February 28, 2011

Maggie Lucas named Big Ten Freshman of the Year; Alex Bentley on First Team

(Photo: GoPSUSports.com)
If you have followed any part of the Lady Lions' 2010-11 season, this probably isn't much of a surprise. But today Maggie Lucas was named the Big Ten Women's Basketball Freshman of the Year:
"Lucas led all Big Ten freshmen with 16.3 points per game en route to the Freshman and Sixth Player of the Year awards. The Lady Lion newcomer made 102 three-point field goals, the most in the Big Ten this season and tied for the second-most in a single season all-time in the conference. Lucas is the second player in Penn State history, and the first since 2001, to receive top freshman honors. She is also the first Lady Lion to receive Sixth Player of the Year accolades."
Alex Bentley garnered first team All-Big Ten honors for the first time in her career.

Welcome aboard, Eric

In case you're wondering, yes, that's Eric.
This week we're welcoming a new blogger to Linebacker-U.com, as Eric Gibson of Raise the Curtains has honored us by joining our little corner of the internet. Though he's new here, you have surely read Eric's stuff at one point or another. He's been blogging Penn State men's basketball (a brave soul, indeed) for three years, which included his previous blogs, Crispin and Cream, and Battle Does It Again.

Eric is currently a senior at Penn State, majoring in Kinesiology. He is a Harrisburg native and Central Dauphin grad, who also isn't afraid to admit Penn State basketball has had way too big of an impact on his life. And yes, his childhood idol was Joe Crispin. He still has his autographed Jan Jagla growth chart. And is probably best known as "that pale kid" who nearly killed Talor Battle after the big Illinois win a few years back.

So, readers, say hello to Eric; Eric, the readers.

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February 25, 2011

Damn, It Feels Good To Be Ed DeChellis.


So, I felt way too lazy to do any sort of serious recap on PSU's routine beating of Northwestern last night.  In my defense, it's hard to motivate oneself to write such a recap when the overall story is exactly the same as it was 48 hours ago: The Fighting DeChellises are still in the same precarious bubble situation (presuming they're even on the bubble, to begin with) in which they likely need to win their remaining two regular season games against juggernaut Ohio State and a tough road trip at freefalling Minnesota in order to avoid having to make a statement in the Big Ten Tournament, and Ed DeChellis is still a gangsta in the eyes of Bill Carmody. This, despite the fact that every other Big Ten coach has unmasked Ed as the white boy poser who comically wears FUBU and tries to speak ebonics. Better recognize, Kitties...

February 24, 2011

Penn State Uniforms Going Back to Basics
(updated 2x)

2010 Penn State vs Michigan State
Waaaayyy too flashy for Penn Staters...
(Photo: LBU/Mike)
For those of you non-Penn State fans, the Nittany Lions uniforms are some of the most plain, boring, old-fashioned rags worn in college football. But what you might not expect is that most Penn State fans haven't been keen on the "flashy" white trim around the neckline and sleeves.

Well, Penn State agrees, will change the uniforms--to be even more plain, boring and old-fashioned--and I, for one, couldn't be happier.
Speaking to a class at Penn State, D'Elia said the home uniform white trim around the neck and on the sleeves will be eliminated. He also said the road uniform blue trim will be eliminated.
This is really a good move, even if it's a somewhat minor one by the branding department. Okay, so changing college football's most iconic uniforms is never a "minor" anything. But considering the mood around the fanbase has been swaying in a negative direction the last 8-10 years--with all the commercialization, piped-in music, etc.--this is smart. D'Elia can only preach "old school" so much without doing something to truly reflect that image Penn State cherishes. This is that something. And I like it.

Update 1: Added a poll.

Uniform Changes: Trim, or No Trim?

Update 2: Scrappled posted this great link in the comments below. Thought it deserved a bump up into the post: Past PSU Uniforms Art.

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Time to stop mistaking 'swagger' and 'moxie' for 'being a dickbag' (updated)

Matt McGloin needs to grow up and get a sense of humor.

