Monthly Archives: November 2007

512K

Joe Paterno’s salary was released today, he will make 512,664 from PSU this season. Not a shock to those who had a clue (unlike some, who actually speculated in the millions). His total salary from privatized companies like Nike, etc, could push it north of a million, but not his base salary from the school.

Good for Joe, glad to hear it. I can rest easy now.

Oh and by the way, thanks for the invite.

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At least someone is on the bandwagon

Finally, a national writer who has somewhat of a clue.

Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com projects that Illinois will land in the BCS by way of ending up in the top 14 in the final standings.

Although Schlabach’s logic is a little warped, (he has Wisconsin going back to the Capital One Bowl, trust me, that’s NOT going to happen), at least he finally has begun to spread the word among national writers that it’s possible to get Illinois into the BCS.

If you need a full recap on what happens if Illinois does sneak in, and you’re a Penn State fan, check out my story from today.

Of course one has to factor in that if LSU loses to Tennessee, and the Capital One can pair Michigan and LSU together, um, duh, they will.

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Capital One still a possibility?

As the bowl world continues to turn, it’s our understanding that the Capital One Bowl is still a major player to land PSU if the Big Ten gets both Ohio State and Illinois into the BCS.

Pretty shocking, I’ll let the fact that a four loss PSU team making a NYD bowl sink in for a few seconds…..

Per one of our sources we just spoke to, it appears that Wisconsin appears locked into the Outback Bowl, meaning if Illinois is BCS bound, the Capital One will choose between Penn State and Michigan, likely taking PSU per our source.

According to our source the Capital One does not want to take Wisconsin two years in a row, (bowls do indeed try to avoid that), and Michigan has not represented themselves well at the Cap One in past years, leaving PSU a very attractive fit for Orlando.

The Capital One has evidently talked to other bowls and informed them they could be taking a team that the other bowl desires (PSU), if it comes down to it.

It’s all rather amusing considering the circus that has been College Football this season. And for a four loss PSU team to make a New Years Day bowl??? That would be a little slice of redemption, although I am not sure playing Florida is really the way to go.

We’ll have more on this as the day progresses.

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What’s in a salary?

On the merit of good, investigative reporting, the Harrisburg Patriot-News got their wish of having Joe Paterno’s salary released to the public.

I’ll be 100-percent honest, I really don’t care what the guy makes. To some it will never be enough, to others it may be too much given the current results of the last two seasons.

I maintain that Joe makes somewhere in the high six figures…..from the school. That doesn’t count any income from other private companies like Nike, or whomever.

And what the release of the salary will do is possibly show that PSU isn’t willing to go into the high digits to secure a coach. They never really had to with Paterno.

So say, I dunno, Bill Cowher, is interested in the Penn State job once Joe retires (in 2019). Cowher, a Super Bowl winning coach, will command somewhere around $3-5 million, the Nick Saban style, for sure.

If it comes out that Paterno made, say, $700,000 from the school, or maybe less, (university president Graham Spainer makes high $500,000’s) how exactly does that mean Penn State can land a marquee name. It all but assures the Nittany Lions will go local, or hire an alum to do the job, doesn’t it?

Maybe I’m reaching here, but it doesn’t seem like the release of this salary, which Penn State maintains isn’t helped by taxpayer dollars, will do nothing more than assure us that a “name” isn’t on the way in a couple of years when Joe goes.

Speaking of Joe….

Got some interesting feedback to my column the other day. Figured I’d share some.

joyce wrote on Nov 20, 2007 10:01 AM:

” You are so right i still can’t beleive it everyone blames Morelli but up to the last 4 plays he was having one of his best games he never sure of been put in that position we were moving the ball great lets not just blame JoePa lets include Jay and Hahn and what happened to our defense i know they were tired and missing our bad boys but they looked like they went home to sleep instead of playing the last half could Bradley get some of the blame too each week our offense been getting better at the cost of the defense getting worst no team sure loose a game that the offense got them 31 points ”
(Note: Who is blaming Matt Hahn? I’m guessing Joyce means that his absence is to blame? Well first, Matt can’t help he isn’t there and 2) His loss hurts, sure, but their running game hasn’t exactly suffered with him not there. Dan Lawlor has been fine filling in) 
Rick wrote on Nov 20, 2007 9:54 AM:

” Agreed. No one at PSU knows how to develop a QB and this KILLS our recruiting. No one gets this fact: our Zone pass coverage is now so well known and predictable, out opponents get EVERY SINGLE 3rd down conversion and fully know all the many soft spots. Football Axiom: If something is working – go with it until they stop us – such as the”game winning” drive! Please dumpo McQueary and Jay Paterno already – the nepotism experiment is a failure. I am having nightmares of those four desperate bombs at the end when the clock and the O-Line were totally in our favor! p.s. 3rd and 2 in the first half and Morelli fumbled…there is yr 4 point difference folks. “

(Note: I like “Big Red” and think he should be the offensive coordinator OR the quarterbacks coach) 

Rick from NJ wrote on Nov 19, 2007 9:00 PM:

” House cleaning needs to start at the top with Curley. Scheduling 4 poor teams to get 4 wins and false security is against the ethos that made PSU great. “

(Note: Love the false sense of security here) 

 

John wrote on Nov 19, 2007 8:04 PM:

” Great article. Could not have summed it up any better. Were running it down their throats. Had plenty of time to go for the first down, but the great coaching staff throws it deep four straight times. Way to give the boyz a chance to win, JoePa and staff. How many more years of this torture? “

Biggun’ wrote on Nov 19, 2007 2:22 PM:

” If PSU wins, “Joe had nothing to do with it”, his asst. coaches coached the game. If PSU loses, it’s Joe’s fault, he’s too old, etc. A little “agism” from all? “

(Note: True to an extent, let’s be honest about something here, we all know that Joe has stepped back a little bit and that the assistants do most of the work, Joe then fills in and adds his two cents where needed, IE: Kelly’s fake field goal last weekend. BUT, Joe and the entire staff deserve the blame for the horrible loss to Michigan State. Case closed. Penn State’s coaching lost that game. Period.) 

Dave in Florida wrote on Nov 19, 2007 9:42 AM:

” I’m a Joepa fan but its time for him to retire. Throwing those psses on the final drive was the final straw. I listend to the game on XM with MSU announcers. They said our offensive line was blowing there’s away. Why give up the run when it was working so well? First tiem I’ve said it, time to go Joe. “

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Big Ten honors five Lions

The Big Ten (finally) officially released the 2007, All-Big Ten teams.

Five Penn State players were selected.

A.Q. Shipley, Maurice Evans, Dan Connor, Jeremy Boone and Justin King all made first team. The selection of King is a little ironic, as he had brutally tough games against Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan State. But according to the offical release, defended a conference best 17 passes.

Rich Ohrnberger and Sean Lee were second team, Honorable Mention went to Gerald Cadogan, Josh Gaines, Kevin Kelly, Rodney Kinlaw and Anthony Scirrotto. I’m also a little surprised that Kinlaw didn’t make a second team, he did most of his 1,188 yards in the last handful of games and has been a major reason why the Nittany Lions have at least eight wins.

Mike Hart and Javon Ringer were second team backs, and while I don’t disagree with Hart (he would have been first team had he not been hurt), Kinlaw is equal, if not better than Ringer, in my opinion.

I’m shocked that Chad Henne beat out Todd Boeckman for first team quarterback, the second team QB was Indiana’s Kellen Lewis.

James Laurinaitis is the Defensive Player of the Year.

Rashard Mendenhall is the Offensive Player of the Year.

Penn State also announced today that Connor is a finalist for the Bednarik Award, which he also was a season ago, when teammate Paul Posluszny won it.

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Champs or Alamo?

Or Insight, or Motor City. Just kidding.

Where does Penn State end up? The answer probably will not come for another two weeks, unless a deal is struck before the final whistle blows on championship weekend.

I’m leaning towards Orlando and the Champs Sports Bowl, aka, the Jr. High bowl in Orlando, for what some are calling a Jr. High Big Ten program anyway.

Everything still pretty much hinges on Illinois and their BCS fate, given that a couple of teams ahead of the Illini could lose and they could sneak in as a second Big Ten team in the BCS, meaning everyone else in conference moves up a notch bowl wise.

The only two teams that are guaranteed to get anything if they win out in the BCS are LSU and Kansas. Both have nasty games left. And you figure, the leftovers can all benefit Illinois’ case.

Arizona State/USC play each other this week, so do Hawaii/Boise State. Georgia could lose a possible SEC title game, somebody could lose two games between the four-team combo of Kansas/Missouri given that they play each other this week and the winner goes to the Big 12 title game against Texas or Oklahoma, meaning someone has to lose there too.

