Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The All-JoePa Team at Penn State

One blog's opinion, with assistance from Lou Prato's Penn State Football Encyclopedia and longtime PSU season-ticket holder Bob Tintner

The All-JoePa Team (Penn State - 1966-2011)


QB - Todd Blackledge ('82)

RB-   Curt Warner ('82), Blair Thomas ('89), Ki-Jana Carter ('94) 

FB -  Franco Harris ('71)
OL - Sean Farrell ('81), Steve Wisniewski ('88), Keith Dorney ('78), Levi Brown ('06), Jeff Hartings ('95), Mike Munchak ('81)

TE - Ted Kwalick ('68) 
WR - Bobby Engram ('94), O.J. McDuffie ('92)

DT - Mike Reid ('69), Bruce Clark ('79)

DE - Courtney Brown ('99), Tamba Hali ('05) 

LB - Paul Posluszny ('06), Jack Ham ('70), LaVar Arrington ('99), Shane Conlan ('86)
S - Mark Robinson ('83), Neal Smith ('69)

CB - Alan Zemaitis ('05), Brian Miller ('95)

P- Ralph Giacomarro ('82) 

K- Matt Bahr ('78)
KR/PR - O.J. McDuffie ('92)


QB - Kerry Collins ('94)
RB - John Cappelletti ('73), Larry Johnson ('02), Lydell Mitchell ('71)
FB - Steve Smith ('86)
OL - Tom Rafferty ('75), Charlie Getty ('73), Kareem McKenzie ('00), Bill Lenkaitis ('67), Irv Pankey ('79)
TE - Kyle Brady ('94)
WR - Kenny Jackson ('83), Bryant Johnson ('02)

DT - Jared Odrick ('09), Devon Still ('11), Matt Millen ('79)
DE - Mike Hartenstine ('74), Michael Haynes ('02)
LB - Greg Buttle ('75)Dennis Onkotz ('69), Sean Lee ('09), Brandon Short ('99)
S - Ray Isom ('86), Mike Zordich ('85)
CB - Paul Lankford ('81), Derek Bochna ('93)

P - Bob Parsons ('71)

K - Massimo Manca ('86)
KR/PR - Derrick Williams ('08)

QB - Chuck Fusina, Darryl Clark, Tony Sacca, John Hufnagel, John Shaffer, Michael Robinson, Tom Shuman, Zack Mills, Wally Richardson, Rashard Casey, Anthony Morelli, Tom Bill, Doug Strang, Kevin Thompson, Matt Knizner

RB - Curtis Enis, Charlie Pittman, Evan Royster,  Richie Anderson, D.J. Dozier, Tony Hunt, Bob Campbell, Booker Moore, Gary Brown, Mike Archie, Mike Guman, Stephen Pitts, Steve Geise, Silas Redd, Rodney Kinlaw, Eric McCoo, Leroy Thompson

FB - Matt Suhey, Tim Manoa, Sam Gash, Jon Williams, Jon Witman, Brian Milne, Tom Donchez, Sean McHugh, Brian O'Neal, Aaron Harris, Joel Coles, Joe Suhey, John Greene, BranDon Snow, Don Abbey

OL - Stefen Wisniewski, Andre Johnson, Dave Joyner, John Nessel, Mark Markovich, Marco Rivera, Bill Dugan, Ron Heller, Dave Bradley, Jim Romano, Stan Clayton, Dave Szott, Warren Koegel, Brad Benson, George Reihner, Rich Buzin, Chris Conlin, Roger Duffy, Tyler Reed, Todd Rucci, Tom Jackson, Keith Conlin, Dennis Landolt, John Kulka, Dick Maginnis, Jack Baiorunas, Derick Pickett, Phil Ostrowski, Gus Felder, A.Q. Shipley, Pete Spiros, Rich Ohrnberger, Chuck Correal, Paul Siever, Jeff Bleamer, John Gerak, Bill Contz, Mike Malinoski

TE - Mickey Shuler Sr., Dan Natale, Troy Drayton, Andrew Quarless, Tony Stewart, Mike McCloskey, John Gilmore, Vyto Kab, Cuncho Brown, Al Golden