Or, better yet... how about simply shut up?

You can judge for yourselves by reading the string of Tweets from SBN's Jeff Junstrom (formerly of BSD). They are in ascending chronological order, so read them starting with the very bottom tweet. It starts out like any boring Wednesday night on Twitter. Evan Royster asks if anyone saw a movie he was watching. McGloin tweets back the ending of the movie, and in the process, issues a spoiler. So Junstrom tweeted in response: "Dick." What ensued is something I just can't wrap my head around...

February 23, 2011

Way Too Early 2011 Depth Chart: Pre-Spring Defense

Today is part two of our look inside the projected spring depth chart.

Part 1: The Offensive Depth Chart

As the Penn State offense struggled to find any sort of consistency in 2010, the defense was surprisingly not as bad as many will remember. There were plenty of breakdowns on a defense that's planted its flag among the elite units in college football the past six to seven years, but the overall production from the unit has some major upside looking back and then realizing what returns for 2011.

February 21, 2011

Way Too Early 2011 Depth Chart: Pre-Spring Offense

Admit it, you've been already fighting off the football itch, and it's not even letter-of-intent signing day. So as we dive deeper into the worst part of the off season--yes, worse than after spring practice, when at least the preview magazines start rolling out--we're going to roll out a few football posts here and there looking at Penn State's 2011 spring practice. Today, we're starting off with arguably the most entertaining--albeit the most unpredictable--part of any season preview: The Depth Chart.

February 20, 2011

Video: THON 2011 Football Team Talent Show Dance Performance

Rob Bolden got quite a bit of love last night on the Twitterverse for his performance on stage, not to mention the guts it takes to put himself out there in front of 20,000 people in the BJC after what he's been through. But the team dance crew put on a good show, and they all deserve the kudos.


...and, just sayin'.

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February 18, 2011

Poll: Penn State's final four games

With what could end up being a key game in Penn State's NCAA tournament resume, the Nittany Lions knocked off Minnesota last night at the BJC. But their work is hardly complete. Any hope for a post-season bid hinges on the final regular season strech, four games starting this Sunday at Wisconsin. Trips to Northwestern and Minnesota sandwitch the home finale against Ohio State in Happy Valley.

So, we'll throw this one out to all of you.

Penn State men's hoops will finish the regular season...

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Penn State Beats Minnesota: This Season Is Our Aeroplane


Penn State's current basketball season has been full of pleasure spiked with pain. Well, more of the latter, actually, but I just wanted an excuse to post an RHCP video on this blog. Sue me. 

Just when we think it's safe to throw in the towel on the season and start relentlessly bashing the eternal underachieving of Penn State basketball [insert obligatory #FireEd hashtag here], the team goes out and wins a crucial home game against Minnesota to keep their NCAA Tournament dreams alive. Talor Battle led the charge with his 28 points on 7-of-14 three point shooting and a fire in his eyes that rubbed off on his teammates. After looking like they could care less about being on the court a week ago at Michigan State, last night's performance against Minnesota saw a scrappy group led by four seniors who refused to let their Big Dance aspirations turn to dust in front of a small but raucous home crowd.

February 17, 2011

Talking Penn State football Friday on Trib Live Radio

Just a quick note to those interested. I'll be on TribLive Radio tomorrow (Friday) around 4:10 p.m. Veteran Pittsburgh reporter/host Ken Laird was kind enough to have me on his show for about 15-20 minutes. The segment was recorded today, but will run tomorrow afternoon. Touched on everything from Tom Bradley to Rob Bolden, recruiting to Matt McGloin. Like a dork, I was very nervous, but it was a blast and I can't wait to do it again as the season heats up.


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February 16, 2011

Unofficial 2012 PSU Offers List, as of right now

Noah Spence: PSU target No. 1? (Photo: PennLive.com)
It really is too early to start predicting or analyzing much of anything about Penn State's 2012 recruiting class, or the effort the staff is putting into this upcoming haul. But if there is one thought to describe what we're seeing so far, it's "That's more like it!"

