Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blue-White Roundtable (Michigan Week)

If you're looking for my Blue-White Roundtable answers they can be found here:

The Nittany Notebook

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My Top 25 Week One

1. Southern Cal
2. LSU
3. West Virginia
4. Wisconsin
5. Oklahoma
6. Virginia Tech
7. Louisville
8. Texas
10. Penn State
11. Georgia
12. Nebraska
13. Ohio State
14. Florida
15. Texas A&M
16. Arkansas
17. Missouri
18. Auburn
19. Georgia Tech
20. Clemson
21. Oregon
22. Hawaii
23. South Florida
24. TCU
25. Tennessee

19. Georgia Tech
20. Clemson

Dropped Out:
5. Michigan
25. Florida State

I Hate Notre Dame

photo©Will Dorsey, Boston College

That’s the simple truth. Sorry to any Domers that read this. Not all ND fans are bad people. One of my friends is a subway alum and I end up giving him more crap about ND than he gives me about Penn State. But the overwhelming majority of Notre Dame fans are arrogant unknowledgeable fools. Most non-ND fans know this but it goes to a whole new level when you’ve lived in one of the biggest hot beds of Irish supporters.

I’m from Scranton, PA and Northeastern Pennsylvania has to be one of the largest outposts of ND fans. The thing is 95% of them, and that might be being a bit kind, didn’t graduate from Notre Dame. I’d guess the vast majority of them have never been to South Bend. It’s these “my-granddaddy-was-Irish-so-I-root-for-ND” that are the worst. They are the ones that have created the arrogant ND fan stereotype. I almost feel bad for the actual ND alumni who have to put up with these jokers that make the entire fan base look bad.

It was bad in the early ’90s. It’s even worse now. The blind loyalty to Charlie Weis. The supposed “return to glory.” It’s all sickening. Notre Dame isn’t back. If the Irish are “back” they certainly have no intention of returning to where they were during the Lou Holtz era. I’d hardly call a two year stretch where your best win is against a Penn State team that went 9-4 (and don’t kid yourself, that’s it their biggest, I defy anyone to beat it) being “back.”

I can’t wait for Saturday night. I’ve waited a year for this. I remember thinking as ND went up 41-3 during last year’s match up, “Damn I can’t wait until next year and the shoe is on the other foot.” Last year Penn State had the inexperienced team playing a much more experienced ND team. This year Notre Dame returns little experience and Penn State has the experience and home-field advantage. And with Jimmy Clausen starting, it’s going to be rough for the Irish.

I’ll have a more in-depth preview up tomorrow but for now a score prediction:

Penn State 41, Notre Dame 10

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Blue-White Roundtable

Which is worse: having your parachute fail to open while skydiving or losing to Appalachian State?
Losing to Appalachian State. At least if your parachute doesn’t open people will pity you, or at the very least their first response won’t be uncontrollable laughter (as mine was upon hearing the final score). Or in a worst case scenario you’re dead. Assuming you die on impact that has to be relatively painless. Losing this game will haunt Michigan fans for years, perhaps even decades. Maybe forever. There will be no relief from this one for a long time. I honestly don’t know how I could deal with myself after a loss like that. That is the kind of game that makes you question yourself as a fan.

Is it too early to worry about the running game?
Yes. Remember the pitiful run game against Akron last season. Tony Hunt only had 36 yards on 14 carries and everyone was ready to panic. And that was with a third-year starter. I think we need to be patient. Austin Scott hadn’t carried the ball in a real game in more than a year and a half. Rodney Kinlaw has never been anything more than a change of pace back. Evan Royster was playing in his first collegiate game. Considering Kinlaw and Royster nearly each outperformed the team’s rushing attack in last season’s opener I’d say there’s some hope. The first game where Penn State is going to have to establish a strong running game is against Michigan. That leaves Notre Dame and Buffalo to work on it. Those games can be easily won with Morelli just slinging it.

