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The Nittany Lions Meet The Press

I’ll be on my way shortly to Beaver Stadium for Penn State’s annual preseason football media day, where I can guarantee a few things will happen: Joe Paterno will be asked (repeatedly) about his health; Joe Paterno will say (repeatedly) that it’s too early too know much about his football team: Joe Paterno will downplay (repeatedly) his team’s chances this season.

Joe’s occasional predictability aside, media day is a great chance to hear from coaches and players and get a sense of the team’s mindset just three weeks shy of the season opener. I’ll have more on media day Friday morning, but for now, here are a few links that touch on some of the preseason’s biggest questions:

-Who’s the man? Mike Poorman ’82 at breaks down an apparently wide-open quarterback race, shedding particular light on the challenge faced by a schedule that includes three top-10 opponents.

-How is Joe? Bob Flounders at knows that Joe Paterno’s health will be on everybody’s mind today, and perhaps all season long.

-Can these guys stay healthy? A leg injury suffered this week by sophomore wideout Curtis Drake was a blow to the Lions’ preseason preparation. A number of players are coming back from substantial injuries suffered last year, and with a lack of proven depth in key positions (including linebacker and the offensive line), keeping the rest of the roster healthy will be key.

I’ll have more on Friday morning.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 12, 2010 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

An Update on Lake Perez

In May 2009 I wrote that the folks at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center had taken to calling Lake Perez (previously known as Stone Valley Lake) “Pond Perez.” The lake had been drawn down in 2008 because of problems with the dam.

Well, a little over a year later, they’re calling it “Meadow Perez” now. The lake is pretty much dry, and—according to a recent article by Adam Smeltz ’05 at—it’s likely to remain that way until at least 2014. That’s not ideal, from the standpoint of the ecosystem: The lake’s disappearance gives non-native plant species a chance to take over and dramatically changes the wildlife habitat. And it obviously reduces the local opportunities for canoers and fishermen. But Penn State appears to be in a tough spot, because the dam repairs could cost as much as $3 million.

Tina Hay, editor

August 10, 2010 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Andrew Pitz’s Snap Decisions

Mike Poorman ’82 has a cool piece this week on about Andrew Pitz ’09, the Nittany Lions’ longsnapper last season (and Mike’s former intern) attending a special-teams camp in Arizona. Pitz is hoping the extra work on his skills, combined with his perfect record last season (when he didn’t botch a snap, including the hike that set up the game-winning field goal at the Capital One Bowl) will earn him a shot at the NFL. Like all of Mike’s stuff, it’s a fun read.

Bonus: Mike’s story gives us an excuse to re-run the goofy little video feature we did with Andrew last summer, at Penn State’s annual preseason media day.

You can see why we’re rooting for this kid.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

February 26, 2010 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

As the College Coaching Carousel Spins Faster Than Ever, a Nod to Sticking Around

I’ve been smirking a bit this week watching the movement among some of the nation’s prominent college football coaches. First Pete Carroll left USC after a wildly successful decade —quite possibly, as Carroll has said, because he found the perfect opportunity to return to the NFL, but also possibly because the Trojans struggled this season, and because the program faces the possibility of serious NCAA sanctions in the near future. Carroll’s replacement at Southern Cal is Lane Kiffin, fresh off a single mediocre season at Tennessee where the program drew NCAA scrutiny for everything from Kiffin’s verbal jousting with rivals to allegations of recruiting violations.

What does all this have to do with Penn State? Thankfully nothing, as a few people in the media have pointed out this week. Wednesday’s New York Times featured a great column by George Vecsey comparing the Carroll and Kiffin drama with the steadiness of Joe Paterno’s tenure in Happy Valley. And today on, Jay Paterno contrasts his father’s stability with the constant turnover in the college coaching ranks. Good reads both.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 14, 2010 at 11:16 am Leave a comment

Rhetoric and the Art of a Joe Paterno Press Conference

Mike Poorman ’82 teaches a class in the College of Communications called “Joe Paterno, Communications & the Media,” and its focus is exactly what the name implies. For obvious reasons, Mike only teaches the class during the fall semester, allowing the 60-some students in his class to crowd into the Beaver Stadium media room and take in a live Paterno press conference. Yesterday, his current class took its turn.

The topic that dominated a good chunk of this week’s media session was Penn State’s scheduling of lower-division opponent Eastern Illinois in what should amount to a mid-season walkover this Saturday at Beaver Stadium. A local beat writer put Joe on the spot about the scheduling decision, and Paterno responded with some prepared notes — if not a first, then certainly a rarity for the veteran coach. Poorman has covered a few hundred of Joe’s Tuesday pressers, so it’s notable when he points out that “there’s never been anything” quite like yesterday’s exchange.

Mike found it a terrific teaching opportunity, and he turned it into an enlightening column — including perspective on Joe’s rhetorical approach, and the text of that contentious play-by-play between Paterno and the reporter — all of which you can read here.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 7, 2009 at 11:15 am 1 comment

How Daryll Clark Spent His Saturday Night

There’s a good article at today about what Daryll Clark did after Saturday’s win over Temple. Basically he drove to Bellefonte and … well, maybe I should just let you read the story. It’s a nicely told tale.

The author is the managing editor of the Web site, Terry Casey, who also is a Penn State journalism student. He was editor of the Collegian last year.

Tina Hay, editor

September 21, 2009 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

Jay Paterno Is Writing A Column (Again)

Jay Paterno ’91 Lib just posted his first column on, and the Nittany Lion quarterbacks coach promises to address topics other than football. His debut features thoughts on President Obama’s speech to schoolchildren and his own pre-natal “memories” of the minor controversy surrounding Penn State’s 1968 meeting with Syracuse. As Jay reminds us, it’s not his first foray into writing: In addition to his oft-updated Twitter feed and that book we hear he’s working on, Jay was, briefly, a columnist for the Daily Collegian—almost 20 years ago.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm Leave a comment

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