Tag:Penn State
Posted on: January 21, 2012 6:10 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2012 7:32 pm
 

Reports: Joe Paterno 'near death,' off respirator

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Joe Paterno, the man who for decades was synonymous with the powerhouse Penn State football program, is reportedly in declining health. Onward State, the student-run Penn State website, reported on Saturday that Paterno had been taken off his respirator that morning, according to a source close to the family. Further, a report by Tom McAndrew of Blue White Illustrated indicates that Paterno's extended family has been summoned to the hospital.

If those reports are true, Paterno likely has, at best, a matter of days to live. It may be even shorter than that, as Mike Sisak of the Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre is reporting that Paterno is "near death."

"Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications," said Paterno family spokesman Dan McGinn. "His doctors have now characterized his status as serious. His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time."

It was only a week ago that Paterno gave his first interview since his November firing at the height of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. In it, interviewer Sally Jenkins noted that Paterno was wheelchair-bound, wearing a wig, and reduced to whispers due to his battle with lung cancer. Further, Paterno is 85, and most people that age aren't able to begin and win a fight with a disease like lung cancer. Still, Jenkins also noted that Paterno remained sharp, and his familiar tone and personality are evident in the interview snippets that were posted online.

CBSSports.com will provide more details as they become available, as this is a developing situation.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 4:39 pm
 

Bill O'Brien's offensive coordinator is himself

Posted by Adam Jacobi

New Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien is in the process of filling out his coaching staff, and one of the most crucial roles on any staff is that of offensive coordinator. The offensive coordinator typically calls plays, coaches his quarterbacks, and puts to Xs and Os what the head coach's offensive philosophy dictates. Pretty important stuff, all in all.

So it came as no small surprise when the Penn State athletic department announced on Tuesday that the Nittany Lion offensive coordinator would be nobody at all, as O'Brien has decided to take on the play-calling responsibility itself. O'Brien is the current offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, so he's probably got as good an idea as to what the job entails as anybody else, but it's also worth reiterating that O'Brien is the head coach of the entire team -- not just the offense.

Of course, there are dozens of different ways a college coaching staff can be arranged without being derelict in any of its actual duties, so it's not as if the lack of an official offensive coordinator on O'Brien's staff specifically means that any major aspect of the team will be out-and-out neglected in his regime. That notion doesn't come close to passing the smell test.

Still, it's worth noting that this is certainly an unorthodox approach to staff-building, and it'll be interesting to see how O'Brien's delegation of tasks works out. He may be onto something here -- or he may just be on something. Common sense suggests the former. 

For more up-to-the-minute news on the Bill O'Brien era of Nittany Lion football, read the CBSSports.com Penn State RapidReports with Jim Rodenbush.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 4:48 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 5:50 pm
 

Paterno gives first interview on Sandusky scandal



Posted by Chip Patterson


Joe Paterno has begun to tell his side of the story. Sally Jenkins, of The Washington Post, did an exclusive interview with Paterno - his first official comments regarding the fallout at Penn State since his firing on Nov. 9. The story will be published in Sunday's edition of the paper, and was made available online on Saturday.

In the story Paterno gives his account of the events surrounding the alleged rape of a young boy by Jerry Sandusky in the Penn State facilities in 2002. The details of what Mike McQueary told the Penn State head coach, and the steps that were or weren't taken by Penn State officials.

From the piece in Sunday's Washington Post:

Paterno contends that ignorance was the context with which he heard McQueary’s disturbing story in 2002. McQueary, sitting at Paterno’s kitchen table, told him that he had been at the football building late the evening before when he heard noises coming from the shower. “He was very upset and I said why, and he was very reluctant to get into it,” Paterno said. “He told me what he saw, and I said, what? He said it, well, looked like inappropriate, or fondling, I’m not quite sure exactly how he put it. I said you did what you had to do. It’s my job now to figure out what we want to do. So I sat around. It was a Saturday. Waited till Sunday because I wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing. And then I called my superiors and I said, ‘Hey, we got a problem, I think. Would you guys look into it?’ Cause I didn’t know, you know. We never had, until that point, 58 years I think, I had never had to deal with something like that. And I didn’t feel adequate.”

At that point, Paterno set up a meeting for McQueary and Curley, the athletic director, and Schultz, who oversaw university police. McQueary has testified that he gave both men a far more graphic description of what he witnessed, which he believed to be Sandusky sodomizing a boy of about 10, who had his hands against the shower wall. At the preliminary hearing for Curley and Schultz on Dec. 16, McQueary said he had been reluctant to go into similar “great detail about sexual acts” with Paterno, out of respect for the coach, who was 78 at the time.