Is just a win enough to satisfy you this weekend against Notre Dame or are there qualifiers on a victory to make it acceptable?
Given the fact that Notre Dame looked flat out awful against Georgia Tech I think PSU needs to win by at least 14 to make it acceptable, although at the end of the day a win is a win and I'll take it any way we can get it. But more-a-less I just want to see the team play solid football. Mainly just cut down on the drops and hopefully start establishing a rushing attack. If Georgia Tech's passing game hadn't been so pedestrian they could've easily beaten Notre Dame a lot worse than they did. I think with the experience that Penn State has in the passing game and with it being a rough atmosphere for the Irish Penn State should have no problem hanging a lot of points on the board. A fast start is going to be crucial. Put this Notre Dame team away early, don't let them they they have any shot at winning.

Lightning Round

Got a ticket, praying for a ticket, or watching the game somewhere else this weekend?

I’ll be watching from the comfort of my own couch after having to listen to the FIU game on the radio while driving around aimlessly after the local Buffalo Wild Wings decided not to show the game.

What non-PSU game are you looking forward to this weekend?
LSU-Virginia Tech is too obvious. Miami-Oklahoma is intriguing but it’s hard to get excited about this one after imaging how big a match up this one would’ve been 4-5 years ago. Oregon-Michigan will be interesting just to see how the Wolverines bounce back. I don’t think that one will be close. Either Michigan is motivated and crushes the Ducks or the Wolverines get blown out as they wallow in their self-pity.

Clausen to Start Against Penn State

Jimmy "God" Clausen to start against Penn State

A pretty big leap of faith for Charlie Weis. Seriously, Clausen is about to make his first start in what may end up being the most hostile environment that he will ever play in college or pro (assuming he gets that far, unlike another ND golden boy by the name of Ron Powlus).

Personally I think Demetrius Jones gives ND the best chance to win against Penn State. Juice Williams managed to keep Illinois competitive with PSU last season by running the option until PSU's defense finally figured out how to stop it.

This is a baptism by fire for Clausen. Troy Smith couldn't handle it. What makes anyone think a week will be enough time to get Clausen ready? I almost feel bad for the kid. He 's going to get the crap beat out of him on Saturday night and then be berated by ND's less than understanding fans come Sunday.

The Return of The Nittany Blog

After a year and a half hiatus from this site I have decided to resume posting here. I will continue to cover Penn State football through The Nittany Notebook for MVN. However, I have decided to use this as an outlet for my more insane ramblings and general thoughts on the entire college football world, a freedom I don't really get with MVN.

Coming back to this place is like getting behind the wheel of your old Camaro after driving a Lexus. Sure, there aren't as many bells and whistles but at the end of the day it just feels right. Luckily, I can have the best of both worlds.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Nittany Blog is Moving

My new site, The Nittany Notebook, launched today. This is my final post here at The Nittany Blog. I encourage all of my current readers to continue reading on with The Nittany Notebook as it will be similar to this site, except affiliate with The Most Valuable Network, one of the fastest growing sports journalism sites today. Hopefully it will continue to gain my writing some more exposure.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Penn State Stuns #6 Illinois

I am in udder shock right now. What I just heard cannot be real. Penn State basketball, beating a Top 10 team on the road, ending the nation's longest home winning streak? Unbelieveable. As a Penn State basketball fan, this is an historic victory. This is by far the biggest victory for Penn State since the win over North Carolina to advance to the Sweet 16. Heck, considering what was riding on it for Illinois, it may have been bigger. To start out down 13-0 and come back like the Lions did- it shows heart and pride. Everything finally came full circle for this team. So close against Michigan State last week, Michigan earlier in the week, PSU was finally able to seal the deal.

Now Penn State has three consecutive home games against Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana. Wisconsin lost to Purdue today and Indiana lost at home against Connecticut. All three are winnable games and obviously want these wins but every Penn State fan is going to spend the rest of the season basking in the glory of beating Illinois. Just unbelieveable.

Penn State's Popularity Rejuvanated

Nice article from the sports editor of the Daily Collegian. It's simply amazing how one season has completely changed the Penn State football program from the snake-bitten, shell of its former self to the football powerhouse led by a legend that had been Penn State through 1999 and then for that brief stint in 2002.

