August 2010 Archives

Tuesday Football Primer: Youngstown State Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2010 offseason may not officially end until Saturday at noon, but in the eyes of media covering the Nittany Lion football team, it ended on Tuesday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.

 

Hall of Fame head coach Joe Paterno walked into the first weekly press conference at 12:20, 10 minutes prior to the announced start time.  Eager to get things started, Coach Paterno sat down in front of the microphone and officially kicked off the 2010 football season.

 

Like is the procedure at every weekly press conference, the first few questions come from media members who have called in on the phone.  Rich Scarcella from the Reading Eagle, who has the honor of kicking things off every Tuesday afternoon, began with a question about what else, the quarterback situation.  Coach Paterno responded with a statement on the most intriguing question heading into Saturday's opener.

 

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"There isn't anybody who has played much," Coach Paterno said.  "We can't make up our mind.  We were going to try to make it up last week, and then I said, 'No, let's make sure we know what we're doing.'  So we'll probably make up our mind in the next day or two, we'll start, but we'll probably play a couple of kids."

 

The coaching staff is still in its evaluation period and not quite ready to name the starter.  All three players - Matt McGloin, Kevin Newsome and Robert Bolden - continue to all take snaps with the first and second team at practice.

 

"So we're just playing it by day‑by‑day, and that's one of the reasons why we're so late in making a selection," Coach Paterno said.  "I think potentially there's talent there.  But right now it's not ‑‑ they're just not that comfortable yet and we'll have to see what happens.  Obviously we have to make a decision to start one of them.  And we, hopefully, will maybe do it tomorrow night."

 

We will continue to await word on the starting quarterback.  Like I mentioned in the Monday Mailbag for this week, look for all three quarterbacks to see time on Saturday.  It will be the first true opportunity to see all three in a game situation, other than a few snaps for Newsome and McGloin in 2009.  Stay tuned.

 

Press Conference Nuggets:

- Coach Paterno noted that Chaz Powell has moved back to the offensive side of the ball.  Despite being listed as a starting cornerback on the latest depth chart, Powell will has been practicing on offense the last few days.  He is a versatile player; so do not be surprised to see him used in a variety of ways this fall.

 

- Brett Brackett and Ollie Ogbu have been named captains for the 2010 squad.  The team voted on Monday, with the official word coming on Tuesday morning.  Both Brackett and Ogbu were thrilled with the announcement and are very well respected in the locker room.  They will lead the program very well this fall.

 

- Outside of the quarterback situation, much of the preseason talk has focused on the offensive line.  Coach Paterno seems very pleased with the progress the group has made heading into Saturday's season opener.

 

"If they get a little bit more comfortable and anticipate some things a little bit better, I think we'll get better.  But as of now we're very encouraged.  We're encouraged.  We're not home free yet.  We go out there and sometimes work against the offensive line, works against some of our downed defensive guys they have some problems.  But I think overall we've made strides, and I think inside and at tight end obviously is going to be a little bit of a problem for us for a while.  But I think even there we're getting better.  We're getting better."

 

- The final coats of paint were being added to the meticulous Beaver Stadium Sod on Tuesday afternoon.  The season is now just four days away.  We can't wait.

Video Blog: 2010 Beaver Stadium Facility Upgrades

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Beaver Stadium facility staff was hard at work over the offseason upgrading a number of areas at one of college football's greatest shrine.

 

The All-Sports Blog spent some time with Associate Athletic Director for Facilities & Operations Mark Bodenschatz over at the stadium to see some of the new changes heading into the season.  He took GoPSUsports.com on a brief tour of the upgrades.  Enjoy a video blog post of the Beaver Stadium upgrades.




First Monday Mailbag Now Live

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The first GoPSUsports.com Monday Mailbag is now live.  Do not forget to submit your questions for next Monday.  Here is this week's Mailbag with yours truly.


Monday Mailbag - August 30

Recapping the Penn State Invitational

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After an emotional roller coaster of a weekend, we will be traveling to Connecticut this Thursday with a 1-1-1 record. On Friday night, coaches and spectators alike were treated to a fast-paced, end-to-end, 1-1 double overtime battle between our Nittany Lions and a very talented UVA squad.

Graham Hays from ESPN.com summed it up well when he said, "Penn State had the speed to take the game to one of the ACC's best teams for much of the night Friday but lacked the polish to finish it off. Virginia had the defense to absorb that speed and blunt most of the potential scoring chances -- and the offensive resilience to find a goal when it needed it late. Nobody won Friday night but both teams showed the attributes that should allow them to win with regularity as the season continues." Thanks so much to our record setting 3,912 fans for creating an electrifying atmosphere at Jeffrey Field and making Penn State the best place in the country to play college soccer!

Unfortunately, the energy and excitement surrounding Friday evening's match led to a very disappointing loss on Sunday against the Tribe from William & Mary. Simply put, our overall effort and mentality in Sunday afternoon's match, with tired legs on a hot day, was not good enough. We will need to continue to emphasize this "winning mentality" every day at training in order to learn how to fight through physical and mental fatigue. Nevertheless, we know we have a lot to build on and work through after the events of this past weekend.

In recapping this weekend's events, Steve Hughes did a nice job on the GoPSUsports.com All-Sports Blog. We welcome him to the coverage team.

Nittany Lions Show Signs of Speed and Strong Goaltending in Home Opening Weekend

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By Steven Hughes, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - The No. 12 Penn State women's soccer team (1-1-1) hosted its first home games of the year at Jeffrey Field by showing off its offensive speed and timely goaltending against the Virginia Cavaliers and William & Mary Tribe.

 

Against the Cavaliers on Friday, Penn State found time and space with Hayley Brock and Danielle Toney in transition. Their combined speed allowed for opportunities that foreshadowed a tap in goal from Brock in the 56th minute of play.


"The corner came in and I stayed on the goalkeeper. My whole foot flicked it in, but I just happened to be in the right place," Brock said.

 

Brock found calm under pressure when presented with a chance to score on Friday.

 

"We've been working on staying composed, getting a foot on it, getting anything on it and that's exactly what happened," Brock said.

 

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Toney showcased her deceptive quickness and lateral speed on Sunday against the Tribe. Her first shot came in the early minutes of play. Toney knifed through multiple Tribe defenders before firing a shot to the left corner that was received by the goalie.  Two more shots and three minutes later, Toney's aggressiveness was rewarded. Her shot found the back of the net after sticking with a deflected ball.

 

 "I just kept at it. It doesn't matter how it ends up in the back of the net as long as it ends up in the back of the net," Toney said.

 

Head Coach Erica Walsh said if the team can utilize its speed, it could be overwhelming for opponents.

 

"It's a little scary. I'm not so sure I'd want to be on our opponent's back line," Walsh said.

 

Penn State also showed its character this weekend after yielding a goal to the Cavaliers in the 87th minute. Despite the game-tying late score, the team remained resilient and battled to hold a tie.

 

"I felt we did a real nice job of having each other's back. The Penn State mentality and the mentality we're trying to build in this program really came out," Walsh said.

 

Goalkeeper Krissy Tribbett's consistency in clutch moments shined through in the double overtime thriller against the Cavaliers. Tribbett, of Centennial Colo., made a leaping swat to hold a tie against the Cavaliers, along with four strong saves under duress on Sunday against the Tribe.

 

Tribbett's performance showed Walsh that she can be relied on in the waning moments of games.

 

"She has come up big for us. Every time she is put in a tough situation she has come out in a good place," Walsh said.

 

For most of the weekend, Penn State's defense swarmed its opponents by swallowing possession of the ball and then pushing outlet passes up field to allow for transition opportunities.

 

Lexi Marton said practice attributed to the defense's ability to create opportunities for the offense.

 

"Our ball winning in the air has been good and our ability to release our four-boxing, for them to get forward and get on the attack has been good," Marton said.

 

Toney said when the defense plays well and maintains possession; offense becomes easier for the front lines to create.

 

"We have a lot of speed. Naturally we're going to want to get behind their back line. We have a lot of attacking forces this season. As long as we keep possession of the ball we can always find a way to score," Toney said.

 

Along with speed on offense and strong goaltending, new leadership is beginning to form in Christine Nairn.  Nairn played a significant role against both opponents this weekend. Most likely, her biggest moment came in a penalty shot opportunity that was saved against the Cavaliers.  Although her shot was blocked right by the goalie, Nairn continued to have an impact on the game by setting an example for her teammates. And Coach Walsh noticed.

 

"Christine is becoming a better leader and she's organizing for us. She's a big piece talent wise but she's becoming a big piece leadership wise as well," Walsh said.

 

Penn State travels to face Yale and Connecticut on the road this weekend after dropping 2-1 decision to William & Mary. Coach Walsh said she hopes her team can put its talent together to produce a string of solid games.

 

"We've just got so many pieces. We have a great player to serve the ball in Christine Nairn and Jess Rosenbluth.  We have good heady players and we feel we can be successful this year," Walsh said.

2010 Unit Preview: Quarterbacks

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports Blog's unit-by-unit preview for the 2010 football season wraps up today with a look at the Nittany Lion quarterbacks.  Our eight-day preview of the personnel making up the Penn State football squad comes to a close with the spot on the depth chart every fan is eager to learn more about.

 

Replacing the things Daryll Clark brought to the table is no small task.  Clark left the Penn State football program after compiling a 22-4 record as the starter.  The Youngstown native also left with five quarterback records for his career.  In addition to his skill on the gridiron, Clark brought superb intangibles to the program.  He was one of the best leaders Penn State football has seen in a number of seasons.

 

Needless to say, the offseason presented the squad with a large vacancy on the depth chart.  From the final snap at the Capital One Bowl to Youngstown State game week, one question has been on the mind of anyone following Penn State football.

 

Who will play quarterback in 2010?

 

That question remains a mystery heading into the final week of preparations for the upcoming season.  As was first reported on the All-Sports Blog on Sunday, the squad released its latest depth chart with three quarterbacks sharing the top line.  With that being said, let's analyze the starting quarterback candidates, in no particular order.

 

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Redshirt sophomore Matt McGloin saw his first collegiate action against Syracuse last season.  The Scranton, Pa., native also took snaps against Eastern Illinois and Michigan State.  When spring practice began, McGloin split time leading the first and second team with sophomore Kevin Newsome.  McGloin brings a great deal of confidence to the huddle.  He has also made very good strides mechanically in the pocket.

 

Newsome spent the 2009 season as the primary backup for Clark.  Having enrolled at Penn State in January, Newsome had the luxury of participating in spring drills prior to the '09 season.  He saw action in 10 games last fall, going 8-of-11 passing for 66 yards.  The Virginia native tallied 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns, as well.  Newsome is a superb athlete with very good speed.  His throwing ability has taken a step forward since the end of spring practice season.

 

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The third name on the top line of the depth chart is freshman Robert Bolden.  The Michigan native joined the squad over the summer after a very successful prep career at Orchard Lake St. Mary's High School.  Bolden is a gifted athlete with good arm strength, poise in the pocket and great size.  Bolden's name on the top line with McGloin and Newsome heading into the final week of the preseason is a testament to a strong preseason camp.

 

The fourth quarterback on the depth chart is true freshman Paul Jones.  Jones enrolled at Penn State in January.  The McKees Rocks, Pa., product tossed the only two touchdowns of the Blue-White game in an impressive debut.  Like Bolden and Newsome, Jones is an athletic quarterback with a strong arm and good mobility in the pocket.

 

 

Blog's Take

Bolden, McGloin and Newsome have all shared snaps with the first and second team during preseason camp.  Three names on the top line of the depth chart will certainly make the next few days interesting to watch.  We expect Coach Paterno to elaborate more on the quarterback situation on Tuesday afternoon at his weekly press conference.  While the starter for Saturday remains a mystery, look for all three players listed on the top line to take snaps on Saturday afternoon against Youngstown State.

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Quarterback

11            Matt McGloin (6-1, 209, Jr/So) OR

12            Kevin Newsome (6-2, 225, So/So) OR

1              Robert Bolden (6-3, 221, Fr/Fr)

10            Paul Jones (6-3, 239, Fr/Fr)

 

 

This concludes the unit-by-unit preview of the Nittany Lions.  Stay tuned throughout the week for All-Sports Blog Game Week coverage.

 

Links to the All-Sports Blog Position Previews:

Defensive Line

Linebackers

Secondary

Specialists

Offensive Line

Receivers

Running Backs

Goalkeeper Ayla Halus Starts Off Strong in Field Hockey Opening Weekend

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By Mark Wishnia, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Redshirt sophomore Ayla Halus was awarded the starting job just prior to the season opener against No. 16 Old Dominion. She wasted no time in showing why she deserved the honors.


Halus and the rest of the field hockey squad went into the first game against the16th-ranked team in the nation with high energy and focus as the Nittany Lions cruised to a 4-0 victory over the Monarchs.

 

Ayla Halus was handed head coach Char Morett's player of the game award after her facility record 13 saves in the first game of the season.

 

"Ayla Halus was amazing, outstanding, incredible, every adjective I can find," Morett said following the game against Old Dominion.