Penn State is coming off a recruiting class that was restricted more than any we can remember. Low scholarship numbers. A terrible recruiting pool in Pennsylvania. You name it, it was working against Penn State in 2011.

But that's not the case in 2012. Penn State will probably have more than 23 scholarships coming open for next year's class. The state of Pennsylvania is the strongest it's been in years. And to top it off, the coaching staff is going after the biggest names in the nation, and doing it with some actual confidence they can land the kids.

The list of scholarship offers for 2012 is growing by the hour/day (literally, I had to update the list as I wrote up this post). So, by the time you read this, it may be already due for an update. But for now this is what I've gathered from around the internets. Each prospect is listed with only his projected position, hometown, and which places have Penn State on the offers list on that player's profile. If there are any corrections that need to be made to this list, please just leave it in the comments and I'll tackle it ASAP.

Updated: 3/2/11

February 15, 2011

Just another million for Penn State hockey

Paul and Nancy Silvis of State College pledged $1 million to building the Penn State Division I hockey program. Normally, a million-dollar contribution to a college sports team would be very big news. Well, normally, that million-dollar donation doesn't come on the heels of a near-100-million-dollar donation.

Mo' money comin' up:
The main lobby of the Pegula Ice Arena will be named after the Paul and Nancy Silvis family. The couple will also co-chair the Penn State Ice Campaign Committee, which will help to raise an additional $10 million to complement the gift from the Pegulas for the ice arena and ice hockey program endowments.
Can't say much else, particularly since any personal feelings on this matter teeter too close to bringing politics and such into sports, which I vehemently oppose doing. So, we should just enjoy that PSU hockey is getting some more love.

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Wrestling Wreport: Weekend Wrap-up

Penn State beat #20 Illinois 23-13 Friday night and then battled back to salvage a tie (18-18) against #5 Minnesota on Sunday. The Minnesota dual saw the return of Brad Pataky as the 125 pounder saw his first action in weeks. Results and thoughts after the break.

February 14, 2011

Talor Battle Reaches Historic 2,000, PSU Rolls Wildcats

Talor Battle (photo: PennLive.com)
Talor Battle made history being the second Penn State player to reach 2,000 points. Besides Battles landmark, the first half was some of the best defense Penn State has played all season. In the last 10 minutes of the first half, Northwestern only scored 2 points. Penn State's offense scored an average 26 points, but that was enough for an 11 point lead over the weak Wildcats.

The Lions went off in the 2nd half scoring 41 points, which equaled the Northwestern's total for the game. Penn State was too much for Northwestern. Battle led the squad with 19 points and was followed by Brooks, Frazier, and Jackson breaking double digits. Combine one of PSU's best scoring games with Northwestern having one of their worst games shooting (34%/ only 9% beyond the arc), this must win was an easy win for the Nittany Lions.

With still the looks of the mediocracy in the Big Ten this year, Penn State does have a chance to make some noise. Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, and Michigan all have 6 wins in the Big Ten with Penn State. One more win over Northwestern and a few upsets could give Battle and the Lions a decent seed for the Big Ten Tournament. If Penn State can get a decent seed, avoid the Buckeyes and the other big boys, maybe a run in the tournament will help PSU's resume.

Penn State plays Minnesota at home this Thursday. Another win in front of the home crowd could be just what this team needs to heat up for a final run this season.

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Lady Lions avoid meltdown against Indiana, hopefully sparking some urgency

Julia Trogele (Photo: PSU)
Penn State nearly face-planted into the hardwood of Assembly Hall, as the Lady Lions trailed the Hoosiers by as many as 16 points. Penn State (21-6,10-3) trailed for 39 minutes and 20 seconds. But taking a one-point lead--their first of the night--with 40 seconds left was all the Lady Lions needed to avoid a huge upset and what could have been an even bigger let-down after failing to rise to the occasion Thursday night in a loss to Michigan State.