Schultz and Curley have maintained that McQueary failed to impart the seriousness of what he saw to them as well. They never told police about the allegation, instead informing Sandusky he could no longer bring children to university facilities. Prosecutors say Sandusky continued to abuse boys for six more years.

Paterno has said, “In hindsight, I wish I had done more.”

Most of the story lines up with Paterno's grand jury testimony, but there was some interesting insight into Jerry Sandusky's exit. Paterno explains in the interview that he was growing frustrated with Sandusky's involvement with Second Mile, the charity he used to help identify potential victims.

“He came to see me and we talked a little about his career,” Paterno said in the story. “I said, you know, Jerry, you want to be head coach, you can’t do as much as you’re doing with the other operation. I said this job takes so much detail, and for you to think you can go off and get involved in fundraising and a lot of things like that. . . . I said you can’t do both, that’s basically what I told him.”

The interview with Sally Jenkins was conducted on Jan. 12-13, you can read the full story here.

Follow Jim Rodenbush's Nittany Lions RapidReports for more on developments from State College, Pa.

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Posted on: January 14, 2012 1:33 pm
 

JoePa still a member of PSU faculty

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While there are many people under the impression that Joe Paterno was fired by Penn State during the fallout of Jerry Sandusky's indictment, the truth is that Paterno is still a member of Penn State's faculty. He's just no longer the school's football coach.

On Thursday Penn State issued a release in response to many alumni who were complaining that Paterno was being treated unfairly by the school.

“Coach Paterno remains employed by the University as a tenured faculty member,” said the release. “The details of his retirement are being worked out and will be made public when they are finalized.  Generally speaking, the University intends to honor the terms of his employment contract and is treating him financially as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 football season.” 

In November when Penn State announced at a press conference that Graham Spanier was no longer the president of the school and that Paterno would no longer coach the football team, the school never said that Paterno had been terminated. Rather the Board of Trustees said that Paterno would "no longer serve as head football coach."

Essentially Paterno was suspended for the rest of the season, and now that the year is done, he's retiring as if he'd just finished his final year.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page. 
Posted on: January 12, 2012 12:30 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 3:19 pm
 

Report: Jerry Sandusky saw win 409 for Paterno

Posted by Tom Fornelli

According to a Patriot-News report, a week before former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's arrest following a grand jury investigation into his alleged sexual assault of young boys, he watched Penn State beat Illinois for Joe Paterno's 409th career victory from the president's box at Beaver Stadium. A source told the Patriot-News said that Sandusky was seen in the box during the game and then he was later seen in the Nittany Lion Club.

Former Penn State linebacker Brandon Short also said on Wednesday that he was told by two independent sources that Sandusky had been in the president's box for the game that day as well.

Penn State president Rodney Erickson told national radio host Michael Smerconish that the report was "absolutely false," according to Smerconish, but one Penn State alum reported being in the Nittanly Lion Club with Sandusky for the Purdue game two weeks prior, and said he was under the impression that Sandusky "was always there."

Penn State spokesman Bill Mahon told the paper that a search through the guest list of every game of the last three seasons shows that Sandusky had never been invited to the box. However the report goes on to say that then athletic director Tim Curley -- who resigned following the grand jury indictment -- didn't want to give Sandusky tickets to the game but changed his mind at the insistence of Sandusky's wife, Dottie.

Penn State officials were aware of the investigation into Sandusky long before Penn State's game against Illinois that day.

Photo courtesy of the Patriot-News

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:29 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 12:22 pm
 

1-to-35: Ranking the 2011 bowl games



Posted by Jerry Hinnen


Each December, there's plenty of rankings out there as to how good each bowl should be. But if that's the "before," what about the "after"? Here's the Eye on CFB's (highly subjective) ranking of all 35 bowls from the 2011-2012 college football postseason, best game to worst.

1. Rose. Unlike certain other bowls we could name (who happen to rhyme with "Schmalamo"), the Rose's outburst of offense came despite the presence of legitimate championship-level defenses--making the punch and counter-punch between Russell Wilson and Montee Ball on one side and LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas on the other like haymakers in a heavyweight prizefight. Add in college football's greatest venue, a down-to-the-wire ending, and even the aesthetic battle between the Badgers' understated uniforms and the Ducks' glitter factory helmets, and you've got the best bowl-watching experience of the year.

