Tag:Joe Paterno
Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:23 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 5:53 pm
 

Hinnen's Insane Predictions, Week 8

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that  South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week . Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

Playing at home for interim coach Jeff Horton and that until-now foreign concept known as pride, Minnesota surprises Penn State and their ever-creaky offense with 17 first-half points, then hold on for a 17-13 upset. After the game, Joe Paterno offers up something even more surprising, issuing his resignation effective at the end of the year to ESPNU's speechless sideline reporter. To drive his point home, Paterno leaves his trademark glasses at the edge of the TCF Bank Stadium field, a la an Olympic wrestler leaving his shoes on the mat. ESPN issues a press release promising to include footage of Paterno's gesture in every college football montage from now until 2024.

Severely Unlikely

At halftime of the Missouri -Oklahoma game, the visiting Sooners hold a commanding 24-3 lead. Just before the break, Gary Pinkel is spotted pushing a button on some kind of radio-like device on his belt. A few minutes later, Bob Stoops is just about to begin his halftime team talk when there's a knock on the locker room door. It's Mizzou alumnus Jon Hamm , dressed as his famous Mad Men character Don Draper . He introduces himself as Draper and asks if he could speak to the team for a minute. Stoops, a huge Draper fan, is awestruck and concedes. Hamm/Draper has a lackey wheel in a wet bar and offers Stoops and the rest of the Sooner staff a stiff drink as he begins to pitch the rest of the Sooners on what he calls a "revolutionary" sports drink called "Gator-ade." Too polite to decline, Stoops and his staff are severely tipsy by the end of the break. 12 different second-half double-passes back to quarterback Landry Jones later, Missori escapes with a 27-24 win.

Completely Ludicrous

Washington State goes on the road and defeats No. 12 Stanford.



Posted on: October 22, 2010 3:14 pm
 

Below the Radar: Four other games to watch

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's easy to pick out this weekend's biggest games: LSU and Auburn , Iowa and Wisconsin , Oklahoma and Missouri . But every week there's plenty of interesting matchups -- no, really -- that don't feature ranked teams and don't make anyone's "must-watch" list other than the team's fans. Here's four of them you should keep an eye on regardless (all times Eastern):

Penn State (3-3, 0-2) at Minnesota (1-6, 0-3), 12 p.m. This one won't feature a ton of points (the Gophers and Nittany Lions rank 76th and 108th in scoring offense, respectively), and obviously it's not going to have much impact on the Big Ten race, either. But this is the game that could legitimately be the beginning of the end of the Joe Paterno era; the Lions might be able to stomach one humiliating loss (last week's 20-point home shellacking at the hands of Illinois ), but a second at the hands of the reeling, coach-less Gophers -- not to mention the accompanying 0-3 conference record and dwindling hopes of bowl eligibility -- could start the succession planning in earnest. The long-term implications alone make this contest critical.

Rutgers (4-2, 1-0) at Pitt (3-3, 1-0), 12 p.m. Both the Scarlet Knights and Panthers have suffered some serious nonconference pratfalls --- Rutgers' unthinkable loss to Tulane , Pitt's home bludgeoning at the hands of Miami -- but both got off to 1-0 starts in Big East play with big wins over UConn and Syracuse , respectively. This is the Big East, after all: once you get to 2-0, it's impossible not to call you a serious contender in the conference. The key matchup will be Pitt's fast-rising Ray Graham (118 rushing yards per game) against Greg Schiano 's 15th-ranked defense.

Kansas State (5-1, 2-1) at Baylor (5-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m. There's honest-to-God Big 12 implications here; if Mizzou loses to Oklahoma late Saturday, the Wildcats could forge a three-way tie atop the Big 12 North with their own date against the Tigers still to come. But the stakes are probably higher for the Bears anyway; a win would push Baylor to six wins and a postseason berth for the first time since they played the 1994 Alamo Bowl. There's surprising talent on display here, too: Wildcat back Daniel Thomas is the conference's second-leading rusher at 130 yards a game, and Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin (14 TDs, 3 INT) has a Denard Robinson -esque blend of rushing speed and throwing accuracy.