 

The redshirt sophomore's standout performance put legendary Coach Morett within just three wins of number 400.

 

The season-opening shutout was in jeopardy on Friday evening, but Halus held her ground with a superb effort down the stretch. With roughly 2:30 remaining in the game, a hard shot came from Halus' right with Old Dominion's Paige Clutter on the doorstep, ready to put the ball home. However, a fully laid out Halus reached with her stick and knocked the ball aside to keep the shutout alive.

 

Halus was all over the place in the first game of 2010 en route to sending every ball that went her way aside, which included a plethora of highlight-caliber saves. The effort was not unnoticed by her teammates. Kelsey Amy had two goals in the first game, but was in awe over the performance displayed by the young goalkeeper.

 

"She had one save down there, where I swear, she grew an arm out of her back and just swiped it out of the cage. It was crazy," Amy said. "We might as well just build a brick wall in front of the cage and call it Ayla because that's what she was. It was incredible. I was in awe. She should be on the national team, that girl. "

 

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On Sunday, Halus turned in another strong performance in net, despite the 3-0 loss to No. 3 Virginia. One of the most notable plays was with just under 18 minutes to go in the second half.

 

Cavalier junior midfielder Paige Selenski, who scored earlier in the game, had possession of the ball in her own end. She took the ball down the left side weaving in and out of Penn State defenders. After a shifty inside move past senior co-captain Daneen Zug, there was only one player left to beat. Halus charged well out of her cage into a full dive to deny Selenski her second goal of the game.

 

Halus understands the fact that field hockey is a team game, however. After the first game of the weekend, she gave credit where credit was due.

 

"My defense was talking to each other, I was talking to them, they were responding, we were talking to our midline so that way our midline could talk to our forward line and all that communication on the field throughout the whole 70 minutes of the game, made my job easier," Halus said. "'Cause all I had to do was watch the ball and save it when I needed to."

 

Despite the loss in the second game, Halus was happy with the play of her team and is looking forward to improving as they move forward.

 

"I think we played pretty well," said Halus. "I think we played against a really good team."

 

Halus was awarded the starting job position after a strong preseason.  Ali Meves, the reigning Big Ten saves leader, battled Halus for playing time.  Nonetheless, Halus developed the skills necessary to compete at a high level and earned the starting job in camp. After the exhibition game at Maryland, the decision was easy for Coach Morett.

 

"She had a great game vs. Maryland and it really was an easy decision to put Ayla in the cage," Morett said.

 

Halus had double digit saves in each game of the opening weekend. Her 13 saves in game one, set a record for the Penn State Field Hockey Complex, which opened six years ago. The talented goalkeeper set aside ten shots in the second game.

 

The Nittany Lions will travel to Connecticut on Friday to face No. 5 UConn before returning home to face Lock Haven on Sept. 12.

2010 Unit Preview: Running Backs

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports Blog's unit-by-unit preview for the 2010 football season continues today with a look at the Nittany Lion running backs.

 

Penn State's depth in the running back corps places the Nittany Lion backfield among the nation's elite.  In addition to a Doak Walker Award candidate leading the group, Penn State has a stable of backs capable of giving the offense a big play on any given down.

 

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There is little debate that Evan Royster is one of the top backs in college football.  Royster heads into the 2010 season needing just 481 yards to become the program's all-time leading rusher.  The Virginia native is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.  With great vision, Royster is a dynamic running back with quick feet and a downhill running style.  Royster's production level will rely on the execution of the offensive line, but the senior tailback will be the centerpiece of the offense in the fall.  Expect another standout season from the potential Heisman candidate.

 

In addition to Royster, Stephfon Green returns for his third season in the Penn State offense.  After a solid 2009 campaign, Green has looked a step quicker throughout the offseason.  All indications are pointing to a strong season for the Bronx native.  Green's speed out of the backfield can be game changing.  Having two weapons in the backfield will give the offense fresh legs on virtually every series in the backfield.  The combination of Royster and Green in the backfield will put a lot of pressure on opposing defenses.

 

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Redshirt freshman Curtis Dukes and true freshman Silas Redd also give the backfield added depth.  Dukes and Redd performed well during the spring practice season.  Both have the tools to contribute in the rotation this fall.

 

As for the fullback position, junior Joe Suhey will again lock down the starting spot on the depth chart.  Suhey is an unsung player with a superb skill set for a player his size.  In 2009, Suhey was highly productive every time he handled the ball.  The Illinois native catches the ball well out of the backfield, in addition to being a sound blocker.  Redshirt freshman Andre Dupree will also spend time in the fullback spot.  Junior Brandon Beachum is back practicing after tearing an ACL in the latter stages of the 2009 season

 



Blog's Take

The combination of Royster and Green should create one of the most dynamic backfields in the Big Ten. With a roster full of young quarterbacks, Penn State's running game will likely be the centerpiece of the offense.  Royster has said throughout the offseason that he expects to carry more of the load in 2010.  The talent in the Penn State running back corps will do its part to move the chains for the Nittany Lion offense.  We are expecting another strong season from Royster and company in 2010.

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Running Back

22            Evan Royster (6-1, 224, Gr/Sr)

21            Stephfon Green (5-10, 197, Sr/Jr)

26            Curtis Dukes (6-1, 242, So/Fr)

 

Fullback

37            Joe Suhey (6-1, 221, Sr/Jr)

33            Andrew Dupree (5-10, 234, So/Fr)

 

 

The quarterbacks are tomorrow.

GoPSUsports.com Exclusive First Look at the Football Depth Chart

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the 2010 season now just six days away, the Nittany Lion football team has released its latest depth chart heading into the Youngstown State game week, and the All-Sports Blog is the exclusive home to the first look at the Penn State depth chart.

 

Legendary head coach Joe Paterno will meet with the media on Tuesday afternoon to provide more insight on the depth chart, but let's take a look at a few things that stick out on the latest preseason depth chart for the 2010 Nittany Lion football team.

 

At the top of the list for any Penn State football fan heading into the season is the quarterback situation.  As you can see on the depth chart link listed below, the top line of the quarterback spot is shared by three names.  Redshirt sophomore Matt McGloin, sophomore Kevin Newsome and freshman Robert Bolden have all taken snaps with the first and second teams throughout the preseason.  The coaching staff is analyzing all three players with the top two offensive units.  Look for Coach Paterno to add more on the quarterback front at Tuesday's press conference.

 

Sticking on the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line remains the same from the All-Sport's Blog offensive line preview we ran at the end of the week.  To recap, the first team line consists of: Junior Quinn Barham at left tackle, junior DeOn'Tae Pannell at left guard, senior Doug Klopacz at center, senior Stefen Wisniewski at right guard and senior Lou Eliades at right tackle.

 

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The receivers atop the depth chart include Derek Moye, Devon Smith and Graham Zug.  All three players have the tools to play in the slot or wide depending on the offensive formation.  As we noted in the All-Sports Blog receiver preview, the Nittany Lions have a nice blend of youth and experience on the deoth chart at the receiver spot.

 

Topping the list of tight ends are redshirt freshman Garry Gilliam and talented freshman Kevin Haplea.  One thing to note at the tight end position is the absence of junior Andrew Szczerba.  The junior tight end mentioned that his back has been bothering him on media day earlier in the month. 

 

The running back corps looks very similar to the preseason depth chart.  Standout senior tailback Evan Royster and junior Stephfon Green occupy the top two slots, with junior Joe Suhey listed as the top fullback.  Redshirt freshman Curtis Dukes is the third tailback listed.  Dukes and freshman Silas Redd have battled for the third tailback spot throughout the preseason.

 

Moving to the defensive side of the ball, things look nearly identical to the early preseason depth chart.  Jack Crawford, Ollie Ogbu, Devon Still and Eric Latimore fill the starting spots as we move across the line from left to right.  Junior Nate Stupar, senior Chris Colasanti and Bani Gbadyu occupy the top linebacker spots.  Redshirt sophomore Michael Mauti, who is back from a serious knee injury suffered during 2009 preseason camp, is listed as the top backup to Stupar at outside linebacker.  Mauti has also spent time in the primary backup slot at middle linebacker.

 

In the secondary, junior D'Anton Lynn is atop the left cornerback slot, with Nick Sukay at free safety and Drew Astorino at Hero.  Chaz Powell is the top right cornerback on the depth chart with sophomore Stephon Morris listed on the second line.  An early injury during preseason camp to Morris put Powell on the top slot.  Both players will battle for the starting spot this season.  Keep in mind, too, that Powell is a versatile player and could see the field in a variety of ways.

 

The special teams unit also looks very similar to the early depth chart the All-Sports Blog talked bout in the specialists preview.  Anthony Fera is in line to handle the punting duties.  Look for Fera on kickoffs, as well.  Senior Collin Wagner will be the place kicker.  Note that Ty Howle is listed as the top kick snapper for place kicking attempts, while redshirt freshman Emery Etter is listed as the punt snapper.

 

We will have much more on the Nittany Lions as we near the start of the 2010 season.  Stay tuned later today on the All-Sports Blog for a look at the Nittany Lion running backs.  Our position-by-position previews will wrap up tomorrow with the quarterbacks.

 

Click the link below for the full Penn State depth chart, as of August 29.



2010 Depth Chart - As of August 29 Get Acrobat Reader


Links to the All-Sports Blog Position Previews:

Defensive Line

Linebackers

Secondary

Specialists

Offensive Line

Receivers

Running Backs - Check back later today

Quarterbacks - Check back tomorrow

2010 Unit Preview: Receivers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - We are now one week away from the 2010 season opener against Youngstown State.  The All-Sports Blog's position-by-position preview continues today with a glance at the Nittany Lion receiving corps.

 

It seems like just days ago, that we were talking about a new group of receivers stepping into the starting lineup to replace three of the program's all-time best for the 2009 season.  Now, one year later, things have changed significantly.  The Lion receiving corps is now a veteran group after a superb season one year ago.  The 2010 unit will feature a nice blend of youth and experience.

 

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Any conversation about the 2010 unit should begin with junior Derek Moye.  The Rochester, Pa., native led the team in receptions (48) and receiving yards (785) in a breakout season last fall.  Moye spent the offseason looking to get stronger in the weight room, and did so.  With superb size and good speed, Moye is a downfield threat any time he steps onto the field.  After a stout 2009 season, expect another strong campaign from Moye in 2010.

 

Joining Moye on the outside will be senior Graham Zug, who also tallied a breakout season in 2009.  Zug led the team in receiving touchdowns with seven last fall.  The Manheim, Pa., product is a crisp route runner with superb hands and good speed.  Zug has the tools to give the Nittany Lions a variety of things in the passing game.  Like Moye, we are looking for another strong season from Zug. 

 

Sophomore Justin Brown is looking to play a much bigger role in the offense during the fall.  With a 6-3, 213-pound frame, Brown is a great target for the Nittany Lion quarterbacks.  Redshirt freshmen Shawney Kersey and Brandon Moseby-Felder are two additional names to watch for as outside threats for the offense.

 

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The slot receiver position appeared to be Curtis Drake's heading into the preseason practice period.  However, the talented sophomore suffered a fractured left tibia early in camp.  He is slated to miss six to eight weeks from the date of the injury.  It will be interesting to see who will occupy the slot receiver spot when the team takes the field for the Youngstown State game.  Senior Brett Brackett will play a significant role in the receiving corps.  He is a superb short-yardage player and a sound blocker.  Look for sophomore speedster Devon Smith in the slot, as well.

 

With Andrew Quarless and Mickey Shuler now in the NFL, the Nittany Lions will be breaking in a new set of tight ends in 2010.  Redshirt freshman Garry Gilliam and junior Andrew Szczerba top the depth chart heading into the season.  Receivers coach Mike McQueary also mentioned to GoPSUsports.com on media day about Brackett potentially spending some time as a tight end this fall.  With Brackett's size, he looks the part of a tight end.

 

Blog's Take

The landscape of the receiving corps has changed since the 2009 season.  With Daryll Clark leading the offense, the receivers had the luxury of learning from a veteran quarterback.  Moye spoke to us last season about how as long as the receivers ran the proper routes, the ball would be waiting for them.  The dynamic will change this season as a new quarterback leads the offense.  The roles have been reversed as the young quarterbacks have spent the offseason learning from what is now a veteran group of receivers.  Nonetheless, with the talent in the receiving corps, Penn State's passing game has the personnel to be potent, once again, in 2010.

 

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Wide Receiver

6              Derek Moye (6-5, 201, Sr/Jr)

19            Justin Brown (6-3, 213, So/So)

8              Brandon Moseby-Felder (6-2, 181, So/Fr)

 

Wide Receiver

83            Brett Brackett (6-6, 234, Gr/Sr)

7              Curtis Drake (5-11, 173, So/So)

 

Wide Receiver

5              Graham Zug (6-2, 183, Sr/Sr)

4              Shawney Kersey (6-1, 193, So/Fr)

20            Devon Smith (5-7, 160, So/So)

 

 

The running backs are tomorrow.

