April 30, 2011

Redskins Draft Evan Royster in 6th Round

2010 Penn State vs Northwestern-41 With the 12th pick of the 6th round, the Washington Redskins drafted Penn State's all-time leading rusher, running back Evan Royster.

Royster ran for 3,932 yards in his four years at Penn State, which included three straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Royster attended Westfield High School in Chantilly, VA, where he totalled 6,384 yards on 750 carries (8.5 avg.) and 90 touchdowns and helped Westfield win three Concorde District Championships.

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LBU Week in Review, 4.30.11

Alabama has been on many minds this week, unfortunately it's not due to football or other general SEC-country craziness. It's been a rough couple days for our neighbors to the south, and we're all doing what we can to help out.

You can, too, by clicking here to support the Red Cross in the Mid Alabama Region, through a group effort by all PSU bloggers, led by Ben at VBR.

In the sporting world, it's been a busy week.

We had four different sports covered in featured posts this week. Not too shabby considering two of the teams are currently in their off-seasons, and another doesn't even exist in terms of actually putting a roster on the ice.

We even had a brand spankin' new 10 Minutes or Less!

Here's our weekly roundup of featured posts, in case you missed anything.

April 29, 2011

Raiders Draft Stefen Wisniewski 48th Overall

2010 Penn State vs Michigan State-51 With the 16th pick in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders picked Penn State offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski. He became Penn State's 95th first team All-American at the conclusion of the 2010 season. Wiz was also the first Penn State Football student-athlete to be named an ESPN Academic All-American three times.

Stefen started 39 games over his four-year career at Penn State, including 38 of the last 39 games.

Wiz's uncle, Steve, was a dominant 8-time Pro-Bowl lineman for the Raiders from 1989-2001, and currently Oakland's offensive line coach.

Some mock draft projections had Wiz going in the later rounds, but some nailed it.

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Of Legends & Liars... and T-Shirts

(*I liked this headline better)

This would normally go as the lead for any Linkbacker U post, but since we don't do them on Fridays, and I'm only finding out about this now, it's just too good not to throw out a quick post about it.

Apparently, a staffer at the downtown State College apparel store The Family Clothesline was inspired by Jim Tressel... inspired to jab Mr. Sweatervest in brilliant fashion:
The Family Clothesline is selling a shirt that features on the front Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s distinctive black-framed glasses under the word “Legends.” On the back is a red sweater vest made equally famous by Tressel, under the label “Liars.” The shirt plays off the Big Ten’s new division names, Legends and Leaders.

Store floor manager Caroline Gummo said a staffer arrived at the idea for the shirt soon after Tressel was forced to admit last month that he knew some Buckeyes players were selling football awards and equipment in exchange for free or discounted tattoos in violation of NCAA rules, but kept quiet about it. Gummo said the T-shirt is “simple and gets to the point” about what many in other cities are feeling about Tressel.
Whoever that staff is deserves a raise, or at least a nice bonus for creating such a brilliant shirt.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend.

(HT: PennLive.com)

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Friday Recruitin' Is Camping This Weekend

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, I always say. So since the last two Recruitin' Babes have been from Thursday night NBC comedies, why stop now? There are so many more options, but this week's Babe holds a special place in my heart as a woman that is simultaneously gorgeous AND hilarious. I dare you to watch any of her SNL skits or Weekend Updates, or any of her later Parks and Rec episodes (the first season was iffy), or this scene from 'Baby Mama' and not bust out laughing. Without further ado, your Friday Recruitin' Babe...Amy Poehler (sorry, Will Arnett).

It's only the end of April, and there is already a recruiting buzz in the air, a marked departure from the Class of 2011's sluggish, underwhelming start. With the onset of the college football dead zone (end of spring ball to opening of fall practice), recruiting is all we have to live for; well, that and any new Rob Bolden developments (He's apartment hunting! But in what town?!?).

Two important recruiting notes at the outset of this week's report:

First, Monday marked the start of the Spring Evaluation period (for Penn State, at least; officially, the start was April 15), and many of the coaches will be on the road visiting recruits. As per usual, Lions247 nails the initial trip schedule ($) and an ongoing thread covering the whereabouts of the coaches ($).

Second, beginning today, Penn State will play host to a couple of camps for high school players. On Friday, ESPN's regional Elite 11 quarterback camp will feature some top passers in the area. Then, on Saturday the Nike Combine will take place, also featuring much of the top 2012 and 2013 talent. Once again, Sean has your early list of visitors ($) for the weekend, a list that includes commits and recruits alike, and is very impressive, talentwise.

Finally, please continue to donate to the relief efforts in Alabama, either through the Red Cross, or through the Penn State blog community's concerted efforts, diligently coordinated by Friend of the Program Ben, from VBR.

April 28, 2011

Jay Paterno is the Worst Quarterbacks Coach Ever...Or Is He?

Much has been made for the past 12 years about Jay Paterno and his perceived inefficiencies when it comes to coaching the most important position on the field. Since taking over the coaching positions at the beginning of the millennium, Jay has seen his fair share of quarterbacks, some of which were good, some of which were not. The most prevalent argument made is that Jay does not coach the players to be NFL quarterbacks, and once the players leave, even if they've had success in college, they are ill equipped to handle professional football.

2010 Penn State vs Youngstown State-100 Well, in light of tonight's draft, we wanted to take a look at the Penn State quarterback under Jay Paterno as it relates to the NFL. The results prove the anti-Jay crowd both right and wrong.

First, success or failure in the NFL cannot be attributed to college coaches completely. Once they are gone from Penn State, they are out of Jay's hands. It is then up to the NFL team's quarterbacks coach to get the player where he needs to be, specific to that team. Thus, little will be made of any NFL success the quarterbacks may have experienced, as that is in large part due to the NFL experience.

