AUDIO RECORDINGS AND TRANSCRIPTS
Indiana- There will be no audio recording of "Football Fridays with Fran" this week. Please return next week when we hope to resume this feature.
Football Fridays with Fran- Opening Weekend: Coastal Carolina
Transcript: This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com. Penn State Football tomorrow and here come the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers! Chanticleers... Sounds like a light fixture! Question for you: Who is the Athletic Director at Coastal Carolina. Not telling you. This is not the only game in town. Members of the 1968 and 1969 undefeated, 22 wins in a row Penn State football teams are here this weekend doing the reunion thing. Can you believe it's been 40 years? You know that group: Reid, Smear, Pittman, Campbell, right? Did I mention or does anybody ever mention Chuck Burkhart, the quarterback who never lost a game... high school or college? Many fans thought the better the quarterback was on the bench. I'm kidding of course. That never happens! On with the story. Coming back to the hotel after the 1970 Orange Bowl win over Missouri I was on the bus with Chuck Burkhart. Chuck had been selected the Offensive MVP, an honor deserved, but not predictable before the game. On his lap was the trophy; on his face the biggest smile you'd ever see. He was so proud of that trophy... just couldn't believe it was his. I felt good for the whole team, but especially for Chuck and other unsung members, like Tom Jackson, Charlie Zapiec, Bob Holuba, center Warren Kogel. You remember Moose Kogel don't you? Co-captain the following year with Jack Ham. Early on he was Fran Ganter's roommate... and now... the Athletic Director at Coastal Carolina.
Football Fridays with Fran- Oregon State
Well, the Beavers are in town to play in Beaver Stadium tomorrow. How scary is that? Let's liken their experience to a root canal. They're tough on Beavers, you know! This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com back again by popular demand. Thanks to both of you. You know who's in town? Penn State's only Heisman Trophy winner, John Cappelletti. Once again it's reunion time and Cappy, who gained 1522 yards in 1973 behind fullback... not gonna tell you... is joining his undefeated playmates. Remember John as a defensive back in 1971? Returned punts, too. Dropped a couple that earned him the tag: John Fumbletti! In the Spring of 1972 Joe made him a tailback; in the winter of 1973 he was recognized as the best, the very best. Who can forget his memorable Heisman Trophy acceptance speech dedicating the trophy to brother Joey. In the Spring of 1974, I took a WPSX-TV camera crew to Upper Darby to get footage for "Cappy" a show we were putting together. We did some filming with John's mother and father and Joey, too. The hospitality of John and Mary Cappelletti is beyond description. They wouldn't let us out of the house without feeding us and when Mary Cappelletti feeds you, consider yourself fed! Great people. Great family. Great friends. That's the last time I saw Joey... To this day, I count my blessings. OK. That fullback I failed to mention? Bob Nagle.
Football Fridays with Fran- Syracuse
It's Orange Crush time. 1990 was the last time the Nittany Lions had an opportunity to do that. This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com. Let's examine three trips to play in creaky, squeaky, ancient, crumbling Archbold Stadium. It seemed like B.C. and it was...before Carrier Dome. In 1969 Penn State went to Syracuse with a 23-game non-losing streak. Three great Greg Allen punt returns put Syracuse up by 13 into the fourth quarter. The Nittany Lions finally scored and the Franco Harris run for the two-point conversion put Penn State within six, then scored again with Franco rambling in for six and the Mike Reitz extra point kept the streak alive. In 1973, coach Joe Paterno took five...count `em...5 tailbacks to Syracuse. John Cappelletti was hurt and really not able to play, and Joe, as is his want kept it classified. Cappy made the trip, was the decoy of the first offensive play and was ready to take a bath. It goes Walt Addie, banged up by able to play, but not for long. He was really banged up in the second quarter. Welcome Woody Petchel! Woody's thing was returning punts, and that did him in when he was cold-cocked and ruined a knee. Now you know I'm not gonna have to tell you who the other two tailbacks were, at least not yet. Now, let's go back to 1975. On the day before the game, Sue Paterno was on her way to Syracuse with the other coaches' wives. The van had to be flagged down by State Police on Route 80 to apprise Sue of the serious trampoline accident her son, David, had suffered. Joe never left State College. He was with Sue at David's bedside. It was a few scary weeks. Dick Anderson ran the football shot. Oh, it was a win for the Nittany Lions, but an incidental one. The prayers of the Nittany Nation were for a victory for David Paterno and he won. David recovered and is now a successful businessman. And no...do you remember Rusty Boyle and Crabtree Pennsylvania's Duane Taylor?