Video Blog: Field Hockey Squad Dominates; Women's Soccer Draws on Home Opening Night

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The sports season in Happy Valley officially kicked on Friday night with a pair of contests on the University Park campus.  The All-Sports Blog spent the evening at the field hockey opener against 16th-ranked Old Dominion, followed by the women's soccer home opener against No. 15 Virginia.

 

The evening started at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex with a superb defensive effort in a Penn State 4-0 shutout.  Sophomore goalkeeper Ayla Halus turned in a terrific performance in the net.  Halus turned away 13 Old Dominion shots to shut down the Monarch offensive attack.  Kelsey Amy led the way with two goals in the victory.

 

We caught up with co-captain Daneen Zug following the victory for a quick comment about the team's performance on Friday.  Zug tallied a second-half goal in the win.  Now 1-0, the Lions will face No. 3 Virginia on Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 


After a short walk across University Drive, we were set for the nightcap of the home-opening doubleheader at Jeffrey Field.  The 12th-ranked Nittany Lions tallied the game's first goal in the 57th minute on a tap-in from freshman Hayley Brock.  From there the Nittany Lions appeared to be on track for a 1-0 victory, but a Virginia goal in the 87th minute sent the game into overtime.

 

After two scoreless extra frames, the game ended in a 1-1 tie.  The final result was indicative of how evenly matched the contest was on Friday night.  After the game, we caught up with Nittany Lion goalkeeper Krissy Tribbett to get her thoughts on the game.  The Lions return home to face William & Mary on Sunday afternoon.



2010 Unit Preview: Offensive Line

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports Blog 2010 positional preview moves to the offensive side of the ball today with a preview of the Nittany Lion offensive line.

 

Outside of the quarterback battle, the offensive line is the area on the depth chart Coach Paterno has talked about most often during the offseason.  At his media day press conference, Coach Paterno was straightforward in saying the offensive line has a lot of work to do before it becomes a cohesive unit prior to the season opener.  With a young quarterback in the backfield, offensive line execution will be critical in 2010.

 

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Heading into the season, one player will return to the spot he ended the 2009 season in.  The other four slots on the line will either feature new faces or familiar faces in different positions.  The leader of the unit will be senior Stefen Wisniewski, who enters the season as an All-American candidate.  After spending one season at center, Wisniewski will move back to guard for the 2010 season.  The Bridgeville, Pa., native is a highly skilled, intelligent player.  The veteran brings a great deal of tenacity to the line, as well.

 

Junior DeOn'tae Pannell is atop the preseason depth chart at left guard for 2010. After making significant strides throughout the '09 season, Pannell started the final three games of 2009 at left guard.  The Michigan native remained at guard during the spring practice season.  Fellow junior Johnnie Troutman will be the primary backup for Pannell on the offensive line.  Do not be surprised to see the duo battle for the starting spot as the season wears on.

 

The tackle positions will feature two starters who spent all of the 2009 season as guards. Senior Lou Eliades and junior Quinn Barham find their names atop the preseason depth chart at left and right tackle, respectively.  Eliades started all 13 games at right guard in 2009, but will be making the shift to right tackle this fall.  The Ocean, N.J., product quietly goes about his business on the offensive line.  He has played in every game over the past two seasons and brings a great deal of experience to the 2010 line.

 

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Barham served as the top reserve for Eliades last season at right guard, but the coaching staff made the switch to put Barham at left tackle during spring drills to find the best offensive line combination heading into the season.  The North Carolina native may have found a home at left tackle after a strong spring practice season and a good summer.  Junior Chima Okoli and sophomore Mike Farrell will serve as the primary backups at the tackle spots.

 

The final position on the offensive line will belong to a player who has faced a long road to the starting lineup.  Fifth-year senior Doug Klopacz suffered a serious knee injury mid-way through the 2008 season and faced a tireless recovery to get back on the field.  With Wisniewski moving back to guard, the center position opened heading into the 2010 season.  Klopacz is the man looking to fill the middle of the offensive line as the season approaches.  Redshirt sophomore Matt Stankiewitch, who moved from guard to center this season, will be the primary backup.

 

Blog's Take

With Evan Royster in the backfield and a new quarterback coming up to speed, the Nittany Lion offensive line may be the most important unit on the depth chart heading into the 2010 season.  While there may be just one player returning to a starting spot he filled last season, the unit has a great deal of game experience.  Wisniewski will lead the unit into the fall.  With time, we feel like the offensive line will jell into a strong, cohesive group in 2010.

 

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Left Tackle

67            Quinn Barham (6-3, 293, Sr/Jr)

78            Mike Farrell (6-6, 297, Jr/So)

76            Gerald Cadogan (6-5, 296, So/Fr)

 

Left Guard

50            DeOn'Tae Pannell (6-5, 316, Jr/Jr)

74            Johnnie Troutman (6-4, 316, Sr/Jr)

75            Eric Shrive (6-6, 292, So/Fr)

 

Center

68            Doug Klopacz (6-3, 284, Sr/Sr)

54            Matt Stankiewitch (6-3, 295, Jr/So)

60            Ty Howle (6-0, 290, So/Fr)

 

Right Guard

61            Stefen Wisniewski (6-3, 298, Sr/Sr)

64            John Urschel (6-3, 274, So/Fr)

73            Mark Arcidiacono (6-4, 272, So/Fr)

 

Right Tackle

77            Lou Eliades (6-4, 304, Sr/Sr)

52            Chima Okoli (6-4, 291, Sr/Jr)

58            Adam Gress (6-6, 292, So/Fr)

 

 

The receivers are tomorrow.

Thomson: Week of Preparation for Largest Crowd

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Thomson_Emma (H08) 1610.jpgBy Emma Thomson, Junior Co-Captain

After our first tough weekend, Monday was our day off giving us a chance to get our legs back and rest before our preparation for the game vs. UVA on Friday. It also gave the freshman chance to get lost around campus on our first day back at school without the worry of missing practice.

Tuesday- Back to the training field. With any Tuesday practice the intensity was very high, a lot of hard work, running and competition to prepare us for the game ahead. Our coaches always remind us that in order to compete with the best we must have competitive mindsets. With 3-v-3 and 4-v-4 small-sided games, it's hard not to bring out the hard-working, competitive nature. Obviously there was a slight FID in there (Fitness in Disguise) that the coaches don't think we noticed but the team embraced it and it ended up being a good first day back at practice.

Wednesday- A few ice baths and lost freshman later, it was time for practice again. The intensity was still high...for the defenders and midfielders as usual...and occasionally for forwards club. As we usually do, we split up in positions and worked on a number of things that we expect to see in the game or things that we noticed we need to work on. That's the beauty of it being so early on in the season, we still have chance to pick up on things and work on them to make the team better. We are always improving and will continue to throughout the season. A good championship practice to take us into the pre-game.

Thursday (pre-game)- We started off nice and early at 3 p.m. with team video and the scouting report from Michael, who never fails to get the team excited for the upcoming game. We know UVA is a good team and what we can expect but the scout really helps us focus on our own individual jobs. After beating the world record for how many people we can fit into a van, we headed to the fields for pre-game. We started off with the legendary heading game that seems to bring out the best in us, diving headers and saves that Alyssa Naeher herself would be proud of. We then played 11-v-11 with constant set pieces added in there, something that our team takes especially serious, games are constantly won and lost on set pieces which is why we put emphasis on this time. A short but sweet practice and a good way to go into the game tomorrow vs. Virginia.

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Our team seems very prepared; we know how hard this is going to be both physically and emotionally, but we're ready. First home game on Jeffery, it's finally here. We're hoping to beat the largest crowd at women's soccer game, which is very exciting. The girls have done a good job at promoting as well as all the PSWS family. The crowd (and Nittany Nation) will no doubt give the team an extra boost for the game and we will be sure to come out fired and ready to beat the Cavaliers.

Game today: 7:30pm.

We are...Penn State!

Thursday Notebook: Home Sports Schedule Opens on Friday

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The long-awaited home opening weekend for the Penn State sports season is on Friday.  The Nittany Lion field hockey and women's soccer teams play host to the first official home contests of the 2010-'11 sports season.

 

Head coach Char Morett and the 18th-ranked field hockey squad will kick things off at 5 p.m. when the Lions meet 16th-ranked Old Dominion at Field Hockey Field.  The 12th-ranked women's soccer team hosts its home opener against 15th-ranked Virginia at 7:30 p.m.  The Lion soccer squad is trying to break an attendance record of 4,500 fans at Jeffrey Field.

 

With superb weather forecasts for the weekend, make plans to be in Happy Valley.  The All-Sports Blog will be at both events on Friday night to provide coverage as the official home schedule for the Penn State sports season kicks off.  Stay tuned to the blog for coverage.

 

Weekend Home Schedule:

Friday

5 p.m. - Field Hockey vs. No. 16 Old Dominion

7:30 p.m. - Women's Soccer vs. No. 15 Virginia

 

Sunday

Noon - Field Hockey vs. No. 3 Virginia

2:30 p.m. - Women's Soccer vs. William & Mary

 

 

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- Three-time Defending Champions Open Title Defense

The No. 1 Penn State women's volleyball team will also open its 2010 season on Friday night with a clash at North Carolina.  The Lions will spend the weekend in Chapel Hill, with matches against the host Tar Heels (8 p.m.) on Friday and Villanova (11 a.m.) and Campbell (5:30 p.m.) on Saturday.

 

Head coach Russ Rose welcomes back 11 letterwinners and six players with starting experience from the undefeated national championship team in 2009, including AVCA First Team All-Americans Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson, AVCA Honorable Mention All-America honoree Darcy Dorton and Preseason All-Big Ten selection Alyssa D'Errico. Other returners include senior middle hitter Fatima Balza, senior defensive specialists Jessica Ullrich and Cathy Quilico, junior outside hitter Katie Kabbes, junior defensive specialist Megan Shifflett, sophomore setter Marika Racibarskas and setter/defensive specialist Kristin Carpenter.  The squad welcomes nine freshmen to the roster for the 2010 season.

 

Penn State enters the season on a 102-match winning streak.  Follow the No. 1 Nittany Lions on Gametracker throughout the weekend.

 

- Monday Mailbag Beginning Next Week

Brand new for the 2010 season is the GoPSUsports.com Monday Mailbag.  Have a question about Penn State Athletics? Submit it on the link listed below and each Monday I will select as many as I can handle and provide you with the answers that only an insider can get. Submit questions for everything from football to soccer to basketball to softball and beyond. We've got 29 sports and the All-Sports blog covers them all.

 

Monday Mailbag with Tony Mancuso

2010 Unit Preview: Specialists

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Before the All-Sports Blog switches to the offensive side of the ball, we are going to focus on the Nittany Lion specialists in today's unit preview.

 

There were several lasting images from the Capital One Bowl that will stick out in the minds of Penn State football fans.  The rain-soaked, sloppy sod in Orlando tops the list.  The field conditions presented a unique challenge for everyone on the field, but one man in particular.

 

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Collin Wagner weathered the elements with four made field goals, including the game-winner with 57 seconds on the clock to hand Penn State a 19-17 victory over LSU.  The junior place kicker heads into 2010 with a great deal of confidence after a superb performance in the bowl game.  Wagner spoke to the blog during the offseason about working on his leg strength to improve accuracy from 40 yards and out.  With a full season under his belt, the State College native is eager to take another step forward this fall.

 

With Jeremy Boone graduating in the spring, the starting punter slot on the depth chart was up for grabs heading into the preseason.  Redshirt freshman Anthony Fera is the leading candidate to secure the starting job.  The Cypress, Texas, native has a big leg and is poised to lock down the starting spot.  Redshirt sophomore Russell Nye will join Fera on the depth chart at punter.

 

Kicking attempts were like clockwork throughout 2009 with superb snaps and holds.  But the Nittany Lions will be breaking in a new kick snapper in 2010 with the graduation of Andrew Pitz.  Stefen Wisniewski and Emery Etter are the likely candidates to handle the snapping duties.  Receiver Brett Brackett is atop the depth chart for the holding duties.

 

The return game can be a weapon for any football team.  Look for Chaz Powell and Stephfon Green to return kickoffs, with Justin Brown and Graham Zug on the field to handle the punt returns.  Devon Smith will likely see time in the return game, as well.

 

Blog's Take

Special teams play is an area Coach Paterno would like to see more consistency from in 2010.  A breakdown in coverage or a missed blocking assignment on a special teams play can alter the outcome of a game.  Case in point is the Iowa game from 2009.  Wagner will have another strong season in the kicking game.  But consistency in the other areas of the special teams unit is key for the 2010 Nittany Lions.   With the speed in the return game, the Lions have the potential to put points on the board on special teams plays throughout the fall.

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Punter

30            Anthony Fera (6-2, 212, So/Fr)

29            Russell Nye (6-0, 163, Jr/So)

 

Kicker

36            Collin Wagner (5-9, 178, Sr/Sr)

30            Anthony Fera (6-2, 212, So/Fr)

28            David Soldner (6-1, 222, Jr/So)

 

Holder

83            Brett Brackett (6-6, 234, Gr/Sr)

 

Kick Snapper

61            Stefen Wisniewski (6-3, 298, Sr/Sr)

57            Emery Etter (6-1, 230, So/Fr)

60            Ty Howle (6-0, 290, So/Fr)

 

Kickoff Returners

2              Chaz Powell (6-1, 193, Sr/Jr)

21            Stephfon Green (5-10, 197, Sr/Jr)

 

Punt Returners

19            Justin Brown (6-3, 213, So/So)

5              Graham Zug (6-2, 183, Sr/Sr)

 

 

The offensive line is tomorrow.

