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, Nov. 18. Let’s get started.
The DeAndre Levy flap
Excellent work by Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune in reaction to the comments by Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy, the former Wisconsin star, in the new issue of Men’s Journal.
Levy told that publication that his “proudest moment in college” came in 2006, when in a game against Penn State his sideline tackle of Andrew Quarless sent the Nittany Lions’ tight end hurtling into coach Joe Paterno, breaking Paterno’s left leg.
Levy went on to call Paterno a “dirtbag,” a reference to the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, and added:
“We’ve gotta stop prioritizing sports over humanity. Just because somebody can throw a football or coach football, they’re excluded from their wicked acts.”
Collins writes that it is “classless” for Levy to say how proud he was that he broke the leg of a man nearly 80 years old (and accidentally, at that), and “ignorant,” given the flaws of the Freeh Report.
On the other hand, Collins writes:
Look, I don’t think Paterno is completely innocent here. He could have called the police after it was clear nothing was coming from the university of Mike McQueary’s report. He could have told Sandusky to keep out of the locker rooms or the practice fields or even Beaver Stadium. He certainly had the clout to do that, you’d think. But to suggest he’s as much to blame as Sandusky — and you’d have to, to make breaking his leg (accidentally, mind you) 10 years ago a proud moment — I don’t know.
Others are sure to chime in on this. That’s always the case, whenever Paterno’s name comes up. He remains a saint in the eyes of his defenders and will always be a sinner to his detractors. The positions are entrenched, the arguments well-worn. Everybody yells, nobody listens.
Credit Collins, then, for his reasoned reaction to this latest addendum to a horrid chapter in Penn State history.
Safety first when it came to McSorley’s recruitment
Penn State tight ends coach Ricky Rahne said on a conference call with reporters Thursday that when he was working under current Lions coach James Franklin at Vanderbilt – or “a previous institution” as Franklin and his Nittany Lions assistants typically call it nowadays – they first recruited Trace McSorley as a safety, not a quarterback.
McSorley, now Penn State’s starting quarterback, played both positions at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Va., as noted by Greg Pickel of Pennlive.com. While Rahne, then Vandy’s quarterbacks coach, liked him on offense, he thought McSorley’s athleticism would lend itself just as readily to defense. Rahne, as a result, handed off his recruitment to the Commodores’ coaches on that side of the ball, and they offered McSorley a scholarship, which he accepted.
Rahne then traveled to Virginia to see McSorley throw and was sold all over again. McSorley wound up committing to play quarterback at Vandy, flipped to Penn State when Franklin, Rahne and Co. went to Happy Valley in January 2014 and is now at the controls of an explosive attack.
But once a safety, always a safety, Rahne said:
“At safety, he had good speed, he had quickness, he was always around the ball, had great instincts, and the other thing, he was tough. That toughness, you can see week in and week out.”
Signs of growth
Mike Poorman of Statecollege.com writes about the Lions pulling the rope in the same direction, and notes particularly the growth of tight end Mike Gesicki, who has enjoyed a breakout season this fall. Gesicki’s 37 catches are second-most on the team, two behind Chris Godwin, and he has made strides in other ways, too.
Gesicki said that when the Lions fell into a 28-7 hole the second week of the season at Pitt, he slumped on the bench but then thought better of it. So he arose and took it upon himself to “get the sideline going.” The Lions’ spirited rally fell short that day, but no matter, Gesicki said:
“Ever since then, I don’t sit down on the sidelines. I’m pacing up and down the sidelines. I’m talking to the O-line, giving high-fives, telling people what we’re going to do and all that stuff. It’s kind of a role that I’ve embraced and something that I’ll continue to do.”
Then there’s senior center Brian Gaia, the last man standing along the banged-up offensive line. He talked about how much faith the linemen have in Franklin, offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and position coach Matt Limegrover.
Poorman felt compelled to ask if such belief in the coaching staff has ramped up since last season, to which Gaia said:
“You always have faith in your coaches and stuff. This year we’ve been on a roll. And that kind of boosts the faith a bit.”
Back to back
The Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith, once an NFL fullback, sat down with Lions running back Saquon Barkley, the conference’s leading rusher, for an interview that will air in full on Saturday morning. In the preview clip that was tweeted out Thursday, Barkley said Moorhead “does a really good job of getting his offensive skill guys in space, and that’s kind of what this whole offense is set on.”
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) November 17, 2016
Also in the Land of 10
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said the injury to quarterback Wilton Speight is “a day-to-day thing right now.”
Jake Moretti decommitted from Ohio State, leaving the Buckeyes with 16 verbal commitments.
The TaxSlayer Bowl is considering 10 teams, including Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.