WR - Derek Moye, Deon Butler, Derrick Williams, Joe Jurevicius, Jack Curry, Jimmy Cefalo, Scott Fitzkee, Tony Johnson, David Daniels, Terry Smith, Jordan Norwood, Freddie Scott, Michael Timpson, Chafie Fields, Kevin Baugh, Gregg Garrity, Gary Hayman, Ray Roundtree, Greg Edmonds, Eddie Drummond
DT - Randy Crowder, Steve Smear, Tim Johnson, Lou Benfatti, Jimmy Kennedy, Anthony Adams, Randy Sidler, Pete Kugler, Jay Alford, Pete Curkendall, Jim Heller, Leo Wisniewski, Brad Scioli, Brandon Noble, Mike McBath, Mike Russo, Jordan Hill, Ollie Ogbu, Dave Rowe, Scott Paxson, Chris Mazyck, Eric Clair, Vin Stewart, Ron Coder
DE - Walker Lee Ashley, Bruce Bannon, Larry Kubin, Aaron MaybinBob White, Tyoka Jackson, John Ebersole, Greg Murphy, Jack Crawford, Terry Killens, Justin Kurpeikis, Rich McKenzie, Ron Crosby, Todd Atkins, Frank Spaziani
LB - Ed O'NeilLance Mehl, NaVorro Bowman, Scott Radecic, Andre Collins, Dan Connor, Mark D'Onofrio, Brian Gelzheiser, Kurt Allerman, Rogers Alexander, John Skorupan, Jim Laslavic, Gary Gray, Trey Bauer, Pete Giftopoulos, Doug Allen, Michael Mauti, Charlie Zapiec, Don Graham, Keith Goganious, Gerald Hodges, Rich Milot, Chet Parlavecchio, Aaron Collins, Eric Ravotti, Reggie Givens, Carmen Masciantonio, Derek (Cameron) Wake, Tim Shaw, Josh Hull, Willie Smith, Shamar Finney, Gerald Filardi
SDarren Perry, Kim Herring, Harry Hamilton, Tim Montgomery, Calvin Lowry, James Boyd, Pete Harris, Lee Rubin, Brian ChizmarShawn Mayer, Derek Fox, Anthony Scirrotto, Shawn Lee, Donnie Johnson, Chris Harrell, Sherrod Rainge, Askari Adams, Brian King
CB - Eddie Johnson, Bryan Scott, David Macklin, Duffy Cobbs, Paul Johnson, Mike Smith, Shelly Hammonds, Bhawoh Jue, Justin King, D'Anton Lynn, Leonard Humphries, Lydell Sargeant, Lance Hamilton, George Landis, Mark Tate, Anwar Phillips, Buddy Ellis, Tony Pittman, Marlon Forbes
P - John Bruno, Jeremy Boone, Jeremy Kapinos, George Reynolds, Pat Pidgeon, Doug Helkowski, David Royer
K- Brett Conway, Travis Forney, Chris Bahr, Nick Gancitano, Kevin Kelly, Herb Menhardt, Craig Fayak, Robbie Gould, Collin Wagner, Ray Tarasi
KR/PR - Kevin Baugh, Bobby Engram, Gary Hayman, Bruce Branch, Dennis Onkotz, Michael Timpson, Larry Johnson, Curt Warner, Shelly Hammonds, Blair Thomas, Chaz Powell, Mike Smith, Mike Archie, Gary Brown, Rich Mauti, Jimmy Cefalo, Matt Suhey

The evaluation criteria for the All-JoePa team is a combination of:
  • on-field performance 
  • length/impact of playing career (starts, games played)
  • statistical production
  • honors/awards
  • team success/special moments
  • miscellaneous (era played, injuries/adversity overcome, etc.)

Some positional designations obviously are up for debate since many players had success at multiple positions (sometimes simultaneously) such as Charlie Zapiec, Gary Brown, Derek Bochna, Bob Parsons and Scott Fitzkee. Each player was evaluated for his total performance, though only listed at one position. For example, Bochna's performance at safety was factored into his overall evaluation, though he only is listed at cornerback. The only position that counts separately is kick/punt returner, and the only time a player could be listed at two positions is if one of the positions is KR/PR.

Professional football success (pro draft/pro career) counted a little bit only when other factors were deemed equal.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Joe Paterno, until the end

In his dying days, Joe Paterno upheld his dignity, integrity and values even after so many had failed him so spectacularly

Perhaps JoePa knew, or feared, the end of his life was coming soon when he agreed to meet with Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post two weeks ago in what would be his final public words (unless something comes forth posthumously, such as taped conversations, etc.)