Georgia (3-4, 2-3) at Kentucky (4-3, 1-3), 7:30 p.m. The storyline for this one is simple: the winner stays in the dead thick of the muddled SEC East race. Beyond that, last November the Wildcats used a bevy of Georgia turnovers to upset the Dawgs in Athens and have generally given Mark Richt 's team fits the past few seasons. If Richt wants to permanently silence the bleating for his head that began after Georgia's 1-4 start, he can't afford a second straight defeat at the hands of a team that's been Georgia's traditional inferior. Too bad for him the Wildcats have been feisty at home thus far this season, pulling one major upset against South Carolina last week and coming within one stop of doing the same to Auburn the week before. As long as Randall Cobb is around (even if Derrick Locke isn't), expect more feistiness to come, and for this one to come down to the wire.



Posted on: September 27, 2010 12:27 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 12:53 pm
 

Penn State's offensive line takes a hit

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Following it's narrow escape against Temple at home on Saturday, I wrote about the struggles that Penn State has been having on offense all season.  It's no one area of the offense's fault, though it would be a lot easier for the Nittany Lions to put some touchdowns on the board if the offensive line could begin opening holes for Evan Royster on a regular basis.

Something the line started to do against Temple, as Royster finished the game with 110 yards -- his first 100 yard rushing day of the season.

Well, just as the line started to find some rhythmn, it's taken a hit.  Reports out of State College say that Penn State is going to be without starting right tackle Lou Eliades for the rest of the season.

Coach Joe Paterno said Eliades suffered a torn right ACL in the third quarter of Penn State's 22-13 victory against Temple on Saturday. Junior Chima Okoli replaced Eliades, but Paterno wouldn't name a starter for next week's Big Ten opener at Iowa. Also, coaches used Mike Farrell as an occasional replacement for Quinn Barham at left tackle. Penn State came into the season with no offensive lineman in the same position he played last year.


Whoever replaces Eliades, they won't have an easy assignment on Saturday.  "Hey, welcome to the starting lineup kid, now go out there and block Adrian Clayborn, Broderick Binns and any other monsters Iowa throws out there on its defensive line. "

Having some concern on an offensive line that just started playing well together is always going to be a problem, but when the timing coincides with the start of conference play for Penn State, it's magnified a bit.  Especially when the game is being played at Kinnick Stadium, a place that has already been hard enough for Penn State to pick up a win.

Posted on: September 9, 2010 6:46 pm
 

Nick Saban is very opposed to booing Penn State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Football fans like to boo. It's in their nature, and it's something that's borne out in the stands of nearly every college football stadium every fall (IMPORTANT EXCEPTION: universities with Top 20 law schools. Stanford, Michigan, Duke... yes, they'd just never). Football is such a full-throttle expression of physical potential that as we watch it, our emotions follow those same extremes. Sure, people boo at baseball games, but it's far less, well, lusty, and baseball players never get the sense that they may attacked and killed by fans. Football, though--how there's never been an all-out prison-style riot at a football game is just mind-boggling.

So when a team makes the token effort to discourage booing, usually with posted reminders and maybe a pre-game announcement about sponsorship, the concern is noted and then immediately discarded and set ablaze the first time the home team gets called for pass interference. It's football; we ignore politeness. Boooooooo.

Ah, but when the cry for fans' sportsmanship comes from demi-god Nick Saban? That gets noticed awfully quick:

 

"Our football program and our stadium is probably the largest window that anyone looks at in the state of Alabama and maybe the University of Alabama," he said. "And I just don't think there's any place for booing anywhere in college football, and that includes booing the other team. ..."

Penn State "is a class program with class people that have been there for 45 years and done wonderful things for college football, the game of football, and a lot of people over a 45-year period," Saban continued. "And I think it would be a (bleep) crying-(bleep) shame if we booed 'em when they come into the stadium like we did last week's team. I just don't understand that."

Saban's concern is meritous, to be sure, and the best way to express dominance has always been through the power of setting an example, not following one.

