Monthly Archives: July 2008

Taylor on the move?

According to a blurb on Josh Barr’s blog on the Washington Post website, now former Penn State defensive tackle Phil Taylor could be headed to play for the Maryland Terrapins or even the University of Tennessee.

Taylor, who yesterday was removed from the team officially along with teammate Chris Baker, is a Maryland native (Gwynn Park) and was recruited by the Terps coming out of high school.

One of the comments posted by an angry Terps fan below Barr’s post states:

If I recall, he was with Logan-El that day he announced for UPS on national t.v. and embarrased Friedgen. No thanks.

Posted by: Island1 | July 30, 2008 2:14 PM

Not exactly a ringing endorsment but Taylor does have two years of eligibility left and also does have a redshirt available. So sitting out in 2008 then playing two years is not out of the question.

An interesting side note, for all the garbage ESPN put out in it’s Outside the Lines piece, about Penn State recruiting a “different kind of player” in recent years, keep in mind Taylor was recruited by the likes of Ohio State, Florida, Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Lets see, Tech had Marcus Vick, Florida had a player that fired an assault rifle in the air and Ohio State lived through Maurice Clarrett.

Just saying…

PRICE UPDATE

Cory James of FightOnState.com reported today that Nittany Lions receiving recruit A.J. Price did make the grade and will be in State College to report for preseason camp this weekend. (note, if you intend to view that you need a FOS subscription)

Penn State opens preseason practice on Monday.

DRUMMOND SIGNS

Former Penn State receiver and current NFL return man Eddie Drummond was picked up by the Steelers on Thursday.

Drummond spent five seasons with the Detroit Lions and played last season for Kansas City.

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Interesting spin on Paterno

Matt Hayes, the national college football writer for the Sporting News says that 2008 is indeed Joe Paterno’s last season in Happy Valley, based on things that have transpired this off-season with player suspensions, no renewal of contracts, ESPN segments, etc.

Hayes has five candidates he tabs to replace Joe Paterno. There are two, one obvious, missing from the list, which you can check out right here.

A couple of schools of thought on the piece. First, Hayes is one of the best national writers out there, so take this for what it’s worth.

But Tom Coughlin? I can’t see that.

Hayes omits Tom  Bradley from the list, everyone’s logical successor. Although what I will suggest about Bradley is something that not many have touched on. Does the current athletic administration reward Bradley with the job for being a loyal soilder, helluva coordinator and logical fit?

If you ask me, Paterno’s fate has long been sealed in the eyes of university president Graham Spanier and athletics director Tim Curley. They just aren’t saying that because….well if you thought the Brett Favre circus was bad in Green Bay, could you imagine us assembled at Media Day on Friday August 8th, knowing it was the last one we’d ever share with Joe? It would be a bloodbath.

The season would be a bloodbath.

It would be nothing but hostile comments, non-answers and players being sick and tired of being sick and tired from questioning.

But it seems as though it’s an unspoken known result.

And it appears the administration wants to separate itself from the Paterno regime cleanly and clearly that Bradley ascending to the role he’s likely wanted his whole life may not seem like an option at this point.

The other name I think needs to be on this list is Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly. Kelly, who previously coached at Grand Valley State, dominated that level winning 76-percent of his games and two national titles.

Then he built Central Michigan into a respectable MAC school taking them from 4-7 to 9-4 in just three years.  Last year Cincinnati went 9-3, Kelly was tabbed the Big East Coach of the Year and they won a bowl. Gobble him up now before it’s too late. This seems like the natural coaching progression.

Other names batted around by members of the beat….Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald, a guy who needs to win before he can progress, but as a former linebacker, is smart, committed to athletics and leaves the BS at the door when walking in.

Greg Schiano is everyone’s favorite, but I, like others, see Schiano bleeding Rutgers dry, then leaving them high and dry, moving to a place like PSU for a year, then bouncing for the big bucks with the NFL.

Just some food for thought.

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The D-Line as it stands

With the news today that Chris Baker and Phil Taylor are gone for good, it leaves holes to be filled.

Certainly defensive line coach Larry  Johnson Sr., cannot be happy with the latest developments as one of the deepest d-lines in all of college football just took a pretty serious hit.

So with that said, who is left? A pretty good crop and some youngsters we should be anxious to see.

Ollie Ogbu, Abe Koroma and Jared Odrick have all been very solid inside. A couple of points, Koroma needs to stay fit and Odrick needs to show he is fully recovered from his foot injury.

Definitely Devon Still and Chima Okoli. Still is interesting because he is a defensive end by recruit, but is too big to play there in my opinion and has worked inside all spring and now will in the summer practice sessions. Okoli, we don’t know much about, but we’ve heard rave reviews from players. Plus in Still’s case, there are too many established defensive ends in the way of Mo Evans, Aaron Maybin, Josh Gaines and Jerome Hayes to get still reps there.

Among the freshmen, if Brandon Ware could keep his weight controlled, he could develop into someone that could contribute, but is it reasonable to think that he can drop from north of 370 to get in good enough shape to play as a frosh? PSU may not have a choice.

Another incoming frosh, James Terry is there, and is it possible that freshman Deon’tae Pannell could swap from the o-line to d-line if needed? Just speculation on my end. At 6’5, 300 he seems a nice fit inside along the trenches either way.

