Monthly Archives: April 2009

Warner on Hall induction

Spoke with former PSU running back Curt Warner moments ago about his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, some quotes from the convo, story coming later

Curt Warner became the 20th member of the Penn State program to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame/Penn State photo

Curt Warner became the 20th member of the Penn State program to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame/Penn State photo

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HIS LASTING MEMORY FROM PSU

“Nebraska was a great game for us (in 1982), but obviously playing for the national championship, that was big. It was the end of a number of big games we had played in. I didn’t think that game was about Herschel Walker. I had heard a whole lot about Herschel’s accomplishments and I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t motivate me, but we had played in enough big games to know how to play in big games.”

ON PLAYING FOR THE TITLE

“You’re battling for a national championship, it’s undisputed, you’d like to compare it to a heavyweight fight. It was No. 1 versus No. 2, we were looking at being undisputed.”

ON WINNING PSU’S FIRST NATIONAL TITLE

“We had that riding on it at Penn State. Although a number of teams at Penn State could have been crowned national champions before, there was still no national championship at the school, we wanted that bad. The group of guys I played with, that was our common theme. That’s what we wanted to do. When you win a national championship that legacy that lasts a long time. It doesn’t go away anytime soon. I think we understood that at the time. We understood it enough to know, ‘hey, let’s go get this game.'”

ON PLAYING AT PSU

“It’s a great place and I always tell people this. I look back on it, and it’s 20 some years ago, that’s a long time, I look back and go ‘man, if I’d do that again I’d probably still be on the campus. It’s just a great place to be, it was a fun experience, a great experience and I have no complaints about being there and the people I was able to get to know.  

ON JOE STILL COACHING

 “No, I don’t think anybody that leaves there thinks he will be coaching there in 20, 30 years from now.”

 

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Trio of Lions ink free agent deals

They weren’t drafted, but they didn’t have to wait long to sign on a dotted line.

Former Penn State products Jordan Norwood, Mark Rubin and Gerald Cadogan all have NFL homes tonight. Norwood signed with the Cleveland Browns about two hours after the draft, Cadogan signed on with the Carolina Panthers and Rubin was picked up by the St. Louis Rams immediately following the draft.

No word on Maurice Evans, Kevin Kelly, Anthony Scirrotto, Lydell Sargeant or Dan Lawlor as of yet.

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Blue White day after

Freshman quarterback Kevin Newsome looked sharp in Saturday's scrimmage/Matthew O'Haren Photo

Freshman quarterback Kevin Newsome looked sharp in Saturday's scrimmage/Matthew O'Haren Photo

Here’s today’s story out of yesterday’s Blue White game about the future of the quarterback position at Penn State, specifically Kevin Newsome. 

Also a review of Joe Paterno’s pregame chat. 

Notable about Joe, he was more relaxed, the Navorro Bowman question didn’t come up until the third question of the presser and Joe handled it very well, did not get angry or upset. 

I think there is a feeling of being somewhat sympathetic toward Bowman in this situation, some view that as wrong, some understand it. I get it that there are people who have gone through the same types of things, coming from the same types of tough inner city streets, but keep this in mind, Bowman was honest and admitted the drug use, for a kid with that much talent something has to be said for him accepting responsibility. 

That said, Paterno is right, Bowman must clean up his problem. And I tend to agree with the judge in his probation case last week that maybe some type of counseling to help  him through some of the tough times is a good way to go. 

Bowman is a fantastic talent, he is an NFL linebacker without question, he has been good in interviews, he is honest, he is up front. His story is something of a spectacular one if he is able to keep it between the lines and avoid the temptations that draw people in. 

I think when all is said and done, he is definitely facing some type of suspension, that is speculation, but something like what happened to Abe Koroma and Mo Evans last season is in order. 

Paterno danced around what to do with Sean Lee whether he goes into the middle or stays outside depending on what happens with Bowman. I see Lee being on the outside to start, Hull in the middle and then someone is the odd man out when Bowman returns and Lee goes to the middle. 

Linebacker at Penn State in 2009 is a good problem to have. There are schools that don’t have three starters let alone seven guys that can step into any role. Penn State’s front seven has potential to be lethal this season there is that much depth. 

Other thoughts…

  • Brandon Ware said he is down to 335, I had a talk with him afterward and that is coming out tomorrow. He made a nice freakishly athletic move to swat a pass down in the second half. 
  • As I said in the story for today, Kevin Newsome is most definitely physically ready for this level, he made a couple of nice moves and has a cannon for an arm. 
  • The receiving corps, I think they are going ot be fine, Daryll Clark wants to use the tight end more and I think this is going to be a big year for anyone of the three tight ends, but specifically Andrew Quarless and Micky Shuler. 
  • Ako Poti was hurt, but returned to action. The offensive line, the best in the Big Ten last season, is a work in progress. Outside of Stefen Wisniewski and Dennis Landolt, there is no idea who else is going to start come the season opener. 
  • You could tell yesterday that the secondary is getting better, but there is a long way to go yet. I think that this unit can gel quickly, it’s just a matter of playing time with one another, getting reps together. Once that happens, once the communication is down between all four guys, they can be solid. Besides, what quarterback in the Big Ten, right now, in April, outside of Terrelle Pyror (who does more with his run-pass balance than just the pass right now), scares you? 

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Blue White game updates

All updates from the Blue White game can be found on the paper’s homepage. Check back  here for some thoughts postgame.

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More on the Rose Bowl “situation”

Did some digging today and before I get to that colleague Mark Wogenrich of the Morning Call has a good recap of everything that’s transpired from this Rose Bowl fall out.

I talked with BCS media rep Bill Hancock this afternoon. Hancock is out in Pasadena for the annual BCS meetings. Here is what I got from him on the situation.

