Monthly Archives: January 2009

Same old schedule song and dance

Before I get to the guts of today’s update, I urge everyone to head over to the Post Gazette’s website and check out the piece colleague Colin Dunlap wrote on the Steelers’ Tyrone Carter and his brother.

I don’t stray from the PSU coverage much, but this is worth a read and I haven’t seen anyone else come up with this story either. Journalism at its finest for CD.

Now, on to the day’s business. Penn State’s schedule. After rumors and speculation the “official” schedule was released yesterday, no changes, though as PSU SID Jeff Nelson told me, it’s only January.

Nelson said he heard rumors of a date with UNC to replace one of the games on the current docket. Blue White Illustrated said maybe Wake Forrest, I’ve heard Utah and Missouri.

Out of those four choices, something has to give. Penn State cannot have eight home games, of which some are against Akron, Eastern Illinois, Syracuse and Temple and expect to get any love from the BCS if they go on a table running excursion again in 2009.

Heck, by default, they should win 10 games in 2009.

Of those four possible replacements, Missouri is the best fit. They apparently have an open date on Oct. 10, the same day that PSU plays EIU, smack in the middle of the Big Ten slate.  I’m not sure that anyone would want a game against another BCS quality opponent in the middle of the conference schedule, but if it has to work that way, it has to work that way.

For what it’s worth Blue White Illustrated’s Nate Bauer and Phil Grosz sat down with former PSU offensive coordinator turned admistrator Fran Ganter yesterday and Ganter discussed how things are set up well in advance and that the Oregon State made-for-ESPN matchup last season was a once in a lifetime type thing.

So really, does it look like anything is going to happen? Not in the near future (IE right now), but Bauer reported that Ganter did play a voicemail from the Virginia Tech AD asking about a home-and-home 2018-2019….so there is good news about the schedule…..maybe…..10 years a way.

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No. 300 on tap for PSU

Kind of lost in the mail of the offseason and recruiting’s big day coming up, Penn State Live, the homepage for all things PSU related news on campus posted this interesting little nugget this morning.

The 300th game to be played in Beaver Stadium will take place on Nov. 7, when rival Ohio State visits for the 25th meeting between the squads (series tied, 12-12). The Nittany Lions have an impressive 236-57 (80.5) record in the nation’s largest stadium (107,282), earning a 26-2 home record since the Michigan State game in 2004.

You can read the full release, complete with the current schedule by clicking here.

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Utes, Tigers maybe?

Before I get to the guts of today’s blog, here’s today’s read on the PSU prospects getting ready for the NFL Draft in Lancaster, Pa.

Have you taken a look at Penn State’s 2009 schedule lately?

Let’s be honest here for a second, the non-conference schedule, well it does nothing to jump out at you, nor does it do anything to get the Lions prepared for the Big Ten schedule, or a possible BCS bowl to cap the 2009 season.

So there’s been some speculation that Penn State may opt out of a game already in place, maybe the Oct. 10 game against Eastern Illinois.

That game, smack in the middle of the Big Ten portion of the schedule, doesn’t do much, kind of like the Temple game in November of 2007 did little, save for forcing people to nearly miss kickoff because traffic in Philly is…well traffic in Philly.

There’s chatter on a Missouri message board that the Tigers could pop up on Penn State’s schedule in place of EIU.

It’s totally fan speculation at this point, put ask me, it deserves some mention.

Colleague/good friend/frequent text message partner and all around good guy Mark Wogenrich of the Allentown Morning Call reported after the Rose Bowl that Penn State was looking at a possible ACC team for a spot on the schedule.

We’ll see. I’m not 100-percent sure if Penn State would want a BCS caliber conference team in the middle of the Big Ten schedule. But in all honesty, it couldn’t hurt, could it?

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Radio spot, Evans story

For anyone who may have missed my apperance with Altoona Mirror beat writer Cory Giger on his show this afternoon on WVAM-AM in Altoona/Hollidaysburg, you can download the segment here.

We talked for about 15 minutes about Mo Evans, Aaron Maybin and when you hear it, yes I was serious about Mark Rubin and the draft…..hey if a team can burn a late pick on a special teams guy, why not?

Anyways, if you are in State College or Altoona between 4-6 p.m. daily, make sure you tune into Cory’s show Monday-Friday on WVAM 1430 AM in Altoona/Hollidaysburg or WMAJ 1450 AM in State College (my old stomping grounds).  He is the only daily live sports talk show in the market and as a guy that shares the road and comforts (and esbestos?) of the Beaver Stadium press box with him each fall, I can say with ease he knows his stuff.