With just three regular season games left on the schedule, Penn State is in a position to win or tie for a Big Ten title, or at least hold on for a second-place finish heading into the conference tournament. Of course, the Michigan State game was supposed to be the moment when this team put everything together and prove it's ready for prime-time.

February 12, 2011

LBU Video: 2003 Blue Band 'Gladiator' Show at Purdue

Check out our new LBU Videos page, listing all the videos you've seen on LBU.

Blue Band sousaphones Figure we could all use a little taste of college football in these dark days of February when there's NOTHING going on.

You are all aware of the somewhat infamous Gladiator video, debuted before the 2003 season opener. That original video still resonates with me, as it did with the Penn State fan base for years. The Gladiator soundtrack theme was so popular, the band eventually make a "chaser" (a short clip played during the game) out of it. You would recognize it when an opposing team faces third down. But do you remember the halftime show which spawned the Gladiator chaser?

The Blue Band's original show included three songs: Themes from Gladiator, The Pines of Rome, and Funiculì, Funiculà. It was first performed during halftime of the 2003 Kent State game. But I could only find the away-version of the halftime show, when the Blue Band (myself included) headed to West Lafayette. The halftime shows are shortened for away games, so Funiculì, Funiculà, was cut from the program. But we can still enjoy one of the Blue Band's classic halftime shows, and still one of my all-time favorites:

February 11, 2011

Penn State Suffers Third Straight Loss, Deja Vu of Last Year

Talor Battle had what felt like the weakest 19-point game
of his career. (Photo: GoPSUsports.com/AP)
Even though Penn State defeated the Spartans earlier this season but Coach Tom Izzo was not going to lose another to the Lions. The Lions had a terrible start, losing 21-6, and never recovered from the deficit.

Penn State only turned the ball over 6 times, but fouls sent the Spartans to the charity stripe 35 times which is 35 too many in Big Ten play.
Besides the fouls, Penn State looked much like the Nittany Lions of last year. Battle led with 19 points but he shot terribly from the field, 7-20, 3-11 from the arc.

Wrestling Wreport: PSU takes on two ranked teams


Penn State host No. 20 Illinois tonight at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall and then travels to Minneapolis to take on No. 5 Minnesota Sunday at 3 p.m. The Lions will then host No. 12 Wisconsin on Friday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall which will be the final dual of the season and senior night. But before that let's take a look at the potential match-ups after the jump.

February 10, 2011

A Must Win: Penn State vs Michigan State

Ed DeChellis (right) needs a little magic from Talor Battle (left)
to save the head coach's job. (Photo: PennLive.com)
One road win in seven tries. You think this is a tournament team? Not with that type of stat on the resume.

This is a game Penn State basketball has to have. No excuses. With or without Jeff Brooks, the Nittany Lions must walk into East Lansing and walk out of it with another victory under their belt.

Sure at first glance, it would seem a tall order for the Fightin’ DeChellises to beat Sparty on the road. But this isn't the same Tom Izzo team we've come to know and despise.

February 9, 2011

Penn State also adding preferred walk-on Tight End (updated)

Bryce Wilson
(Photo: BeRecruited.com)
Turns out I spoke too soon about Penn State's preferred walk-on situation for 2011. But then again, had I not posted it this morning, I wouldn't have heard from East Pennsboro tight end Bryce Wilson this afternoon. Wilson told me that yesterday he spoke with Bill Kenney, who invited him to be a preferred walk-on this season.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Wilson said he will be invited as a tight end, but also played defensive end for the Panthers.
"When I talked to Coach he was real impressed with my size and strength already... He also said it's definitely difficult to find a tight end who is both equal in blocking and receiving the way I am."

