Category Archives: PSU Football 2011

Tom Williams out at Yale; Could Jay Paterno be a candidate?

Yale coach Tom Williams resigns after lying about Rhodes candidacy – Campus Rivalry, USA Today
Yale Accepts Coach Williams’ Resignation – Yale Sports Publicity
Yale Bulldogs head coach Tom Williams has resigned effective the end of the year. A controversy over Williams’ Rhodes Scholarship claims that came up in November is the official reason.

When the Williams story broke, I wondered if that would be it for him. Yale would have a hard time firing him in my view, because they did not do their due diligence, but I could certainly see how it would be uncomfortable for him there. Losing to Harvard annually, particularly after a failed 4th and 22 fake punt in the 4th quarter (with the lead) against Harvard in 2009, might have hurt more.

I would not be surprised to see Penn State QB coach Jay Paterno seek the Yale job. Like most or all of Penn State’s staff, he is a lame duck with an expected housecleaning of the football program following the bowl game. Yale is a prestigious university, historic football program, grand stadium and lots of smart players who are there for the love of the game.

Jay’s father, Joe, sought the Yale job in the early 1960s, but Jon Pont was hired instead. After Pont left for Indiana, Yale sought the elder Paterno, but by then he was confident he could get the Penn State job. Carm Cozza was hired instead and led the Bulldogs for about 25 years.

Whether Yale has any interest in a position coach taking over after Williams underwhelming tenure or anybody associated with Penn State is a big question. Call it a decent hunch that Jay Paterno is interested though. Obviously, we don’t know what opportunities in the future (if any), but years from now, would you rather have said you were the head coach at a MAC program or Yale?

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What will Penn State’s branding be?

The branding of Penn State athletics (if not the whole university) is probably going to go through a major overhaul following the Jerry Sandusky scandal (just named AP’s #1 sports story of the yearpennlive.com). The familiar “chipmunk” logo may be phased out.

Twitter user @CasaNoVApsu knows what he wants in a new brand identity for Penn State — a return of the block S in a keystone which he details in this Google doc.

proposed new Penn State logo by @CasaNoVApsu

The goal of this branding renewal is to develop a new visual identity for the Nittany Lions; an identity that is bold, timeless, and captures the four keystones of Penn State intercollegiate athletics: TRADITION, INTEGRITY, PRIDE and STRENGTH.

The logic is sound, but the logo just doesn’t do much for me, probably because I am not from Pennsylvania. Also, the whole “P” or “S” or “PS” or “PSU” problem for identifying Penn State is a factor. A strong effort though.

If the athletic logo is truly going to go away, I’d like to see the Nittany Lion Shrine be included. Maybe the Shrine face mark that Lion Ambassadors use:

Penn State Nittany Lions "shrine face" logo

Did you know that the stenciled Penn State logo was removed a few years ago by Guido D’Elia?

Ol’ Guido dumped the stencil and replaced it with a sans serif font. The “chipmunk” + sans serif font looked like somebody had put it together in MS Word. It was cheap looking, yet keeping in line with Guido’s “let’s make Penn State more generic visually” approach. Sadly, his audio approach was the same, only louder. If there is really going to be a full-scale remove everybody movement, the better include Guido.

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Blue White Roundtable is back but not the same

After a post-scandal hiatus, I’m back. Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries sent the questions:

BSD: The Penn State offense has struggled week in and week out throughout the course of the season. The implementation of the wildcat formation by interim Head Coach Tom Bradley appeared to signal a shift in offensive philosophy from the rest of the year. What did you think?

WFY: I think you can only credit the implementation as Tom Bradley’s in the sense that he let the offensive coaches do it. I think it was pretty sharp, catching Ohio State off guard with it, but they can’t do that against Wisconsin now. I don’t know that making Wisconsin have to prepare for it, given they have almost certainly played wildcat teams already this season, makes much of a difference either. I am sure it can be effective, but if the Badgers suddenly see Matt McGloin out wide they know what’s coming and it probably isn’t a pass.

BSD: In his Tuesday press conference, Coach Bradley indicated that the team is working on some new offensive wrinkles for this weekend’s game against the Badgers. What do you expect those wrinkles to be? How effective will they be?

WFY: Throwing to the tight end/third wideout? The tight end/wideout catching it? Pitches to the outside?

I figure they will throw from the wildcat to keep the Badgers honest, but if I were them, I’d play it as a run everytime and dare Penn State to beat them with a WR throwing the ball.

Ultimately, I think the Nittany Lions offense will be as effective as Silas Redd makes it and since he’s still hurt, that is a major concern.

