Tag Archives: Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 – 2011. He won a record 409 games and 2 undisputed National Championships. He was the most instrumental person at Penn State in the second half of the 20th century.

R.I.P. Joe Paterno

I am only getting to my obituary for Joe Paterno now because I wasn’t sure what I could add to the thousands of tributes already out there. I’m going to try and fill in something that I think has been overlooked. That aspect was also a little hard to find online until late last week.

Paterno won 409 games, 2 undisputed national championships, had undefeated seasons in 4 different decades, won 3 Big Ten Championships, every bowl game that mattered and more than any one else for that matter. His on-field legacy is secure. His “Grand Experiment” of having football players who were students is unsurpassed in big time college football. Paterno’s football players graduated a rate higher than the Penn State population in recent years and probably over his entire tenure. The praise he gathered for that was well-earned.

An aspect of Paterno that I feel that may have been overlooked was his direct role in shaping the Pennsylvania State University. The fame that his successful football teams brought raise the profile of the university. Paterno would have been a memorable figure for that, particularly the the way he did it. However, Paterno did not settle for that and at the peak of his power and prestige, he decided that the Penn State could not settle for being #1 just in football. Following the 1982 National Championship, Paterno was invited to speak to the Board of Trustees. Instead of a pep talk, he outlined a vision for the university. Here is an excerpt from Paterno’s January 22, 1983 speech to the Board of Trustees, 29 years to the day before died (Google Doc):

So we do have a magic moment and we have a great opportunity, and I think we have got to start right now to put our energies together to make Penn State not only Number One, but I think we’ve got to start to put our energies together to make this a Number One institution by 1990. I don’t think that’s an unfounded or a way-out objective. I think we need some things. I talk to you now as a faculty member. I talk to you as somebody who has spent 33 years at Penn State, who has two daughters at Penn State, who probably will have three sons at Penn State, who has a wife that graduated from Penn State, who has two brother-in-laws that graduated from Penn State, and I talk to you as somebody I think who knows a little bit about what’s going on. Who has recruited against Michigan, Stanford, UCLA, who has recruited against Notre Dame, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard and who has had to identify some things that they have that are better than we have and has had to identify some of our problems. I talk to you as somebody that I think knows a little bit about what’s going on in the other guys, and I think a little bit about what’s going on here. We need chairs. We need money so that we can get some stars. We need scholarship money. We need scholarship money to get scholars who can be with the stars so that the stars will come in and have some people around that can stimulate them and they can be stimulated by the stars. We need a better library–better libraries would be a better way to put it–so that the stars and the scholars have the tools to realize their potential. We need an environment of dissent and freedom of speech and freedom to express new and controversial ideas.

Paterno was vice chair of the first “Campaign for Penn State” the raised $352 million from 1984-1990. He continued to raise money for Penn State for decades and with his wife, Sue, contributed over $4 million. He specifically raised money for the library which now bears his last name. The modern Penn State, a modern research institution with many nationally ranked colleges, schools and departments is his greatest legacy.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Joe Posnanski also spoke with Joe Paterno in the final days

Paterno’s final days: no bitterness, just marveling at his fortunate lifeSports Illustrated

In the moments after Joe Paterno died, it became common for people to write and say that he died of a broken heart. He did not. Joe Paterno died of lung cancer and the complications it caused. He did not die a bitter or broken man.

Joe Posnanski spent the fall in State College preparing to write a book at Joe Paterno and Happy Valley. It was something that I looked forward to reading, even though I have read countless Paterno biographies. Posnanski is just such a good writer and I was sure he would come up with a great book that would provide additional illumination.

Paterno had said that he would not speak with Posnanski due to the commitments of running the program, but following the dark days that Jerry Sandusky brought to Penn State, Paterno had the time. Aware of his mortality facing lung cancer, Paterno changed his mind and spoke with Posnanski.

I am sure there will be more in Posnanski’s book, but this short article makes it pretty clear that the “died of broken heart” narrative is a false one. All of those books and all that I knew of Paterno suggested this would not be the case and this confirmed it. Cancer (especially diagnosed as late as Paterno’s was) and cancer treatments puts a tremendous toll on someone. I suspect the latter proved to be the specific cause of Paterno’s death.

I am still trying to piece together my thoughts on Paterno’s legacy and it may be a few days yet. I need to give the same consideration to that as I did my post-Sandusky posts that were critical of him. I stand by those, but they are not the whole story by a long shot.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

My reactions to the Sally Jenkins interview with Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno finally put out his side of the story nearly two months after a grand jury indicted Jerry Sandusky on many counts of doing horrible things to boys. I am glad that Paterno finally spoke, even though he doesn’t say much. It needs to be mentioned that the journalist, Sally Jenkins, was handpicked by Paterno and his PR firm. Paterno is also undergoing cancer treatment and was hospitalized later in the day the interview was concluded. Make sure you read the whole story (linked below) before reading my points.