2. Fiesta. Andrew Luck vs. Justin Blackmon at the top of their powers -- at the top of the powers of anyone at their positions in college football -- would be worth a top-five placement alone. Luck vs. Blackmon and 79 points and overtime drama? That's worth top-two.

3. Alamo Bowl. To call the defenses in this game abominably porous would be an insult to pores (and abominations). But the Alamo is a random weeknight bowl game--just as no one wants to watch an Oscar-baiting 17th-century literary adaptation on their Guys' Night Out, so no one tuned into the Alamo for rugged defense and awesome punting. Thankfully, what Baylor and Washington gave us was the college football equivalent of four hours of Jason Statham shooting explosions.

4. Outback. Come for Kirk Cousins leading the most unlikely comeback this side of the whooping crane, stay for Mark Richt nominating himself for the (dis)honor of "World's Fraidiest-Cat Football Coach." Oh, and triple overtime.

5. New Orleans. We'd ask if you could remember this thriller between Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State from the bowl season's opening night, but we don't think anyone who watched could forget Ragin' Cajun kicker Brett Baer deliriously celebrating his last-second game-winner if they tried.

6. Military. One word: #MACtion. And two numbers: 42-41. And, all right, eight more words to help do this game justice: last-minute do-or-die failed fake extra point holder-kicker option.

7. Sun. We're suckers for any game featuring the triple-option (see the Air Force game ranked one spot above), and Utah's 4th-and-14 touchdown conversion to send the game into OT was one of the more dramatic single plays of the entire bowl season. That 3-0 anti-classic between Pitt and Oregon State was a particularly distant memory in El Paso this year.

8. Belk. A matchup of Utterly Average ACC team vs. Utterly Average Big East team -- in a bowl sponsored by a department store that thinks Macy's is way too wild and edgy -- should have been one of the snoozers of the year. Instead, Mike Glennon caught fire, Louisville mounted a spirited comeback, and this wound up one of the better games of the postseason.

9. Little Caesars. The quality of play in this game at times was like ... well, have you ever actually eaten the pizza of the sponsor? But Western Michigan receiver Jordan White put on a spectacular show (13 catches, 249 yards), the teams combined for 69 points, and the Boilers special teams pulled off two onsides kicks and a kick return for TD. Tasty!

10. Famous Idaho Potato. OK, OK: we're giving this game (which was less-than-must-see-viewing for much of the first 55 minutes) a slight bonus for its killer logo. But we're giving it a much bigger bonus for the pulse-pounding final drive from quarterback Tyler Tettleton and the Bobcats for the first bowl win in program history.

11. Armed Forces. If you're going to be a sorta-dull game between two sorta-unmemorable teams, better come up with a memorable play and/or a big finish. Riley Nelson's game-winning fake spike touchdown to become college football's answer to Dan Marino just about did the trick.

12. Sugar. Another for the "ugly game, fascinating ending" file, but this was Michigan doing their damnedest to be Michigan again and Virginia Tech doing their damnedest to avoid the rabbit's feet and horseshoes and four-leaf clovers falling out of the Wolverines' pockets -- Danny Coale most especially -- and it was in New Orleans. You didn't quit watching, did you?

13. Poinsettia. Not a classic, but three-and-a-half back-and-forth hours with a feisty Louisiana Tech team and an underrated TCU squad most definitely qualified as "serviceable." Think of this year's Poinsettia as the quality burger-and-fries plate from the local joint down the street--not mind-blowing, but spend a few weeks in Peru, where they don't have burgers or college football, and you'll crave a Poinsettia Bowl so badly you could scream.

14. Orange. In the space of about an hour, Dana Holgorsen's evisceration of Clemson went from thrilling to discomfiting to boring to morbidly fascinating to -- once we all realized the Mountaineers weren't going to hit triple digits -- back to boring again. Not every game that hits 100 points is one for the DVD vaults, as it turns out.

15. Liberty. Give me Cincinnati defeating Vanderbilt in surprisingly convincing, mildly entertaining fashion or give me death! (Actually, we've got that first thing already, so no need to worry about providing the second, thanks.)

16. Chick-Fil-A. For 2.5 quarters, this was a delightful shootout with all the requisite trickery you'd hope for from a game involving Gus Malzahn. Then Virginia remembered that it was not only Virginia, but proud ACC member Virginia, and the fun was over.

17. Meineke Car Care. Seriously, Texas A&M, we didn't tune in to see you only flirt with blowing a huge lead against a team that hasn't won a bowl game since approximately the Grover Cleveland administration.