First, he said was totally unaware of the statement issued by the Rose Bowl late Wednesday. So I caught him up to speed.

Second, he told me the rule is this;  The locker room is supposed to be open, however any player that does not play in the game does not have to stick around for availability afterward.

Third, the reason Joe Paterno was fined/punished for his non-interview with Lisa Salters is because per the agreement with ABC and the Rose Bowl and teams involved in the game, both coaches must either open their locker room before the game to allow TV to film the pregame speech he delivers to the team, or they must conduct an interview with a sideline reporter on the sideline prior to kickoff.  Joe did neither, that’s fair game as far as I am concerned.

 Those rules are in agreement with the BCS, Rose Bowl and Football Writer’s Association of America (of which I am also a member of). Apparently the FWAA, which has had issues with Joe and the PSU brass in the past, got wind of this, fired off a letter to the Rose Bowl and there you have it, a couple of slaps on the wrist and/or a fine come out.

After a mandatory 10 minute cool-of period after the game, Paterno was taken via golf cart to a tent on the side of the stadium, almost opposite of where the PSU locker room was, he conducted his postgame presser with Daryll Clark, Deon Butler and (if memory serves me correct) Lydell Sargeant. At this time if you choose to opt out of going to the press tent for the coaches, some players came out of the locker room and were available.

Close to 20 players were available to us postgame, all starters, with the exception of injured running back Evan Royster and Stephfon Green, kicker Kevin Kelly and punter Jeremy Boone were available. Dennis Landolt might have slipped out as well but remember he was also knicked up in the game.

One reporter who is not a regular on the PSU beat, was upset at the lack of “openess” to the locker room, mentioned something to a PSU rep and shared his feelings with others in the pressbox after the interviews were over, a couple of others nodded in agreement and voiced the same criticism.  But the issue is this….out of the 20 or so players who were available to speak were significant players, including Aaron Maybin and Mo Evans, who we had badgered all week about the NFL rumors, including Navorro Bowman who played the game despite finding out some 12 hours before hand that his high school coach and close friend died in an accident, including members of the secondary who were torched in that game, including Daryll Clark, you get the point.

Who else was needed for interviews? Why make a point of arguing about the openness of the locker room when there is no need to do such? Just asking. Who was going to be interviewed? A freshman o-lineman that didn’t see a snap?

As a member of the FWAA, I do like the open locker room policy, I think it’s something I wish all colleges did even during the regular season, but I am not going to bicker about it especially if I am someone who doesn’t cover Penn State on a regular basis. Out of the hundred or so reporters that covered the game, none from the USC side had complained they had no PSU locker room access, and none on the PSU beat did either….heck, we probably had more access during that postgame than even a regular season game at home.

If this is in addition to some of the tricks Jim Tressel has pulled in recent years, such as leaving a star linebacker out of a defensive media day, not bringing a quarterback to an offensive media day and cutting off access to a freshman quarterback during the last two bowls, then something has to be rearranged when it comes to rules and access granted during bowl weeks.

What it came down to on the night of the Rose Bowl, with fans filing out, with writers walking around the stadium trying to find the media tent, with guys sweating deadline (some weren’t even able to go downstairs for comments because of deadlines), you had to choose what you wanted. Did you want to do both the media tent and the locker room? And if so, what you got from both was good enough.

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Rose Bowl issues statement on PSU

This from Rose Bowl Director of Media Gina Chappin:

 

At the Rose Bowl Game held on January 1, 2009, Penn State University failed to comply with certain media rules established by the Tournament of Roses for its Rose Bowl Games.  There were two non-compliance matters.  One involved the failure to conduct a pre-game interview with the Game Broadcaster, as required by contract.  The other involved the failure to open its locker room to the media following the Game, as required by BCS Rules.  In response, the Tournament of Roses met and discussed this matter with the members of the Rose Bowl Management Committee (RBMC).  Based on these discussions, the RBMC determined that these violations had occurred, and then approved appropriate responsive actions.  These matters will be addressed by the Tournament of Roses with Penn State.  Details of those actions will remain private. 

 

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Players on Bowman

Teammates support Navorro Bowman

Teammates support Navorro Bowman

Josh Hull, Sean Lee and Daryll Clark all addressed the Navorro Bowman situation in their own way today during teleconferences with beat reporters.

Hull: “We’re just going to stick to talking football right now. I’m not really aware of the situation. If you guys are going to need more information you’re probably going to have to talk to the coaches about that.”

Lee: “Navorro Bowman is a great kid. A great football player and I think he knows right from wrong. I think he persues to do right. I know we support him through anything. I know he’s had tough times recently when it comes to family but he battled through it and he’s going to continue to battle through it. I think he’s going to be ready to go next year and he’s the same great player that he was last year.

At this point Lee was asked a follow up about how hard it might be to stay away from alcohol on Penn State’s (or any college) campus. Bowman’s extended probation includes a provision he is not allowed to consume alcohol under any circumstance during the next year or he goes to jail for six months.

Lee: “We all try to look after each other. The football team, we see each other almost as brothers, as fraturnity, and we’re always trying to keep each other out of trouble. No doubt people will make mistakes, but I know that he has great intentions, I know that he is a great kid and I know he’s going to do what it takes to get on the field next year, to graduate, to be a great role model. He knows the consequences.”

Clark was asked the same question about being around alcohol on campus later in the afternoon.

Clark: “No, I don’t think it’d be a tough thing to do (avoid alcohol on campus). Situate yourself with people that don’t associate themselves with alcohol almost every day  of the week. Stay in your room. I feel that, for me, who really doesn’t drink, I’m never around it unless I decide to go out which is on weekends. So I don’t think that’s a problem at all.”

Clark later went on to say that he doesn’t talk to Bowman all the time, but he would be there if the linebacker needed someone to talk to.

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