Season Preview: Field Hockey Squad Set to Open with No. 16 Old Dominion

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports Blog series of season previews continues today with a look at the 2010 version of the Penn State field hockey team.

 

Head coach Char Morett enters her 24th season at Penn State on Friday night at 5 p.m. when the Lions clash with Old Dominion at Field Hockey Field.  Morett's Nittany Lions were ranked No. 18 in the preseason NFHCA Coaches Poll.  Coming off an up-and-down 2009 season, the Lions are eager to kick things off with a pair of tough home games to open the 2010 season.

 

Following Friday night's home-opener with 16th-ranked Old Dominion, Penn State will play host to No. 3 Virginia on Sunday.  As is the norm for the field hockey squad, the 2010 schedule will feature its share of challenges.  The Lions are slated to meet five of the top 10 teams in the nation and nine of the top 20.

 

Coach Morett will have five returning starters back from a team that went 7-13 last season.  We stopped by field hockey practice earlier in the week to see how the preseason has been going.  Expectations are high for the Nittany Lions this fall.  Coach Morett is happy with the progress the team has made during the preseason.

 

We went on camera with Coach Morett and co-captains Lauren Alloway and Daneen Zug to get their thoughts on the upcoming season.  Enjoy the video season preview for the field hockey team.



2010 Unit Preview: Secondary

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports Blog position-by-position preview rolls on for the 2010 season with a look at the Penn State secondary.

 

Like the linebackers and defensive line, the Nittany Lion secondary is a talented group heading into the season. There may not be a more experienced group on the defensive side of the football than the secondary.  Penn State returns three starters and a fourth player with significant game experience to the starting lineup for the 2010 season.

 

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The anchor of the secondary for the second straight season will be junior safety Drew Astorino.  Astorino took on the responsibility of being the quarterback of the secondary heading into the 2009 season and responded with a strong season on the field.  One of the surest tacklers on the squad, Astorino has a superb nose for the football and always seems to be in a position to make a play.  After sitting out from contact drills following January shoulder surgery, Astorino told GoPSUsports.com on media day that he is 100 percent pain free heading into the season.  Expect the veteran to again have a solid season leading the secondary.

 

The second safety position will belong to junior Nick Sukay for the second consecutive season.  The Mt. Pleasant, Pa., athlete made significant progress in his first season in the starting lineup.  Sukay also plays a significant role on special teams.  He finished with 41 tackles last season and two interceptions.  After a strong spring practice season, Sukay entered preseason camp with a great deal of confidence to make another step forward in 2010.  Joining Astorino and Sukay in the safety rotation will be hard-hitting redshirt junior Andrew Dailey and redshirt freshman Stephen Obeng-Agyapong.

 

Junior D'Anton Lynn will lead the group of cornerbacks in 2010.  The Celina, Texas, native quietly evolved into a superb cover corner in his first season in the starting lineup.  Lynn leads by example with sound technique and a high football IQ.  He made 35 tackles in 2009, including 3.5 hits for a loss.  Lynn is the type of football player every coach wants to have on his team.  He quietly, but effectively goes about his business in the secondary.  With a full season in the starting lineup under his belt, look for Lynn to take another step forward in 2010.

 

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On the opposite side of the field, sophomore Stephon Morris emerged atop the depth chart following spring practice.  Morris made a seamless transition into playing a prominent role on the Penn State defense in 2009.  One of the squad's hardest hitting players, Morris brings a great deal of confidence to the Nittany Lion defense.  The Greenbelt, Md., native was an impact player throughout his rookie season on defense and special teams.  The future is very bright for Morris. 

 

Redshirt junior Chaz Powell is a new face in the secondary for the 2010 season.  After playing a big role on the offensive side of the ball in 2008 and '09, Powell has moved from wide receiver to the cornerback slot for 2010.  He played safety during his redshirt season in 2007.  Powell will play a role in the rotation during the fall.  Redshirt freshman Derrick Thomas and redshirt sophomore Evan Lewis will battle for playing time at cornerback, as well.

 

Blog's Take

The secondary has the potential to be a very sound unit for the Nittany Lions in the fall.  With four returning players with significant game experience in the starting lineup, the Nittany Lion defense will be in good hands behind Astorino, Sukay, Lynn and Morris.  We are expecting the group to take another step forward in 2010.  Sure-handed tackling and being physical at the line of scrimmage are two areas to watch when the season opens.  However, all signs are pointing to a strong unit in the Penn State secondary.

 

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Left Cornerback

8            D'Anton Lynn (6-1, 204, Jr/Jr)

5            Derrick Thomas (6-0, 177, So/Fr)

4            Evan Lewis (5-10, 177, Jr/So)

 

Free Safety

1              Nick Sukay (6-1, 209, Sr/Jr)

23            Stephen Obeng-Agyapong (5-10, 194, So/Fr)

 

Hero

28            Drew Astorino (5-10, 198, Sr/Jr)

13            Andrew Dailey (6-2, 220, Sr/Jr)

27            Jacob Fagnano (6-0, 204, Jr/So)

 

Right Cornerback

12            Stephon Morris (5-8, 182, So/So)

2              Chaz Powell (6-1, 193, Sr/Jr)

14            Mike Wallace (5-9, 183, So/Fr)


Video Blog: Behind the Scenes at Big Ten Network PSA Filming

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Big Ten Network was in town on Tuesday to film its Faces of the Big Ten PSAs with several Penn State athletes.  Among the student-athletes being filmed were football seniors Bani Gbadyu and Stefen Wisniewski.

 

We had the chance to follow the pair of Nittany Lions around during the PSA filming.  Enjoy a video blog post of some behind the scenes footage with Gbadyu and Wisniewski.



2010 Unit Preview: Linebackers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports' Blog position-by-position preview for the 2010 season continues today with a look at the Nittany Lion linebackers.

 

The more things change, the more they stay the same with the personnel at "Linebacker U".  One would think that when the three starters from the Capital One Bowl combine for 16 tackles in last weekend's NFL Preseason games that it would be a rebuilding year for the Penn State linebacker corps.

 

But that will not be the case for assistant coach Ron Vanderlinden and the linebacker unit in 2010.  Losing the talent of Navorro Bowman, Josh Hull and Sean Lee certainly leaves three significant holes on the depth chart, but the Lions have a stout pool of talent waiting to take the field for the Youngstown State game.

 

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Headlining the group of linebackers in 2010 will be senior Bani Gbadyu.  The Maryland native has played a lot of football over the past two seasons and is ready to step into the starting lineup to lead the group.  Gbadyu, who made 37 stops in 2009, brings great speed and good instincts to the field.  He is also one of the hardest hitting players on the roster.  Gbadyu has taken a significant step forward since the end of 2009.  Expect a strong season at outside linebacker from Gbadyu in 2010.

 

Fellow senior Chris Colasanti has waited his turn to see significant playing time at middle linebacker.  Serving as the primary backup at middle linebacker in 2009, the coaching staff considered redshirting the Michigan native.  However, early season injuries to Bowman and Lee put Colasanti on the field.  Now, heading into his final season in Happy Valley, Colasanti finds his name atop the depth chart in the middle of the linebacking unit.  He is a talented, experienced athlete with a high football IQ.

 

Junior Nate Stupar also found his name in the starting lineup at the end of spring drills after a strong practice season.  Like Colasanti, Stupar was called upon following 2009's early-season injuries.  He made the most of the opportunity and gave the Nittany Lion defense the top performance of his career in his first start.  With another offseason under his belt, Stupar is primed to be a significant piece in the linebacker rotation when the season opens one week from Saturday.

 

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In addition to Gbadyu, Colasanti and Stupar, look for redshirt sophomore Michael Mauti and true sophomore Gerald Hodges to spend a lot of time on the field this fall.  You will not find many players more eager to get the 2010 season started than Mauti.  After tearing his ACL in 2009 preseason camp, the Louisiana native has waited 12 months to get back on the field.  Countless hours in the training room has put Mauti back at 100 percent heading into the YSU opener.  He has the skills and tenacity to emerge as a starter in the fall.

 

Hodges played in every game last season as a true freshman on defense and special teams.  The New Jersey product kicked off the year as a safety, but he has found a home in the linebacker corps heading into 2010.  Hodges has a nose for the football and brings a hard-hitting mentality to the field.  Like the other four linebackers we have talked about, Hodges has the tools to be a big-time player in the linebacking corps this fall.  He had a very good offseason leading up to camp.

 

The pool of talent does not stop there.  Look for Michael Yancich, Jamie Van Fleet and freshman Khairi Fortt, among others, to be in the mix for playing time, as well.

 

Blog's Take

While the 2010 linebackers may not have the game experience of Bowman, Hull and Lee, the unit is shaping up to be another strong group for Coach Vanderlinden.  Penn State's rich history of churning out talented linebackers will continue in 2010.  With such a deep pool of talent this fall, Coach Vanderlinden will have the opportunity to rotate fresh legs onto the field throughout the season.  The battles for starting spots will be fierce, and that is never a bad thing when one unit has this much talent.  Linebacker U is alive and well heading into the 2010 season.

 

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Outside Linebacker

34            Nate Stupar (6-1, 234, Sr/Jr)

42            Michael Mauti (6-2, 229, Jr/So)

54            Jamie Van Fleet (6-0, 227, Jr/So)

 

Inside Linebacker

48            Chris Colasanti (6-2, 239, Sr/Sr)

33            Michael Yancich (6-2, 231, Jr/So)

 

Outside Linebacker

15            Bani Gbadyu (6-1, 237, Sr/Sr)

6              Gerald Hodges (6-2, 228, So/So)

Thomson: WVU Recap and Recovery

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By Emma Thomson, Junior Co-Captain

GAME DAY - Friday, Aug 20 at West Virginia
There was a sense of excitement as the team got onto the bus. Practice has been great all week leading up to the kickoff of the 2010 season. The end of preseason was amongst us and everyone was ready for the season opener against the Mountaineers. We knew that West Virginia is always a tough opponent, but we were ready for the challenge.

We arrived with plenty of time to kill so our athletic trainer, Andra, ran us through a quick jog and stretch to stretch out our muscles from the three and half hour bus ride. It was a very hot day so any extra preparation was beneficial to the team.

As the team began to get ready for the game, the excitement began to build. The atmosphere in the locker room was very positive from both the players and the coaching staff. Coach Walsh was especially excited for the game, because her pre-game speech was a memorable one.

There was a bit of relief as the team finally began warming up. We have been practicing for two weeks and it was a great feeling to finally play a different team. The rivalry between the two schools has been increasing over the past couple of years, especially in women's soccer.

Warm ups were finished, and it was time to start the game. The team came out very strong and confident. We were connecting passes and keeping the ball well. The players were responding well to the new formation.

Dani Toney scored in the early minutes of the game with a signature run into the box. We were on top for about 10 minutes, but West Virginia was able to capitalize on a mix up to put the score at 1-1 going into the second half. At halftime the team was upbeat and knew what we each had to do in order to come away with the win.

We had a good amount of chances to score, but the WVU goalie was able to keep them in the game. After 90 minutes of hard work the score was still tied 1-1, we were headed into overtime. With 49 seconds left in the first overtime, Tani Costa, who had been very effective coming off the bench, scored with a great individual effort. The whole team and staff were ecstatic and jumped into a dog pile. It was a great feeling to show great determination and finally beat the Mountaineers.

It was a happy ride back to State College.

Saturday was a light recovery day for the majority of players. We managed to get in a yoga session, Kirk, our strength and conditioning coach even graced us with his presence and showed us what we have to work towards in order to reach our flexibility goals.

Sunday was our Blue and White scrimmage, with the teams split evenly. Michael took the mighty blue team while Ann was stuck with the white. It was only a scrimmage yet there was a lot on the line as neither team wanted to lose. Both teams started off strong yet white team took the early lead. Although blue team was fighting they continued to dominate into the early into the second half. Lexi scored a great header into the bottom corner...of the own net, to make the final score 3-1 to the white. The blue team managed to redeem themselves in penalty kicks after the game yet white team came out on top.

The weekend was a great end to pre season and the exciting start to the 2010 fall season. There were a lot of positives to take from the games and confidence to build from. The team is excited to get into training again ready for the game against UVA, which for obvious reasons is a game that we are all waiting for.

PSU is looking to create the best atmosphere ever at Jeffrey Field on Friday. The goal is 4,500 fans for the opening night game and PSU is looking for your support!.

2010 Unit Preview: Defensive Line

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2010 college football season is now less than two weeks away from kicking off.  The Youngstown State Penguins will roll into town on Sept. 4 to open the latest chapter in Penn State football.

 

As we lead up to the first game, the All-Sports Blog is going to preview each unit on the depth chart to get you ready for the 2010 season.  We will begin the eight-day preview with the Nittany Lion defensive line.

