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 Tuesday, Sept. 13. Let’s get started.
The Paterno dilemma
Temple visits Penn State this week, and with the recent — and stealthy — announcement that on Saturday the school planned to honor the 50th anniversary of the first game coached by the late Joe Paterno, things have veered down a familiar path.
On one side you have the people who believe Paterno was a fallen saint, unfairly besmirched in the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal. On the other side are the folks who view him as an unforgivable, irredeemable fraud.
In the run-up to last Saturday’s game at Pitt, there was a Pittsburgh-based blog attempting to market “Joe Knew” T-shirts (a sale halted in the face of “negative backlash,” though similar shirts can still be found at Amazon.com). And we had Joe’s son Jay write, in a Penn State-Pitt retrospective, that the thinking reflected on such shirts is based on “a massively false narrative.”
We had one Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist, Paul Zeise, arguing against any sort of ceremony on Saturday:
To honor Paterno while he is still toxic and polarizing shows the Penn State administration is tone deaf and arrogant — precisely the kind of closed culture that led to this mess in the first place.
And we had another columnist from the same outlet, Ron Cook, taking the opposite stance:
If you believe Paterno intentionally harbored the evil monster that was Jerry Sandusky in order to protect his football program, you’re going to be disgusted by this latest news. I get that. I respect your opinion. But if you don’t believe it, you have no problem with recognizing a significant milestone for a man who did so much good for Penn State in ways that went far beyond football. I am in that group. I hope you respect my opinion.
We also had Penn State’s student newspaper, the Daily Collegian, arguing in an editorial that it is time to move on from the Paterno era altogether:
This is a university, a family, for more than one age. However, it is bigger than one person, than one incident. Let us not be ignorant of the past, but even more so let us not be insensitive to the future.
This is about more than a ceremony, more than the statue of Paterno that used to stand outside Beaver Stadium.
This is about a school that is still searching for its soul.
Temple coach Matt Rhule is a State College native, and a one-time walk-on linebacker at Penn State. But as Mike Jensen wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rhule took the long route to the roster.
In fact, when he underwent the physical administered to prospective walk-ons, he was much too candid:
“Like an idiot, I said ‘my shoulder slips in and out,’ ” Rhule said. “They said, ‘OK, boy he’s got a loose shoulder.’ I think they thought, this kid’s going to get hurt. They said, ‘You can’t be on the team. You can be a manager.’ So I was a manager at Penn State for like a week and a half, putting out the practice dummies, doing all that stuff.”
He came back the following year, first as a center on the scout team, then as a tight end, finally as a special teamer.
He entered his profession as an assistant at Division III Albright in 1998, then bounced to Buffalo, UCLA and Western Carolina before landing at Temple as the defensive line coach in 2006. He spent six years there, went to the New York Giants for a season, then succeeded Steve Addazio as the Owls’ boss in 2012.
Not bad for a former manager.
Rhule knows all about Moorhead
Rhule, as it happens, had a conference call with reporters on Monday, and he spoke highly of Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead. Not without reason, either: When Moorhead was Fordham’s head coach in 2013, he oversaw an offense that churned out 520 yards in a 30-29 upset of the Owls. And Rhule hasn’t forgotten:
“I have a ton of respect for Joe Moorhead. He is one of the best football coaches, I believe, in the country. And I told him that when he was at Fordham. The things he did there were fantastic. They beat us. They beat a lot of people.”
The Owls are 1-1, having lost to Army and beaten Stony Brook. But they have been plagued by injuries, notably to Jahad Thomas, their best running back. Thomas has yet to play this year because of a hand injury, and Rhule said he is uncertain as to whether he might be available this week.
SI.com went to Jared
I first encountered Jared Odrick as a pudgy (yet surprisingly nimble) freshman basketball player at Lebanon (Pa.) High School.
It’s clear he has come a long way since then.
Once a standout defensive tackle at Penn State, Odrick now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and on Monday SI.com published his take on the Colin Kaepernick/national anthem issue. Odrick begins by quoting the late poet and playwright James Baldwin, who in a televised debate with conservative columnist William F. Buckley Jr. once said the following:
“The Mississippi or Alabama sheriff, who really does believe, when he’s facing a Negro boy or girl, that this woman, this man, this child must be insane to attack the system to which he owes his entire identity.”
For a black child in America, Baldwin continued, “it comes as a great shock around the age of five, or six, or seven, to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you.”
Then Odrick, en route to his larger point, touches on the myth of amateurism.
We are handpicked from an unpaid labor pool that purports to provide an education in exchange for services rendered, though the value of that education pales drastically to overall football revenue for institutions of higher learning.
And finally he brings his argument home, and convincingly so.
When Kaepernick bucked the system, he forced people to reflect on the constructs they’ve accepted or, worse, had never considered.
Mother knows best
Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton is the son of two retired Marines, Johnie and Madgeline (Max) Hamilton. And in the wake of DaeSean’s huge drop in the closing minutes of Saturday’s 42-39 loss at Pitt — a drop that left him in tears in the interview room afterward — she has come to the rescue, as moms will. Her tweet follows, with his response above it:
@SkeeterMills__ Bless those who curse you. God sees and judges ALL our words.
— Max Hamilton (@eastshy) September 12, 2016