We hope you’ll start your day with us here at the Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know – Monday through Friday – around the world of Penn State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.
This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Wednesday, Nov. 9. Let’s get started.
Lions continue to turn heads
Feldman, long a respected observer of the college game, covered the familiar themes – how athletic director Sandy Barbour gave coach James Franklin a vote of confidence earlier this season, the team went on a five-game winning streak, a 10-2 finish is still on the table, etc.
Feldman also offered this assessment of the Lions from an anonymous Big Ten coach:
“They are aggressive on defense, opportunistic on offense and Saquon Barkley is a legitimate big-time running back, (and they’re) not afraid to run the QB (Trace McSorley) or take shots downfield when he needs to.”
Barkley, now officially being touted by the school for the Heisman Trophy, averaged 4.8 yards a carry and 79 yards a game during the team’s 2-2 start, according to Feldman’s calculations. Since then he’s averaging 7.3 a pop and 148 a game.
Also impressive, Feldman writes, is the fact that Barkley, who set a program record in the offseason with a 390-pound power clean, runs a team-best 4.38 40-yard dash and squats 600 pounds, averages 5.4 yards per carry in the first halves of games, 7.5 in the second.
Then there’s McSorley, who hasn’t turned the ball over in five games, has a 14-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has run for five scores.
As Franklin told Feldman:
“He kind of reminds me of (former South Carolina standout QB) Connor Shaw. He’s a winner. Gritty. A great decision-maker. He didn’t pass the eye-ball test because he was about 6-foot, 205, but he’s athletic, who can hurt you with his feet. Tough. Comes from a great family.”
PSU appeals McQueary verdict
Penn State on Monday appealed the $7.3 million civil verdict in the lawsuit brought against the school by former assistant coach Mike McQueary, claiming several legal errors that warrant either a reversal of the verdict, a new trial or, at minimum, a reduction in the damages.
McQueary, who testified in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case, contended that his career was set back because Penn State officials failed to act on his report of an incident of abuse on Sandusky’s part in February 2001.
Charles Thompson of Pennlive.com writes that one major point made in the appeal is that senior judge Thomas Gavin erred in letting the case go to trial while former athletic director Tim Curley, former senior vice president Gary Schultz and former university president Graham Spanier are facing child-endangerment charges based on the same set of facts.
PSU argues that with that case unresolved, Curley and Schultz were able to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and refused to testify at McQueary’s civil trial.
According to Thompson, the post-trial motions filed Monday stated that the absence of the two administrators left Penn State “at an absolute disadvantage” when it came to testing the truthfulness of McQueary’s own accounts about his meetings with the men.
Palmer’s unique path
Penn State offensive tackle Paris Palmer outlined his unique journey during a conference call with reporters Tuesday, a journey interrupted when he suffered a major knee injury after his final high school season in a small North Carolina town.
He wound up working for a time as a mixer in a peanut factory, and one of the occupational hazards was presented by dates (i.e., the fruit):
“I personally had never heard of dates until I worked there, but you’ve got to mix up the dates. Dates, actually, would hurt our hands, because we had to break them up individually. … They came as like a brick of dates, and you had to break it up. That was very annoying, because our gloves would get cut or whatever. You had to do that, and just a lot of stuff.”
Eventually Palmer, who turns 24 next month, made his way to Lackawanna College, a junior college in Scranton, Pa. He was redshirted for a year because of the knee injury, then committed to South Carolina before ever playing a JUCO down. He played a season, and Franklin later convinced him to flip. Palmer arrived in Happy Valley in January 2015.
He started 11 games last year, and played in 13, but was benched at the start of this season. Injuries allowed him to reclaim a job three and a half games ago, and he seems sturdier than before:
“I had to just keep working. I couldn’t get down about (not starting), couldn’t lose confidence, because at any moment’s notice in the game of football, you can be thrown in the game. … I just knew I had to steady the course and just keep working at my craft.”
Also in the Land of 10
- Penn State offensive tackle Brendan Mahon was admitted to the hospital and according to the school listed in “stable” condition with an unknown physical malady.
- Penn State basketball player Josh Reaves is expected to miss three games with a leg injury.
- A Nebraska preps official wonders why high schools cannot share time on BTN.