My approach to this was an odd dichotomy — I already concluded in November that Paterno lost the moral standing to be head football coach, but I feel he has been unfairly scapegoated and made at focus of this scandal when there are several people, namely Gary Schultz, university president Graham Spanier (the contempt I have for him!) and of course, Sandusky who are far more culpable. Schultz, along with Tim Curley, athletic director, have yet to be fired and are on administrative leave and are charged with perjury. Apparently, that is less of a crime than actually reporting to them the Sandusky allegations.

Joe Paterno’s first interview since the Penn State-Sandusky scandalThe Post

How Sandusky, 67, allegedly evaded detection by state child services, university administrators, teachers, parents, donors and Paterno himself remains an open question. “I wish I knew,” Paterno said. “I don’t know the answer to that. It’s hard.”

Yes, Sanduksy was undetected for years by countless people, not just Joe Paterno.

“I didn’t know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was,” he said. “So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn’t work out that way.”

That is certainly plausible and even reasonable, but I am not satisfied with it from the moral authority of college football. He should have followed up more and he admitted he did not. Paterno used the perception of being the morale authority of college football to build a tremendous amount power for himself and his program.

Paterno is accused of no wrongdoing, and in fact authorities have said he fulfilled his legal obligations by reporting to his superiors.

This is forgotten by many. Legal responsibility is a lower standard than moral responsibility though.

Nevertheless, the university Board of Trustees summarily dismissed him with a late-night phone call four days after Sandusky’s arrest. At about 10 p.m., Paterno and Sue were getting ready for bed when the doorbell rang. An assistant athletic director was at the door, and wordlessly handed Sue a slip of paper. There was nothing on it but the name of the vice chairman of trustees, John Surma, with a phone number. They stood frozen by the bedside in their nightclothes, Sue in a robe and Paterno in pajamas and a Penn State sweatshirt. Paterno dialed the number. Surma told Paterno, “In the best interests of the university, you are terminated.” Paterno hung up and repeated the words to his wife. She grabbed the phone and redialed.

“After 61 years he deserved better,” she snapped. “He deserved better.”

Paterno did deserve better, much better than the way this was handled. Still, there was no way he could have been on the sidelines again. I remember the saying from Russell Frank’s media ethics class — if it appears you have a conflict of interest, you have a conflict of interest. I said initially, that Paterno should have resigned outright as soon as the scandal broke because 1.) he still had some moral authority left 2.) show the administration that failed everyone, except Jerry Sandusky, the way out the door. The board should have put Paterno on administrative leave — it was good enough for two administrators, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley who had in the eyes of the prosecution perjured themselves. Graham Spanier, the former university president, who should have been terminated based on his complete refusal to engage in crisis management, resigned just before the board would have fired him.

Paterno was initially reluctant to speak because “I wanted everybody to settle down,” he said. But he is so eager to defend his record that he insisted on continuing the interview from his bedside Friday morning, though ill. He was hospitalized for observation later in the day due to complications from the chemo but, according to the family, had improved by Saturday morning.

Remember, Spanier, canceled Paterno’s regular Tuesday press conference after the allegations broke. Spanier’s only other action — publicly supporting Schultz and Curley.

What Penn State officials knew about Sandusky and when is the subject of no fewer than five formal investigations. They range from state Attorney General Linda Kelly’s criminal investigation of Sandusky, to an NCAA inquiry, to Penn State’s in-house inquiry led by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh. The best-case scenario is that the institutional leaders were guilty of blindness, and an unfeeling self-absorption. The worst case is a criminal cover-up to protect a wealthy university’s reputation.

Yup. By the way, I have serious concerns about the attorney generals who investigated this case — why has the Second Mile where the alleged victims were found by Sandusky, been a bigger focus than Penn State?

On a Saturday morning in 2002, an upset young assistant coach named Mike McQueary knocked on Paterno’s door to tell him he had witnessed a shocking scene in the Penn State football building showers. Until that moment, Paterno said, he had “no inkling” that Sandusky might be a sexual deviant. By then Sandusky was a former employee, with whom Paterno had little to do. Although Sandusky had been his close coaching associate and helped fashion Penn State defenses for three decades, their relationship was “professional, not social,” as Paterno described it. “He was a lot younger than me.”

This is an important point missed by many outside of the immediate Penn State community — Sandusky and Paterno were not friends. I do not believe Paterno socialized with any of his coaching staff.

Sandusky retired in 1999, shortly after Penn State made the Alamo Bowl. The timing was curious. Paterno’s understanding was that Sandusky took early retirement on his recommendation after Paterno told him frankly that he would not become his successor. The state was offering 30-year employees a handsome buyout, and Paterno believed Sandusky should take it. Paterno was frustrated that Sandusky spent so much time working on his youth foundation, The Second Mile, that he was not available to help in recruiting and other coaching duties…

“He came to see me and we talked a little about his career,” Paterno said. “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.