18. Capital One. This game featured an abundance of must-watch plays -- Alshon Jeffery catching a  bomb, Alshon Jeffery hauling in a half-ending Hail Mary, Alshon Jeffery getting ejected for fighting -- but aside from, well, Alshon Jeffery, there wasn't much to it.

19. Cotton Bowl. The 15 seconds of Joe Adams' punt return, the 10 seconds of Jarius Wright's touchdown, and the 5 minutes when it looked like Kansas State might mount yet another smashing comeback were riveting stuff. The other 54:35? Not so much.

20. BCS National Championship. A great game, if you're the sort of fan who enjoys watching nature shows where a pride of lions tear a wildebeest to pieces because the wildebeest can't complete a downfield pass to save its life.

21. TicketCity. If he'd stuggled, he'd have been called a fraud; because he ripped Penn State's D into tiny shreds, no one paid attention. Which is why we're working on a sitcom pilot right now called Case Keenum Can't Win.

22. Gator. When one team's special teams scores just one fewer touchdown than the two offenses combined (as Florida's did), it's safe to say you're not watching a classic.

23. GoDaddy.com. Thanks to a 31-0 run from Northern Illinois, what was expected to be a nailbiting shootout ended up the biggest disappointment since that "unrated web content" we checked out.

24. Champs Sports. It wasn't pretty, but at least the Seminoles and Irish were trying their best ... to make us wish they'd just aired a repeat of the 1993 meeting instead.

25. Las Vegas. College football produces a lot of emotions, but from the neutral perspective, it's rare that one of them is outright legitimate anger. Seeing Kellen Moore forced to end his career slumming it against an Arizona State team that checked out in early November sure turned the trick, though.

26. Independence. The Tar Heels came out so flat, and were finished off so quickly, that we're pretty sure the only lovely parting gift they walked away with was "Independence Bowl: the Board Game."

27. Music City. Mississippi State turned the ball over four times, and Wake Forest averaged 2.9 yards per-play. If Hank Williams or some other old-time country artist had come to Nashville to write a sad song about a sad bowl game, this is the game they'd use for inspiration.

28. Insight. Sadly, the only "insight" we got from this game was that Vegas oddsmakers -- who had the Sooners installed as the biggest favorite of the entire bowl season -- know what they're talking about. And who didn't know that already?

29. Holiday. It wasn't that long ago when Jeff Tedford's Cal and Mack Brown's Texas squaring off would have been appointment television. This game was, too, though in the sense that it was the sort of game you made an appointment somewhere else to avoid viewing.

30. Hawaii. Nevada and Southern Mississippi were collectively as sharp as your average butter knife, but let's see you spend a week chilling in Hawaii and then play a quality football game. The best players the NFL has to offer try it every single year and haven't succeeded yet.

31. Pinstripe. The only thing we remember from this game was our wish to travel back to, say, 1998, and explain to a random college football fan that in 2011, Rutgers would win a bowl game in Yankee Stadium that would give them the nation's longest postseason winning streak. (We're still not sure it's actually happening.)

32. Beef 'O' Brady's. Newton's Second Law of Bowl Aesthetics: Whensoever a Game Produces Fewer Offensive Touchdowns Than the Game Has Apostrophes in its Title, That Game Shall Be, Verily, Entirely Terrible.

33. New Mexico. We'd waited so long to be able to sit down and watch a college bowl game, and by halftime we were sort of wishing we'd gotten to wait a little bit longer.

34. BBVA Compass. For two straight years, Pitt has been forced to play in Legion Field on a January weekday afternoon in front of no one under an interim coach against a nondescript opponent. Vs. SMU the Panthers looked like they'd much rather be off somewhere doing something much more fun, like peeling potatoes with their teeth--and we don't blame them a bit.

35. Kraft Fight Hunger. Comedian Patton Oswalt once called a certain famous KFC product a "failure pile in a sadness bowl." Capitalize that B, and we can't think of a better way to describe 2011 Illinois "battling" 2011 UCLA.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.
Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:55 pm
 

Report: Ted Roof hired as Penn St. D coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Ted Roof's tenure as defensive coordinator as UCF has proven to be a short one. 

According to reports, the recent Auburn assistant has joined Bill O'Brien's staff at Penn State and will serve as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator, replacing longtime Penn State DC and interim head coach Tom Bradley. Roof was hired at UCF by George O'Leary just less than a month ago after a disappointing season at Auburn.