 

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The list of elite defensive linemen to play for Penn State in the past five seasons is a testament to outstanding recruiting and great leadership from Penn State assistant coach Larry Johnson.  From Tamba Hali and Jay Alford to Aaron Maybin and Jared Odrick, the Penn State defensive front has been a formidable group year-in and year-out.

 

The 2010 season is shaping up to have another strong group in the defensive trenches. The "Rush Men", as Coach Johnson likes to call them, will feature a blend of youth and experience across the front line when the season opens against Youngstown State.

 

Leading the unit will be senior defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu.  Without Odrick in the middle, Ogbu has taken over the reigns as the leader of the unit heading into the 2010 season.  The Staten Island, N.Y., native tallied 30 tackles in 2009, including eight tackles for a loss and two sacks.  The 6-1, 300-pound tackle spent the offseason working to get a quicker first step.  We expect a strong season from the personable New York native.

 

The man lining up alongside Ogbu in the starting lineup will be junior Devon Still.  The Wilmington, Del., native has faced a long road to the Penn State starting lineup.  Having suffered a torn ACL in 2007 and a broken ankle during preseason practice in 2008, Still's first full season on the field came in 2009.  He posted a strong first season with 19 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss.

 

Still's upside is tremendous.  He brings a tenacious attitude and superb size to the defensive front.  Standing at 6-5, 304 pounds, Still has a quick first step for a player his size and an overpowering approach on the field.  After a strong start to the preseason, the Delaware product is poised for a strong season in the starting lineup.  Rising sophomores Jordan Hill (6-1, 311) and James Terry are in line to be the primary backups at tackle.

 

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Like the tackle slots, Penn State will have a great deal of depth at the end positions.  Headlining the list of returnees is junior left end Jack Crawford.  Born in England, Crawford had not seen a football game until he moved to America in 2005.  It is incredible to think Crawford is heading into just his fifth season of playing football.  With outstanding size and speed to go along with his relentless work ethic, Crawford has the tools to become a dominant force in the starting lineup.  He finished among Big Ten leaders in 2009 with minus-67 yards on 14.5 tackles for a loss.  Crawford is due for a breakout season in 2010.  Keep an eye out for No. 81.

 

Fellow junior Eric Latimore is listed atop the preseason depth chart at the right end position.  Like Crawford, Latimore is an athletic player with very good size.  The Middletown, Del., product saw significant playing time in 2009, including five starts, on his way to 21 tackles and six hits for a loss.  Latimore has a great deal of upside as he looks to find improved consistency in 2010. Junior Kevion Latham and sophomore Sean Stanley are on track to be the primary backups at the end positions.  Latham and Stanley both illustrated the ability to make plays when given the opportunity in 2009.

 

Blog's Take

The thought of Crawford, Latimore, Ogbu and Still all playing up to their potential in 2010 should bring a smile to your face.  Coach Johnson's unit is an exceptionally talented group of individuals.  The starting lineup has the tools to become one of the top defensive lines in the Big Ten.  The unit possesses superb talent, great depth and a tenacious attitude to make life difficult for opposing offensive lines throughout the 2010 season.  Expectations are high for what this unit is capable of doing this fall.  It will be a group that is exciting to watch.

 

 

Preseason Depth Chart:

Left End

81            Jack Crawford (6-5, 271, Jr/Jr)

44            Kevion Latham (6-2, 242, Sr/Jr)

 

Left Tackle

71            Devon Still (6-5, 304, Sr/Jr)

93            James Terry (6-3, 311, Jr/So)

 

Right Tackle

85            Ollie Ogbu (6-1, 300, Sr/Sr)

47            Jordan Hill (6-1, 311, So/So)

 

Right End

56            Eric Latimore (6-6, 267, Sr/Jr)

90            Sean Stanley (6-1, 242, So/So)

52            Brian Irvin (6-3, 229, Jr/So)


Tomorrow will be the linebackers.


Great Win at WVU; Youth Clinic Recap

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As you may already know, we won a big game Friday night at West Virginia, 2-1 in OT. We're posting three videos, first is the great youth clinic that was put on by the men's and women's soccer team.


And here are the match highlights and post-game interviews from Friday.  We hope to see everyone out at Jeffrey Field on Friday against Virginia. We're shooting for 4,500!

 

Friday Notebook: The Penn State Sports Journey Begins

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Summer may not officially end until Sept. 20, but by Penn State Athletics standards, the fall is here.

 

The 13th-ranked Nittany Lion women's soccer team will kick off the 2010-'11 sports season with its regular season opener at No. 24 West Virginia on Friday night.  The clash in Morgantown will open nine-plus months of Penn State sporting events.

 

From the opening kickoff on the soccer field and the gridiron to the final track event next June, we will take you along for the ride through the Penn State Sports journey in 2010-'11.  It is shaping up to be an exciting season ahead.  Penn State welcomes four new coaches this season.  Happy Valley will play host to numerous championship events throughout the calendar year.

 

We encourage you to come along for the ride this season.  The All-Sports Blog is planning to take you inside all of the action for an exciting Nittany Lion sports season.  Stay tuned.

 

- Football Practice No. 18 Today

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The Nittany Lion football squad will take part in its 18 practice of the preseason on Friday.  As Coach Paterno noted during his press conference on media day, the NCAA allows schools to participate in 29 practices from the opening day of camp to the first game. 

 

The Nittany Lions have 11 more practices between now and the Youngstown State game.  It should come as no surprise that the main point of interest is the starting quarterback situation.  Stay tuned for updates on the starting quarterback situation as they develop.  The next time Coach Paterno will meet with the media is the first weekly press conference leading up the YSU game.

 

- 14 Days from Football Eve

Football Eve presented by HappyValley.com in Beaver Stadium is two weeks from Friday (Sept. 3).  Festivities outside the stadium will begin at 6 p.m. with events inside commencing around 7:45.  Football season is just two weeks away.  It cannot come soon enough. 

 

- Positional Previews Beginning Monday

With football season just around the corner, the All-Sports Blog is going to begin its position-by-position previews on Monday.  We will start on the defensive side of the ball with a look at the defensive line.  Here is the schedule of our positional previews on the blog.

 

8-23, Monday - Defensive Line

8-24, Tuesday - Linebackers

8-25, Wednesday - Defensive Backs

8-26, Thursday - Specialists

8-27, Friday - Offensive Line

8-28, Saturday - Receivers

8-29, Sunday - Running Backs

8-30, Monday - Quarterbacks

Monroig: Game Day is Tomorrow!

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By Megan Monroig, Senior Co-Captain

Tomorrow is GAME DAY!!!!! It's been almost a full week since our exhibition match against Villanova and we're excited to finally play someone other than ourselves once again.

We've been preparing all week for tomorrow night's game. We had our last day of two-a-days last Sunday and had a much needed day off on Monday. Everyone took full advantage by sleeping and doing a lot of lying around. We got treatment from our wonderful trainers who take good care of our bodies on our off days and make sure we're ready to go when we start up again. Tuesday was the start of our regular practice routine for the season. Once the season officially gets started we have games most Fridays and Sundays so that we have off Monday and then practice Tuesday through Thursday. Tuesday was a more difficult practice but since we're just coming off almost two full weeks of two-a-days our bodies were still struggling a little bit. Last nights practice ended with a very well played 11-a-side and got us very excited for tomorrow's game.

Since our game time is 7 p.m. tomorrow night we started practice at 7 p.m. last night to get our bodies used to the time of day. Since it got dark for the last 20 minutes of practice the lights on our gorgeous practice fields came on and our spirits rose a little bit. It was like we were playing in a real game and the scene was set for success and we played incredibly well! At the end of practice everyone was buzzing and even more ecstatic for our first game of the season! We have pregame practice today where we will play everyone's favorite heading game.

Our heading game is what sets the tone for our pregame practice. It's a warm-up but it's very competitive and since our team is very competitive no one wants to lose and everyone works extremely hard. We have tons of fun playing it and after it's over we're usually on a high that keeps us lifted for the remainder of our roughly 60- to 70-minute practice.

After practice we'll have our catered meal in the Recreation Building and after that everyone will probably be going to bed early tonight. That is of course after we have a little team bonding over MTV's Jersey Shore! We just can't get enough of that show!!! After that it's off to bed since it's finally time to take on the West Virginia University Mountaineers.

Here is video of practice on Tuesday and a few short interviews from GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso and his All-Sports Blog.



Inside the Numbers: Penn State Football on TV

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State football has been no stranger to television sets across the nation in Joe Paterno's coaching tenure.  This post will take a closer look at Penn State on TV in the past five decades.

 

The Nittany Lions have appeared on television networks 290 times in Coach Paterno's illustrious career.  The Lions have boasted a 190-99-1 record on TV since 1966.  Penn State appeared on ABC regionally in 1966 against Syracuse, marking the first televised game under Coach Paterno.  Ironically, Penn State's first national telecast was a tie against Florida State in the 1967 Gator Bowl (17-17). 

 

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Penn State has appeared on ABC more than any other channel under Coach Paterno.  In all, the Nittany Lions have played on ABC 149 times.  ESPN falls second on the list.  The Lions have been on the Worldwide Leader in Sports 69 times, with CBS third (25) and ESPN2 fourth (22).

 

In terms of opponents, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame are the leaders in TV appearances in games against Penn State.  The Nittany Lions battled Pitt and Ohio State 20 times on TV. Michigan State-Penn State games have appeared on TV 16 times.  Notre Dame and Penn State contests have aired 14 times.

 

Penn State has been featured in primetime TV at least once in each of the last 11 seasons. This fall will mark the sixth-straight year that Penn State will host a primetime national TV telecast inside Beaver Stadium.

 

Coming off a second straight 11-2 season, Penn State will be on TV during all 12 games again this fall.  Although TV plans are not finalized until closer to kickoff, expect to see the Lions on TV at least 12 times this fall.

 

As for what has been announced already, the Lions will open the season on Big Ten Network at Noon on Sept. 4 against Youngstown State.  The week two clash at Alabama will air live on ESPN at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.  The third game (Kent State) will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 on Sept. 18 at Noon.

 

The Lions' Big Ten opener at Iowa (Oct. 2) will be a primetime TV contest on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  One week later, Penn State's Homecoming clash with Illinois will kick at Noon on Big Ten Network, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.  Beaver Stadium will play host to a primetime kickoff against Michigan on Oct. 30, with the action airing live on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

 

Television plans for the remaining six games (Temple, at Minnesota, Northwestern, at Ohio State, vs. Indiana and Michigan State) will be announced throughout the fall.

 

Penn State TV Facts Under Joe Paterno:

- The first televised game was on Nov. 5, 1966 against Syracuse (L, 12-10) in Beaver Stadium on ABC

- Penn State's first win on TV came Oct. 12, 1968 at UCLA (W, 21-6) on ABC

- The Nittany Lions are 138-75-1 on national telecasts

 

Penn State's Record By TV Network

- ABC - 86-62-1

- ESPN - 53-16

- CBS - 15-10

- ESPN 2 - 17-5

- NBC - 8-3

- Big Ten Network - 6-1

- Others - 5-2

Season Preview: 12-time Defending Big Ten Champions Set to Open Season

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the past 12 seasons, one team has found its name atop the final Big Ten standings in women's soccer.  That string of dominance has placed the 13th-ranked Nittany Lions in elite company among the conference's all-time greats.

 

Should the Lions make it 13 straight conference titles this fall, they will set the all-time Big Ten mark for consecutive conference championships by a women's team.  Penn State is currently tied with the Michigan swimming and diving team (1990s) and the current Northwestern women's tennis team.

 

With lucky No. 13 on the mind, the women's soccer squad is set to open the 2010 season on Friday night with a pivotal matchup at West Virginia.  The game will take place at 7 p.m. in Morgantown.  Penn State has had its fair share of challenges with West Virginia since the series began in 2003.  The Mountaineers own a 4-2 mark over the Lions.

 

Head coach Erica Walsh kicks off her fourth season at the helm of the Nittany Lion program with a confident group of athletes.  Coming off three consecutive NCAA appearances, Coach Walsh is eager to get the 2010 season started on Friday evening.

 

The Nittany Lions return 17 letterwinners and six starters from the 2009 squad.  Among the faces the Lions are looking to replace this fall include All-American forward Katie Schoepfer and All-American goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

 

Senior forward Danielle Toney is the top returning scorer from 2009.  Toney finished second on the squad with 32 points and 13 goals last season.  Sophomore midfielder Christine Nairn was third in scoring on the 2009 team.

 

It was announced this week that the Lions will enter the season as the Big Ten preseason favorites again in 2010.  The All-Sports Blog stopped by practice on Tuesday afternoon to get our first look at the 2010 version of the women's soccer squad.

 

On the brink of the 2010 season, expectations are high around the women's soccer locker room.  The athletes we spent time talking to have their sights set on a postseason run in 2010.

 

Penn State opened the preseason with a 5-2 victory over Villanova last weekend.  While the scoring attack was potent, the Lions learned a few things on the defensive end of the field at the scrimmage.  Coach Walsh and the players we talked to said that a few adjustments are being made on the practice field this week before heading to Morgantown.

