Posts tagged ‘Christian Hackenberg’

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 18, 2013

He just won, baby: In case you somehow missed it, Matt McGloin ’12 started his first NFL game on Sunday. To be more specific: An NFL rookie who wasn’t offered a Division I scholarship and wasn’t drafted out of college started—and won—in his NFL debut. He wasn’t Peyton Manning, but for a rookie starting on the road, McGloin was nonetheless terrific, completing 18 of 32 passes for 197 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Most importantly, he led the Raiders to a 28-23 win.

Matthew McGloinFor more, here are game highlights and video from McGloin’s postgame press conference, and good stuff from one Bay Area columnist who celebrates McGloin as “the never-chosen one” who once again excelled in the face of the doubters. Good for him.

And a lot more sports: McGloin’s replacement Christian Hackenberg passed for 212 yards and a couple of TDs and got lots of help from a potent running game as the Nittany Lions beat Purdue(more…)

November 18, 2013 at 11:27 am 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 4, 2013

In the eye of the beholder: “Ugly” was the word flying around after Saturday’s 24-17 OT win over Illinois. Most fans and media agree that’s exactly what it was, while Bill O’Brien and his players, pretty much to a man, insisted that any win is a thing of beauty. Regardless of your perspective, there were some cool post-game insights from this one. Among them:

* The overtime touchdown pass from Christian Hackenberg to Kyle Carter is Bill O’Brien’s “favorite” play call—and that was before it won the game.

* Junior running back Bill Belton apologized for the goal-line fumble that almost cost the Lions the game, and thanked his teammates for bailing him out. Suffice it to say, without Belton’s 201 rushing yards—the first 200-yard game by a Penn State running back since Larry Johnson ’02 in 2002—the Lions wouldn’t have been in the game.

* And after yet another huge game from junior wideout Allen Robinson, singled him out for praise—no doubt, a positive sign for A-Rob’s future employment.

Is that video of Bill O’Brien coaching practice on Halloween dressed as the Nittany Lion? Yes. Yes it is.

Mike McQueary, in context: Monday marks two years since Jerry Sandusky ’66, ’71g was indicted, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review marks the anniversary with a profile of Mike McQueary ’97, whose testimony will be central to the eventual trial of former university administrators. Trib staff writer Adam Smeltz ’05 mixes anecdotal perspectives on McQueary’s personality with expert opinions on how his testimony will impact the trial. A piece that might be worth bookmarking for whenever the trial gets underway.

A love story, and a lesson: Donald Ford, founding dean of the College of Health and Human Development, hopes the story of his relationship with his late wife—and how he helped manage her later years as she suffered from Alzheimer’s—is an inspiration for others. With Carol’s Alzheimer’s Journey, Ford ’56g combined tales from their six-decade relationship (including letters they wrote each other over the years) with his perspective on how, with creativity, help, and an impressive level of commitment, he was able to care for Carol at home even as her disease progressed. You can find out more about the book, including links to purchase it, here.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

November 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Oct. 18, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

A “legend” passes: Larry Foster ’48, a giant of the public relations industry and one of Penn State’s most prominent and dedicated alumni, died Thursday. He was 88. Foster’s great impact on the PR world came in the early 1980s, when he guided Johnson & Johnson’s response to the infamous and still-unsolved Tylenol poisoning of 1982. It remains a case study in the right way to handle a corporate PR crisis. His impact on his alma mater has been similarly profound. Along with his wife, Ellen Miller ’49, Foster was a generous and far-sighted donor to Penn State, and particularly to the College of Communications, where they endowed faculty positions and scholarships and supported renovations to the Carnegie Building. A three-term member of the Board of Trustees, Foster also served as president of the Alumni Association, and was instrumental in creating the Alumni Fellows program.

Courting success: The men’s basketball team held its preseason media day Thursday, and while third-year coach Patrick Chambers wouldn’t be specific about how many wins he’s aiming for, or whether this squad has NCAA tournament potential, he made one thing clear: He likes this team. (more…)

October 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm 1 comment

Weekend Sports Wrap — Sept. 9, 2013

News and highlights from Penn State’s weekend sports action.