Football Fridays with Fran- Temple
This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com. Occasionally, someone will ask me if I miss doing the Penn State football radio broadcasts. I really don't, especially since it is now in great hands with Steve Jones and Jack Ham. I will admit though I do miss the togetherness of the broadcast crew, especially on road trips. While I traveled on the team plane, director/talent Roger Corey, executive producer Jeff Tarman and my dear friend and working partner George Paterno traveled commercial and arrived earlier than I did. There were always Penn Staters greeting the team at the game hotel . . . I was usually mistaken for a linebacker . . . while my three buddies were waiting for me in the lobby or lounge (sounds better than bar). We had two decisions to make: When do we eat? When do we record the Pre-Game Show with Joe. The first was easy.. . Like soon. The second? Well, Joe didn't have that high on his priority list. When the game was televised, the network talent usually met with Joe Friday night to talk about the game and the team, so we would hang around and listen to that conversation then grab Joe before he could escape. One time the Network guys were late and Joe said, "What are we waiting for?" So on went the recorder and the Joe, George and Fran Show was off and running. Immediately the Network talent showed up. When we were finished I apologized to Keith Jackson for holding them up. Now Keith is one of the most talented and classiest guys ever to grace a microphone and assured us there was no problem. The other guy . . . uh . . . he was little miffed having to wait and listen to a couple locals with no make-up do the radio thing. Who was the other guy? I'm out of time.
Football Fridays with Fran- Illinois
Somebody asked me the other day, "Why do you go back so far with this nostalgia business?" I said, "It's because I go back so far!" This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com and this time it's 1954 and Penn State with Lenny Moore and Rosey Grier and company and Illinois with Abe Woodnson and J.C. Caroline. It's the first time the two teams ever met and the Nittany Lions pulled a huge upset with a 14-12 win. The part of the story I like best occurred on the train trip to Indianapolis and sleepy-eyed Rosey Grier shouted, "Where are we?" When the response came, "Indianapolis," Rosey replied, "Let's get off and scrimmage Navy!" Many more points, like 66, were scored the first time Penn State traveled to Champaign for the Big Ten conference game 40 years later in 1994. Illinois jumped out to a 21-0 lead and the Nittany Lions kept playing catch-up but were still behind 31-28 with possession on their own 4-yard line with 6:07 to play and 96 yards to travel to the Illinois end zone.
(Radio of last drive for the go-ahead score)
Penn State 35, Illinois 31, but the Illini had one more possession with 57 seconds left. Time for some defense...
(Radio of Kim Herring's interception)
Oh, yes, folks... How sweet it was!
Football Fridays with Fran- Purdue
This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com. I'm going back to pre-season blogs and media reports bout a quarterback "controversy." I've never understood what is "controversial" about having two, Clark and Devlin...oops...three don't forget Cianciolo adequate candidates for that position. Well, back in 1980 the same situation existed with Joe having to select from Jeff Hostetler and Todd Blackledge...Oops...three don't forget Frank Rocco adequate quarterback hopefuls. No blogs, but plenty of discussion around Nittany Nation with all three getting support from the... uh... experts. At that time I recorded the Joe Paterno pre-game radio show on Wednesday afternoons catching Joe after her finished his weekly sermon to the faithful at the State College Quarterback Club luncheon. On the show prior to the opener with Texas A&M, my very first question was: "What is your decision on the starting quarterback?" Joe said, "Shut that machine off. I've made a decision, but I haven't told the squad yet." After taking an oath of secrecy and reminding Joe that no one would know until the program aired a half hour before kick-off, we started over and he told me, "It will be Todd Blackledge." Great. Good to go... except... at a press get-together the Friday night before the opener, I overheard Joe while holding court with the local beat writers telling them that he had decided on Hostetler. Uh-oh. Joe and I left the function together and I reminded him he had said the starter would be Blackledge on the pre-game show we recorded on Wednesday. He thought it was no big deal but I finally convinced him to give me a minute to fire up my tape recorder then re-ask the question and he could change his answer. We did it in the front seat of my car... that's where the recorder was. Job accomplished, I hustled down to WMAJ Radio where a super production guy by the name of Croy Pitzer saved the day. A lot of guys saved the day for ole' Fran over the years. On another note... Isn't our team fun to watch. Let's down the shot and a beer guys!