Paterno spoke to Jenkins about the Sandusky scandal. He reiterated what has held up firmly since the scandal broke:

  • He had no knowledge of the 1998 investigation into Jerry Sandusky
  • In March, 2002 he reported to two high-ranking PSU administrators what Mike McQueary told him he saw Sandusky doing with a boy in the showers of the football facility.

What was left to ask, and what almost everyone - both the rational and the irrational - has wondered since is, what happened in the aftermath? What happened in the weeks and months and years after March, 2002? Why didn't Paterno do more? If he believed McQueary saw "fonding" or something of a "sexual nature," as McQueary told him, then surely he pursued it further, right?

Previously, a few days after the scandal broke, Paterno said: "With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more.'' To Jenkins, Paterno said "he was hesitant to make follow-up calls because he didn't want to be seen as trying to exert influence either for or against Sandusky. 'I didn't know which way to go ... And rather than get in there and make a mistake.'''

That sounds plausible and reasonable - he wielded a lot of influence, and didn't want to interfere. But there has to be more. It was disappointing Jenkins didn't follow-up, or Paterno didn't elaborate.

It turns out there was more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Joe Paterno Forever: 1926-2012

The Penn State football coach's legacy and impact will live on as vibrantly as any, ever. 

It has been suggested there is a great scorekeeper in the sky.

Your deeds are tallied, pro and con, throughout your life, and at the end of the day, when your time on earth is done, you stand before the great scorekeeper and that's how you're ultimately judged.

If that's the case, if they're really keeping score, then maybe they have a Hall of Fame up there, too.

In which case they just added a new inductee. First ballot.

Who's had a more direct, positive and profound influence on more people than Joe Paterno? Exceptionally few.

The Sandusky scandal? There is one overriding thought in that whole horrific deal, with regard to Paterno: Whatever he did or didn't do, from the vantage point he occupied, with the information he had, surely he did what he thought was best and right.

Why is that the overriding thought? Because that's how Paterno handled everything else he ever did, no matter what, in any situation, as has been documented tens of thousands of times, for decades. For ... ever.

Which is why the notion that he suddenly completely compromised everything he ever stood for seems so absurd. And why those who have so enthusiastically embraced that premise - that JoePa knowingly allowed such horrible things to happen, that he grossly shirked his responsibility - simply can't be right and must be wrong. Joe Paterno's life - the most profound of ordinary lives, as he wasn't a research physician or world leader, but a coach - is the irrefutable proof otherwise.

Paterno always either did the right thing, or did what certainly could have been deemed the right thing when he did it, or was appropriate within his value system, a value system that never wavered and was most highly respected, by all, for decades.

Until November, his integrity was unimpeachable. Straight shooter, didn't lie, walked the walk, preached the right things - education, virtue, honesty. Over and over, endlessly. Year after year, decade after decade. He was at Penn State for 62 years.

Academics and generosity were Paterno buzzwords every bit as much as anything associated with football. Just this season, Penn State football was honored, again, as the No. 1 program for academics and graduation rates. And after he was fired, in December, the Paternos, Joe and Sue, made their annual $100,000 donation to Penn State, adding to their tally of more than $4 million.

An endless line of former players and associates attest to these virtues, and a string of biographers of JoePa's life have said so. Since, forever.

His football program was not an open book - Paterno surely didn't believe in constant full access for the media - but he lived a life simply and transparently wonderful. He walked home from work, he had one wife and lots of kids and lots more grandkids, was a good neighbor, his door was always open to former players and friends. On and on.

He surely made mistakes, too. He could sometimes seem pompous or irascible (though he more frequently seemed humble and understanding). He could be very hard on some players, supplying extra doses of "tough love." He could be very stubborn. Not all of his former players revere him, for sure, though the extraordinary outpouring of love and reverence today might make it seem like they do.

But he always was considered among those with the highest integrity. And it was earned - earned as much as anyone has ever earned anything.

Earned through his impact, his positive influence, primarily on his football players, the thousands of them, but also on many, many others.

One former Penn State player from the 1990s, Brandon Noble, was asked today what lessons learned from Paterno does he now apply in his life.

"All of them,'' he replied. "We don't have enough time to talk about it.''