Second, and with thanks to a couple other bloggers for starting this idea, the premise of the analysis is to see if Jay is really that bad at coaching quarterbacks, or if he is just perceived that way by the PSU fan base. To test this, we looked at every quarterback drafted since Jay took over the position in 2000. As you'll see, comparatively speaking, Jay Paterno really isn't that bad of a quarterbacks coach.

Linkbacker U. Goes NFL Draft Diving

2010 Penn State vs Temple-32 Finally, the day we have all been waiting four. The time of year where we get to stare at Mel Kiper's overly greasy hair for hours on end and hear wayyyy too much personal information about people who barely are allowed to sip alcohol. Today marks the first day of the NFL Draft, and while no Nittany Lions will be drafted today, I figured we would take a look at the Penn Staters who may get drafted over the next couple days.

Evan Royster: Sleeper or Sleepy?
To us Penn State faithful, it was easy to mistake him for the latter on several Saturdays this season. But at least one blogger thinks he could be a sleeper for the Packers. It will certainly be interesting to see if/where he gets drafted.\

Spare a Couple of Bucks For Bama, Will Ya?

Given how friendly and hospitable the good folks at Alabama were to visiting PSU fans last September, plus the fact that 'Bama's region (along with a good portion of the South) has been devastated by today's tornadoes, Ben at Victory Bell Rings came up with a brilliant plan of getting the entire PSU blogosphere to make a collaborative effort in helping out Alabama in this time of need.

We were originally planning on recording our own version of We Are The World, but that idea was shot down rather quickly when we realized that if any of us had actual singing talent, we wouldn't be wasting our time blogging about Penn State sports. Thus, Ben set up a fund via Paypal, where you can donate here to the e-mail address blj5030@psu.edu

Also, if you're having reservations and are worried about being scammed, fear not, for Ben is an upstanding citizen who would never stoop so low. In fact, he's got the FAQ to prove it (below, copied directly from VBR):

Are you stealing my money?: No, Victory Bell Rings will post screen shots of the donation as it happens as well as confirmation messages.

Where is the money going?: Red Cross in the Mid Alabama Region you can read about it here.
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April 27, 2011

10 Minutes Or Less: 1991 Penn State vs. Cincinnati (aka 81-0)

Oh, the glory days of Tony Sacca.
Ah yes, the early 90's: Back when mullets, grunge music, and thick glasses were acceptable. It was also a time period before the enaction of the NCAA's 85 scholarship limit, which meant that the more prestigious programs could stockpile talent like it was the Cold War arms race. This in turn, left the smaller programs forced to pick up whatever meager talent scraps they could find, often leading to utter mismatches against said prestigious programs in which the smaller program knew they were doomed before even setting foot onto the field.

Such was the case when Cincinnati came to Happy Valley for Penn State's 1991 home opener. Long before the Bearcats tasted BCS bowl stardom, their program was a traveling punching bag that would accept significant sums of money to get slaughtered in stadiums of teams which had more talent on their third string than Cincy's starters. Everyone expected PSU to deliver a shellacking as a tune-up before a tough road test at USC the following week. Nobody however, could fathom the sheer domination PSU would lay upon the Bearcats: 484 yards rushing, 222 passing, fourth string quarterback John Sacca avoiding what should've been an easy sack for Cincnnati and scampering 80 yards for the touchdown that gave Penn State 81 points to Cincy's zero. It was (and still remains) the largest margin of victory in the Paterno era and the second highest point total in one game, only behind a 109-7 win over Lebanon Valley in 1920 [Insert obligatory joke about JoePa having played in said game here].

April 26, 2011

PSU Baseball Tied For First Place in the Big Ten

PSU is hanging around the Big Ten baseball race for first.
(Photo: Mark Selders/PSU)
Penn State baseball propelled itself into the thick of the Big Ten championship race this week, as the Nittany Lions (24-13, 7-5 Big Ten) are now tied with Purdue (24-12, 7-5 Big Ten) and Michigan State (27-13, 7-5 Big Ten) for the conference lead. This past weekend, Penn State clawed its way to a 10-9 comeback win over Ohio State, grabbing the series and a critical win from the Buckeyes. Here's how the Big Ten baseball standings break down as of today:

Linkbacker U. Cannot Keep Up With Columbus Goings On (Big Ten SPEEED Edition)

Nittany Nation Glows with Penn State Pride at The Whitehouse
Why a pic of a "White House" game? You'll see.
There are two ongoing stories so far this offseason that require an unbelievable amount of attention that keeping up with either, let alone both, is near impossible. We will cover neither in the Linkbackers, with the exception of linking the good Doctor here for the Fiesta Bowl drama (featuring Graham Spanier) and here for the Ohio State nonsense. Now that that's out of the way, on to the news.

April 25, 2011

Ohio State is in Deep Doo-Doo, like Bowl-Ban Deep

Well, well. It's all catching up with Ohio State in a big hurry. I tend to not throw stones in a glass stadium, since it's well-known that if Penn State is ever accused of violations, it's 10 times worse since we stake our reputation on running a clean operation. But that doesn't diminish how royally f-cked Ohio State could be if the NCAA brings down the full sledge on Tressel & Co.

Sean Fitz of Lions247 Talks Position Battles and 2011 Schedule With Linebacker-U.com

Not yet 30, even I can remember a time when college football news consisted primarily of whatever you heard on Saturday afternoon television, and the relatively few print pieces that came out the following week. Forget the offseason, fans would have to go months without any news, with the possible exception of some injury or local visit update.

A decade or so later, college football is now the second most popular sport in America, behind its professional counterpart. With that popularity, and with the unbelievable information explosion, came 24/7 news cycles for college football fans. Now, recruiting information has become more and more prevalent as more and more fans discover just how important an aspect recruiting really is to a football team's success.