Three 2011 preferred walk-ons for Penn State

Torrey Pines(CA) QB John Cabot will be one of three
preferred walk-ons this year for Penn State.
(Photo: Anna Scipione)
Seeing how the walk-on player has been thrust into a new spotlight, brighter than ever, over the last six months, I wanted to take a few minutes of your time this morning to run down the three recruits who will join Penn State this fall under the "preferred walk-on" status.

What that term means is, very generally speaking, that Penn State will have them come to "try out" for the team, give them a roster spot, but will not offer a scholarship. The players could always earn a scholarship later, as did Matt McGloin, Josh Hull, and Deon Butler in recent years. But for the initial period of their time in Happy Valley, they're on their own and on the scrub team.

February 8, 2011

Wrestling Wreport: PSU sweeps the state of Michigan

Penn State traveled to Michigan to take on the Spartans Friday night and then took a short trip to Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines. The Lions rebounded nicely going 13-7 in bouts between the two duals beating MSU 30-9 and UM 28-13. There were a couple changes to the lineup as Nate Morgan wrestled for a still injured Brad Pataky and the coaching staff went with Nick Fischer at 165 instead of Jake Kemerer and it worked out, Fisher had a major and lost a tough 5-2 decision to 19th ranked Dan Yates of Michigan.

Three quality non-Big Ten 2011 recruiting classes Penn State will face on the field

Running back Savon Huggins, a recently-minted
Scarlet Knight, has the chance to make Penn State fans cringe
at the thought of missing out on his services. (Photo: nj.com)
This year's recruiting classes will become the "Class of 2015"--the season their five years of eligibility collectively expire. And though Penn State's fellow Big Ten teams are easy enough to follow, with a built-in incentive (league affiliation) to do so, I would bet most Nittany Lions fans felt there was no reason to pay attention to much else outside the league. After all, those are the teams Penn State will have to compete against for a title. So, it's probably safe to say that the majority of casual Penn State fans--who make up the majority of all fans--probably don't know, or don't care, about the recruiting classes that Virginia, Rutgers and Syracuse pulled in this week.

But what do all those classes have in common? Each signed really good players (UVA, RU) or a really solid class (SU). But more importantly, Penn State will play each of them at some point before 2015. Two of those series are home-and-home agreements (UVA, RU) or exclusively at a neutral location (SU).

So pay attention. You will be hearing these names a lot starting in September 2012.

February 7, 2011

Lady Lions bury Iowa, 82-75, storm into the Top 25

Alex Bentley (Photo: Live.PSU.edu)
Penn State is now ranked in the AP top 25, coming in at No. 23 in the poll released today. It is the first time since the Jan. 25, 2010 AP rankings that the Lady Lions are in the top 25. But unlike last season, in which Penn State collapsed late going 2-9 down the regular season stretch, the Lady Lions (20-5) are on the verge of their strongest season since the 2004 run to the Elite Eight.

Penn State 82, Iowa 75
Alex Bentley shot 11-for-17 from the field for a game-high 25 points, adding five assists and three rebounds. Maggie Lucas connected on four three-pointers and finished with 18 points and three rebounds. Lucas passes Corinne Gulas (411) and Suzie McConnell (415) to move into fourth place on Penn State's freshman season scoring list. Mia Nickson earned her fourth double-double of the season with 13 points, including six free throws in the final 45 seconds, and 15 rebounds with seven coming on the offensive glass. Julia Trogele accounted for seven points and nine rebounds for another all-around performance.
This was a must-win for the Lady Lions before Thursday night's home game against No. 11 Michigan State. Penn State was on fire from the field, a fact not unrecognized by the Hawkeyes' coach:

Penn State's 2011 Recruiting Class gets a 'B' from... YOU.

You got a problem with this year's class?
Take it up with this guy...
Last week we asked you all to grade this year's recruiting class. Well, with a great showing from everyone in the poll, the results are actually not too bad.

This year's class gets a "B" grade. I like to think that it's simply a reflection of our readership base's pragmatism, so give yourselves a pat on the back for not diving down to the hair-on-fire level of message board hysteria.

