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 Monday, Oct. 17. Let’s get started.
McQueary’s whistleblower lawsuit proceeds
Opening arguments will be heard Monday in Bellefonte, Pa., in the whistleblower lawsuit brought against Penn State by former Nittany Lions assistant coach Mike McQueary.
McQueary, who also played quarterback at PSU, contends that the school maligned his credibility and forced him from his $104,000-a-year coaching job after he accused three Penn State administrators of failing to tell police what he first told them in 2001, that he saw former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually assault a boy in a campus locker room shower.
Or, as Philly.com’s Jeremy Roebuck reported, McQueary’s attorney, Elliott Strokoff said McQueary’s association with the Sandusky scandal:
“… irreparably harmed (his) reputation for honesty and integrity and . . . (his) ability to earn a living, in his chosen profession of coaching football.”
Roebuck further quotes court filings saying that McQueary has been unable to find a new coaching job since the university let him go in 2012. His wife has left him and the now 42-year-old has been forced to move back in with his parents in his childhood home in State College.
According to Roebuck, the school’s lawyers have balked at McQueary’s demand for $4 million in damages, his estimate for earnings he might have earned, had he remained in his profession.
Their counter-argument is that Bill O’Brien, who succeeded the late Joe Paterno as head coach, chose not to retain McQueary and most of the staff for reasons having nothing to do with the Sandusky mess.
Roebuck quotes the filing as follows:
“It is common practice for incoming head coaches to select their own coaching staff.”
Sickels’ inspiration is his fallen high school pal
Penn State defensive end Garrett Sickels, the team leader with 2.5 sacks this season, continues to draw inspiration from his late high school friend Albert Martin, who died in December 2012 from an enlarged heart.
As Sickels told Rich Scarcella of the Reading Eagle/Times:
“I know someone’s watching over me every Saturday. It’s a pretty good feeling.”
Scarcella writes that Sickels and Martin were friends from the time they played flag football as 6-year-olds. While Sickels said that they drifted apart “a tiny bit” when he specialized in football and Martin gravitated toward basketball at Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver, N.J., they remained on good terms. And Sickels was among those who raced to the hospital after Martin collapsed in a basketball scrimmage four years ago.
Sickels was a pallbearer at the funeral, and also delivered the eulogy:
“We have to make Albert proud. When you get tired, you have to remember that Albert would do anything to keep playing basketball. We have to push ourselves to make him proud.”
Sickels has tried. He dedicated his first collegiate sack, against Massachusetts in 2014, to his fallen friend. And he has continued to play for Martin ever since. As defensive line coach Sean Spencer recently said of Sickels:
“He plays like a man on fire. He leads by example, and he’s becoming a vocal leader. It’s not easy because sometimes you have to say things that people don’t like. He’s willing to do that. I think that’s taken his game to the next level. The guy is going to put heat on the (offensive) tackle over and over again.”
Kicker’s story is perfectly remarkable
Redshirt junior kicker Tyler Davis has made his first 18 career field goal attempts, a Penn State record for consecutive makes. Even more remarkably, Davis didn’t begin kicking a football until the summer of 2014, having played soccer most of his life before that. His first game was last Oct. 3 against Army.
Also, there is this: Davis survived a one-car accident in 2011, when he was a high school sophomore growing up in St. Charles, Ill. The accident left him with a concussion, a broken jaw and 50-some stitches in the left side of his face, not to mention an altered perspective.
“I guess it’s just, cherish everything you have,” Davis said. “I guess it’s just cherishing what I have, and being really appreciative of it.”
Davis went 8-for-8 on field goals in ’15, and is 10-for-10 this season, but Eric Willson, his high school soccer coach, is not the least bit surprised.
“I think one thing that was evident when he made this transition, he didn’t want to just go and be a field goal kicker,” Willson said. “He wanted to be great at what he does. He wanted to be the man.”
He will, of course, miss at some point. Everybody does.
“I’ve never really thought about that,” Davis said. “I’ve missed in practice, obviously, and I just come back and don’t worry about it too much, just make the next kick.”
Julius talks about his eating disorder
The Lions’ kickoff specialist, Joey Julius, sat down for an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that aired last Friday in which he discussed the binge-eating disorder that led him to seek treatment beginning last spring.
“If I would have continued down this path,” Julius told Paula Faris, “I might not be here right now.”
The link to the interview can be found here.
Also in Land of 10
- Purdue players tweeted their thanks to Darrell Hazell, who was fired as head coach on Sunday.
- Dallas Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott gashed the Green Bay defense, which began play No. 1 in the NFL against the run, for 157 yards Sunday.
- Elliott also made headlines for sponsoring $21 pet adoptions Monday in Dallas.
- Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said redshirt freshman quarterback Brian Lewerke will play this Saturday against Maryland, but did not say who will start at that position.