JoePa Forever.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bill O'Brien makes his most important moves at Penn State

Bill O'Brien has assembled his crucial first coaching staff; will it be able to work cohesively and chart a successful new course for Penn State?

As a 42-year-old, first-time head coach, Bill O'Brien's inaugural coaching staff at Penn State is especially critical.

It's vital, it's essential and it's every other word meaning really, really freakin' important.

His coaches will spread his vision and represent Penn State football. They will help direct O'Brien as he negotiates his way into this most daunting job, his maiden head coaching voyage. They will establish the culture. They will recruit the next generation of players. They will work on game plans. They will tirelessly watch and evaluate game tape, and evaluate practice tape, and evaluate recruiting tape. They will push and prod, and motivate and inspire, the players and the team. And they must all work cohesively together.

Did we mention they will recruit the players who will win games ... or lose them? The players who will represent the university well and graduate .. or not?

O'Brien and his staff now are Penn State football, in what is essentially the first major overhaul of the Penn State coaching staff in ... forever.

The coaching staff is the foundation on which O'Brien will build his program, and there will be no time to rebuild the staff later. Tweak, yes. Rebuild, no.

Basically, O'Brien is living Eminem's Lose Yourself:
Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity 
To seize everything you ever wanted 
One moment 
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

O'Brien still only is moonlighting as the PSU coach, as he's finishing the NFL season as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator. He's been on the job for less than two weeks. He's functioning within the white-hot crucible of January college football recruiting.

Against that backdrop, O'Brien did perhaps the most important thing he will do at Penn State: He pulled together his coaching staff.

How did he do?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The truth, and the real issue, about Joe Paterno now

Joe Paterno finally speaks, inflaming the Sandusky scandal again (at least for a day or two), yet most people still can't properly assess what Paterno did, and we're no closer to answering the biggest unknowns about what Paterno didn't do

So, Joe Paterno met with a reporter from the Washington Post last week (Sally Jenkins) and basically told the same story he told the grand jury about the infamous March 2002 Sandusky/boy/shower/fondling/sexual in nature/Mike McQueary-witnessed incident, only with some more details and while suffering through cancer treatments.

(Washington Post story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/joe-paternos-first-interview-since-the-penn-state-sandusky-scandal/2012/01/13/gIQA08e4yP_story.html)

And instantly it was like November all over again, only on a slightly smaller scale, as Sandusky/Paterno fatigue has begun to set in a little bit. (Then again, everything for the remainder of human history will be on a smaller scale compared to PSU in November 2011.) Mayhem took hold for a little while on the internet and in the media:
  • The media cropped the least flattering snippets of Paterno's Washington Post commentary and made it into headlines: "Paterno says, 'I didn't know exactly how to handle it'" or "Paterno says, 'I didn't know which way to go'" or "Paterno says, 'I felt inadequate'" ... as long as it makes Paterno look bad and grabs attention, it's headline material, apparently.
  • Other media contorted Paterno's words to make him sound grossly ignorant, or disingenuous, or a manipulative liar, such as one ESPN reporter asking if Paterno really could have believed there was no such thing as child sexual abuse, which is of course not what Paterno said or implied. This reporter of course isn't the first at ESPN to distort Paterno's words and meaning to try to make JoePa look like the Fuzzy Zoeller of child abuse enablers (see Rome, Jim)
(To those who think respected national media outlets wouldn't be so egregiously misleading, check out this headline from CNN after Jay Paterno announced last week he would not be joining new PSU head coach Bill O'Brien's staff: "Paterno's son quitting Penn State amid scandal." Um, what? O'Brien allows JayPa to announce his departure as a mutual decision, and CNN slaps him with a "quitting amid scandal" headline. Pathetic.)
  • Internet commentators, bloggers, etc. shredded Paterno for his alleged moral failure, continuing their refrains from November.
  • Meanwhile, those who have supported Paterno continue to support him, citing his strong desire to speak on the matter as an indication of his relatively clean conscience, and his story consistency an indication of his honesty.
Paterno finally has spoken, but little has changed, right?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bill O'Brien is not Rich Rodriguez. Or Charlie Weis. Or ...