Here are the full results:

February 4, 2011

Wrestling Wreport: redemption weekend

True freshman Nate Morgan will probably get the call this weekend at 125
After a deflating loss to Iowa, Penn State looks to rebound this weekend taking on Michigan State tonight and Michigan on Sunday. The team is saying they have put the loss in the past but the question on everyone's mind is how well will they rebound? Tonight's dual probably won't give us the answer but Sunday's most definitely will. Michigan State has only 1 ranked wrestler while Michigan has 6. MSU is coming off an upset victory of top-20 Illinois this past weekend but they just don't stack up well against Penn State. Probable matchups after the break.

Lady Lions blast Michigan, now face do-or-die stretch against Sparty and the Hawks

Michigan guard Veronica Hicks dribbles
around Penn State guard Zhaque Gray.
(Photo: Angela J. Cesere/AnnArbor.com)
Penn State (19-5, 8-2) absolutely dominated a once-hot Michigan team, 81-63 in the Crisler Arena last night. Maggie Lucas led five Lady Lions in double figures with 23 points, four rebounds and a steal. Alex Bentley tallied 11 points, with three rebounds and four assists, while Zhaque Gray chipped in 11 points and four assists. The 19 wins are the most by a Penn State squad since the 2004-05 team had 19 wins. The Lady Lions also picked up their eighth Big Ten win of the year, which equals their total from last season.

The win puts Penn State, for the time being, in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings. After last night's round of Big Ten games--No. 11 Michigan State beat Wisconsin in overtime, and Purdue crushed No. 20 Iowa--the Lady Lions are a half-game ahead of the Spartans (19-3, 7-2), and a full game ahead of Wisconsin (12-10, 7-3). The Badgers had been tied with Penn State atop the standings coming into last night.

February 3, 2011

2011 Freshman Class, Hello! (w/poll)

So it's done. Penn State has 16 new freshmen, capping a roller coaster year of recruiting. In this post I'll run down a few things, reflect on the recruiting season that was, and take a look at what could be in store for this class in Happy Valley.

Here is the Position Breakdown for the class, which now includes both Adrian Amos--signed today--and Shyquawn Pullium--a 2010 commit who spent a year at Kiski Prep:

February 2, 2011

Adrian Amos commits to Penn State

Adrian Amos (Photo: Baltimore Sun)
Penn State added Towson(Md.)/Calvert Hall safety Adrian Amos, who announced his decision today in Baltimore, to round out the Nittany Lions' 2011 recruiting class.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Amos was originally commited to play for UConn, but pulled his verbal when Randy Edsall left the program to take over at Maryland. The decision today came down to Penn State, UConn, and West Virginia. Amos is capable of playing both receiver and safety/corner, but is likely to stay on the defensive side of the ball, at least initially, in Happy Valley.

Yesterday, the Hartford Courant's Desmond Conner reported that Amos would commit to Penn State, though it wasn't picked up or immediately confirmed by any of the recruiting services. Today things were different, as I'm sure some of the big shot recruitniks kept on digging to find out the what Conner already reported, and Penn State quickly emerged as the "likely" destination for the Maryland prospect.

February 1, 2011

Johnnie Troutman charged with DUI

Because, you know, this is exactly what the team needs to worry about after going 7-6 last season, a record due in no small part to shaky play from the offensive line.

Prepping for a boring LOI Signing Day

Angelo Mangiro was just Penn State's 4th commitment
for 2011, but remains one of the gems of the class.
Penn State's 2011 recruiting class probably had the most entertaining run on the collective sanity of Nittany Lions fans as any we can remember. No, there were no high-profile de-commits or blue-chip steals. But this year's class will have single-handedly brought the Penn State media, message boards, and fan base to near mental rupture, then somehow yank them back from the edge of said stroke, and turn in a pretty decent haul for what many had been dreading just a few weeks ago.