Despite Roof's struggles on the Plains, his move to Happy Valley has been rumored since nearly the moment O'Brien was hired. The new Nittany Lion head coach worked as Roof's offensive coordinator during the latter's ill-fated head coaching tenure at Duke from 2003 to 2007. Just last Saturday, O'Brien referred fondly to the pair's shared time at Durham and called Roof "one of my closest friends."

Though few at Auburn were disappointed to see Roof move onto UCF -- and despite his professional ties to O'Leary, the lateral move has been widely rumored to be a de facto dismissal from Gene Chizik -- Roof's career is not without a number of high points. He helmed several top-30 defenses for O'Leary during Georgia Tech's early-Aughts run as an ACC contender, sparked massive improvements for both the Blue Devils and Minnesota in one-year stints as defensive coordinator, and of course helped Chizik's Tigers to the national title a year ago with the SEC's No. 1 rush defense. Roof's specialty has been shutting down run-first pro-style schemes, a plus when considering the presence of Wisconsin in the Nittany Lions' division.

That said, Roof was still the coordinator of this season's 80th-ranked total defense and a unit that seemed particularly at sea against strong passing attacks. (Even in his 2000 Georgia Tech season, when Roof was nominated for the Broyles Award, the Jackets finished 114th out of 114 in pass defense.) If O'Brien has let his personal friendship cloud his judgment of Roof's capacity to lead the Nittany Lion offense, that may not be the best sign for Penn St. going forward.

Though Roof is the most high-profile of the new Nittany Lion assistants, O'Brien made two other hires Monday. Ball State offensive line coach John Strollo has been hired to lead the Nittany Lion offensive line; a 30-year coaching veteran, Strollo also worked with O'Brien and Roof at Duke. Buffalo Bills wide receivers coach Stan Hixon has also reportedly been hired, filling the receivers coaching position previously staffed by Mike McQueary.

For daily real-time updates on Penn State football, follow our Nittany Lion CBSSports.com RapidReports by Jim Rodenbush right here. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 8, 2012 11:26 pm
 

Ron Vanderlinden staying on staff at Penn St.

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Bill O'Brien will no doubt look to revamp the offensive coaching staff at Penn State as he attempts to build a Nittany Lion attack in the mold of the one he's guided for the New England Patriots. But the defense? It looks like that side of the ball will retain a strong flavor from the Joe Paterno era.

That's after multiple Nittany Lion players confirmed following a Sunday team meeting that Penn State linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Ron Vanderlinden would be held over as part of O'Brien's staff. A former head coach at Maryland, Vanderlinden has been an assistant in Happy Valley for the past 11 seasons. He began the 2011 season as linebackers coach before being promoted to co-defensive coordinator following Paterno's exit.

Vanderlinden is the second defensive assistant to be retained by O'Brien, joining defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Tennessee Titans assistant Charles London has also been hired as the Nittany Lions' running backs coach.

Though full-season coordinator and former interim head coach Tom Bradley obviously deserves much of the credit, Vanderlinden's cameo as co-DC was nonetheless a highly successful one. The Nittany Lions finished 20th in total defense, a sterling 12th in yards-per-play allowed, and an even-better fifth in scoring defense. With numbers like those, it's understandable why O'Brien would want to keep as much continuity on that side of the ball as possible.

But still, the first thing the Nittany Lions wanted to talk about after the meeting was ... O'Brien himself. Quarterback Matt McGloin said he "got some chills" discussing offense with his new head coach.

“I expect that it’ll be an entirely different playbook,” McGloin said. “It’s exciting, just watching the Patriots and knowing we’ll be doing similar things.”

“You can definitely sense that he goes about business, and loves football, and he showed that to us,” said wide receiver Justin Brown. “I think everybody’s just excited to get things going with our new coach and move forward.”

“To the people who had doubts about him, everybody has to start somewhere,” said running back Silas Redd. “Every head coach has a head coaching debut, and this is his debut. He’s more than ready to steer this whole thing.”

If McGloin is right that the offense will hum, and Redd and Brown are right that O'Brien is ready to lead, and a defense with Vanderlinden and Johnson aboard can hold the line, a hire that was near-universally panned among the Nittany Lion faithful may (like similarly unpopular hires Gene Chizik and Brady Hoke) wind up OK in the end.

All information and quotes via CBSSports.com RapidReporter Jim Rodenbush. For daily updates on Penn State football, be sure to follow Rodenbush's RapidReports right here.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com