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REPORT: Two defensive linemen dismissed

Fight On State magazine is reporting tonight that Penn State defensive linemen Chris Baker and Phil Taylor have been issued their dismisals from the Nittany Lions football program.

According to the report, head coach Joe Paterno told the team at a meeting Tuesday afternoon that Baker and Taylor were dismissed and the move was perminant.

A source told FOS that Paterno is “fed up with both players,” but did not elaborate on the situation further. There have been no known violations in recent weeks, however both players have had their respective share of off-field problems in the last year. However sources indicated to FOS that something may have occured in recent days to set Paterno off.

The move comes on the heels of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” piece in which Paterno was cast as a coach who is hands off and doesn’t have control of his team.

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More thoughts on OTL

Everyone is chiming in on the ESPN “Outside the Lines” piece, including radio hacks like Scott Ferrell on Sirius satellite radio.

I think one of the things we tend to forget in the matter is that Anthony Scirrotto and his girlfriend were acosted before anything in the apartment happened. I watched the piece for a fifth time this morning, and ESPN is recycling it more than any Brett Favre or Manny Ramirez story out there right now.

What really gets under my skin, and hear me out on this because I DO NOT condone the actions of the football players one bit, is how ESPN painted the students in the matter, the ones who lived in Meredian II apartment 302 as victims here.

OK, granted, the players unlawfully entered 302 and went after these guys, but why? Did those portrayed as victims in the story not smack Scirrotto and his girlfriend first down on the street? Did they not out number the two? Did they not knock Scirrotto’s cell phone out of his hands as he tried to call the cops to report the incident?

See this is where I throw everything out in terms of credibility with ESPN. How can you fairly tell the story of the indicent without getting that point across from Scirrotto? There was one quote from Scirrotto in the piece and it was about word of the incident “spreading like wildfire,” meaning he called teammate Lydell Sargeant and Lydell made a call and so on and so on.  If you didn’t think ESPN had some sort of agenda in their shoddy reporting of the story, look no further than the use of Scirrotto in the piece. One lousy quote that paints him a guy hellbent on punking out a couple of partiers in the Meredian II building.

Yet what we get from ESPN’s shoddy and inept reporting is that these guys barged into the apartment and acosted the tenents and proclaimed “you don’t know who you’re messing with.” Like I said I don’t condone what Scirrotto and his teammates did, but I can’t say I would have done anything differently if that was me and my girlfriend.

All I’m asking is that ESPN fairly report in it’s next OTL piece. Is that too much to ask? Actual fair and balanced journalism is few and far between. How does anyone take ESPN seriously anymore? How can anyone who covered this story or read the police reports and knows the tenants of 302 instigated the incident from the start, now look at them as victims. Just because it was a bunch of PSU football players? Because Michael Haynes says that PSU recruits a different bread of player now?

Please.

Do some homework, get some facts and then report. It’s basic journalism. Apparently no one at ESPN can understand that. Paint a fair picture. Only then when you do that can the public full decide what’s right and what’s wrong.

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More like “Out of Bounds” on all sides

A couple of things I picked up from yesterday’s “Outside The Lines” piece on ESPN. I’ve watched it four times, come away with four different opinions…

  • Joe Paterno is still the king of the non-answer, but he came across as less genuine and too defensive in the piece. It was not Joe’s best performance with the media in the five or so years I’ve been around the program as a member of the media. And whatever your argument is, he *DOES* need to accept responsiblity on some level. If he accepts responsibility for winning on the field, for losing on the field, he must accept it when his players act like this off the field. They are his players.
  • On a related note, I didn’t think ESPN presented fair journalism in the piece. Where were the pro-Joe or less anti-Paterno people? Former players who have talked about things such as fights and drinking and police records going on in the past. ESPN clearly had a slant in mind and clearly forced that slant across to the viewer. Still, that slant doesn’t happen if these players don’t put themselves in this position and if Paterno gives a straight answer.
  • I’m still not sure why the piece was necessary. ESPN did not present anything new to the viewer. I’m sure the majority of viewers have some assemblance of what’s been going on up at University Park in recent years. All of a sudden, and even though countless writers have scribed what’s happened ad naseum, now that ESPN parachuttes in, it’s a legit story? Give me a break. This is the same network that will kiss Paterno’s feet if the Nittany Lions make a BCS bowl in 2008.
  • Did I read too much into Graham Spanier’s comments, or does anyone else feel like Joe’s fate has long been sealed within the circle of decision makers post-2008? There was something very cryptic in his answers.
  • Does anyone else find it funny that ESPN research consisted of public records which if you know where to look on the internet are readily available? (aside from OJA paperwork) and a player who took the stand against two other players after a frat fight? Again, nothing new was presented here and a slant was put in action.

Comments, questions, whatever the case, ethomas@cumberlink.com.

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“Outside the Lines” to air Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

ESPN’s investigative show “Outside the Lines” discussing the problems surrounding the Penn State football program in recent years will air Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.

Last week ESPN posted a few clips, some of them are interesting, but I don’t sense we get the guts of the story from these clips.

The link to watch them is here.

Interestingly enough head coach Joe Paterno is basically cornered in the one clip by the ESPN reporter talking about a text message from two players that talked to Judicial Affairs stating that a text message was sent from Paterno to all players instructing them to NOT talk to the Office of JA, or they would be removed from the team.

Paterno shoots back by repeatedly telling ESPN, “it’s not true” and that he “doesn’t even have a computer,” and that he’s “never sent a text message in his life.”

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