Posts tagged ‘Blue White Illustrated’
The only thing we know is that we don’t know anything.
That’s been the smart observer’s mantra regarding Penn State’s search for a new head football coach, a title Tom Bradley ’78, ’86g has held on an interim basis for more than a month. Bradley coached the Nittany Lions in their final three regular season games, and is expected to coach the team at least through its appearance in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2. Beyond that? Virtually no one seems to know anything. Since late November, when the University announced the formation of a search committee to find Joe Paterno’s replacement, the rumors have been torrential—and the actual news non-existent.
Acting athletic director David Joyner ’72, ’76g heads the search committee, and he’s said little publicly about the search. The rare exceptions have been shooting down rumors of interviews or pending hires when asked about them by reporters, or the couple of video Q&As he’s done on GoPSUSports.com. The second of those was posted Thursday, and you can see it below.
The emotions of those following the search range from curious to increasingly panic stricken—one recent post on a Penn State football message board was dedicated to counting the days fans have been “held hostage” waiting for a new coach. In the video, Joyner is asked, essentially, what’s taking so long. His response? “We’re about exactly where I wanted to be at this point in time. We may be conducting our search a little different than other people; not saying they’re not, but we’re being very methodical and precise about what we’re doing and who we’re talking to.”
Joyner also says “We don’t have a lack of people to look at,” and indeed, the list of coaches who, without any confirmation, have been connected to the Penn State job is lengthy. Blue White Illustrated maintains a “hot board” (subscription required) of potential candidates, and essentially every Penn State and national college football writer has dedicated column inches to the speculation. Thursday brought what might’ve been the steadiest stream of rumors that the job had in fact been filled; the fact that the Wikipedia entry for Boise State coach Chris Petersen was briefly tweaked to claim he’d been hired by Penn State only added to the lunacy.
What seems clear is that Joyner and the rest of the committee are focused less on soothing the curiosity (or panic) of fans than they are making the right hire. When, and how, that happens remains anyone’s guess, but we’ll end with one fact we find instructive: The more informed media speculation has focused on Joyner and fellow committee member Ira Lubert ’73 as the key figures in this search. That matters (or seems to) because Joyner and Lubert—former Nittany Lion wrestling teammates—are widely credited with convincing Cael Sanderson to leave his alma mater and take over the Penn State wrestling program. Sanderson, of course, is the biggest name in collegiate wrestling, and he led the Lions to a national title last spring.
Is there a comparable hire for the Penn State football job? Probably not. But there is a right one, and in Joyner and Lubert, there’s a precedent for finding it.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
The university’s announcement of a search committee to help choose the next head football coach has added fuel to the speculative fire for those trying to predict who that coach might be. Of course it’s all just that—speculation—but there are some educated opinions on the matter, including those at Blue White Illustrated and the Patriot News. Just who that coach will be, and whether he’ll be hired before the Nittany Lions play (as expected) in a bowl game, remains to be seen.
There’s less intrigue in most other areas of the Penn State sports world. Among the things we know:
—Devon Still is the Big Ten’s best lineman. It was obvious to anyone who watched the Nittany Lions play this season, and on Monday the league made it official. Here’s the senior defensive tackle (and probable first-round NFL draft pick next year) talking about his success:
—The women’s volleyball team is back in the NCAA tournament. The four-time defending national champs had a “down” year by their recent standards, finishing the regular season 23-7 and earning the No. 8 seed for the NCAAs. In spite of all that, something tells us they won’t be overlooked. The Lions open the tournament against Liberty University; that match is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rec Hall.
—Hoops season is in full swing.The No. 15 Lady Lions look to improve on a 5-1 start Wednesday night when they host North Carolina at the Jordan Center; also on Wednesday, the Nittany Lions (5-2) travel to Boston College. Both games are part of the annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
I was flipping through the new issue of Blue White Illustrated last night when an ad on page 21 caught my eye. I’ll let the photo speak for itself.
I trust most fans will note the removal of the piping on the neck and sleeves. The possibility of Penn State making its first major uniform alteration in a few decades (not counting the early ’90s addition of the Nike Swoosh) first came up in February; this ad doesn’t explicitly state that these are the team’s new game jerseys, but that seems to be the implication. What do you think, Nittany Lion fans? Let us know.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
If you didn’t catch Penn State’s exhilarating, last-second, come-from-behind defeat of No. 23 Illinois on Thursday night, you missed what was probably the biggest game and best crowd in Bryce Jordan Center history. (For a recap with video highlights, click here.) If the win didn’t earn the Nittany Lions an NCAA Tournament bid, it got them awfully close. One more win — either in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Iowa, or at next week’s Big Ten tournament — should seal the deal.
For me, the game was only the highlight of a great afternoon and evening at the Jordan Center. The 9 p.m., ESPN-mandated tip off was a drag, but it had a silver lining for those of us who cover the team. Brian Siegrist, the media relations liaison for the men’s basketball team, was able to secure an hour of court time for media members, and I joined the rag-tag crew — Siegrist, Blue White Illustrated writers Nate Bauer ’05 and Sean Fitz, Dave Jones of the Patriot-News, and the Daily Collegian trio of Matt Brown, Matt Fortuna, and Nate Mink — for a late-afternoon full-court run. I’m more sore today (and missed more easy shots) than I’d like to admit, but it was a lot of fun.
A couple of hours later, it was time for the real players to take their turn. The game and atmosphere were amazing — thanks in part to Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark, who took the mic before tipoff to hype up the whited-out crowd, which responded in kind. They, and the national TV audience, got quite a show: Penn State was down 10 with five minutes left, and senior leader Jamelle Cornley was out with what looked like a separated shoulder (though he somehow came back into the game a few minutes later, practically dragging his arm around the court). Fellow senior Stanley Pringle hit some huge shots to keep the game close, and then, predictably, it was uber-confident sophomore guard Talor Battle taking the ball the length of the court in the closing seconds and hitting a driving layup that almost seemed to stop on the rim before dropping in. Cue thousands of white-clad fans storming the court. It was quite a moment.
There was another slightly less monumental (but no less cool) moment at halftime, when the entertainment featured a game between the Bellefonte fifth-and sixth-grade boys rec league teams. The highlight of that game was a surging layup by one Ian Marshall, son of Penn Stater editorial assistant Barb. I hope Ed DeChellis was paying attention — the kid can play.
Ryan Jones, senior editor