Prior to a couple of years ago, recruitniks were given only two options - Scout.com and Rivals.com. ESPN has trying (including the failed Nittany Network), but they aren't much of a recruiting source. Then, just eight short months ago, like a Phoenix rising from Arizona, a new player emerged on the recruiting scene and, for Penn State fans, things haven't been the same. 247Sports has been rapidly increasing their market and have been doing so with great articles and even better analysis. Sean Fitz, editor of Lions247.com, has routinely scooped the competition in recruiting news (see the Anthony Zettel announcement for proof) and recently sat down with Linebacker-U.com to talk about some of the heated position battles and what 2011 might hold for our Nittany Lions.

Linebacker-U.com: The most obvious question is at quarterback. Who do you think will be under center on September 3, and will any of the four QBs leave the program before fall practice?

Sean Fitz:

April 24, 2011

Penn State Hires Guy Gadowsky to Coach Men's Hockey

Guy Gadowsky (Photo: Princeton.edu)
Penn State this afternoon announced the hiring of Guy Gadowsky to be the first head coach of the men's ice hockey program. Gadowsky comes to Penn State from Princeton.
The 2008 Inside College Hockey National Coach of the Year, Gadowsky brings 15 years of head coaching experience to lead the Nittany Lions into NCAA Division I competition starting in 2012-13.

Gadowsky has spent the past seven years leading Princeton’s resurgence, which includes NCAA Championship berths in 2008 and ’09 and the 2008 ECAC Hockey Championship. A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, he was head coach at Alaska-Fairbanks for five years prior to taking the reins of the Princeton program and has earned league coach of the year honors at each of his three head coaching posts.
For a non-official breakdown on Gadowsky, check out TYT's assessment of his candidacy. For more specifics on his coaching background (courtesy of PSU), click through the break...

April 23, 2011

The Juwan Staten Experiment

This is an unprecedented development in Nittany Lion hoops. I know I've never seen anything quite like this since I've been following the team the last decade. Penn State, for once, is actually adding a D-1 transfer and he is significantly better than Andrew Ott. In fact, he might be one of the most talented players the Lions ever had.

Meet Juwan Staten:

Mr. Staten, nicknamed 'The Blur', obviously has been blessed with some great athletic gifts. The 5'11" 190 lb PG just wrapped up his freshman season at the University of Dayton where he averaged 8.5 PPG and 5.4 APG in 29.1 MPG. He finished with the 10th highest assist rate in the land (39.8%). For the record, Tim Frazier's was a solid 33.3%, good for 43rd in the country. 

If Juwan committed to Penn State coming out of high school, he would've been by far this program's highest rated recruit ever, or at least since Pete Lisicky and definitely the highest since the rise of internet recruit rankings. He was a sure-fire top-100 prospect, coming in at #79 in RSCI's class of 2010. Taran Buie, the man who unofficially held the aforementioned title, didn't come close to cracking the top 100.

Now at this point you might be saying, come the hell on, what's the catch? If this kid is so good, why was he at Dayton? And then why did he leave and come here?

I've been trying to find all of this out myself when I first heard he was visiting for Blue-White weekend. All I came across was a bunch of rambling bitterness across Dayton message boards. Clearly The Blur and his decision to transfer was a touchy subject to these people. But in my search for the story, I came across a great Dayton basketball blog written by Tom Blackburn called the Blackburn Review. When Staten's transfer became official, I reached out to him to get his take on the controversy. Here's what he had to say:

April 22, 2011

Friday Recruitin' Welcomes Jamil and Jarron, Prefers Trudy to Pete

Greendale's finest.
After a week off (thanks, Mike!), I have returned to Friday Recruitin', and I promise not to disappoint. This week's Friday Recruitin' Babe, like last week's, comes to us from NBC's Thursday night comedy lineup. Stopping there, you'd have too many guesses as to whom I might have selected (if you weren't already looking at her picture and cheating). But this particular babe stole your heart as Mrs. Pete Campbell on AMC's Mad Men and hasn't looked back.

In my absence, Penn State got one real commit and one fake commit, though being on top for a five-star defensive tackle is pretty awesome. However, seeing as how they are all technically fake commits at this point, being on top for any of them is great. But I'm not ready to say "WOOOO JARRON JONES" just yet. This reeks of Dominque Easley; hopefully I'm wrong, but I'll feel a lot better after National Letter of Intent Day.

April 21, 2011

Linkbacker U. Wonders What The Weather Was Like In State College Last Weekend

Pardon my absence for the past 10 days or so, but I recently got home from a seven day Caribbean cruise aboard the awesome Carnival Dream (seriously recommend). As I landed back in Pittsburgh, the Blue-White game was just kicking off, so by the time I got home, I had missed the event. Since then, I've tried to get recapped on the day that was, but all I could find were articles covering one of two topics (and in almost all cases, both topics) - the quarterback battle and the weather. Both are understandable topics to cover, even if the game itself did less than nothing to settle the first topic. But I defy you to find me an article that covers neither of those two topics. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Bon Voyage, Lewis Preston.


First it was Ernie Nestor walking through the revolving door to become an assistant at Missouri. Then, it was Taran Buie walking through that door to begin his playing career anew at another school. Now, it's Lewis Preston who is on the way out, accepting the head coaching vacancy at Kennesaw State after three seasons coaching up post players at Penn State.

Per GoPSUSports.com press release, Ed DeChellis had the following to say:

April 19, 2011

Bye-Bye, Buie! Taran Buie Granted Release, will Transfer

Taran Buie (Photo: The Collegian)
We now turn to the least surprising news since Tat-Gate segment of our program. Suspended Penn State guard Taran Buie has been officially released from his scholarship and will apparently seek to transfer from the program. Again, this is about as surprising as a rainy Blue-White Game. (too soon?) So I don't have much insight into this particular situation, but here is a bunch of links to people who do.

April 18, 2011

Linkbacker U Tries to Make Sense of Nonsense, Spring Games Edition

(Photo: PennLive.com)
Talk about a dud of a spring game. Well, for all the fumbles, interceptions, rain, mud and general slop, at least it wasn't a real game. Aaaanyway, today's Linkbacker hands you the post-game punditry from the Penn State football beat. Plus, I threw in at the end a few other links to spring games from around the Big Ten. Enjoy.

