Posts tagged ‘Kerry Collins’

Twenty Years On, Still Perfect

I think I’m finally over my jet lag from five terrific days in Dublin, and just in time: There’s a home opener to be ready for.

The Nittany Lions’ meeting with Akron is notable for a few reasons, not least that it’s James Franklin’s home debut. But as both a 1995 grad and the guy who spent untold hours on the phone this past spring and summer with members of the ’94 Lions, I can tell you I’m almost as excited about the reunion of Penn State’s last undefeated team as I am about the game itself.


Carter, Collins, and Brady, three of the stars of the unstoppable ’94 offense.

Alumni Association members by now should have their copies of our Sept./Oct. issue, which features that great shot of Ki-Jana Carter ’95 on the cover, and, inside, an oral history on that team’s epic comeback win at Illinois. While the magazine piece focuses on the Illinois game—well, really the whole trip to Champaign, a surreal experience that the players, coaches, and managers recount in the issue—it’s just an excerpt from our much larger oral history of the ’94 Lions, tracking that squad from raw recruits into arguably the greatest offensive team in college football history. I spoke to nearly 30 guys for that one, and it was very much a labor of love. If you haven’t already, you can find the entire piece over at The Football Letter Blog.

The reunion is well timed not only with the 20th anniversary of that team, but with the emergence of true sophomore Christian Hackenberg as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Hackenberg’s record performance against UCF in the season opener, following his terrific freshman season, has some people wondering (prematurely) how he ranks with the best QBs in program history. Well, the guy who tops that list, Kerry Collins ’94, is expected back this weekend, as are arguably—key word here—the best running back (Carter), receiver (Bobby Engram ’95), tight end (Kyle Brady ’95) and offensive line in school history. There are lots of worth guys in the argument at all those positions, but the fact that so many guys from that one team are in the discussion tells you just how phenomenal that team was.

For so many reasons, it’s impossible to compare this year’s team—still limited by sanctions, and with a brand new coaching staff—to Joe Paterno’s veteran, talent-laden ’94 squad. But based on some of the things I heard repeated time and time again by Carter, Collins, Engram, Brady and nearly everyone else I spoke to from the ’94 squad, there’s plenty that this year’s Lions would be well to mimic: Work hard, put aside egos, never doubt what you’re capable of, and never miss a chance to laugh. Solid advice for any football team—and, I suppose, for life in general.

Ryan Jones, senior editor


September 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm 3 comments

Bill O’Brien Lands in Happy Valley

Nearly 24 hours after his hiring was reported by the media, and nearly two months after Joe Paterno’s six-decade tenure came to an end, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien on Friday was officially announced as the 15th head coach in Penn State football history.

O’Brien, who reportedly signed a five-year contract, will be introduced Saturday morning in a press conference at the Nittany Lion Inn. The press conference will be carried live at 11:30 a.m. on Big Ten Network and

O’Brien, 42, is wrapping up his fifth season as an assistant coach with the Patriots, his first NFL team after 14 seasons as a college assistant. (There’s a nice career summary here.) His first coaching gig was as an assistant at Brown, his alma mater. Of course, Brown is Joe Paterno’s alma mater, as well.

Paterno released a statement Friday evening congratulating O’Brien, (more…)

January 7, 2012 at 2:17 am 3 comments

Hoops Wins, and Kerry Collins Moving On

Both Penn State basketball teams earned nice wins Wednesday night as part of the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Lady Lions, ranked 15th or 16th depending on which poll you go by, dominated No. 13/14 North Carolina in a 103-84 win at the Bryce Jordan Center. A school-record 14 three-pointers contributed greatly to the outcome. The men were a bit more subtle in pulling off a 62-54 road win over Boston College. Great results for both teams.

Unrelated, but a story worth sharing: Kerry Collins ’94 Lib is the focus of a lengthy profile in Thursday’s New York Times. It’s a great story on the former Nittany Lion quarterback, who retired for good last month after a final, frustrating season with the Indianapolis Colts. He’s focused now on his family and a burgeoning career as a country music songwriter.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

December 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

Kerry Collins Continues Country Music Rise

Kerry Collins, as pictured in Nashville Scene.

Is it possible that one day, Kerry Collins will be known not as a quarterback, but as a songwriter? He’s been trying to follow the path of fellow Penn Stater Mike Reid for a while now, and he took another step recently when a song he co-wrote was performed at the Bluebird Cafe, a famous country music venue in Nashville.

“Running out of Reasons” was performed by his co-writer, Lisa Hentrich, the wife of his Tennessee Titans teammate, punter Craig Hentrich. You can read all about it in this story from Nashville Scene, and you can hear the song on Lisa Hentrich’s MySpace page.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

November 20, 2009 at 9:12 pm 1 comment

Another Mike Reid?

Turns out former Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins has a new hobby: writing country music.

Titans Wooing Fans FootballGuess that’s what happens when you spend a lot of time in Nashville, where Collins is now playing for the Tennessee Titans.

He told The Associated Press recently that he’s been jotting ideas in a notebook for years, and that in 2007 he began to work with some established Nashville song writers, including Ed Hill, who co-wrote Tracy Lawrence’s “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” and Billy Lawson, who wrote “I Left Something Turned On At Home” for Trace Adkins. Both songwriters say Collins — who majored in labor and industrial relations, hardly an artsy field — has some ability. Collins certainly has endured some life experiences that could translate to country songs.

That said, he’s got a steep climb to become the best football player/songwriter in Penn State history. That honor goes to Mike Reid, the 1969 Outland Trophy winner and a four-time All-Pro for the Cincinnati Bengals, who has written No. 1 country songs and branched out into classical music and musicals. Read this 2001 Sports Illustrated piece for a nice look at Reid’s musical accomplishments.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

May 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm 1 comment

Transition Games

You thought this was the “offseason” for Penn State football?

Nittany Lions past and present are all over the news this week, and for PSU fans, no story is bigger than that of defensive line coach and ace recruiter Larry Johnson Sr. considering a job offer (including a raise and a promotion) from Big Ten rival Illinois. Harrisburg’s Dave Jones (an Ohio State alum, which I reluctantly overlook because he tends to write great columns) breaks down the factors that might influence the decision, both for Johnson and for Joe Paterno. It’s a decision that could have massive implications for Penn State’s short- and long-term football future.

Larry Johnson is Penn State's No. 1 recruiter

Larry Johnson is Penn State's No. 1 recruiter

Kerry Collins ’94 is weighing an offer, too, and he’s made it clear he’s got the ultimate leverage: Give him what he wants, or he’ll retire. Collins, an unexpected starter this season who led the Tennessee Titans to the best regular-season mark in the NFL, has made it clear he’d still like to play, but he has no desire to sit on anyone’s bench. If the Titans don’t want him to start next season, he’ll try to find a team that does. If he can’t, he’ll retire to his North Carolina farm.

Former Paterno assistant Jim Caldwell had no such choices to make. When Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy announced his retirement earlier today, Caldwell, the Colts’ associate head coach last season, was promoted to the top job.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 13, 2009 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment

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