with little to no drop off. Finally, Silas Redd had some kind of leg/knee/ankle sprain, but it was so minor, no one seems to care.

Justin Brown has impressed the coaching
staff this off-season.

- Doug Klopacz's injury was enough to keep him out a day or two, but the real threat to him is apparently Matt Stankiewitch really trying to grab a starting job at center.

- The starting skill players--Evan Royster, Derek Moye, etc.--were benched early in the scrimmage, similar to what you see in the NFL preseason exhibition games. Justin Brown had a nice day.

- On offense, the line is pretty much set, but we might see some more competition at LG than we had expected this season. The quarterbacks were good, but again, when you're facing a defensive line stacked with future NFL draft picks, the pressure is sky high for the young signal callers.

Only 13 Days til Kickoff!!!

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