It's a good time to be a Penn State alum and/or fan right now. It's nice to once again be despised by fans of other schools than pitied by fans of other schools.

Claxton Leads the Lions

Great article about Geary Claxton and what he means to Penn State. It's been a long time since there has been a player at Penn State as good and talented as Claxton. He is the first Penn State basketball player since Calvin Booth to actually have NBA potential. I'm really excited about the fact that he is only a sophomore. Led by Claxton and Cornley, the NIT might be in reach next season. While that would be utter failure at most schools, it would be a good season for the Lions.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Penn State's Class of 2006

By Position: QB-2 RB-2 WR- 2 TE- 1 OL- 4 DE- 5 DT- 4 LB- 2 DB- 2
By State: Delaware- 1 Maryland- 7 New Jersey- 5 New York- 3 Pennsylvania- 6 Virginia- 2

Brett Brackett (Lawrenceville, NJ)- Brackett was Penn State's first commitment for the Class of 2006. Originally it looked as though he would be the only QB recruit until Pat Devlin jumped on board. However, Brackett is big and athletic will get an opportunity to play. He is surprisingly mobile for such a big guy. I would expect him to redshirt in 2006 unless injuries create the need for some depth.

Pat Devlin (Exton, PA)- Devlin looks like Penn State's quarterback of the future. He had an outstanding senior season and should be ready to contribute at Penn State in 2007. However, after the debacle that was Anthony Morelli's first two seasons at Penn State, I would expect Devlin to redshirt in 2006 barring an injury to Anthony Morelli.

Running Back:
Brent Carter (Pottstown, PA)- Carter originally committed to Virginia before changing his mind during the final days of recruiting. Carter provides some more stability at tailback. With Tony Hunt and Austin Scott departing following the 2006 season, it was a position of need. Carter is a good size (6-3, 205) tailback and could get some playing time this season so he is seasoned heading into 2007. Or he may redshirt. The situation is unclear at this point.

Travis McBride (McKeesport, PA)- McBride is Penn State's lone signee from the WPIAL in this class. McBride is more of a developmental prospect, like Jeffries, as his future appears to be as a defensive back. He played on the defensive side of the ball in high school in addition to playing tailback. Expect him to redshirt in 2006 as the coaching staff decides what position is best for him.

Evan Royster (Chantilly, VA)- Royster is another tailback who will provide stability at tailback going into 2006 where Rodney Kinlaw will be the most experienced returnee. Royster is smaller than Carter but has better speed and could be a good change of pace back and/or kick returner. Like Carter, he could be an immediate contributor or redshirt in 2006. With two seniors and a junior on the three-deep, I would tend to think it will be the latter.

Wide Receiver:
Chris Bell (Norfolk, VA)- Amidst the recent number of blue chip prospects to announce for Penn State, Bell has been lost in the shuffle. However, Bell may be the earliest contributor from this class, at least on the offensive side of the ball. He has the size and speed to be a dominating receiver at the collegiate level. There is no doubt that he will play, if not start, from day one. Bell could start if Deon Butler's move to cornerback in the spring is permanent. If Butler stays on offense, Bell will be on the most used wideouts in PSU's receiver rotation.

Cedric Jeffries (Egg Harbor, NJ)- Jeffries, one of the less heralded players in the class, came aboard in late December when he decommitted from Virginia. Jeffries future at Penn State is likely as a defensive back. Because of that, and Penn State's lack of experience at every secondary position, I doubt he will redshirt.

Tight End:
Andrew Quarless (Uniondale, NY)- Quarless will add yet another explosive offensive weapon to Penn State's already well stocked arsenal. Quarless is also fast enough that he can line up in the slot as well. He is a dynamic player who should contribute right away with Isaac Smolko departed.Quarless should develop into one of Anthony Morelli's favorite targets.

Offensive Line:
Lou Eliades (Ocean, NJ)- Eliades is one of three blue chip linemen that the Nittany Lions added in this class. And much like the other two (Logan-El and Walton), Eliades will have an opporunity to play right away. With four open starting spots on the offensive line, they all may have an opportunity to contribute early on. I expect Eliades to contribute early on at either guard or tackle.