Dan Vecellio, OnwardState.com:
In maybe the most gruesome game of football Beaver Stadium has seen since “6-4“, the Blue team defeated the White Team in a rain-shortened Blue-White Game by a score of 10-0.
It gets worse after the jump.

April 17, 2011

We Don't Care To Recap a Craptastic Blue-White Game, So Here's a Video Instead

Look, I'm going to be blunt with you: I really don't feel like writing a contrived recap of a meaningless end-of-spring practice scrimmage where last year's flag football stars are racking up most of the stats and which millions of message board zombies across the country love to obsess about between now and the first week of the season. The McGloin loyalists surely have more mastubatory statistics in their arsenal (5 of 10 passing for 109 yards and a TD) than the #TeamBolden posse does (0 completions and an interception). This means that we're locked in a perpetual West Side Story-style knife fight between the McGloin and Bolden fan camps until one of them is finally gone. Sad, but true.

Anyway, here is some video I took from my iPhone in the media room during postgame conferences. I had to hold it vertically most of the time to capture the faces of the players, all the while twisting and contorting my phone to avoid getting shut out by the big-ass TV cameras. Given that I was losing my press box/media room virginity, things inevitably got awkward. I had that deer-in-the-headlights feeling that prevented me from working up the courage to ask any questions or to even think up of any question that didn't sound semi-retarded. As Eric Thomas of Patriot-News fame was quick to point out though, most of the questions asked by the media are semi-retarded anyway. I'll make sure to redeem myself next time I'm up in the box (hopefully for a game this Fall).

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April 16, 2011

Week in Review at LBU: 2011 Blue-White Week

You won't see them this weekend, but this week
Penn State unveiled its "new" uniforms.
Way more of you are probably staying home today from the Blue-White Game due to the atrocious weather forecast for State College and most of the Northeast. Well, you're not alone, as I'll be home recovering from a fever last night. It sucks, but I'd rather not sit out in 40-degree rainy windy weather for a few hours. Not sure that will help me trying to get better. Of course I'd rather be there today. I've braved the elements so many times before. But it isn't like this is Nebraska or Iowa week we're talking about. If there are 10 total completed passes today, I'll be surprised.

Anyway, on to this week's roundup, in case you missed anything.

Blue-White Week

Blue-White Game Previews, by Mike
Part 1: Offensive Backfield
Part 2: Receivers & Tight Ends
Part 3: Offensive & Defensive Lines
Part 4: Linebackers
Part 5: Secondary & Special Teams

Poll Results: 2011 Blue-White Game - What Do You Want To See This Saturday in Beaver Stadium?, by Mike

Clear the Bench: 11 Starters Likely to Miss the Blue-White Game, by Mike

Penn State's 'New' Uniforms Are Official, by Mike


Ernie Nestor off to Missouri, Spring Basketball Recruiting Blurbs, by Eric


Friday Recruitin' Penn State Recruiting Update 4/15, by Mike

GOO PUNCH! NY DT Jarron Jones Commits to Penn State, by Mike

New Jersey DL Jamil Pollard commits to Penn State, by Mike

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April 15, 2011

Catch Mike On TribLive Radio Today and LBU Live Press Box Tweeting Tomorrow

Quick programming note: Mike will be on the air once again with the good folks at Pittsburgh's TribLive radio around 3:00 PM ET today to talk about all things Blue & White Game. Here's the link.

Mike will also be braving the elements tomorrow, taking photos on the sidelines while Yours Truly (Tim) will be sitting up in the press box, warm, dry, and live tweeting with the rest of the monkeys. You can follow it all right here...

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Blue-White Game Preview '11: Secondary & Special Teams

This post is the final part of our week-long series previewing the major position groups heading into the Blue-White scrimmage this Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

2010 Penn State vs Temple-29 Part 5: Secondary & Special Teams

"Bend but don't suck." Is that how the saying goes?

Penn State's defense has been particularly good at being particularly simple the last, oh, half-century. Playing 8-10 yards off the receivers; blitzing a safety or corner every once in a never. It's all part of keeping the opposing offense on the field as long as possible, without actually surrendering any points in the process. Sounds crazy, I know.

But what Tom Bradley does with the Nittany Lions' pass defense has been actually very impressive. Penn State has been a regular in the top pass defense rankings the last 10 years, with several top-10 appearances along the way. Generally speaking, it's not usually the defensive secondary's fault exclusively when an opposing quarterback torches Penn State for 400 yards.

There have been some really great defensive backs who have come through Happy Valley. Alan Zamaitis, Mark Robinson, David Macklin, Darren Perry, Michael Zordich, Neal Smith, Pete Harris, Kim Herring, to name a few of the best. That story isn't over, though, and it may continue strongly this season. But it all depends on things like injuries, and whether or not certain players with the ability to be great, rise up and meet that potential.

Penn State returns 52 starts from the 2010 defensive backfield. Among those returning starts are six players who started a game last season. But this unit is coming back for 2011 with fewer "issues," like injuries and suspensions. Though the injuries are rampant for this weekend--the entire projected starting secondary will miss the game--they likely will not affect the regular season.

But that doesn't mean there isn't much to look forward to seeing tomorrow on the field. Younger guys, particularly those called into action last season, will have an opportunity to run with the first team defense in a game-like situation in front of a larger crowd than any during the 15 previous practices this spring.

More below the break.

Friday Recruitin' Penn State Recruiting Update 4/15

Jenna Fischer--Scranton native Pam Beesly--
thinks West Scranton can suck it.
It's time to break out the blue and white, folks. And while our celebrity pick this week may be a bit over-dressed for a rainy football game in April, the colors are just right.