BSD: Did you notice any differences between the defensive game called by Bradley and the defensive game called by Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden? Should expect anything different?

WFY: The biggest difference I saw was Sean Stanley in coverage. It worked! However, I think putting the defensive ends in coverage is so special that it should never be done again. Otherwise, I did not notice anything significantly different, other than Devon Still not getting his usual 1.5 tackles for a loss. He had the flu I think.

BSD: Wisconsin’s offense has been very impressive. How do you contain Montee Ball and Russell Wilson?

WFY: Fire. Lots of it.

Contain is the right word, because I do not believe they can be stopped. The offense putting together sustained drives would be the best solution, but I am skeptical they can do it with Redd still hurting.

BSD: Predictions.

I still won’t care as much about the game as I would have in October. I might start wearing Penn State clothes again. Matt Millen will say something intelligent about the situation and praise the team. The Nittany Lions will play really hard regardless of what Wisconsin does. Brett Bilema will still be a jerk. Camp Randall Stadium will still inexplicably have a rug instead of grass. There will be mentions of State Street being an okay place to spend some time. I’ll wish I had gone to the 2006 or 2008 games when I had a friend going to grad school there. There won’t be as much sportsmanship in Madison as Columbus this year, but that’s okay. UniWatch will snub this game as one of the “best looking” on Sunday morning because of the scandal. Guido D’Elia will shed a single tear when “Jump Around” comes on and wish he had thought of it. Wisconsin wins 31 – 20 and we get over it because the thought of seeing “2011″ on the skyboxes isn’t a real welcome one.

The Roundtable

JoePa’s Doghouse
Nittany Lions Den
The 50-Yard Lion

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Returning to the land of Penn State blogging, but for how long?

I have not blogged in the last two weeks since I wrote my tirade about Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. My reaction has gone to shock, anger, numbness to increasing ambivalence about my university and its football team. Sure, I have watched the Nittany Lions (the Nebraska game a day later) and all of that, but the passion is not what it was on say, October 30 or so. Will it come back? I cannot say. I don’t know if a Big Ten title, change of administration, new season, trip back to Beaver Stadium or whatever will re-ignite the way I feel. Maybe, I’m just going to see the games as something to watch on TV, rather than a part of my lifestyle. I was pleased the Nittany Lions won on Saturday, but nowhere near as excited as their last win over Ohio State in Columbus.

Some things I have noticed:

Tom Bradley has not taken a misstep yet as interim head coach. He is saying and doing the right things. I would not object to him given the job permanently, though it is a mortal lock that won’t happen because Intercollegiate Athletics is going to be completely turned over. It is a shame that people who apparently had no idea of what was going on are going to suffer because of Sandusky being a monster and the powers that be not doing enough about it. If Rodney Erickson can be take over as president, I don’t see any reason based on what we know today, that Bradley can’t be head coach.

David Joyner, the acting athletic director and until recently, Trustee has the job locked up. Power has swung back to the board after 16 years of Graham Spanier as university president and 45 years of Joe Paterno as head coach and they will want to hold on to it. Having one of their own running Intercollegiate Athletics will do that.

Boosters, like Terry Pegula, will have power to write more than a check moving forward. Their influence is going to start counting now, just like at other programs.

I’m more sad for Sue Paterno than Joe over the end of his career and cancer diagnosis. I wish him well though and hope that someday, he’ll be able to get a “Joe Paterno Day” at Beaver Stadium after the legal process is over.

Jay Paterno has handled the situation very well from what I have seen. Also, if Yale has a coaching vacancy (which they might) don’t be shocked if Jay psuhes hard for that job.

Matt McGloin has also impressed me with his handling of the situation. He’s matured an awful lot over the last year on and off the field. I am pulling for him.

Rob Bolden will leave the program, book it.

Stephfon Green is playing really hard and well right now. I’m glad to see it, he nearly threw it all away, but clearly learned from the experience.

Ohio State is wearing gray pants again. Good job, Buckeyes.

I have a bunch of silly questions for a guest prognosticator, but I don’t feel like asking them. While that feature is always trivial, I don’t feel like asking them. I usually prefer to laugh through stuff, but don’t think I’ll bother.

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Matt McGloin does Q&A with ESPN

Friday Q&A: Penn State QB Matt McGloinESPN
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin is saying the right things (though hinting there is more he’d like to say) about the 2011 Nittany Lions. It sounds as though he had a bit of an epiphany during preseason practice – Don’t screw it up for the defense! McGloin said he realizes he has to control the game, rather than get to excited and try to make lots of big plays.