Doug Klopacz (Montvale, NJ)- Klopacz, the only two-star prospect landed by Penn State according to, is a project. He played tight end for his first three years of high school before seeing some time as lineman this past season. Klopacz is similar to some of the offensive linemen that Iowa has landed over the years- high school tight ends who grow into a lineman. It is almost certain that Klopacz will redshirt in 2006. He needs to put on some more weight and develop his technique before seeing the playing field.

Antonio Logan-El (Forestville, MD)- Logan-El is perhaps the most heralded of the offensive linemen coming in. After verballing to Maryland early on the process, Logan-El recently switched to Penn State in what some considered an "out of line" announcement. Some have said that Logan-El needs to work on his technique but with a talent like his and the lack of experience on the offensive lineman, Logan-El may need to learn on the job. Unless Paterno and the coaching staff is completely dissatisfied with his play in fall practice, expect to see him on the field in 2006.

J.B. Walton (Indian Head, MD)- Walton may be the most polished of the incoming offensive linemen and may have the best shot to start right away. Walton looks like a future guard who should manage to crack the three deep going into 2006. Of all three highly touted offensive linemen, Walton will almost assuredly see the field in 2006.

Defensive End:
Maurice Evans (Middle Village, NY)- Evans is going to be a dominating defensive end at Penn State. With the departures of Tamba Hali and Matthew Rice, Evans wil have an opporunity to contribute right away. Tom Bradley likes to use a rotation of defensive ends, something that was slightly hampered in 2005 when Lavon Chisley was ruled academically ineligibile. Now with Evans and the other standout defensive ends, Bradley should have no problem finding enough players to fit his system. Evans will play and play often in 2006. He dominated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl against some of the best recruits in the nation.

Eric Latimore (Middletown, DE)- Latimore, one of the lesser known defensive end signees, is a little bit of a sleeper. Before announcing Penn State, Latimore had received quite a bit of interest from Miami that helped to get his name out a bit more. With three more highly ranked defensive ends ahead of him, Latimore could play right away, depending on if Aaron Maybin is able to bulk up enough to play defensive end or not. If Maybinis ready, Latimore might redshirt.

Aaron Maybin (Ellicot City, MD)- Maybin has the potential to be a tremendous defensive end. If he is able to hold onto his 4.6 speed as he bulks up to play defensive end, he could become an outstanding pass rusher. However, with the number of ends signed in this class, Maybin's future may be as a hybrid DE/LB who can stand up and play on the outside or drop down as a pass rusher. Gaining the bulk to play defensive end or linebacker will determine his playing time in 2006. If he is able to add the weight and not lose his speed, Maybin should see some playing time. If not, he will redshirt. With five defensive ends in this class, PSU will not rush Maybin's development.

Jared Odrick (Lebanon, PA)- Odrick, along with Evans, have the best chance to play right away. Odrick has reportedly dropped down to 286, making it easier for him to play on the end. While some suggest Odrick should move to tackle, Odrick could develop into a powerful, running stopping end. In the running heavy Big Ten, that can only be an advantage. Look for Odrick to see the field right away, possibly first coming in as a run stopping specialist.

Johnnie Troutman (Browns Mills, NJ)- Troutman became Penn State's final addition at defensive end in this class. However, his future has been rumored to be as an offensive lineman. At 6-4 289, he already has the size, now he will just need to work on his technique and with the plethora of offensive linemen in this class, he won't be rushed along. If he is switched to offense he will almost definitely redshirt. If he stays on defense, all bets are off.

Defensive Tackle:
Alim "Abe" Koroma (Hershey, PA)- Koroma is one of the biggest sleepers in this class. Playing at the Milton Hershey School, he didn't play against the best competition the Keystone State has to offer but he dominated every team he faced, often being double-teamed the entire game. Koroma could play right away or he could redshirt. It will likely be determined by how well Phillip Taylor and Tom McEowen perform in fall practice.