This weekend Penn State will host a whole bunch of big time recruits, so much of the news will surely come between now and early next week. But there was some nice movment this week, including two big commitments to Penn State. Of course, one of them will be the source of much tension among Nittany Lions recruitniks--Jarron Jones' "soft verbal" commitment.

But this year's class is already being praised by the main stream pundits, and it's not even close to being wrapped up. As Jeff pointed out last week, there could be more than a handful of commitments following the Blue-White Weekend. So stay tuned throughout the weekend and next week for the usual updates, hopefully from some more big names.

April 14, 2011

Clear the Bench: 11 Starters Likely to Miss the Blue-White Game

2010 Penn State vs Illinois-10
Injuries will for some of Penn State's
best players to sit out of the spring game.
As if the rain wasn't going to ward away enough spectators, Penn State announced the injury report for this weekend's Blue-White Game. It's not pretty:
TE Garry Gilliam (knee)
DE Pete Massaro (knee)

WR Curtis Drake (leg)

S Drew Astorino (hamstring)
DE Jack Crawford (foot)
RB Derek Day (elbow)
FB Andre Dupree (shoulder)
DT Evan Hailes (leg)
WR Shawney Kersey (head)
WR Christian Kuntz (collarbone, knee)
DE Eric Latimore (wrist)
CB D'Anton Lynn (back)
CB Stephon Morris (head)
WR Derek Moye (head)
LB Nate Stupar (hamstring)
FB Joe Suhey (shoulder)
S Nick Sukay (chest)
TE Andrew Szczerba (back)
FB Zach Zwinak (knee)
At least the guys lower on the depth chart will get a lot more snaps.

Speaking of that weather situation, Penn State released this a little while ago:
The recent rain and expected inclement weather on Saturday has led to additional parking changes for the Penn State Blue-White Game presented by AAA.

Fans attending Saturday's Blue-White Game are encouraged to leave their RVs at home this weekend due to the saturated fields that have reduced the number of available parking spaces around Beaver Stadium.
Let's set the over/under for attendance at 20,000.

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Blue-White Game Preview '11: 'Linebacker U' Returns

This post is part 4 of 5 this week previewing the major position groups heading into the Blue-White scrimmage this Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

2010 Penn State vs Northwestern-60
"Linebacker U" is back.
Part 4: The Linebackers

Quite the different tone I'll show you today. After all, you are reading Linebacker-U.com. Naturally, even in the down years, this is a position all of us here can get excited about covering. But this is not a down year; far, far from it. In fact, I'll venture to say that this could be Penn State's best two-deep set of linebackers in a decade. Yes, that means it could, could be better than 2009, better than 2005. But that all depends on whether or not this group of 'backers can achieve the level of success on the field as it projects on paper.

Last season was mired by injuries, much as it was in 2009, when Navorro Bowman and Sean Lee went five weeks without playing together. In 2010, Michael Mauti couldn't shake nagging injuries that kept him from going 100 percent for longer than a game or two. Gerald Hodges, who was projected to either start or get very significant playing time, broke his leg in week two on the first kickoff at Alabama.

But something else that 2010 brought was a much lower level of linebacker play overall in the chosen starting lineup. Granted, "Backer" (MLB) Chris Colasanti and "Sam"(SOLB) Bani Gbadyu put in their time and effort with the program. But it doesn't cover the fact that their performance last season left way too much to be desired. Part of that had to do with injuries to guys like Mauti and Hodges. But there were Khairi Fortt and Glenn Carson on the bench. You can't tell me they would have been much worse. At least it would have had some sort of long-term benefit.

Now two starters are gone, but four return with at least one start last season. Enough with what happened last season. Let's dive into what's happening right now at Linebacker U.

Penn State splits its outside linebackers into the "Fritz" and "Sam." The Fritz is the weakside linebacker, while the Sam plays the strongside. The Fritz is the strongest linebacker, playing a combination of inside and outside positions, based on the set. The Sam is the most athletic linebacker, playing a combination of outside linebacker and safety. The "Backer" position should be, according to a copy of PSU's defensive playbook, filled by a "powerful athlete with good judgment," and is referred to as the "Defensive Quarterback."

More after the break.

Ernie Nestor off to Missouri, Spring Basketball Recruiting Blurbs

Coach Nestor was
unofficially the oldest
DOBO ever.
(Photo: PSU)
There were rumblings about this the past few days, but it is now official. Director of Basketball Operations Ernie Nestor is leaving his post at Penn State to become a member of Frank Haith's new staff at Missouri. Quite frankly, we hardly got to know the guy as he didn't even stay one full year, but this move shouldn't be too surprising. DOBOs are usually stepping stone positions for young guys looking to get into the coaching profession. Ernie, however, was a former head coach and had 42 years of coaching experience before replacing former DOBO Jon Perry last year. With all due respect to coach Nestor, DOBOs aren't suppose to be 64 years old. I would hope DeChellis didn't expect Nestor to stay for the long term when he was hired last summer.

Linkbacker-U is rankin the linebackers

Tamba Hali (Photo: SI.com)
Here at Linebacker-U, we take our linebackers very seriously. Which is why when ESPN comes out ranking the top linebackers in the National Football League, that catches our attention.

Here's how they ranked

1. Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
2. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
4. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
5. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
6. Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots
7. Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
8. LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Jon Beason, Carolina Panthers

That's right. That's former Penn State sack machine Tamba Hali. Not mentioned in this list? Aaron "Worst Player in the NFL" Maybin. Hey, at least he got to get away from the ridiculous weather of State College and move to a warm weather city....nevermind Buffalo? Yeah his life sucks.

April 13, 2011

Penn State's 'New' Uniforms Are Official

Penn State announced on GoPSF.com and Youtube today the unveiling of the Nittany Lions' "new" football uniforms. The image in this post is from the info video on posted to Youtube. You can see the uniforms, as it was first announced a few weeks ago, will shed the gaudy white trim around the collar and sleeves. This is basically the uniforms Penn State wore in the 1970s. Also, and I'm not sure exactly yet, but the numbers look slightly larger, which is how they were up until the mid-1990s.