And yet, Saban's never tailgated 3/4 of the way to blindness and then sat in stands, unable to directly communicate with that jerk of a ref who just called another phantom hold and whose side is he on anyway, hey? So Saban's asking favors of people whose situation he's somewhat unfamiliar with, and that's a tenuous proposition at best. Perhaps the fans obey Saban's wishes and don't boo JoePa and his charges before the game. Perhaps. But man, if those Nittany Lions actually win down there this weekend....

Posted on: September 1, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 9:35 pm
 

PSU: Paterno tabs true frosh Robert Bolden at QB

Posted by Adam Jacobi

For the first time in his history as the coach of Penn State, Joe Paterno has named a true freshman his starting quarterback to start a football season. According to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Robert Bolden beat out sophomores Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin for the Nittany Lions' feature role:

Penn State just confirmed what The Patriot-News reported first earlier in the day: true freshman Robert Bolden will start at quarterback Saturday against Youngstown State at Beaver Stadium.

Shortly after Wednesday's practice, Joe Paterno made it official in a statement issued on gopsusports.com:

"Based on what we have seen to this point, Bolden has a slight edge right now, but we are confident all three quarterbacks are ready to go and hope to give them an opportunity to play until we settle on the one that gives us the best chance to win," Paterno said.

For Penn State fans, this shouldn't necessarily be construed as a failure on the part of Newsome, who certainly seemed like the presumptive starter at this time even three months ago. If anything, considering the praise that has been leveled at Bolden out of summer practice, it's a remarkable accomplishment on Bolden's part, and would seem to indicate that Penn State is better off than if Newsome had just taken the reins straight away.

Of course, regardless of how skilled a passer and runner Bolden is, Nick Saban must be salivating at the prospect of unleashing his vaunted pass defense on a true freshman making his first road start in week 2. Sure, Saban's replacing most of the starters from his title-winning team from last season, but he's doing it with guys who have been learning and practicing his defense for years. Will Bolden have the maturity and wisdom to find any room in that defense?

Posted on: August 31, 2010 6:56 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2010 2:33 pm
 

Who will start at QB for Penn State?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Penn State sophomore quarterback Kevin Newsome looked to be a prohibitive favorite at quarterback coming into 2010; he was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school two years ago, and he was the first quarterback off the bench as a true freshman last year. Granted, it was all garbage time, but he was still clearly being groomed for a 2010 starting spot. Moreover, Newsome's competition for that starting role is a former walkon redshirt sophomore and a couple true freshmen.

And yet, Newsome still hasn't won the starting role; even at a teleconference today, Joe Paterno couldn't pin down any of his QBs as his signal-caller going forward:
"I've got to be honest with you. We've got some kids who we really like, and [we] think they are going to be good, and there's more than one," Paterno said. "But at this stage, I couldn't tell you which one is going to come to the front as THE guy to lead the team, or whether we have one who can handle the kinds of situations that the quarterbacks are going to have to handle as this season goes on."
It's important to note, of course, that JoePa had similar deliberations about whether to start Daryll Clark or Joe Devlin in 2008, and that worked out well enough. JoePa's not going to let on any amount of confidence he may have in any of the QB candidates if he doesn't have to.

Still, something definitely seems to be awry; as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes (via Dr. Saturday), Paterno has never opened a season with a true freshman or walk-on (current or former) under center on week one. Not once, not in any of his 44 years. Also, the game's just a few days away; if he's slow-playing anything, now's the time to cut the charade and not continue freaking fans out. So let's put some fears at ease and examine the candidates:
  • Kevin Newsome: Has the most in-game experience and arguably the most physical talent of the likely QBs. Still, if he were the guy, we should know that by now. Every day he spends sharing time with the first team in practice is more valuable experience lost.
  • Matt McGlouin: Is in his third season with the program, but lacks the physical tools of his counterparts. However, if all Paterno wants his quarterback to do this year is hand off to Evan Royster and not try to impress anybody with his arm, McGlouin might be the guy.
  • Robert Bolden: Only a true freshman, but has received rave reviews for his play in practice after joining the team early. May be the most gifted pure passer, but does he have any chance of knowing the playbook well enough to threaten the Alabama defense in week 2?
  • Anthony Morelli: Starting experience in... hey, wait, get the hell out of here, Anthony Morelli! You graduated years ago! Jeez!
 
 
 
 
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