All of those teams are ahead of Illinois. Not to mention that LSU has a tricky game against Arkansas, West Virginia still has to deal with UConn and Pitt, and Boston College has Miami.

All Big Ten

The All-Big Ten teams will be announced tonight, but not until 10 p.m. (officially) when they are released on the Big Ten Network’s “Big Ten Tonight.”

Honestly, that’s sort of cheap to “officially” wait until 10 p.m. when  a lot of us have deadlines, but oh well.

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Game Blog (9:50, 4th quarter)

Lions go three and out on a terrible offensive drive deep in their own territory.

Boone nails a 53-yard punt to more or less save some face.

Penn State’s defense has been toyed with in the second half….this is the ball game right here. The feeling is that Morelli will not be able to lead this team in this environment, on this night.

It’s all on the defense right now.

We’re headed downstairs in a few, so that will do it for the live game blog, more thoughts after the game.

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PENN STATE 31, MICHIGAN STATE 28. Hoyer 26-pass to Thomas (Swenson kick). 4 plays, 40 yards in 1:50. Key Play: A 30-yard return on the kickoff by Andrew Hawken. Hoyer’s pass is to the far corner of the end zone, perfectly placed, Thomas beat the cover just to the outer edge of the back pylon.

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PENN STATE 31, MICHIGAN STATE 21. Kinlaw 4-yard run (Kelly kick). 8 plays, 35 yards in 3:06. Key Play: On third-and-24 from the MSU 30, Morelli connects with Derrick Williams for a 24-yard completion. Simply the biggest play of the game. Kinlaw carries twice, the second time finding the hole on the right side for the score.

Absolutely HUGE drive for the Lions, book ended by Williams, who is becoming Mr. Clutch.

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Remember that theme about dodging bullets, yeah, well PSU did it again, as MSU quarterback Brian Hoyer fumbles the snap on a first down, after a horrid Jeremy Boone knuckleball punt, and with momentum clearly on MSU’s side after two scores in the quarter.

Tight end Mickey Shuler just had a HUGE gain to the MSU 16 to end the third quarter. If Penn State doesn’t score on the drive, they will not win this game.

Through 3 quarters, they have 129 on the ground, literally all from Kinlaw and Morelli is a horrid 10-of-24 for 143 yards. He has been wild and overthrowing guys all game.

And I can hear Joe say he had a good game and it’s all the media’s fault that he struggled today. Um, yeah.

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Don’t look know, Sparty is on the move, running the ball and inflicting their own style and tempo. This game has DRASTICALLY changed in the last couple of minutes.

PENN STATE 24, MICHIGAN STATE 21. Hoyer 33-yard pass to Thomas. (Swenson kick). 7 plays, 91 yards in 2:20. Key Play: Culcrick rumbles 14 yards to the PSU 34, a clear indication that the tempo of this game has done a total 180-degree turn.

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Sparty showing signs of life. Oh and take it to the bank, David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News just said “No way Michigan State comes back,” meaning you can expect a 28-24 Sparty final.

PENN STATE 24, MICHIGAN STATE 14. Hoyer 3-yard pass to Jeff McPherson. 7 plays, 74 yards in 2:41. Key Play: A double reverse pass to Davis down to the 2-yard line setting up the score. Hoyer guides a must drive for Sparty, who shows serious signs of life on the drive.
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Just got a text from a friend watching the game, Terry Gannon, on ABC called the snap on the fake field goal a “terrible snap.”

Question, Terry, what are you watching? Did you not see Rich Ohrnberger hammer his man on the block, and did it ever occur to you, Terry, that on a fake field goal it’s supposed to be a high snap to throw off the opposing special teams???

How exactly did Terry Gannon get a job doing games on ABC anyway? Just curious. Much like Witovet, this is the ABC ‘D’ team.

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PENN STATE 17, MICHIGAN STATE 7. Rodney Kinlaw 4-yard run (Kelly kick). 16 plays, 65 yards in 4:58. Key Play: Kinlaw picks up a critical first down on fourth-and-1 to keep the drive alive. More trickery goes for not with PSU’s play calling, but the Lions do a good drop driving down the field for a big score.

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The Keystone Cops play calling continues.