Concerns about Sandusky’s dueling commitments was also cited as a reason Sandusky was unable to get hired for the University of Virginia opening.

Paterno insists he was completely unaware of a 1998 police investigation into a report from a Second Mile mother that Sandusky had inappropriately touched her son in a shower. The inquiry ended when the local prosecutor declined to bring charges. “You know it wasn’t like it was something everybody in the building knew about,” Paterno said. “Nobody knew about it.”

This was one of my big questions when the story break — who knew in 1998 and was a deal made to let Sandusky retire “honorably” instead of pressing charges? The answer is Paterno did not know and thus was not part of any “deal” with Sandusky. Had he been, I’d be asking for the statue to come down.

Paterno contends that ignorance was the context with which he heard McQueary’s disturbing story in 2002…“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.”

Legally, Paterno correct in reporting it to his superiors. He did put a lot of thought into it, but still came to a conclusion that was, in mind, insufficient.

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…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.

Currently, the prosecutors agree with McQueary’s assessment and that is why Curley and Schultz are accused of perjury.

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

Paterno’s portrait of himself is of an old-world man profoundly confused by what McQueary told him, and who was hesitant to make follow-up calls because he did not want to be seen as trying to exert any influence for or against Sandusky. “I didn’t know which way to go,” he said. “And rather than get in there and make a mistake . . .”

Paterno wasn’t always so reluctant to put in a call on some things and the “old-world man” idea is in a way choosing to be blind to something. That’s a tough spot, that I can’t come to a conclusion on. Not wanting to mess up an investigation?

According to Sollers, the attorney, Paterno has no legal exposure in the Sandusky case. Paterno has cooperated fully with the investigation, and has “met on multiple occasions voluntarily” with representatives from the attorney general’s office, Sollers said. “In my judgment Coach Paterno has no legal liability in this matter. In fact, he acted completely appropriately in reporting the only allegation he received to his superiors and had every expectation that the allegation would be investigated thoroughly.”

Like I said earlier, legal and moral are two different things. That’s Paterno’s attorney speaking too.

The Paternos say they think about the real potential victims every time they look at their own children. “I got three boys and two girls,” Paterno said. “It’s sickening.” His knee-jerk response is to go back to Flatbush. “Violence is not the way to handle it,” he said. “But for me, I’d get a bunch of guys and say let’s go punch somebody in the nose.” Sue Paterno is more blunt. “If someone touched my child, there wouldn’t be a trial, I would have killed them,” she said. “That would be my attitude, because you have destroyed someone for life.”

Other people’s kids, well he’d just tell his bosses and hope for the best it seems.

The Sandusky investigation has torn apart a cloistered town-and-gown community where everyone knows everyone — including Sandusky.

The university community there and elsewhere is fighting itself over this scandal.

If nothing else, the Paternos say, perhaps the Sandusky case will raise consciousness in other communities the way it has been raised in theirs. “We are going to become a more aware society,” Sue said. “Maybe we will look for clues.” She wonders what signs she missed all those years, when they felt so successful and sure of themselves.

Hardly an original thought, but true nonetheless (see, Bernie Fine)

It remains to be seen, barring any new revelations, whether there will be a reappraisal of Paterno’s life and record at Penn State. Eventually, his family hopes, there will be healing and forgiveness in the community, and the outlines of the man they insist Paterno is, and not the monument or monumental target, will reemerge: A modest, decent, fundamentally devoted coach who always loved books more than money.

I think he will be remembered more charitably as we move away from this, but the first paragraph of his obituary will have “Jerry Sanduksy” in it.

Paterno’s record is not perfect. Anyone who won on his scale has an ungenerous competitive streak and nascent ego. His love for higher learning — he likes to name-drop Puccini and Virgil — could tip over into superiority. He could show a temper, as he did in 1995 when a camera caught him delivering a profane on-field tirade.

Really, the Doug Graber “incident” gets brought up?

His football program was not immune to the problems of big-time college athletics. An ESPN inquiry found that from 2002 to 2007, 46 Penn State football players faced criminal charges. But he liked working with problem cases and turning them around. “Hotshots,” he still calls them today. The 2007 team had 19 players who earned Academic all-Big Ten honors. “The bigger the problem the guy was, the more I enjoyed it when we had success,” he said.

That ESPN 46 players inquiry was full on inaccuracies and perhaps overblown. Basically, the football team had a “a drinking and fighting problem” that was not unique to football players at Penn State. Does that excuse it, of course not. Was it bad, yes, but it wasn’t exactly the Luther Campbell Hurricanes either.