Football Fridays with Fran- Wisconsin
This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com. Nostalgia time. In the spring of 1967, after having finished my first season on the Penn State Football Radio Network, I was with Coach Paterno at an Alumni function in Greensburg, Pa. During dinner, while chomping on his salad... Italian dressing, of course... Joe asked me f I was familiar with the television program TV Quarterbacks aired on Penn State's Educational station, WPSX-TV. Yes, I said, I'm familiar with the show. He told me the assistant coaches were responsible for narrating the games films... films of the preceding Saturday game... and they really didn't want that responsibility and would I be interested in doing that each week. I said I would be glad to help thinking to myself, "Wow! Now people can hear AND see me!" Gotta get me a bunch of blue dress shirts not realizing at the time that I have a face for radio. Now I was moonlighting the Penn State radio thing. My full time gig was as manager of radio station WKVA in Lewistown. On the Monday morning following the Greensburg event, I got a phone call from Marlowe Froke, Director of Broadcasting at Penn State. Long story short, I was hired at 50 bucks a pop. Here's how it worked: The show was live in living black and white at 7:00 every Wednesday night. The films were the coaches' films, meaning 22 players in the frame all the time each seemingly an inch and a quarter tall. The film narration was not prerecorded. I narrated the film live off a 27-inch monitor in the studio. Viewers told me how impressed they were with my ability to call the right names and follow the play when they couldn't see the numbers and had difficulty following the ball. What they didn't know and what I didn't tell them was that I had play-by-play sheets in front of me. I actually read the narration. The sheets would say first and 10 at the PSU 20; Cappelletti for six over right tackle; second and four at the 26 and so on through the whole game. Oh, about those blue shirts... In early black and white TV days, talent wore blue shirts and they looked like white shirts to the viewers. Don't ask me- I'm technically dis-advantaged . I'll have more TV Quarterbacks tales as we move along. Ask your grandfather about the show. Should I be nervous about tomorrow's game?
Football Fridays with Fran- Michigan
So, along comes Mr. Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines. What a win over the Nittany Lions would mean to that bunch. Absolutely can not let that happen for more reasons than one. This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com. The Michigan program is a storied one alright. Joe Paterno takes a little credit for that by helping them make a coaching decision in 1968. It seems that Michigan contacted Joe about the possibility of succeeding their retiring coach Bump Elliot. Thanks but no thanks so instead of Joe, they went to Bo... Glen Edward Schembechler... who took the program to the heights. By the way, Rapid Rich is only 193 wins away from Bo's record. But enough Michigan talk except to say that Mr. Bo may have started the "We don't like `em'" (I won't use the word hate) attitude most Penn Staters have about the Wolverines. Bo left it be known what a mistake he thought it was to ask Penn State to join the elite Big Ten group. The situation was compounded when the Wolverines visited Beaver Stadium in 1993. On their first offensive series at the South end of the field, quarterback Todd Collins couldn't snap the ball because Kirk Herbstreit's favorite student section was doing its noise thing. Coach Gary Moeller had his quarterback do the I can't hear mime as he was trying to call the play at the line of scrimmage. Officials first "shut them up" warning, still noise, second warning more noise, third time... Penn State penalized five yards and charged with a time-out. The rule was changed some years ago. Noise they must live with. Get the massage? Let's go at `em students. Let `em suffer! You know what else? Early on Michigan players and fans didn't, and perhaps some still don't, refer to the Nittany Lions as Penn State... only as the 11th team. Should we take it out on Poor Richard and his current team? Yes, by having a Wolverineburger feast!
Football Fridays with Fran- Iowa
Well here we are 9 and 0 just like everybody predicted! Yeah, sure. This is Fran Fisher for GoPSUsports.com with another anecdotal adventure! And off we go to Iowa City. It's stranger I best remember non-football things about Iowa trips I've made with the football team. In 1974 I do remember Greg Murphy, Mike Hartenstein & Company shutting out the Hawkeyes 27-zip, but what I remember most is elderly gentleman sitting in the lobby of the Holiday Inn when I checked in... no I couldn't say I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night on Saturday's broadcast. It was just a plain old Holiday Inn. Anyway the gentleman asked me if coach Paterno had arrived and I said he had. "I'd sure like to meet him," he said. "I'm Nile Kinnick's father." Nile Kinnick... name ring a bell? Iowa's 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Ensign Nile Kinnick, carrier pilot killed in a routine training flight in 1942 and yes the man for who the stadium was named. What a pleasure to meet his father and yes, Joe came down to the lobby to say hello. On the first trip in 1971 I was asked, like in drafted, to speak to an Iowa Alumni group Friday night. A guy in a gold and black van with Hawkeyes painted all over it met me at the airport in Iowa City... we landed about 6:30 ... I jumped in and asked him how far to the Iowa City alumni function. "Oh," he said," We're going to Cedar Rapids!" It was a nice cozy friendly 50-mile jaunt. During out conversation... I did a lot of listening, which is hard for me... he said all Hawkeye fans sure hope Penn State does well in the Ivy League... Oh yes that mistaken identity with the University of Pennsylvania happened a lot in the early in the Paterno years. I straightened him out and we finally arrived. At the meeting, I did the coach-speak thing... not sure Penn State was ready for a big, strong Big Ten team. We were small but slow! Not certain our running game could get going against the powerful Hawkeye defense. Of course, next day Lydell Mitchell and Franco Harris burned them with over 350 yards in the Nittany Lions' 44-14 win. Ok. Meeting over and Henry Hawkeye drove me all the way back to Iowa City. I asked him where he lived... "Cedar Rapids," he said. "Nice to meet you. Hope none of your guys get hurt tomorrow and... good luck in the Ivy League!"