For more on Mo Evans and his quest for the NFL, you can read my story from this morning’s interview here.

We’ll have more from Pro Train and the PSU guys coming in Sunday’s edition.

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Evans ready for NFL challenge

LANCASTER — His entry into the NFL Draft was unheralded, quiet, rather subdued.

While fans and others have questioned Maurice Evans’ departure from Penn State and attempt to make it at the next level, Evans himself has been in Lancaster working out with teammates.

Away from distractions, away from pomp and circumstance of other draft entries.

Evans spoke for nearly 20 minutes to a trio of beat reporters at Power Train, a workout facility near Millersville University. He is living with former PSU teammates Tyrell Sales and Josh Gaines who are also working out at the facility. Blue chip prospect Aaron Maybin is present as is fullback Dan Lawlor.

Power Train, run by Steve Saunders, has a client list of current NFL players including James Harrison and Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers and it’s also a stop for current Buffalo Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny.

On this day while the Penn Staters are lifting, former Steelers fullback Dan Kreider pops in as well.

Evans said he is prepared mentally and physical for the challenge of the NFL. He also said he already has an idea of what he will say if invited to the NFL Combine, to GMs and others who will quiz him on his character and off-field issues.

Evans reiterated again there are no hard feelings between him and PSU head coach Joe Paterno over his suspension and called the situation something that got out of hand because of “word of mouth,” saying some of what he read about it was a little inaccurate.

Evans said he first thought of leaving early before heading out to the Rose Bowl but was still 50-50 on leaving. Like teammate Maybin, Evans sat down and talked it over with defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr., and Paterno. Evans said both asked if he felt he was making the right choice.

He does not have an agent yet, saying anyone interested in representing him is talking to his mother, Brenda, and will go through “two rounds of cuts,” before a decision is made.

Evans said he is still at 260, but Saunders has put him on a diet to cut some body fat, get leaner and still carry the weight necessary to play defensive end in the pros.

Evans said he needs to work on his 40 time, “get stronger” and he has to get  his bench reps up.

Posluszny recommended the place to the PSUers working out there.

Maybin met with reporters for about 20 minutes as well saying his diet is a little different, eating mainly meat and protein. He is living in the same complex as the others, but solo.

Maybin and Saunders both said that they are working on differnent positions, defensive end, outside linebacker and also some reps as a defensive back.

Saunders said Maybin has picked up different concepts very easily, saying sometimes it takes him only two or three reps to get an idea down.

Maybin said he has received an invite to the combine and isn’t sure if he will go or if he will stay at Power Train and work out until Penn State’s pro day on March 18.

More coming tomorrow on Evans.

Quick side note…I will be appearing on Cory Giger’s show later this afternoon to talk about the guys working out and some of the things mentioned here.

Giger, the Penn State beat writer for the Altoona Mirror, hosts a daily sports talk show on ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM in Altoona/Hollidaysburg from 4-6. The show also airs on ESPN Radio 1450 WMAJ in State College. I am scheduled for 5:25 pm.

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Bowman tabbed by ESPN; Evans expected to appear

ESPN.com released its annual All-Bowl team. Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman was pegged by the four-letter network as one of the best postseason players after an eight tackle, one sack performance against USC in the Rose Bowl.

Bowman also tied a PSU bowl record with five tackles for loss.

Also a quick note, former Nittany Lions defensive end Maurice Evans is expected to attend York Sports Night tonight at Heritage Hills and then over at York Learning Center, which is the former Central York HS.

Defensive back Tony Davis and fullback Dan Lawlor are also expected to attend the event.

Some of the other notables coming include former Baltimore Colts tight end Raymond Berry, MLB Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is scheduled to attend the reception at Heritage Hills golf club, but not the autograph session at the YLC.

Evans is the one that piques my interest given that his announcement of going pro was quiet, he didn’t hold any formal press event, release a statement or anything and his departure from the PSU football team is a mystery still today, a week after the fact.

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Kilmer and Wake signed by ‘Phins

It’s a very slow news day regarding the Nittany Lions after a flurry of activity last week. A couple of former Penn Staters are in the (NFL) news today.

Former Nits wide receiver Ethan Kilmer and former linebacker Derek (Cameron) Wake were both picked up by the Dolphins this afternoon.

Kilmer battled injuries in Cincinnati and was ultimately let go. He was a standout on special teams and played in the Bengals defensive backfield there. As a rookie he saw action in all 16 games.

Wake was the CFL’s Defensive Player of the Year this past season after a 23-sack effort.

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