Let’s see, with PSU driving, they call an end around to Williams, who totally overthrows a wide open Deon Butler in the endzone.

Minutes later, it’s Clark back at QB, Morelli split wide, and Clark is hammered in the back field for a two yard loss.

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Let’s see, PSU’s last offensive series, after being pinned at their own 1 after a great punt by the Spartans.

First down, quarterback sneak for two yards.

Second down, Evan Royster carries for 3 yards.

Third down, an out to Golden, the route was short of the sticks and gave Golden NO space to work with.

Brilliant.

OF COURSE PSU dodges a bullet when Sean Lee picks off Hoyer’s first down pass.

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Time for the Morelli close call of the day…..on third down, from inside their own 20, Morelli aims for Derrick Williams and nearly throws a pick six…..again, dodging bullets. That appears to be a common theme here today.

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PENN STATE 10, MICHIGAN STATE 7. Kelly 21-yard field goal. 5 plays, 17 yards in 1:32. Key Play: Morelli kills the drive when he fumbles the snap on third down. This after safety Anthony Scirrotto sets up PSU in perfect position with a 53-yard interception return to the MSU 20-yard line.

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Evan Royster enters the game.

Morelli is leading the offense early going 5-for-10 for 88 yards and a TD. PSU only has 27 yards rushing on six carries.

PENN STATE 7, MICHIGAN STATE 0. Anthony Morelli 37 pass to Deon Butler (Kelly kick). 3 plays, 46 plays in 0:48. Key Play: What else could it be, the TD pass. Morelli goes play-action, rolls to his right and throws a high arching pass off his back foot to a diving Butler.

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Phil Taylor just abuses Hoyer on a sack, forcing a punt back to PSU who gets the ball in good field position at the MSU 46. Lions must punch it in here and waste some time in the quarter too.

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Dave Witvoit, perhaps the worst referee….in the history of referees is butchering this game. He just was about to give PSU a second third down, which was really fourth down, and PSU was lining up to kick a field goal.

Sooo….Davie, why would PSU kick a field goal on third down? Shouldn’t that have been a clue?

Then again I wouldn’t expect referees to have any common sense, especially in this conference.

MICHIGAN STATE 7, PENN STATE 0. Brian Hoyer 12 pass to Devin Thomas (Brett Swenson kick). 3 plays, 39 yards in 1:05. Key Play: On the first play of the drive Hoyer connects with Thomas on a 20-yard gain. On the touchdown, Thomas totally abuses corner A.J. Wallace with a stiff arm, then beats three defenders to the pylon.

Our first WTF moment of the day….on 2nd and 10 from their own 10 yard line, PSU’s offense comes out with Morelli split wide, Daryll Clark in shotgun and they run a sweep with Williams who is dropped for a 3-yard loss.

Great offensive scheme. What is this, 2003???

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Nittany Lions dodge a major bullet early, giving up a HUGE third down pass to Kellen Davis down the middle of the field. MSU punts, PSU has possession on their own 10 and just got called for a hold on first down.

Michigan State got the ball to start.

Ogbu starts in place of Baker at DT.

Pregame notes: It’s gray, very very dank here in East Lansing. Kickoff is seconds away.

The latest on the “other players” involved in the HUB fight is this. Other than Baker, Timmons and Bowman, everyone is here.

Ohio State’s victory over Michigan brings up a couple of points.

First, why did Lloyd Carr stick with a depleted Chad Henne instead of keeping Ryan Mallett in the game. And I am a Henne “guy” but keeping him in there clearly screwed the pooch. Carr played the loyalty card and it bit him right in the seat.

Second, on 4th-10, Henne throws to a double covered Manningham? You mean someone wasn’t open 10 yards underneath??Michigan State is currently honoring their seniors across the field. Kickoff is about nine minutes away.

Bowl situation is as this….four teams ahead of Illinois can still lose, meaning the Illini who won today, could sneak into the BCS. So there is a chance two Big Ten teams can still go.

Ohio State believe it or not has a chance to still make the title game. If the teams ahead of them are eliminated (IE: Oklahoma and one other Big 12 team lose, then LSU loses.)

Ohio State’s win helps PSU because it pushes Michigan all but to the Champs Sports Bow, unless Illinois gets to the BCS and everyone bumps up a notch.

So in actual fact, PSU, is really safe to at least make the Alamo even if they lose. Keep that in mind.

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