While McGloin still forces throws, he’s doing it a lot less than he had been last year. Based on this he’s really matured as a quarterback, but we won’t know until after the Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin games.

h/t Black Shoe Diaries fanshot (which no one reads)

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Blue White Roundtable: Bye week blues

Adam Collyer of Black Shoe Diaries writes the questions because bloggers don’t take bye weeks…

BSD: The Nittany Lions now sit at #15 in the polls, having won 7 straight. Think back to the morning of September 3rd. What were your expectations for this team? Are they were you thought they would be today?

WFY: I expected this team to be 7-2 at best with a loss to Iowa thrown in because I also picked Iowa over Penn State until proven otherwise. I also expected Rob Bolden to have turned into a decent quarterback by now and the defense to be improved, but not this improved. I did not expect Silas Redd to be this good. Lastly, I did not expect Penn State to have a 2½ game lead in the (looks it up) Leaders Division.

BSD: The defense has obviously been spectacular, and several players have made game changing contributions. For much of the year, the defensive MVP has looked like Devon Still, who is playing as well (or maybe even better) than Jared Odrick during his stellar senior campaign. Recently, Gerald Hodges has been virtually unstoppable. Who is the defensive MVP after nine weeks?

WFY: Devon Still has been a beast throughout the season. He has what, 15½ tackles for a loss this year? Outstanding. He’s the defensive MVP. Gerald Hodges is probably the runner up, he’s really come on this month. Overall, I’m quite pleased with the defense, I knew they would be better, but I didn’t think they’d be this much better.

BSD: Is there any appropriate way to get Rob Bolden playing time at this juncture? What do you expect will happen with him by the end of the year?

WFY: Rob Bolden is Saturday’s starter.

The only appropriate ways for Bolden to play are at the end of a blowout with Penn State up big or if McGloin gets injured. I was in favor of him playing in the second quarter since McGloin was having problems, but Bolden is just lost. I think he leaves the program which is a shame, but I can’t blame him. Starting as a true frosh was the worst thing that could ever happen to him and supports the old Joe Paterno cliche “I’d rather play a kid too late than too early.”

Nice to hear his mom thinks he’s taking it well
, certainly not the impression one gets from his sideline demeanor.

BSD: Silas Redd has rushed for over 1000 yards and still has at least four games left on the schedule. What will he finish with for the year?

WFY: I think Silas Redd finishes with between 1,300 and 1,400 yards in the regular season and a lot of stingers. Oh and All-Big Ten as well. Figure on another 100 yards in post-season play.

BSD: Most Penn State fans have embraced this teams “win ugly” attitude and believe they can finish strong. If this team were to lose 2 of the next 3, how will that change your opinion of them?

WFY: I don’t think my opinion would change much if they only won once in November for a few reasons — they have tougher teams on the schedule and the last two games are on the road. Only blowouts in the last 3 games could make me feel really bad, but I’ll be disappointed if and when they lose because they have come so far. Winning 2 out of 3 would be outstanding and 3 out of 3 is a mortal lock to not happen I’m afraid.

BSD: Predict the team’s record and bowl game.

WFY: I predicted a 9-4 season at the outset, some I am going to stick to that here, much as it pains me to do so. I think they’ll go to the Capital One Bowl or possibly the Gator Bowl. Outback is out because they went last year.

The Roundtable

JoePa’s Doghouse
Nittany Lions Den
The 50-Yard Lion

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Penn State: Rob Bolden’s mother says he’s okay being a backup

Bolden’s mom: He’d be content as backup – Nittany Extra, Reading Eagle
A bit of bombshell came out last night in the link above — Rob Bolden‘s mother said he would be okay with being a backup right now. Now, this is not from Bolden himself, but his mother is as good a source as any on what he’s thinking.

“I think that he would be content in a backup role,” Bolden’s mother, Tonia Williams, said. “I just always tell him to go out there and do his best and to look at the plays more often and you know, there’s always room for improvement.”

Williams said that her son is 19 years old and continuing to grow as both a player and as a person. She said sometimes it’s “tough to tell” if he’s made progress from last year to this year, but the one thing she does know is that he’s doing the best he can to improve.

Handling the situation as a starter and backup, while splitting repetitions and rotating by quarters and by series, hasn’t worn on her son too much, Williams said. When she talks with Bolden, she said he remains upbeat and optimistic, though she said she’s unsure what his future holds.

Now you can take this all with a grain of salt and I almost expect a denial to be issued by his mother today.

This also makes the theory that Bolden’s father was more behind the transfer drama than the quarterback seem more likely. Bolden’s mother did not want him leaving Penn State in the first place.