 

With that, we will turn things over to our video preview of the women's soccer team.  The All-Sports Blog spent time with co-captains Megan Monroig and Emma Thomson, along with Coach Walsh after Tuesday's practice on the pristine practice field adjacent to Jeffrey Field.

 

Enjoy the video preview of the 2010 women's soccer team.

 

 

Penn State in the NFL: Preseason Update

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The first week of the NFL Preseason is now in the books.  Penn State is again well represented in the National Football League with 39 former players spread over 22 different teams.

 

The list has seven rookies from the 2009 version of Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions.  The list (in draft order) includes: Jared Odrick (Miami Dolphins), Sean Lee (Dallas Cowboys), NaVorro Bowman (San Francisco 49ers), Andrew Quarless (Green Bay Packers), Mickey Shuler (Minnesota Vikings), Josh Hull (St. Louis Rams) and free agent signee Dennis Landolt (New York Giants). 

 

Five rookies saw time over the weekend in their NFL debut.  Lee did not play in the Cowboys' first two preseason games while recovering from a strained quad.  However, Lee is in line to be a significant contributor this season.  Bowman was also rested with a minor shoulder injury.  With significant injuries to the 49ers' linebacking corps, Bowman will be in the mix to see significant playing time this season.

 

Lee_Sean_A-10-Cowboys186.jpgAs for the five who saw action over the weekend, Odrick headlined the group with a start at right end for the Dolphins in his initial game in the NFL.  Odrick recovered a fumble in a 10-7 Dolphins victory over the Buccaneers.  Quarless tallied two receptions for 13 yards in his debut for the Green Bay Packers.

 

Fellow tight end, Shuler notched his first career NFL touchdown for the Vikings in a 28-7 victory over the Rams.  On the opposite side of the ball, Hull made seven tackles, including one tackle for a loss for the Rams.  Landolt also made his debut for the Giants on Monday Night Football against the Jets.

 

As for the rest of the list, we have provided it for you below.  Keep an eye on your favorite NFL club this summer to see if any Penn State alums are on the roster.  Penn State has ties to 22 of the 32 NFL teams.  Also note that this is just a training camp roster.  The official rosters will not be released until just prior to the 2010 NFL season.

 

Nittany Lions in the NFL (Position in parenthesis) - 39 Total - As of August 17

 

Arizona Cardinals - Levi Brown (T)

Buffalo Bills - Aaron Maybin (DE), Paul Posluszny (LB), Lydell Sargeant (DB), Bryan Scott (DB)

Carolina Panthers - Dan Connor (LB), Ed Johnson (DT)

Chicago Bears - Anthony Adams (NT), Maurice Evans (DE), Robbie Gould (K), Tim Shaw (LB)

Cleveland Browns - Bobby Engram (WR)

Dallas Cowboys - Sean Lee (LB)

Detroit Lions - Bryant Johnson (WR), Derrick Williams (WR)

Green Bay Packers - Andrew Quarless (TE)

Kansas City Chiefs - Tamba Hali (DE)

Miami Dolphins - Jared Odrick (DT), Cameron Wake (LB)

Minnesota Vikings - Jimmy Kennedy (NT), Mickey Shuler (TE)

New England Patriots - Rich Ohrnberger (G)

New York Giants - Jay Alford (DT), Dennis Landolt (G), Kareem McKenzie (T)

Oakland Raiders - Tony Stewart (TE)

Philadelphia Eagles - Jordan Norwood (WR), Anthony Scirrotto (S), A.Q. Shipley (C)

Pittsburgh Steelers - Sean McHugh (TE), Scott Paxson (DT)

San Francisco 49ers - Navorro Bowman (LB), Michael Robinson (RB)

Seattle Seahawks - Deon Butler (WR)

St. Louis Rams - Josh Hull (LB), Justin King (DB)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - John Gilmore (TE)

Tennessee Titans - Kerry Collins (QB)

Washington Redskins - Larry Johnson (RB)

What's in Store for the All-Sports Blog?

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Football season may begin in 19 days, but the first official game of the 2010-'11 athletic season is Friday night in Morgantown, W. Va.

 

The Nittany Lion women's soccer team heads to West Virginia for a matchup with the Mountaineers to kick off the newest season in Penn State athletics.  With the sports season now just four days away, we wanted to keep you in tune with what we have planned in the All-Sports Blog as the calendar heads into the second half of August.

 

5589526.jpegAs the sports season nears, we are going to provide an extensive season preview for each of the fall sports teams.  First up will be the women's soccer squad.  We have plans to stop by practice this week to speak with head coach Erica Walsh and a few student-athletes to get some insight on how things have been going since camp started.

 

The Nittany Lions unofficially opened the season with a preseason clash against Villanova on Saturday afternoon.  Vying for their 13th consecutive Big Ten title, the Nittany Lions are back on the practice field this week before traveling to West Virginia for the opener.

 

Therefore, the first All-Sports Blog season preview will be the women's soccer squad.  Look for that later this week.

 

Next week, we will shift our attention to the field hockey and women's volleyball teams.  Those two squads both open the 2010 season on August 27.  One week later, the men's soccer team will play its initial regular season game on Sept. 3.  The cross country team will also open that week with a race on Sept. 3.  The All-Sports Blog will preview field hockey and women's volleyball next week, and then men's soccer and cross country during the week of Aug. 30.

 

Watch for previews of each fall sports team in the next three weeks.

 

In addition to the Olympic sports teams, the All-Sports Blog will soon ramp up its coverage of the Nittany Lion football team.  The Lions begin their second week of two-a-day practices today.  With classes starting on Aug. 23, this will be the final week of double sessions on the practice field.  Nonetheless, preseason preparations will continue up to the season-opener against Youngstown State.

 

The All-Sports Blog will begin highlighting each unit on the 2010 football squad to get fans ready for the 2010 season.  From the quarterback candidates to the special teams unit, we are going to go inside the depth chart to provide a unit-by-unit preview of the Nittany Lions heading into Joe Paterno's 45th season on the sidelines.

 

As always, stay tuned to the All-Sports Blog for extensive coverage on all things Penn State.

 

 

Fall Sports Team Openers

Aug. 20 - Women's Soccer at West Virginia, 7 p.m.

Aug. 27 - Field Hockey vs. Old Dominion, 5 p.m.

Aug. 27 - Women's Volleyball at North Carolina, 8 p.m.

Sept. 3 - Men's Soccer vs. Buffalo at Columbus, Ohio, 5 p.m.

Sept. 3 - Cross Country at Lock Haven Dolan Duals, 4 p.m.

Sept. 4 - Football vs. Youngstown State, Noon

Villanova Scrimmage Recap

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As you may have heard by now, we won our first (and only) exhibition match this past Saturday at Villanova, 5-2.  We played three 30-minute periods for 90 minutes and got to try out a lot of new faces and scored a lot of goals.  All in all, we're pleased.  Below are some links about the game as we prepare for Friday's opener at West Virginia.

Collegian: Toney, Freshman Lead Lions to Win at 'Nova


Scrimmage Wrap Up and Ropes Course

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As you might've heard by now, we won, 5-2, at Villanova yesterday. Here's a quick recap by The Daily Collegian's Andrew Robinson. We had a fun time at the Ropes Course at Stone Mountain last week, so enjoy the new video!

Monroig: Pre-Game Training and Team Building Ropes Course

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By: Megan Monroig, Senior Co-Captain

Pre-game practice day is done and tomorrow is our first game of the season (unofficially). We play at Villanova tomorrow and we're all very excited about it! Before we get into that let's recap our past few days. 

Wednesday and Thursday we had some good times with two practices each day. Preseason is really wearing on our bodies now and practices are a little sluggish in the beginning. But thank goodness that at the end of morning and evening practices we play small sided games and 11-v-11, respectively, because that really brings our level up. Our small-sided play consists of usually 2-v-2 or 5-v-5 games where we have fast transitions and hopefully lots of goals when Krissy [Tribbett], Kristin [Hartmann], and Tara [Barr] are not ruining our days with big saves. 

We really get the heart rates up and we know this because every practice we have to wear heart rate monitors so we literally know how hard each one of us is working. And a big hit with the heart rate monitors is knowing how many calories you burn at the end of practice. Lexi Marton is usually a big winner losing around 900 to 1,000 calories in one practice! Crazy I know, but that just goes to show you all the hard work we put in. 

Anyway, we all love playing small-sided mostly because of the good competition we give one another. We all bust our butts to win because usually trash talking occurs at the beginning so then nobody wants to lose and pretty much have to swallow their words. 11-v-11 at night has pretty much the same effect on our practices. Everyone works so hard during that showing off their skills because we're all still fighting for any playing time possible this season. We have some very good play going on and as we continue 11-v-11 and seeing how good we can be as a team we just get more and more excited for Saturday and this season in general!

We continued with preparation for tomorrow's game this morning with our pre-game practice. We went through our pregame warm-up, played 11-v-11 and then worked on set pieces (direct and indirect kicks and corner kicks). We're trying to get some goals from set pieces this year so any practice with them is always good for us.

After practice we had a short lift and then our first team activity. For our team activity we went to this place called Shaver's Creek which is outside State College and did a ropes course. The ropes course consisted of three giant tree logs about 50 to 60 feet high that short of tee-peed together with a platform at the top. The object was to climb to the top using whatever method of obstacles you chose. You could use the rock climbing grips that were on the logs; you could climb up the cargo net; use the dangling ropes with knots tied in it for grips or whatever other method you saw fit. You made the course as hard as you wanted to make it and you climbed up as high as you wanted. (There are videos of this ropes course on our facebook page, www.facebook.com/PSUWomensSoccer, check it out!).

We had a few people who were scared of heights but somewhat conquered their fears and climbed up at least some part of the way. One of the most fun parts was when Emma Thomson and I decided to challenge Coach Walsh and Ann [Cook] to a race up to the top, loser bought ice cream for the winners. We were supposed to be harnessed to our partners but Coach cheated and decided to unattach herself from Ann right before we started and tried to take off up the log. Well needless to say, cheaters never prosper and it came back to bite her in the butt. Emma and I ended up destroying them and got to hang out at the top platform for about five minutes until Ann and Coach decided to join us. Best part was, we won the ice creamJ

After we all made our four or five trips up the ropes course our fun was over, we ate dinner and came home. We all just relaxed for the evening and were quite ready for bed. We need to get our rest since we have our Villanova tomorrow. For all you readers, we hope to see you there! Game time is at 3 p.m.! 


--Megan Monroig

Football Notebook: Media Day LIVE No. 1 in the Books

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - When we began kicking around the idea of producing a live video stream from Penn State Football Media Day, it seemed like an innovative way to take Nittany Lion fans where they had never been before.

 

Sure, media day is open to credentialed members of the media, but the public has never seen what goes on with a live event.  That being said, when we initiated the idea of a live stream with interviews from a variety of personalities close to the program, it seemed like a great way to give Penn State fans a unique opportunity to unofficially kick off the 2010 season.

 

5.jpgInitial discussions were to have 30 minutes of live video time for interviews.  After a few meetings, the 30-minute live stream grew into 60 minutes.  Those who tuned in yesterday will know that the event pushed over the 90-minute mark.  And to be honest, had the team still been around, Media Day LIVE could have been two hours long.

 

In my eyes, it could not have been a better start to what I feel like will become a staple on the calendar every year.  The production crew did a tremendous job setting up a location and the set at Beaver Stadium, the Athletic Communications staff did a terrific job securing guests for the production and the interview subjects provided great air time.

 

We learned some things to adjust for next year, but all-in-all, it sure seemed like a very good first attempt at a live stream on football media day.

 

From a personal standpoint, I had a great time interviewing everyone who stopped by the set.  From Director of Athletics Tim Curley to a number of assistant coaches and the players, everyone provided good insight as we inch closer to the kick off to the 2010 season.  It was great working with co-host Loren Crispell, as well.  I am already looking forward to our next live event on GoPSUsports.com.

 

For anyone who missed the live stream, you can check it out by clicking the link below:

 

http://www.gopsusports.com/allaccess/index.html?media=184696

 

 

As for some thoughts on media day in general, I have created a notebook with some of the sights and sounds from 2010 Media Day:

 

- Words from Coach Paterno

In front of a standing room only crowd in the Beaver Stadium Media Room, Coach Paterno opened his press conference with an announcement, referencing the first question asked to him in Chicago last week.  "I have one request -- Please don't ask me if I'm going to die tomorrow. (Laughter) Believe me, I've got a few more days left. (Laughter) Okay, let's talk football."

 

When Coach Paterno speaks, the room listens.  And from there, the football talk began.  A few things of note came from coach.  Firstly, the quarterback evaluation process is going to continue for the foreseeable future.  While it is not a big surprise, no decisions have been made.

 

"I don't know right now," Coach Paterno said.  "We're trying to put them in positions, situations I should say, not positions. We try to put them in situations where they have to make something happen. They have to be able to do some things in the clutch, get a little confidence, get the football team to get some confidence in them so that they can get in the huddle and say to their team, hey, come on, let's go. Let's show these guys we're a pretty good football team and go from there."