His philosophy was simple. “My thing was play as hard as you can, don’t be stupid, pay attention to details, and have enough guts in the clutch that you’re not afraid to make a play,” he said. “

In the Jerry Sandusky matter, did Joe Paterno live by that philosophy? My conclusion is, sadly, he did not live up to it.

The moral I take from the whole story is if you see something going wrong, make sure you do everything you can to get the right people involved, namely the police. Don’t count on superiors or anybody else to do it for you.

FURTHER READING

CHAT: Joe Paterno interview: Sally Jenkins discusses her talk with ex-Penn State coach -The Post
Penn State Football: 65 Days Later, Why Jenkins Got the Call From PaternoStateCollege.com
Washington Post writer Sally Jenkins talks to ComRadio – ComRadio

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

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.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

May no act of ours bring shame

upsidedownpennstateflag
That headline above is the first line of the last verse of the Pennsylvania State University Alma Mater, sung before football games among other places. Due to the apparent actions of one and the inaction of many, my university, not just the football program, has been shamed to an extent that is unfathomable.

I have spent the last several days trying to process the indictments against former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. For years, Sandusky is alleged to have abused boys in unspeakable ways. He will have his day in court (provided he doesn’t kill himself) and perhaps I will address him at the conclusion of his trial. My focus here is on what the administration of my university did not do in the face of apparent evil.

In 2002 Sandusky, who had retired in 1999 but retained full access to the program as an emeritus professor, was allegedly caught by a graduate assistant in a football building shower with a boy committing a horrible crime. The distraught graduate assistant reported it to head coach Joe Paterno, who reported to his superior Tim Curley that something had happened. Whether Paterno reported the specifics is unclear. Curley reported the alleged incident to university vice president Gary Schultz, who oversees campus police. Other than a slap on the wrist that was unenforceable, Sandusky faced no formal sanction or even an investigation from campus police. The higher the allegation went up the chain of command, the less serious it was taken.

The grad assistant and Paterno respected the chain of command of the closed culture of the football program and university, and it failed him. I can only imagine how often he has second guessed himself the last 9 years. Curley and Schultz are facing perjury charges and have taken administrative leave after giving testimony that the grand jury felt contradicted the grad assistant and Paterno. It is beyond my understanding that they have not yet resigned outright. Why Schultz chose not to have the campus police investigate the situation is beyond comprehension. Why university president Graham Spanier went along with this is also something I cannot understand. Even if they were unwilling to proceed legally, they could have used the power that the university has to keep Sandusky off campus and away from the program. Were they really worried about due process within the university’s own rules and regulations? What were they worried about? Would Sanduksy complain to the Faculty Sen
ate or sue them and thus bring scruntity upon himself? Unbelievable! I feel a tremendous amount of anger and contempt towards the administration for doing NOTHING. Sandusky, apparently continued to use the football program facilities until LAST WEEK.

Next up is Paterno. For the last 4 decades, he has portrayed himself as the conscience of college football and has largely acted accordingly. This, combined with winning more games than any other Division I coach, gave him tremendous power over not just his own football program, but the entire university. He has been bigger than the university since at last 1983 when after winning Penn State first consensus National Championship, he challenged the university to make itself better and went and raised hundreds of millions of dollars to serve that end. Paterno may have been bigger than the university even earlier, perhaps when he said this at commencement in 1973 in reference to Richard Nixon crowing Texas as the 1969 National Champion before the bowl games with Penn State ranked #2:

I don’t understand how Richard Nixon could know so much about college football in 1969 and so little about Watergate in 1973

To paraphrase his own words:

I don’t understand how Joe Paterno could know so much about Watergate in 1973 and so little about what was going on in the football building in 2002.

While Paterno was apparently responsible in accordance of the law, that is not good enough! Someone so powerful, who was educated by Jesuits and the Ivy League, and who asserted his moral authority so many times before is compelled to do more than than Paterno did. He had the power and he chose not to use it. He could have done more! He chose not to and that is why he needs to step down immediately.

When the scandal first broke, I felt Paterno needed to resign, perhaps 50% because he did not do enough and 50% because he was the only administrator with any moral authority left and could use that one final time by leading the way for the others in doing the right thing for the university. At this time, he has neglected to do so. Frankly, I don’t really care about his legacy any more, because people create their own legacy and this is part of his whether he likes it or not, whether it is fair or not. He failed to live up to the values he preached in a most critical time. Free tattoos, cars, cash for recruits and all the other recent scandals are ultimately trivial compared what apparently occurred at Penn State.

The predator will have his day in court. The alleged victims…may they somehow find peace and strength after their ordeals that no one had the temerity to stop. The university has been shamed not only by an alleged predator, but by those who did not stand up to him. They should and will pay with their careers and good names. Penn State will need to find its way again with stronger people, stricter rules and more compassion. It will likely never be the same. Maybe it never actually was what they told us.

- William F. Yurasko
Class of 1999

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

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.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

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.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

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

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)