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PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS 10 Illinois Fighting Illini 7

Penn State football may be hazardous to your health
In the last 3 minutes of the Penn State Nittany Lions victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini, I noted that I feel my heart racing and wondered aloud what my heart-rate was then. I had not expected to actually measure it, but there just happened to be tools where I watching the game, so there you have it. The narrative was going to be that the 2011 Nittany Lions may be hazardous to your health, but at least in terms of heart rate, that’s not unhealthy (blood pressure would be considered “prehypertension” for the record). In fact, at my weight, that would be fat-burning if I was on an elliptical trainer. So, might the 2011 Nittany Lions make me leaner? Now we’re talking.

Winning ugly is better than losing pretty and winning fugly, even more so. I did not think Penn State would have as much trouble in the conditions as they did. I’m disappointed by them in that regard. It really exposed how not having a good tight end or fullback Joe Suhey catching he ball out of the backfield really hurt them I think. I should modify this criticism to note that the conditions (which on the field were merely wet I believe — snow never piled up on the field) did not hurt the defense which had about 10 tackles for a loss on the day. The two defensive tackles Devon Still and Jordan Hill combined for about 20 tackles and 4½ for a loss. LB Gerald Hodges had 19 tackles! MLB Glenn Carson, whose name I have not heard a lot this season, made some critical tackles as well. Drew Astorino also had some good tackles in the first half in particular. I am not sure the Illini even had a first down in the first half. The domination was that total.

The absence of WR Derek Moye hurt more than I thought it would. I had come the conclusion that the wideouts had shown enough with him off the field to not be worried. I have been proven wrong. Justin Brown dropped passes he normally would not have and Brandon Moseby-Felder reminded us why he hasn’t been seen much with a dropped pass and a penalty. That being said the woeful passing game could not be explained simply by receivers dropping balls, Matt McGloin was unimpressive in the 1st quarter, throwing several bad throws in additions to the drops. The high-water mark was a missed field goal from 43 yards out by Anthony Fera.

Even less impressive was Rob Bolden, who got to take snaps in the second quarter. I was not against that given how McGloin was playing but Bolden continued to show he has nothing to offer as quarterback right now. Has he been treated fairly? Probably not, but he simply does not have it.

Illinois showed signs of life late in the first half, alternating between quarterbacks Nathan Scheelhaase and Reily Ford, but a touchdown was called back by a penalty. Two plays later, a bad snap on a field goal attempt turned into an interception, one of 4 Illini turnovers on the day.

In the second half, Penn State continued to struggled offensively, while the Illini started improving a bit and getting actual yardage and first down. Late in the third quarter after stopping a McGloin sneak on 4th down, the Illini marched down the field for the game’s first score, a touchdown. The Penn State defensive was wearing down a bit, having had no support from the offense. The Nittany Lions drove down inside the 10, but Silas Redd was stuffed twice and McGloin was sacked and fumbled on third down. Penn State kept the ball and Fera finally got them on the board with a field goal. Illinois then held onto the ball until having to punt with about three minutes left in the game and the anemic Penn State offense needing to go 80 yards to take the lead.

Enter Moye. Just having him on the field made all the difference. His first reception after coming in on the final Nittany Lions drive seemed to focus the rest of the receievers, including Brown. Oh and Moye was interfered with all the down the field on the pass interference call on 4th down. Not seeing any other options, McGloin threw deep for Moye near the goal line. The 15 yard penalty and a completion to Moye put the Nittany Lions on the doorstep. Two Silas Redd (the only PSU runner to get any meaningful yardage, he ran better in the conditions than I expected and needs this bye badly) runs later and the improbable touchdown gave Penn State the lead.

Scheelhaase used his legs and his arm to get the visitors in field goal range. Then, as time was ready to expire, this happened:

Black Shoe Diaries simply said “This is why we love college football.”

Fight On State had a great view too:

I have been quite critical of the student section for blindly going along with Guido D’Elia’s efforts to make Beaver Stadium a generic experience, but they impressed me here. The doink of the football hitting the right crossbar concluded a shocking end to a frustrating game.

The win was Joe Paterno’s 409th as head coach, surpassing Eddie Robinson for the all-time Division I record.

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Beat writers on Penn State vs. Illinois; Paterno post-game presser

Bob Flounders and David Jones of the Patriot-News

Cory Giger and Neil Rudel of the Altoona Mirror

Frank Bodani and Jim Seip of the York Daily Record/Sunday News

Kevin McGuire of Examiner.com


Joe Paterno
post-game press conference courtesy of Blue White Illustrated

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