History, Old and New, at Beaver Stadium: We knew John Cappelletti ’74 and many other members of the undefeated 1973 team would be honored at halftime against Eastern Michigan. We didn’t know Cappy would received the unprecedented honor of having his No. 22 jersey retired. has some terrific video of Cappelletti speaking to the current Lions in the lockerroom after the game.

Daily Collegian columnist John Stuetz has a thoughtful take on the high bar Cappelletti set for other once or future Penn State athletes who might have their jerseys retired.

And speaking of No. 22: The current Lion to wear that number, redshirt freshman running back Akeel Lynch, had a breakout day on Saturday. Per Cappy’s request, he’ll get to keep his number until he finishes his Penn State career.

Zach Zwinak scoring one of his two rushing TDs.

Zach Zwinak scoring one of his two rushing TDs.

Oh, and the game itself? (more…)

September 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

Adventures in Sports Photography: Football Practice


Freshman Christian Hackenberg and the other quarterbacks in a passing drill yesterday.

As part of yesterday’s Media Day for Penn State football, part of the team’s practice was open to the media, so I ventured over with my camera gear.

I’ve photographed a few other Penn State sports—I’ve written before about my forays into women’s volleyball (here and here) and wrestling—and I’ve been thinking about trying football for a while. So I thought that shooting a football practice would be a good start.

I had a bit of general apprehensiveness, and a lot of questions, going into the experience. A sampling, along with the answers:

What kind of lenses will I need? Do I want to lug my heavy 70-200mm f2.8 lens, or will things be close enough that a regular zoom will be enough? Ha! A 70-200mm turns out to be barely enough. A lot of the pro photographers brought their big guns; I’m fairly certain they were using 300mm or even 600mm lenses. That practice field is huge, and if you think about it, it needs to be: It has to accommodate all of the players doing all kinds of drills at once. But that meant that when Bill O’Brien was on the other side of the field, he might as well have been a sparrow in a treetop as far as my camera was concerned.

Christian_HackenbergWill I need a monopod? Yes, that was helpful; it beats hand-holding the heavier lens, and lots of other photographers were using monopods.

Will I stand out? Will all the regulars notice immediately that I’m a newbie? Heck no. The place was crawling with news media—writers, still photographers, TV camera people, producers. I was just one of the throng, and that was fine by me.

(This reminds me of a story: I used to play recreational ice hockey over at the Ice Pavilion, and I often would be the only female on the team. One summer, two or three games into the season, my line is taking a breather on the bench while our teammates take their turn on the ice, and one guy on the bench says to another guy: “Hey, I hear there’s gonna be a girl on our team this season.” The other guy just looks at him and silently points to me. The first guy looks over at me—we all do look pretty much alike under all that gear—and says, with a sheepish look, “Oh.”)

—Will I get run over by three linebackers and suffer multiple contusions and fractures? Nope—not this time, anyway. Probably not a bad idea to stay alert at these things, though.

The whole experience turned out to be very interesting, mildly productive (I shot about 300 photos and ended up with maybe 10 or 15 keepers), and a good learning experience for me.

The first thing I learned is that time is a bit elastic over there. For example, the info we received said that we’d be able to shoot starting at 2:30 for about 25 to 30 minutes. We were encouraged to get there at least 10 minutes early. I got there about 2:25 and practice was already underway, and at 2:30 we were told “No more photos.”


As it turns out, we only had to put our cameras down for about 15 minutes, while the team ran some plays, and then we were allowed to shoot again while they did some stretching. And after the stretching, we were able to shoot some other drills. The media ended up being able to stay for more than an hour, and photos were allowed off and on throughout that period; someone from Sports Information would walk by periodically and say, “OK, no photos for the next two minutes, but after that you can shoot for 10” or whatever. I got the impression that in general, they’re fine with you shooting during stretching and routine drills, but not while they’re running plays—and that of course makes sense.

So, note to self: If I’m going to do this again at a future practice, plan on coming early and staying late. Published times are only a guideline. Go with the flow.