Of course, Joe Paterno had the final say. "We went to Coach Paterno and said, 'Coach, we really don't have to have that white trim on there anymore,'" Brad "Spider" Caldwell says in the video. "He's like, 'We don't need that anyway. So let's go back to the way we used to be.'"

Penn State will not wear these uniforms in the Blue-White Game this weekend.

I personally like it, though most of you voted against the changes in our poll when this was first discussed.

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Blue-White Game Preview '11: Offensive & Defensive Lines

This post is part 3 of 5 this week previewing the major position groups heading into the Blue-White scrimmage this Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

Part 3: Offensive & Defensive Lines

2010 Penn State vs Illinois-44
See this? Yeah, this shouldn't happen.
Oh man, the offensive line? Do I really have to do this?

But alas, here we stand, the final week of spring practice, and both of the two most important groups on this team are in trouble. At least, I guess, they're in different kinds of trouble. Not that that makes it any better.

The offensive line was one of the toughest positions for Penn State to develop the last two seasons, with 2009 scraping by on inexperienced talent, and 2010 pushing along with injuries and even less experienced talent. This season could be better, or it could be the same. The only way it could get worse along the offensive line is if returning starters--there are actually four of them this year--don't make any improvement whatsoever. Then it's time to worry.

Possibly worse than the offensive line, how about the defensive line? I can't believe there would come a day when the defensive line wasn't one of the positions I look forward to writing about.

For a unit like the D-line, it's become much more than just a problem of finding the right combination. The defensive line this season--compared to the downright lethal units Penn State managed to produce for about seven years until 2010--is in nothing more than shambles. Injuries and two years of unexpected attrition have absolutely destroyed the unit's depth, something that was long a critical factor in its success under Larry Johnson. Unless some young bucks really rise to the occasion this spring and summer, it could be another rough season stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.

More after the break.

Poll: 2011 Blue-White Game - What Do You Want To See This Saturday in Beaver Stadium?

2010 Blue-White Game-83 There are so many reasons to not actually care about what happens this weekend during the Blue-White Game. The most anyone should really hope for is an injury-free scrimmage, as to which Pete Massaro can attest.

But we look forward to the spring scrimmage every year. It's the first taste of football the fans and media get that looks anything remotely like the real thing.

There are plenty of storylines going into Saturday, mostly dealing with specific position battles and line ups. Which quarterback gets the first snap? Can the offensive line block anyone? Does the defense remember how to tackle?

So we ask you...

Which are you most anxious to see during the 2011 Blue-White Game?

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April 12, 2011

GOO PUNCH! NY DT Jarron Jones Commits to Penn State

Mega-recruit Jarron Jones (right) reportedly
committed to Penn State this weekend.
This is huge, literally. Lions247 is reporting tonight that very highly touted defensive tackle Jarron Jones out of Rochester (NY) gave his verbal commitment (Update: It's only a SOFT commit) to Penn State this weekend.

Jones is widely regarded as one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the nation this year. Penn State is in desperate need of bulk and talent along the defensive line, and this is the kind of recruit fans should get up and get excited about Penn State apparently landing.

Blue-White Game Preview '11: Receivers & Tight Ends

This post is part 2 of 5 this week previewing all the offensive and defensive units heading into the Blue-White scrimmage this Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

Part 2: Receivers & Tight Ends

This position took a big hit last week when Derek Moye sustained a concussion that will sideline him for the remainder of the spring session. But it could turn out to be beneficial to the progress of this unit--of course, it's horrible that Moye had to miss time due to such a serious injury--that the less-prominent receivers will see many more reps the next week of practice and in the scrimmage.

The tight end spot is even rougher than the wide receivers. With two of the top candidates out indefinitely with injuries, it will be yet another season of inexperience on the end.

More on each in the following sections below the break.

April 11, 2011

Blue-White Game Preview '11: Offensive Backfield

This post is part 1 of 5 this week previewing all the offensive and defensive units heading into the Blue-White scrimmage this Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

Part 1: The Offensive Backfield

Penn State has more talent at the skill positions this spring than I can remember. That doesn't necessarily mean that talent is experienced, developed or realized at this point. A dominating theme last season was that of underachievement by a football team that had arguably more raw talent than at least two of the teams that defeated it (Illinois & Michigan State) and probably another (Iowa).

In the first parts of our preview series heading into the Blue-White Game, we'll start with the offensive backfield--quarterbacks and running backs. Then tomorrow it's on to the receivers and tight ends.

While the quarterback position remains a hot mess this spring, the running backs are surprisingly strong with the loss of Penn State's all-time leading rusher. Even the fullbacks are something to get excited about for 2011 and possibly on the field this weekend.

More on each in the following sections below the break.

Linkbacker U is Pumping Quarters Into The Beaver Stadium Jukebox

Because What Beaver Stadium Sorely Lacks Are Drunken Sing-Along Songs

The official Penn State Football Facebook page is looking for music suggestions for this upcoming season. We here at LBU would love to hear Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man" so long as they don't have a buffoon pushing the buttons up there in the sound booth who pushes G8 instead of G7...

April 10, 2011

New Jersey DL Jamil Pollard commits to Penn State

(Photo: Pollard's MySpace profile)
The verbals keep rolling in, as West Deptford(NJ) defensive lineman Jamil Pollard committed to Penn State today, according to BWI ($ - info in the teaser)*. Pollard is the No. 40 defensive tackle on Scout.com, and the No. 18 DT on Lion247.com.

Pollard claimed offers from Alabama, Iowa, Florida, Rutgers and a few others besides Penn State. Linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden reeled him in after visiting this weekend with a score of other highly rated recruits.