 

Another are covered was the offensive line.  Coach Paterno's comments on what he has seen from the offensive line in the first few days of practice:

 

"Well, we're not very good right now, our offensive line. We've got two or three guys that three anyway, that are that I think can play right now," Coach Paterno said.  "The others we're going to have to work hard with, and they're going to have to work hard in order to be good enough to handle some of the people we have to play...Right now we're not really tough. I think we've got to get tougher, and I think we will. I don't think it's I don't think they know right now how to be tough."

 

- Back in Beaver Stadium

For the first time in a number of seasons, all of the media day festivities were held at Beaver Stadium.  For the past five years, media day has taken place on the practice fields adjacent to Lasch Building.  Beaver Stadium provides a superb setting for media day.  The crowd included beat reporters and TV stations from all corners of Pennsylvania.

 

- Off Days From Practice

After reporting to camp last Friday, the Nittany Lions practiced through Wednesday before getting two days off. The Lions were off Thursday and today in order to prepare for final exams, which are being held today for the second summer session.  The team will return to the practice field on Saturday with a double session.  One thing Coach Paterno added at his news conference about the number of practice days leading up to the season:

 

"They (NCAA) gave us an extra five days, (with) no more practices," Coach Paterno said. "You still can only get 29 practices, but you get four more days to get it in. So we've used the four days in order to get a little better feel for some of these kids.

 

"So I told the coaches when we started, whatever you want to call it, preseason practice, but whenever we started practice, I said, since we've got the extra days we've never practiced for 29 days. I've always gone 26, 27, but we're going to take the 29, and we're using the extra days I'm using those to evaluate people."

 

- Big Ten Network Visit

Finally, here are a few photos from the Big Ten Network's practice visit on Wednesday afternoon.  The BTN's Penn State preview show will air on Aug. 18 at 8 p.m.

 

 

 

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The 40-Yard Dash & 2v2 Wednesday

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Here's our newest video of our training video from Wednesday... We did a 40-yard dash to see who was fastest and a 2v2 practice to cap the day.


The 40-Yard Dash

Penn State Football Media Day LIVE Taking Fans to Beaver Stadium

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the first time ever, Penn State football fans will be a part of football media day with Penn State Football Media Day LIVE on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

 

The live stream on GoPSUsports.com will be the first of its kind on football media day.  Never before have fans been able to watch live video from media day in Beaver Stadium.  We will be on the field at Beaver Stadium providing live interviews with a variety of coaches and players from the Penn State football program.

 

Also, make sure to submit your questions for Media Day LIVE, as we have set up a place on GoPSUsports.com for fans to submit questions that will be selected during Thursday's live stream.  Click here (http://www.gopsusports.com/chat/081010aaa.html) to submit your Media Day LIVE questions.

 

I will be co-hosting the stream with Loren Crispel, Marketing Director of the men's basketball team and voice of the Nittany Lion baseball team.  Things are shaping up to make Media Day LIVE something you will not want to miss.  We will have wall-to-wall interviews.

 

Among the guests we are looking to have on the show include: Assistant coaches - Tom Bradley, Kermit Buggs, Larry Johnson, Mike McQueary, Jay Paterno, and Ron Vanderlinden; Players - Evan Royster, Stefen Wisniewksi, Derek Moye, Graham Zug, Ollie Ogbu, Devon Still, Michael Mauti, Nate Stupar, D'Anton Lynn, Drew Astorino and Collin Wagner.

 

Be sure to submit your questions and tune in tomorrow at 3:30 for the first ever Penn State Football Media Day LIVE show on GoPSUsports.com.

 

Stay tuned later for a post on the Big Ten Network's day in Happy Valley.  The BTN is here today filming practice and interviews.  Follow us on Twitter, as well at Twitter.com/GoPSUTony.

Monroig: First Day Off

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By: Megan Monroig, Senior Co-Captain


Finally, our first day of preseason off!!! We have finally made it to Day 7 of preseason and our first full day off. We have been training so hard that it's nice to take a day of R&R (rest and relaxation). Most of us are lying around doing a whole of nothing. I believe a few people took a trip to the local man-made beach called Whipple Dam this afternoon to relax and hang out as well. Those of us that are taking classes are also getting some studying in as we prepare for finals this week. I think there is even a possible movie in the works for tonight's hang out session! I know what it seems like, we just can't get enough of one another and well that's exactly right!!

The past few days of practice have been tough, not just physically but mentally as well. We just finished up our second 2-2-1 cycle. Our preseason runs in a specific routine and it follows this 2-2-1 cycle. How it works is that we have two days of two-a-day practices then a day having just one practice. Then we repeat that cycle and on the seventh day we have a day off. We were quite pleased with our efforts in last night's practice especially since we were all so excited about having our day off today. We went into practice with tired legs and minds but came out feeling like we accomplished our goals and got better in our roughly 90 minute practice. Every night practice we have we play 11-v-11 and we really felt like for how our bodies felt it was a very good game. Hayley Brock's speed really showed up as she tallied two goals and was really giving the one team's defense fits.

We get back at it tomorrow with another 2-2-1 cycle before our first game against Villanova this Saturday. We really have our sights set high for this season and are very eager to see how we fair against the Wildcats. I'd also like to point out the fact that the NSCAA has released its preseason poll and we were ranked 13th in the Nation!!! That's a very big accomplishment for us considering we lost seven very talented seniors. It just goes to show you that we have an amazing freshmen class and a good core of veteran players still here!

--Megan Monroig

Video Blog: Checking in at Women's Volleyball Practice

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The All-Sports Blog stopped by Rec Hall's South Gym on Tuesday afternoon to get our first look at the 2010 version of the Nittany Lion women's volleyball team.

 

The three-time defending national champions returned to the practice gym on Monday to officially kick off the 2010 season.  Head coach Russ Rose and Lions are currently participating in three-a-days at Rec Hall to prepare for the upcoming season.

 

Coming off a second consecutive undefeated season, the Lions will be looking to replace two significant pieces in the starting lineup.  All-Americans Megan Hodge and Alisha Glass graduated in the spring, having won three national championships.  The Lions return six starters, including 2009 All-Americans Blair Brown and Arielle Wilson.  Penn State has plenty of new faces joining the program, as well, with nine freshmen on the roster.

 

We spent some time talking to seniors Fatima Balza, Cathy Quilico, Wilson and Brown to see what they were up to during the offseason and their thoughts on the season ahead.  Enjoy some video from today's afternoon practice and interviews inside a steamy South Gym at Rec Hall with the three-time defending national champions.

 

 

Fall Sports Teams Ramp up Preparations for 2010 Season

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The summer is unofficially over in Happy Valley with a number of Penn State fall sports teams are back to work on the practice field ahead of the 2010-'11 season. 

 

While the Lion football team completed its fourth practice on Sunday, the honor of the first team to officially begin the 2010-'11 season belongs to the Nittany Lion women's soccer team.

 

5600147.jpegThe 12-time defending Big Ten champions returned to the Jeffrey Field training complex on August 4 to kick off preparations for the 2010 season.  Head coach Erica Walsh and the Lions will have two-a-day sessions six days a week leading up to the season-opener at West Virginia on Aug. 20.  With 17 players back in 2010, the Lions should be in the mix for another Big Ten title in the fall.

 

The three-time defending national champion women's volleyball team returned to its Rec Hall practice facility on Monday afternoon.  The Nittany Lions welcome a great deal of young talent to the roster.  We have plans to stop by women's volleyball practice later this week.  Stay tuned for an update on the women's volleyball team.

 

In addition to the volleyball squad, the Lion field hockey team also opens fall camp this week.  Head coach Char Morett and Nittany Lions begin official practice on Wednesday.  The field hockey squad kicks off its 2010 campaign against Old Dominion on August 27.

 

As for the men's soccer squad, practice opens Monday (Aug. 16) for first year head coach Bob Warming.  Warming will have 17 returning letterwinners and nine starters back for the 2010 season.  The men's soccer team opens its season on Sept. 3 in Columbus, Ohio, at the Wolstein Classic.  The exhibition season opens on Aug. 21.

 

The summer academic session will run until Aug. 13.  The first day of fall classes for the student-athletes is Aug. 23.  With fall camps opening and the fall academic session now just two weeks away, the Penn State sports season is upon us. 

 

As we lead up to the season-openers for each fall sports team, the All-Sports Blog will provide a detailed season preview of every squad.  Keep it tuned to the All-Sports Blog over the next few weeks for an inside look at the upcoming fall sports season.

 

Additionally, as always, stay tuned for a detailed look at the Nittany Lion football team as it continues preparation for the 2010 season.

 

Key Dates in August:

- August 4 - Women's soccer kicks off the first official Penn State practice of the fall.

- August 4 - Football begins camp.

- August 9 - Women's volleyball opens practice.

- August 11 - Field hockey begins practice.

- August 16 - Men's soccer kicks off preseason camp.

- August 20 - Women's soccer travels to West Virginia to officially open the Penn State 2010-'11 sports season.

- August 27 - Women's volleyball opens 2010 at North Carolina and field hockey opens the season against Old Dominion.

TopDrawerSoccer.com Player Rankings

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Great news today. Three of the women's soccer team players have been named by TopDrawerSoccer.com as part of the Big Ten's Top 20. 

1. Christine Nairn
3. Danielle Toney
9. Lexi Marton

Check out the complete rankings here.

New Camp, New Season

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Keep up to date with all our preseason as we've been posting videos and notes on our facebook page.  Also, we're happy to announce that Megan Monroig has helped kick start the PSU Women's Soccer player blog.  We'll do our best to post more information as we go along.  

Football Notebook: Opening Day of Practice; Big Ten Media Days Roundup

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The long wait for Penn State football is nearly over.  We are now within one month of the opening kickoff to the 2010 season.

 

However, the official start to the new season began this afternoon when the Nittany Lions took to the practice fields adjacent to Lasch Building.  Penn State began its first of five practices without pads (NCAA rule) on Thursday afternoon.  The Lions will begin two-a-day practices next week.

 

The All-Sports Blog will have wall-to-wall coverage of the days leading up to the Youngstown State game with previews for each position, schedule analysis and updates from what is going on in Happy Valley.  Keep it tuned to GoPSUsports.com as the Nittany Lions prepare for their 45th season under head coach Joe Paterno.

 

The countdown clock is at 30 days.  And the season opener cannot come soon enough.

 

- Hot Topics at Big Ten Media Days

4089069.jpegAfter spending three days in Chicago, it's fair to say that everyone from around the Big Ten is eagerly anticipating the announcement of divisions for 2011, the upcoming schedules and championship venue.  Not that it was a big surprise to hear so many different coaches, players, officials, school representatives and fans talking about the key issues associated with Nebraska coming on board, but it is going to be very interesting to track what transpires in the next month.

 

The first domino to fall will be the formation of new divisions.  Nearly every coach addressed an opinion on the issue and how it would affect scheduling and rivalries.  We have compiled a list of sound bites from a variety of figures, including Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, regarding divisions.

 

Jim Delany, Big Ten Commissioner

"As we're looking at these issues, you know, we think that having -- if you're going to have two divisions and the divisional champions are going to get a chance to play for the championship, that divisions need to be as balanced as they can possibly be made.  And I think competitive fairness from the perspective of the coach, the player, the fan, media, it's got to be seen in those divisions. But they also have to be constructed in a wise way that does everything we can within that first principle or consistent with that first principle to preserve traditional rivals."

 

Kirk Ferentz, Iowa head coach

"I'll give you an honest answer. I don't have a preference. And if I did, I probably wouldn't share it right now. I really don't have a preference. Obviously there's certain things that seem logical, but anytime you go through -- if you're in charge of overseeing this whole realignment, it's not going to be just as simple as what looks to be logical.  So those are discussions that I know are going on that will continue to go on, and we'll just live with whatever gets decided."

 

Jim Tressel, Ohio State head coach

"How would I do it? No one that has any power has asked me how I would do it. So I guess amongst friends here, I guess you could go one of a couple of ways. You could just go strictly geographical, which would be us and Penn State and the two Michigans and the two Indianas there and the western side with Nebraska and Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, that type of thing, which would be logical and so forth.  Or you could not want to get two geographical, and you could do all those computations of how you think people should be aligned and cross over and so forth.   But however they do it is going to be exciting. However they do it, it's going to create new things for us. And I'm sure that people in charge of that, our athletic directors, our Big Ten office, our college presidents, they're going to set us up with the best possible deal we can have."

 

Joe Paterno

"I'm just glad that I don't have to make that decision. I think there's a lot of different combinations that would be good, which put us in a position where we could have a team that would be champions of the Big Ten and be in a position to go on and be national champs.  But what the makeup of each division is, I really haven't had a chance to give that that much thought. And there again, you know, actually the new kids on the block in this thing, there's some old rivalries, some traditions, there's a lot of things that have to go into this.  And I have a lot of confidence that the people who are going to make the decision will give it the thought that it's going to take to do a good job and will come up with something that will be good for the Big Ten."