And Penn State is not Michigan. And Jerry Sandusky did not abuse children in Ann Arbor. And Bill O'Brien is not Josh McDaniels ... there are many fundamental reasons why Bill O'Brien's situation at PSU cannot be compared to any other, but that's not stopping prominent columnists from doing it and continuing to pile on Penn State

This may be a no-duh observation, but some notable journalists are struggling with the distinction:

Bill O'Brien isn't Rich Rodriguez. And Penn State in 2012 isn't Michigan in 2008. Different coaches, different styles, different backgrounds, different schools, different situations, etc., right?

Bill O'Brien also is not Josh McDaniels. Nor is he Charlie Weis. They are all different people.

No-duh, eh?

Well, respected national columnists nonetheless can't resist making dumb comments such as the following by ESPN's renowned Rick Reilly on Twitter:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bill O'Brien's adventure of a lifetime begins

Following a legend is always exceedingly difficult, but that's only part of O'Brien's challenge

What did he say? How did he sound? How did he look?

Did he emphasize academics? Did he show reverence for JoePa? How did he acknowledge the dissension surrounding his selection? Did he mention that eight-letter word that begins with S?

Did he seem ... like the man for the job? (a.k.a. the "Job of the Century")

Perhaps no new coach in college football history has had his press conference scrutinized quite like Bill O'Brien did today.

How did he do?

LaVar, Brandon Short are much too smart to be this stupid

The former PSU greats have decided if they can't get their way, then they'll try to ruin it for everybody else

LaVar Arrington and Brandon Short are Nittany legends in every sense.

Superstars on the field at Penn State, defining Linebacker U. in the late 1990s, then starring in the NFL, and then distinguishing themselves in their post-football lives.

JoePa's "Success With Honor" personified.

Short lived the college sports fairy tale, overcoming an impoverished childhood to become a highly successful adult.

Arrington is one of the best raw athletes in human history, an awe-inspiring speed/strength/explosiveness combination also blessed with eloquence and perspective.

In November, Arrington added an extraordinary layer to his spectacular Penn State legacy with a passionate, goosebump-inducing monologue at the epic post-Sandusky Old Main candlelight vigil, uniting Penn State as much as anything since the scandal broke.

Now, however, Arrington and Short are harming Penn State as much as anything since the scandal broke.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The search committee works, and works, and works ... and Penn State waits

The longer this drags on, the worse things probably are for the Nittany Lions

It was the last week in November, nearly three weeks after Joe Paterno was fired, that the Penn State football search committee was formed.

We're now in the first week of the New Year. The season is over. Underclassmen need to declare by Jan. 15 if they are entering the draft. Signing Day for high school prospects is a month away. Assistant coaches' lives linger in limbo. Some players surely might be transferring rather than continue waiting to know who their coach will be.

Tick, tick, tick ...

Yes, of course, getting the right coach for Penn State is the No. 1 priority, and should not be rushed.

But should it take six weeks (or more), when virtually everyone else does it in three or less?

There are exceptional circumstances here, for sure. A guy named Sandusky, you might have heard. That should add a week, maybe two. Vetting is of the utmost importance.

Sandusky is everywhere for Penn Staters

Penn State fans have been deeply wounded by Sandusky - and then by having to talk about it with everyone, and having it hover over their lives in perpetuity

The bowl loss to Houston was sadly predictable, and the coaching search is looking more and more like a never-ending mess.

If you are a Penn Stater, and especially if you are an overt Penn State supporter, what Jerry Sandusky allegedly did to children has only been part of your suffering.

Dealing with your colleagues/friends/neighbors/associates, etc., has been a daily kick in the gut.

Whether at work, or over a beer with friends, or at holiday gatherings, you've come to dread those aggravating, awkward occasions when the Sandusky scandal is brought up. Heck, even when it's not brought up, it can be the elephant in the room.

Having to listen to someone discussing the scandal who is either misinformed, misguided, factually erroneous, gleefully condescending, Mr. (or Mrs.) Moral Courage, all-knowing, uncomfortable, misplacing sympathy, relieved/gloating, etc., has become your burden. Even listening to someone who knows what they're talking about can get weary.

What can you do in these situations? You can't go into detailed explanation of the facts, or launch a lively discussion, because no one wants to hear it from you, you woebegone Penn Stater - they all just assume you are presenting some crooked version of the facts, because you are biased and wounded and exposed, of course.

And heck, you probably should have stopped Sandusky, too, you enabler!