Here's Pollard's highlight reel:

April 9, 2011

Week in Review at LBU (it even rhymes!) 4.9.11

In the limited attention span that is our modern news cycle, it's easy to miss stuff during the week. So from now on, we'll get a weekly digest of all the posts each week here at Linebacker-U.com. During the off-season months like we're in now, this post will go up instead of our weekly "Gameday Headquarters" posts that publish every Saturday morning in the fall. So let's go...
This week saw the debut of LBU's
weekly Linebacker Babe...
or Recruiting Broad...
or whatever you want to call it.
It's a hot chick, that's all we really know.

Friday Recruitin' Penn State Recruiting Update 4/8, by Jeff

Derek Moye Goes Down With a Concussion, Will Miss the Rest of Spring Practice, by Mike

Oversigning and the Big Ten: Walking a Fine Line Between Hypocrisy and Reasonable Solutions, by Jeff

Big Ten Conference Schedules Through 2014 Released, by Jeff

College Basketball Scheduling: Kinda like a Big Deal, by Eric

Penn State Men's Volleyball Conference Champions Once Again, by Jeff

LBU Bracket Challenge 2011: The WINNERS!, by LBU Staff

Maggie Lucas Named 2011 Freshman All-American, by Mike

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April 8, 2011

Friday Recruitin' Penn State Recruiting Update 4/8

Following the recruiting happenings of 17- and 18-year old players is slightly creepy enough, let alone trying to find adequate pictures of them to post on this weekly segment's front page. So the editorial staff at Linebacker-U.com has decided to make a change. We hope you enjoy. The first of our new editions comes to us from America's hat, Canada. Now, back to your weekly recruiting coverage.

This weekend should be a very good visit weekend, with a lot of highly rated recruits on campus. However, the following weekend is the annual Blue-White Weekend, and many visitors are expected (Scout.com has a good running list ($) for all of the weekends). If I were a betting man, I'd expect 2-3 new commits by Sunday, April 17. Which is nice, as I'll be returning from the Caribbean the day before and will be in need of a pick me up.

Until then, we'll keep hyping the praises of our four current commits and keep watching the recruiting news cycle for our top targets. As always, stay up to date with our 2012 Offer/Commit Sheet.

April 7, 2011

Derek Moye Goes Down With a Concussion, Will Miss the Rest of Spring Practice

2010 Penn State vs Illinois-34
Derek Moye (Photo: LBU/Mike)
So much for riding out the rest of this spring practice season without any more injury drama. Senior Derek Moye, Penn State's best receiver, has reportedly sustained a concussion that will force him to miss the rest of spring practice. Via Ron Musselman:
A source said today that wide receiver Derek Moye suffered a concussion in practice this week.

He is expected to miss the rest of spring drills, which conclude April 16 with the Blue-White spring game.
There are only two things to gather from this.

1. We hope Moye is okay, and recovers quickly and fully.

2. This should give more younger receivers more reps the rest of the spring. Guys like Shawney Kersey and Brandon Felder have been around for a while, but haven't been very active on the field. This should offer up the kind of opportunity they've been looking for.

Maybe now the team can put the injury bug behind it? That's what we thought last week.

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Oversigning and the Big Ten: Walking a Fine Line Between Hypocrisy and Reasonable Solutions

Oversigning. If you're reading this or any sports blog that has even a remote connection to college football, you've heard the word. It refers to the seemingly common practice of some schools and conferences to sign more players in a given recruiting class than there are scholarships available. As outlined in a recent Detroit News story, the most blatant perpetrators come from the Southeastern Conference.
Over the last 10 years, the SEC has averaged 25.2 signed recruits per season among its 12 institutions, according to statistics compiled by The Detroit News from data on Rivals.com.

25.2 per year might not sound like much, but consider the nature of the college football scholarship system. Each player, barring the uncommon sixth year of eligibility, has five years to play four seasons of college football. In 2011, Penn State will have scholarship players ranging from true freshmen to redshirt seniors (and even one likely candidate for a sixth year of eligibility in Pete Massaro). By the current count, Penn State has 87 scholarship players, a topic for a later debate, but transfers and injuries make the 85 scholarship limit easily within reach.

By contrast, with the 25.2 average, each SEC school has, on average, 126 scholarship players! Now we all know that's not true; none of these schools actually have 126 scholarship players. Early departure to the NFL, "medical hardships" and JUCO transfers cause that number to be slightly inflated. But you can see how averaging 25.2 scholarships per year can get a school into hot water quickly. That is, if the NCAA really did anything about these numbers.

April 6, 2011

Big Ten Conference Schedules Through 2014 Released

PHOTO: Big Ten
The Big Ten released the conference schedules through 2014 today, and things are essentially as expected for Penn State.

Noticeably, it appears that Penn State has traded their year end matchup against Michigan State for a year end matchup against Wisconsin. That seems pretty even to me, given each school's history in the conference.

Also, beginning in 2013, each school will have two bye weeks throughout conference play. Penn State gets a bye before each Ohio State matchup over the subsequent two years. In 2014, the other bye week comes before Nebraska, so you can't really ask for better bye week placements in 2014.

The schedules for Penn State are as follows:

April 5, 2011

College Basketball Scheduling: Kinda like a Big Deal

Penn State fans should know firsthand how important scheduling is in college basketball. For a program like this one, which usually needs all the help it can get to make the NCAA Tournament, your schedule can make the difference between the NCAAs and the NIT. The NCAA tournament committee dwells on many criteria when selecting the brackets, but two of the more important figures are the Ratings Percentage Index and Strength Of Schedule. They're calculated as follows:
  • SOS = (2/3 * Opponents' Winning %) + (1/3 * Opponents' Opponents' Winning %)
  • RPI = (1/4 * Winning %) + (1/2 * OW%) + (1/4 * OOW%)
    • Each team's winning % is weighted to where you won. Road wins/home losses are worth 1.4, road losses/home wins are worth 0.6, and neutral site wins/losses are worth 1.0. 
One big reason why the 2010-2011 Lions were in the tournament was the fact they had played the 5th toughest schedule in the land, according to the SOS calculation. This number drew criticism from the dreadful CBS announcing duo of Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg during the Big Ten tournament. Their claim: "How did PSU play a schedule that tough when they didn't even play one RPI top50 opponent in their non-conference schedule?" Nantz and Kellogg then proceeded to criticize the system and basically called PSU's SOS a fluke. While they might have a point, it doesn't matter because the numbers are calculated and used by the NCAA as criteria for making the tournament.