 

 

As we mentioned earlier in the week, Commissioner Delany said that a championship game is likely for the 2011 season.  From what we were hearing in Chicago, the announcement of divisions could come in the near future.  It will be very interesting to see what the Big Ten decides.

Monroig: Opening of Training Camp

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By Megan Monroig, Senior Co-Captain

So we just started preseason and being a senior it's my fourth and final one. I'm so eager to get it started because we should have a phenomenal team this year but with it also comes some sadness in the fact that this is my last year. This isn't just a team but a family and I know that going into my final season there are expectations for everyone, including myself.

 

We kicked off preseason 2010 with the beep test which overall I think went pretty well for everyone with a couple of outstanding performances from junior co-captain Emma Thomson and sophomore Julie Hubbard. The coaching staff, as well as all the players, expect nothing less than hard work and determination throughout every session no matter what we're doing. We have high expectations for ourselves this year and it all starts with a good preseason.

 

It's definitely a tiring process but for what we want to accomplish it's definitely worth it. As a senior I know what to expect from myself and my teammates and that preseason is no walk in the park. Coach Walsh, Ann, Michael, and Tim do a good job in making every single one of us ready for bed each night.


Preseason is a great time because we get to spend so much time together. Some people may think too much time together could be a bad thing but for us, for some reason that's never the case. We spend all our time together on and off the field. It's great getting to know our freshmen and continuing to build our friendships with the teammates we already have. It really is a good time. But for the rest of preseason we're just going to continue to work our behinds off at practice, we have some team activities planned which are always fun and just more of the hanging out and relaxing during our down time. 


--Megan Monroig



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Video Post: Evan Royster at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Senior tailback Evan Royster enters the 2010 season needing 481 yards to become the top rusher in Penn State football history.  The Virginia native joined D'Anton Lynn and Stefen Wisniewski in Chicago for Big Ten Media Days earlier this week.

 

Like Lynn and Wisniewski, Royster spent most of Monday and Tuesday answering questions from the media about the upcoming season.  We had the camera rolling when Royster was asked about playing in big games by an Ohio State beat reporter on Tuesday.  Here is a clip of the standout tailback answering questions at the one-on-one sessions in Chicago.

 

 

Catching up with D'Anton Lynn at Big Ten Media Days, Part II

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CHICAGO, Ill. - Junior cornerback D'Anton Lynn took some time to meet with the All-Sports Blog during his first trip to Big Ten Media Days.

 

Let's take a look at what Lynn had to say about his second day in Chicago.

 

 

Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman Video Blog from Big Ten Kickoff

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CHICAGO, Ill. - The Penn State football season-opener with Youngstown State is now just one month away.  The clash with the Penguins will air live on the Big Ten Network at noon on Sept. 4, but more than 380,000 subscribers to Armstrong and Blue Ridge cable around Pennsylvania and portions of northeastern Ohio are still without the Big Ten Network.

 

We had a chance to sit down with Big Ten Network President Mark Silverman in Chicago for his thoughts on BTN distribution and advice for what Armstrong and Blue Ridge subscribers should be doing to ensure they will see the Penn State-Youngstown State season opener.  We also spoke to him about how much Big Ten Network has grown.

 

 

 

Stefen Wisniewski Video Blog from Big Ten Media Day II

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CHICAGO, Ill. - With the media festivities now wrapped up on day two at Big Ten Football Media Days, let's take a look at how things went with senior guard Stefen Wisniewski.

 

We caught up with Wisniewski again today during his first trip to Chicago for media day.  Let's take a look what Wisniewski had to say about his days at Big Ten Kickoff.  

 

 

Be sure to stay tuned for more video. We will have much more once we return to Happy Valley.

Coach Paterno Video from Chicago

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CHICAGO, Ill. - Legendary head coach Joe Paterno spent two hours meeting with members of the media during a roundtable discussion on Tuesday in Chicago.

 

Let's take a look at what Coach Paterno had to say when asked why he still loves coaching college football.  We apologize for the low audio, but Coach was talking quietly with the group.

 

 

Big Ten Media Days: Day II Roundup

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CHICAGO, Ill. - After a day filled with press conferences, television, print and radio interviews on Monday, the Big Ten Media Days evolve into a low-key set of events on day two.

 

Following a brief breakfast with D'Anton Lynn, Evan Royster and Stefen Wisniewski in the media hotel headquarters, the group headed to a spotless ballroom for two hours of one-on-one interviews with print reporters from all corners of Big Ten country.

 

Each coach and player occupied a table, and the media was turned loose to sit and chat over the course of two hours.  It is a great opportunity to spend some time with anyone from around the conference.  Additionally, it is a very informal way to talk with some of college football's greatest coaches.

 

That being said, we walked around the room to listen in on conversations from a variety of teams and players.  Additionally, we spent a great deal of time with Coach Paterno and the three Nittany Lions in Chicago.  Chatting with Lynn and Wisniewski after the two hours, they both said it was refreshing to talk with a variety of reporters about a variety of topics.

 

Granted, there were quite a few questions about Penn State, but most reporters walk from table to table to ask a question about the team they are covering.  While sitting next to Lynn, I heard questions about Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan.

 

As a writer for the All-Sports Blog, I took the opportunity to speak with different personalities from around the league, as well.  My agenda included speaking with a few head coaches from the Big Ten about Coach Paterno.  While the crowd around a number of coaches made things challenging, I was able to speak with three of Coach Paterno's peers about the living legend.

 

While I will save the details of my conversation for a story itself later this week, it is just incredible to hear how much respect coaches have for the Hall of Famer.  You get the sense that it is truly an honor for the coaches around the league to just coach next to Joe Paterno.  Like you and me, they are genuine fans of the legend.

 

It speaks volumes about what Coach Paterno has given college football in his 60-plus years at Penn State.  When you hear other leaders from the Big Ten talk about Joe Paterno, it is just a reminder of how lucky those of us close to the Penn State program really are.

 

As for our video updates, we spent more time with Wisniewski and Lynn about their experience in Chicago.  Stay tuned for video from Chicago.  The media festivities are now over.  The last thing on the agenda is the annual kickoff luncheon.

Catching up with D'Anton Lynn at Big Ten Media Days

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CHICAGO, Ill. - Junior cornerback D'Anton Lynn took some time to meet with the All-Sports Blog during his first trip to Big Ten Media Days.

 

Lynn spent the day interviewing with national and local TV, print and radio outlets about the upcoming Penn State sports season.  Let's take a look at what he had to say about his day and the upcoming season.

 


Stefen Wisniewski Video Blog from Big Ten Media Day I

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CHICAGO, Ill. - With the media festivities now wrapped up on day one at Big Ten Football Media Days, let's take a look at how things went with senior guard Stefen Wisniewski.

 

We caught up with Wisniewski along the way during his first trip to Chicago for media day.  Let's take a look what Wisniewski had to say about his day.



Live Blog from Big Ten Media Days

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CHICAGO, Ill. - We are live from the unofficial kickoff to the Big Ten football season.  Stay tuned throughout the day for live All-Sports Blog updates from the Hyatt McCormack Place in Chicago.  Check back here often for updates.

 

11:10 a.m.

The Big Ten Conference officials just announced the preseason top three teams and players of the year prior to the first press conference of the day.  Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin were selected as the top three teams, respectively.  Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor was named preseason Offensive Player of the Year.  Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones was named preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

 

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema was at the podium first.  He walked in the room and apologized for being late because he was on the phone with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, joking that he received the new guidelines for conference expansion to share in the room.

 

11:55 a.m.

Coach Bielema opened the day joking that one of his 2010 resolutions was to be friendlier with the media this season.  Following Coach Bielema at the podium was Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald.  He started by joking that, "Unlike Bret, I am already good with the media...I am just here to give the facts."

 

Northwestern is eagerly anticipating its clash with Illinois at Wrigley Field later this fall.  Both Fitzgerald, and Illinois head coach Ron Zook, who followed him at the podium, said that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the players to compete at Wrigley Field.  It sounds like there a few logistical things to work out at Wrigley to house the game, but both teams are excited to play there.

 

Coach Zook and Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez both expressed their excitement to put last season behind them and push towards 2010.  It sounds like Michigan will have a wide open quarterback race between Tate Forcier, Denard Robinson and an early-enrollee freshman.

 

BigTenKickoff_1.jpg

 (Illinois head coach Ron Zook at the podium.)

 


The first set of press conferences is done.  Michi
gan State us up next.

 

As for the Nittany Lions, Coach Paterno, D'Anton Lynn, Evan Royster and Stefen Wisniewski arrived to the media hotel shortly before 11:45 via limo from O'Hare Airport.  The group flew out of University Park earlier this morning.  We will check in with Wisniewski later this morning to begin some behind the scenes video coverage from the Big Ten Media days to give you an idea of what the players' schedule is like.

 

1 p.m.

Following the short break, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio took the podium for questions.  Like the first few head coaches, scheduling in the newly-expanded conference was a major point of conversation.  It seems as though everyone wants to make Nebraska their "rival" at the end of the season.  Dantonio was asked about preserving MSU's rivalry with Penn State at the end of the year.

 

He said that all rivalries are good for the fans and good for college football and that he doesn't want to see any of them go.  It will be very interesting to see what happens with the scheduling for next season.  All of that will depend on the division alignments.  We will touch on that later.

 

We had lunch with Lynn, Royster and Wisniewski following the Michigan State press conference.  The trio will spend the day doing interviews with national and local TV and radio stations before some free time in Chicago.  First up was some time with ESPN Gameday.

 

Prior to heading to the airport, Wisniewski kicked off his morning at McDonald's.  For those wondering, an offensive lineman's breakfast of choice is a Big Breakfast with hot cakes on the side.  As for the plane ride, Wisniewski joked that Coach Paterno was in the "Boss Chair".  The single seat just inside the door of the plane belonged to the icon leading the Nittany Lion program.  We shot some video with Wisniewski about his day thus far.  Check back later tonight for some video.

 

1:45 p.m.

I will begin this post by saying how great it was to see Coach Paterno walk into the ballroom to give his 15-minute press conference to the media gathered.  After a long offseason, Coach Paterno strolled into the room, as he always does, and had the room laughing within 30 seconds of his press conference.

 

Much was made about Coach Paterno's offseason and the intestinal bug he had earlier this summer, but he quickly dismissed any thoughts of how healthy he is.  Coach Paterno looked great, sounded great and was as witty as ever, quoting Mark Twain during his 15 minutes at the podium.

 

Among the topics he discussed were new divisions, expansion and Nebraska.  Additionally, he spoke about traveling to Alabama during the second week of the season.  Coach Paterno labeled it as a "good learning experience" for the football team heading into the fall.  As Coach Paterno said, there may not be a better team to play on a regular season schedule in 2010 than Alabama.  Indeed, it will be a good learning experience for the 2010 Nittany Lions to grow from.

 

Following his 15 minutes at the podium, Coach Paterno stepped into a hallway adjacent to the press conference room for some one-on-one interviews with reporters.  A crowd of around 40 reporters crammed around Coach Paterno for a few more questions.  In his typical candid style, Coach addressed every question with a personal touch.

 

As I said to begin this post, it was terrific to see Coach Paterno back in charge of the room.  He is looking forward to the season, and you should, too.

BigTenKickoff_2.jpg(Coach Paterno answering questions around the media.)

 

2:45 p.m.

After a brief break for lunch, we headed back in the press conference room to hear what Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel had to say at the podium.  Coach Ferentz is a very businesslike man in front of a microphone during a press conference.  He always comes across as an "old-school" coach, for lack of a better term.

 

Case in point was his comment about new media items, such as Twitter, Facebook or even text messaging: "I can read texts, but I can't send them...I will work on that next summer."

 

The 11th and final coach to take the podium was the leader of the defending Big Ten champion Ohio State Buckeyes.  Coach Tressel has 25 seniors coming back this fall for 2010.  He will have a veteran team when the Buckeyes take the field after winning the Rose Bowl in January.  Coach Tressel seemed very confident ahead of the fall.

 

I checked back in with Wisniewski and Lynn following their rounds with TV interviews throughout the afternoon, as well.  It was the first trip for both to Chicago for Big Ten Media Days.  Two hours of interviews for anyone has to be difficult, but both did a terrific job on day one.  Wisniewski, as he will tell you later on camera, was ready to be done with interviews so that he can hit the town for a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza.

BigTenKickoff_3.jpg(Coach Paterno and the players meeting with local TV.)

 

3:30 p.m.

The media festivities from day one in Chicago are done.  Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany stepped to the podium as the final press conference of the afternoon.  From a nine-game conference schedule to the prospect of a Big Ten title game in 2011, Delany had numerous interesting pieces of information during his press conference. 

 

It sounds like a championship game is done deal for 2011.  Nine league games will not happen in the next year or two, but Delany said that it could happen within four years.  Those are two very interesting nuggets to think about heading into the 2010 season.

 

The day officially concluded with a photo opportunity featuring Coach Paterno, Commissioner Delany and Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne.  That is a sign of things to come in the Big Ten.

 

With that, our live blog coverage from day one is now done.  Our live coverage will continue tomorrow.  However, stay tuned later for more on the All-Sports Blog from the first day of activities in Chicago.