I'll be at Penn State media day tomorrow afternoon. Man a ton of print and broadcast media are there for this thing. You get to talk to players, Paterno has a press conference. We're getting to stay and watch the start of practice before they throw us out. As I did last year, I'm covering all the home Penn State games this season for the paper.
Last Edit: Oct 9, 2011 20:26:15 GMT -5 by tystates
Here is my story on media day. I just touched no a few of the things Paterno discussed and what I got from talking with players. I'll be doing a full preseason story later so didn't want to get too involved in trying to go over everything with this one.
By TY R. STATES Contributing Writer Everyone is getting ready for the 125th season of Penn State football. The Nittany Lions have a similar feel this preseason as they did last year, that of a team you're not real sure about how well it will do, not to mention who will start at quarterback is still undecided. At media day held at Holuba Hall Thursday, the players said they are working hard at training camp, and this is a group looking forward to the 2011 campaign after gaining a lot of experience a year ago. Some of the reason for the experience gained in 2010 was due to injuries. Penn State went through an injury bug that forced a lot of backups into key roles, mostly on the defensive side of the football. Those players now have some playing time under their belts, which will serve them well in the coming season. Among those that spent time on the sideline a year ago were defensive ends Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore, and safety Nick Sukay. Crawford missed three games with a foot injury, while the other two were both lost for the remainder of the season during the Illinois game Oct. 9. All three appear back at 100 percent and can't wait to get this year underway. "I feel great. Everybody that got hurt last year did what they had to do to get themselves in the best shape for this season," Crawford explained. "I worked hard and got ready for this year." Head coach Joe Paterno says he still enjoys coaching, and looks to be recovering well from a collision in practice that sent him to the hospital. His 401 wins are the most in NCAA FBS history, and he remarked he'll know it's time to stop when he wakes up and doesn't want to go to practice anymore. "There's no need to get out of it yet. I'm going to see if I can get the job done. Right now, I'm anxious just to get back and get going." Paterno wasn't evasive when asked about the quarterback situation between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, but he also didn't announce who would be the starter. Both players got their chance under center last season, with Bolden being the first true freshman to start the season opener at quarterback in 100 years at Penn State. Bolden completed 112 of 193 passes for 1,360 yard with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. "I'm here to play football and get this team to where it needs to be," Bolden said. "I know I grew up in my position and I think we all have. I think I've grown in my leadership and being comfortable with all my teammates." McGloin came in to play against Minnesota and went on to start five of the last six games. He finished the year with 1,548 yards on 118 of 215 passing with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. "Everything is going very well this preseason," McGloin remarked. "We look great as a football team. I'm going at everything one day at a time and staying focused on the task at hand. I'll accept whatever my role is on the team." One thing that helps out the quarterback is a good running game, which is something Penn State is known for. Gone to the Washington Redskins is all-time leading rusher Evan Royster, but the Lions should still have a solid backfield. Tailback Silas Redd impressed a lot of people in 2010 as a true freshman, averaging 5.7 yards per carry and gaining 437 yards with two touchdowns. Redd wouldn't concede that he was automatically the starter this year, but odds are he will be the one carrying the ball the most in 2011. "If I do get the starting job that's something I'm going to take on with pride," Redd said. "We have guys that can get the job done for us. I'm working hard, being a team player. It's going to be an exciting season." The players running the football for Penn State will benefit from having Michael Zordich and Joe Suhey blocking in front of them. Curtis Dukes is another tailback pushing hard in practice to get some carries come game time. Brandon Beachum is certainly ready show what he can do after missing all of last season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Stephon Green is conspicuous by his absence not only from the team but also the preseason roster. "He's had some problems with me," Paterno said about Green. "I doubt he'll be back. I think it's best for him and the team if he steps away for a while." Penn State gets things going for real Sept. 3 with a home game against Indiana State with a noon kickoff.