April 4, 2011

Penn State Men's Volleyball Conference Champions Once Again

Penn State's, Edgardo Goas, left, Alan Mars, 8, and Joe Sunder, 17,
try to block the ball in a game against George Mason
on Saturday at Rec Hall. Penn State won 3-0.
(Photo: CDT/Joshua Sykes)
In what is becoming a recurring theme in the sport as of late, another Penn State volleyball team has won another title of some sort. This time, the 10th ranked men's volleyball team won their 27th conference title in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) with a 3-0 victory over George Mason on Saturday. If you thought the women's team was on a dynastic run, consider the following:
Penn State remained undefeated in conference play with the win and improved their all-time EIVA record to 236-11. The Nittany Lions have won an impressive 96% of their conference matches. This is the 15th time in program history the Nittany Lions finished the EIVA regular season undefeated and the 12th with head coach Mark Pavlik at the helm.
The team still has matches against Ohio State, Ball State, and IPFW before the conference tournament begins April 23. The Lions are the heavy favorite to take the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, set to take place from May 5-7 in the friendly confines of University Park, PA. Penn State was the runner up in the national finals a year ago, and took home the title in 2008. This will mark the third time in ten years that University Park played host to the NCAA tournament, and the first since 2006, when Penn State finished as national runner-up.

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Linkbacker U. is Representin' McWestside

What do you expect? I don't have
my computer with Photoshop
right now, so MS Paint
is all we get today.
Who knew Scranton turf wars were this intense? Matt McGloin, that's who.
"Whenever he says where he's from, he says West Scranton, not Scranton," Mr. Meyers said of Mr. McGloin.

For Mr. McGloin's father, Paul, there's a pretty simple explanation for that.

"He loves West Scranton," Mr. McGloin said of his son. "It's a part of town where people care about each other and take care of each other."
Can't you just picture the amber waves of grain and purple mountains' majesty in the background?

This yellow journalism is not worth a link. Mark Madden wrote Madden: Sandusky a State secret for the Beaver County Times last night. The whole thing is just rancid garbage, but this particular passage caught my eye as truly unethical:

LBU Bracket Challenge 2011: The WINNERS!

Tonight is the title game in Houston, but as is probably the case with 99 percent of the brackets out there this year, it's game over. For our 2011 LBU Bracket Challenge--yes, we will surely have another next year--prizes were to be awarded to the top three brackets in our challenge. And this morning, we're happy to announce our winners!

April 2, 2011

Maggie Lucas Named 2011 Freshman All-American

Maggie Lucas (Photo: PSU)
In the world of so-not-a-shock-it's-almost-not-news news, Penn State Lady Lions freshman Maggie Lucas earned freshman all-America honors for here inaugural campaign in Happy Valley:
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - Penn State guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) capped a stellar freshman campaign by being named to the Full Court Press Freshman All-American second team. She is one of 15 players selected to the Freshman All-American squad and one of only two Big Ten players to earn the honor (Purdue's Courtney Moses - third team). This is the second-straight season that the Lady Lions have had a representative on the Full Court Press Freshman All-American team, joining Alex Bentley who was a third team selection a year ago.
The record-breaking freshman is just one of several on this team--all but one of whom return for 2012--that sparked the best season in six years for the Lady Lions. Lucas earned every part of this honor, which will surely not be the last she receives while playing for Penn State.

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April 1, 2011

Penn State Spring Media Day 2011 Recap: Depth, Injuries, and Quarterbacks

2010 Penn State vs Youngstown State-1
It's not really football season until Joe Paterno
blows off reporters in a press conference, right?
The weather is warming (unless you're in State College), the trees are budding (unless you're in State College), and football is in the air (especially if you're in State College). Joe Paterno gave his first press conference today for the 2011 football season, focusing on spring practice, injuries, the quarterback situation, and a few other topics. It was only the average 30-minute Q&A with reporters. But afterward, players were available, who also had some good things to say.

Friday Recruitin' - Penn State Recruiting Update 4/1

Future Nittany Lion? Maybe.
PHOTO: Scout.com
Well the unofficial Junior Day has come and gone, and Penn State picked up one...two...three new commits to join Anthony Stanko in the class of 2012. By our count, Penn State still has 57 offers outstanding, so this class is far from over. They still haven't picked up the coveted defensive backs that should be the target of this class, but that isn't for lack of offering; there are still eight highly rated defensive backs on the board.

This week's cast of visitors isn't nearly as numerous as last week, primarily due to the fact that the annual Coaches Clinic is taking place in Happy Valley over the weekend (which includes the first of three planned scrimmages for the current players). However, stay tuned to Linebacker-U for any news out of State College over the next week. There's no telling when the next commit could happen.

Taran Buie Transfers to Iowa State

Well, this news certainly doesn't come across as shocking. Taran Buie had already used up his "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards with Ed DeChellis before getting indicted for his involvement in a brawl on State Patty's Day. Realizing the writing on the wall, Buie decided to bolt for greener pastures at Iowa State, where he will join former Nittany Lion Chris Babb and fellow Big Ten exiles Korie Lucious and Chris Allen (whom are both Michigan State transfers), leaving Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg one former Big Ten player short of fielding an entire starting lineup.

The Ames Tribune has further details on this recent development. We here at LBU wish Taran all the best and hope for his own sake, he is able to turn things around in Ames on the court and most importantly, off of it.

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