Tom McEowen (Feasterville, PA)- McEowen was the first blue chip prospect to verbal to Penn State way back in July. McEowen is similar in size to Scott Paxson and should play in 2006 and possibly start in 2007 as Ed Johnson and Jay Alford both depart. McEowen has the potential to develop into a solid all around tackle that Paxson was for Penn State. As mentioned, McEowen should see the field in 2006 and should be in Tom Bradley's rotation at tackle.

Ollie Ogbu (Milford, NY)- Ogbu, like Koroma, is a sleeper/mystery man in this class. No one knows much about him but Ogbu clearly has the size to become a dominating interior lineman. At well over 300 pounds, Ogbu should have no problem closing up gaps on the defensive line and could fit in well if Tom Bradley installs the 3-4 defense, as has been rumored. Much like Koroma, Ogbu's playing time will depend on the playing time/progress made by McEowen and Taylor.

Phillip Taylor (Clinton, MD)- Taylor is the biggest and most dominating defensive tackle in this class. He also has the best chance among the tackle prospects to play right away. Like Ogbu, Taylor will fit well into Tom Bradley's proposed 3-4. Taylor is nearly 350 but still has 5.1 speed, the same as Ogbu and McEowen. I would imagine that Taylor will play right away in 2006 as depth at tackle was a concern in 2005 and with Scott Paxson departed, it leaves the chance wide open for Taylor.

Navorro Bowman (Forestville, MD)- Bowman is Penn State's only early enrollee in this class. He is now taking classes at Penn State. Bowman will have an advantage of participating in both spring practice and fall practice. However, with all three starting linebackers returning and Jerome Hayes ready to contribute, Bowman may be redshirted, like Hayes, to save a year of eligibility. However, if he really impresses the coaching staff in spring practice, he could see the field in 2006.

Bani Gbadyu (Gaithersburg, MD)- Gbadyu originally committed to LSU in September before announcing for Penn State in December. Despite playing linebacker in high school, Gbadyu's future at Penn State appears to be as a safety. Gbadyu has the size and speed to play safety right away and with the lack of experience and depth there, Gbadyu could see the field right away. Donnie Johnson appears to have one spot locked down. Gbadyu could be a favorite to win it in pre-season practice.

Defensive Back:
A.J. Wallace (Pomfret, MD)- Wallace is unquestionably the top prospect, the crown jewel of Penn State's class. Wallace has the potential to be a gamebreaking receiver or a shutdown corner. But like Justin King last season, Wallace will play on both sides of the ball as a freshman. Picturing Derrick Williams, Chris Bell, Jordan Norwood and A.J. Wallace lined up as wideouts is just sick. How can any defense have enough weapons to stop this? Wallace is a Derrick Williams clone and just like D-Will, he will play from day one.

Signing Day Update

All 24 of Penn State's commitments signed their National Letter of Intent today. However, LeSean McCoy and Vidal Hazleton are still up in the air. McCoy is supposed to announce very soon tonight. Hazleton is in a peculiar situation to say the least. Reportedly, Hazleton signed his LOI with Southern Cal but his parents haven't or refused to sign it. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next couple of days.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Former Penn State Teammates Face Off in Super Bowl

Nice write up about Bobby Engram (Seattle), Joe Jurevicius (Seattle) and Jeff Hartings (Pittsburgh). Engram and Hartings are both looking for their first Super Bowl ring while Jurevicius won his first with Tampa Bay. All three were members of Penn State's 12-0 undefeated and unrecognized team. Even though I don't have much of a rooting interest in the game (Packers fan), it will be nice to see another Penn Stater get their first Super Bowl ring. All three are great embassadors of Penn State in the NFL.

Carter Spurns Virginia; Commits to Penn State

Another big commitment for Penn State. With Royster and now the addition of Carter, PSU has really solidified the tailback position heading into 2007.

I will not update the Verbal Board today. Carter, and any other players who sign with Penn State, tomorrow will be included in my review/outlook for the Class of 2006.

Big Ten Recruiting Write Up (Chicago Sun-Times)

Some nice short breakdowns on Big Ten recruiting thus far.