In addition to the shots of the quarterbacks, above, here are a few images I managed to get yesterday. First, one of Bill O’Brien—nothing special; I would have liked to have gotten some with more animated expressions. (Next time!)


Next, center Wendy Laurent during the stretching period.…


Here’s tight ends coach John Strollo supervising a drill:

John Strollo

And here’s a composite of four assistant coaches; click on it to see it bigger:


Finally, I got a few—a very few—halfway decent action shots. Here are two, both from the defensive backs drills. The first, I think, is sophomore safety Trevor Williams (10) and sophomore cornerback Da’Quan Davis:

DSC_5264_med_defensive backs

And here’s Trevor Williams again:


Some of the challenges in shooting yesterday were similar to those in any sports photography. Aperture, for example: You want an f-stop wide enough to blur out some of the distractions in the background, but you need at least enough depth of field so that both of the players going for the ball are in focus.

Similarly, a camera whose shutter has a fast burst rate is as helpful here as it is in shooting other fast-moving sports. When the coach launches a pass toward the defensive backs, you just hold the shutter down and keep firing off shots until the play is over. If your camera only gives you, say, four frames per second, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a shot of the ball approaching the player’s fingertips and another of him cradling it after the catch, but not the shot in between, where he’s actually making the catch.

And, as in all sports, you do need to shoot a lot of images to get a few good ones. For every “money shot,” there are plenty of tosser-outers—ones that are out of focus, or where the coach has his eyes closed or the player has an unflattering expression or the player’s arm is blocking his face.

One challenge that I wasn’t expecting: all that green. The field is green, the trees surrounding the field are green, and as a result many of my photos had an overall greenish cast to them. Fixing a wacky color balance in Photoshop is not my long suit, so that’s something I need to work on.

But enough about me. If you want to see some professional images from yesterday’s practice—and Media Day generally—here are some galleries I recommend:

This one from the York Daily Record.

These from Penn State Live and these from

This gallery from Christopher Weddle of the Centre Daily Times.

—And this one from the Harrisburg Patriot‘s Joe Hermitt, one of my favorite photographers of Penn State football.

Tina Hay, editor

August 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm 4 comments

A Drama-Free Media Day

There were no questions about sanctions. There were no questions about names on jerseys, or about young men with facial hair. There were no questions about team morale.  When Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lion football team met reporters Thursday at the team’s annual preseason media day, the questions were about football. It’s how these things are supposed to go, and how they usually did go at Penn State, until this time last year.

This time last year, of course, O’Brien was a first-year head coach, and the Lions were a team facing drastic NCAA sanctions and the loss of key players who transferred when things looked their worst. But after an 8–4 season and a year of familiarity—for O’Brien and his staff, for players and media, and for Penn State fans—things no longer seem so bad. There are challenges, particularly the scholarship limitations that have robbed the Lions of roster depth and will magnify the impact of injuries to any key player. But things are better. The questions reflected that.

photo[1]The first—and most important—question put to O’Brien on Thursday was no surprise: What about your quarterbacks? With the job up for grabs between sophomore transfer Tyler Ferguson (No. 5 at left) and true freshman Christian Hackenberg (No. 14), Penn State’s opening-day starter will have everything to prove. Asked about his statement last month that he’d have a starter named by mid August, O’Brien seemed to be only half-joking when he replied, “I hope you didn’t mark that on your calendar.” Ferguson, who was on campus in the spring, seems to have an early advantage, but there’s a reason Hackenberg was the top-rated high school QB in the nation. O’Brien will spend much of the next week or two watching for one of them to prove himself the better player.

And the rest? There’s serious talent all over the field, a fact emphasized by the slew of NFL scouts who took in Thursday’s open practice. The lack of depth behind those stars is the concern, and keeping their best players healthy will be vital to the Lions’ success this season, and for the next few seasons as well. But on a sticky day in early August, there was no point looking beyond the next practice. The Lions open the season against Syracuse on Aug. 30. Until then, they’ve got work to do.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

August 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm 3 comments

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