My story from the Penn State-Iowa football game Saturday. Our paper doesn't run on Sunday so my story isn't in until Monday, so I have to analyze a little more rather than a typical game story since it's basically old news by Monday.
By TY R. STATES Contributing Writer Penn State and its fans expected a tough game against visiting Iowa Saturday, and the two teams delivered. The Hawkeyes had won three straight and eight of the last nine meetings, but this time around it was the Nittany Lions with another big defensive effort and the offense did enough to take a 13-3 win. The Hawkeyes (3-2, 0-1 BT) came into their Big Ten Conference opener with a high-flying offense, scoring nearly 38 points and 282 passing yards per game. Penn State (5-1, 2-0 BT) blitzed more than it has in a long time, and it paid off, with five sacks of quarterback James Vandenberg, two interceptions and a forced fumble which sparked the fourth-quarter touchdown drive and a 10-point lead. The Lions have given up less than 10 points in five of the first six games for the first time since 1978. The defense has also allowed less than 300 yards of total offense to five of six opponents to start the season as well. Alabama is the lone exception. Iowa was averaging 422 yards per game this season. They were held to 253 by the Lions (84 rush, 169 pass). Defensive tackle Devon Still remained atop the Big Ten in tackles for loss this season with nine, adding 1.5 against the Hawkeyes. Safety Drew Astorino finished with a career-high 11 tackles. "Coach (Tom) Bradley was blitzing us like crazy today. Every play was a blitz and we were loving it," junior linebacker Gerald Hodges said. "Every time we go to blitz we were smiling because it was another chance for us to make a good play." Early in the fourth quarter, Hodges sacked Vandenberg and forced a fumble, recovered by Nate Stupar. Penn State then used six minutes off the clock to move 49 yards in 11 plays and take a 13-3 lead on a two-yard touchdown pass from Matt McGloin to Kevin Haplea. Iowa's next two possessions the Lions stopped with interceptions by Malcolm Willis and Nick Sukay. The last time the Hawkeyes had the ball in the closing minutes, Vandenberg was sacked three times by Sean Stanley, Still, and Khairi Fortt. On the offensive side of things for the Nittany Lions, the team played pretty well. The running game really churned out the yardage against a tough defense, as the offensive line came through by playing well all four quarters. "I thought they were consistent and they hustled right up to the end. They stayed with their blocks. I thought the pass protection overall was pretty good," Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said. Silas Redd ran for a career-best 142 yards on 28 attempts. He was carrying some extra baggage after attending the funeral of his paternal grandmother Mamie Langard on Friday. Redd took the field and did what he does best while thinking of her. "Not that I play with any less passion, but there was definitely some more motivation to run the ball thinking of her." Penn State finished with 231 yards on the ground. That translated into a time of possesion of 35:54, with 9:59 in the fourth quarter. "As the game went on more I think we were able to stay physical with the guys. That was a good defensive line we played and I think our conditioning really helped us out in the end," senior offensive tackle Chima Okoli explained. The coaches stayed with the two-quarterback system that has garnered all the attention from everyone around the team. McGloin saw more playing time than Rob Bolden. McGloin went 12 of 19 passing for 133 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Bolden ended three for seven for 31 yards. "We're a 5-1 team now and the two quarterback thing is working for us. "I don't see it changing now," Bolden commented. At halftime Penn State recognized the 1986 national championship team, with over 60 members returning to Beaver Stadium. A total of 13 players from that squad were drafted by NFL teams in 1987. During the postgame press conference, Paterno was asked to talk about the passing of Oakland Raiders owner and football Hall of Famer Al Davis. He told a story of how Davis wanted him to be his offensive coordinator in Oakland, but Paterno told him no, jokingly saying "we would have a tough time getting along because I'm smarter than you and you'll never admit it. "He's a good ole' Brooklyn boy. I'm sorry to see him go, I really am." Penn State remains at Beaver Stadium for its 92nd Homecoming game Saturday against Purdue with a noon kickoff.