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 Friday, Oct. 28. Let’s get started.
Pry, defense holding it together
Derek Levarse of the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader notes that Brent Pry, Penn State’s first-year defensive coordinator, has had a fully healthy linebacker corps for exactly two plays this season. Middle linebacker Jason Cabinda broke his left thumb on the second snap of the opener against Kent State, and although he finished that game, missed the five that followed.
That began an endless stream of injuries to the linebacker corps. Nyeem Wartman-White, another opening-week starter, was lost for the season, and possible his career, with his second ACL tear in as many seasons, and Brandon Bell sat out four games with an undisclosed leg injury.
In all, seven linebackers have been injured at one time or another. There were also injuries to defensive backs Grant Haley, Amani Oruwariye, Christian Campbell and Malik Golden. As a result, there were some tough times, notably when the Lions gave up more than 300 yards on the ground in losses to Pitt and Michigan. Still, Pry said during a conference call with reporters Thursday:
“To me, the expectations are the same. It doesn’t matter who’s out there. Now, you can say that or you can live that. We live that.”
Eventually guys began coming back – notably Cabinda and Bell, who keyed the Lions’ defense in last week’s upset of Ohio State.
More from Pry:
“The adversity we faced and the way the kids handled it became a positive. It had a chance to slip sideways. There were tough losses where we didn’t play well and had to get new guys playing. Guys set their jaw and persevered. They worked hard. And ultimately it gave us a chance to get better each week.”
It is possible that Wartman-White could petition the NCAA for a sixth season, but Pry does not expect that to happen:
“You never say never, and I don’t know the answer totally, but I’d say it’s doubtful. Ny’s looking to the future. … He’s a got bright future whether it’s in football or coaching or something outside of athletics. He’s an outstanding young man, and we’re gonna be with him every step of the way.”
Franklin: Barbour’s support crucial
Penn State coach James Franklin told Jon Solomon of CBSsports.com that while votes of confidence given to coaches normally have little meaning, he believed that those he was given earlier this season by his AD, Sandy Barbour, were “powerful”:
“The only reason we did it was not anything that made us feel better internally, but it was to stop whatever media reports were stating these things (about his job security). I don’t think last Saturday night happens without that. Here’s what happens: Your players are reading that, everybody is reading those things. It took a distraction away, and it kept people focused on what’s going on.”
The phraseology is rather interesting: “The only reason we did it …” We? What does that mean? Doesn’t really say in Solomon’s report.
Here’s Barbour’s take about her support of the head coach:
“Certainly some of the negative recruiting going on, either around James’ status or around our status with the NCAA or Big Ten (related to recruiting rumors associated with the Sandusky scandal), is a bunch of bunk.”
Mulling expanded coaching staffs
The NCAA Football Oversight Committee recently proposed that football teams be allowed to expand their coaching staffs from nine to 10, and Franklin said during his regular weekly radio appearance Thursday that if that becomes reality, he would likely add a full-time special-teams coordinator, according to Greg Pickel of Pennlive.com.
Franklin did add a caveat, however:
“The other thing you always do, you just go best available. So, my model is special teams coordinator, but coach X is available and wants to come, and he’s just so valuable, that you go with that guy as well.”
Franklin also said that the team’s practices on Tuesday and Wednesday were the best the Lions have had on consecutive days this season, but the coaches elected to scale back on Thursday, two days before a visit to Purdue:
“Thursday, we (usually) don’t practice very long, but we practice full speed. Some of the sport science people feel like you need to go full speed, and if not, you’re not going to go full speed close enough to the game. (Thursday), we cut it back, because the practices were really good, but also because we didn’t get back (after the game last Saturday) until 2 o’ clock in the morning. We went inside, and I thought we got a lot out of it, even though we cut back the banging.”
One last view of some PSU Vines
With the streaming app Vine about to go the way of the Edsel, Roarlionsroar.com compiled a list of 13 of the more popular Penn State-related Vines. That means special guest appearances by Christian Hackenberg, Allen Robinson and even Bill O’Brien:
— Roar Lions Roar (@RLRblog) October 27, 2016
Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary awarded $7.3 million in a defamation suit.
Former Ohio State basketball star Greg Oden, now a student coach at the school, discusses his life after the NBA.
Nebraska tight end Cethan Carter will not play against Wisconsin.