After I finished covering the Curley/Schultz preliminary hearing in Harrisburg last Friday, I was thrilled go home for winter break. After all that had happened over the last six weeks, I figured that we were due for a slow period. The two preliminary hearings were over, the trials weren’t likely to start until summer, and the football team had resumed practice for the Ticket City Bowl, still over two weeks away.
Midway through the three hour ride, I got a text from a friend asking, “Did you hear about the fight at practice between [Matt] McGloin and [Curtis] Drake?” I hadn’t, at that point, but it was just the first of a week full of happenings in Penn State football.
As mentioned above, a fight occurred Saturday afternoon between Matt McGloin and Curtis Drake (more details here). The event caused many fans to comment that fights like that wouldn’t happen under Joe Paterno’s guard, but I wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. This was in no way Tom Bradley’s fault; however, it happened at an extraordinarily inopportune time for he and his staff. University Park police were called to the scene but decided not to file any charges. Despite the scuffle, McGloin will still apparently be able to play in the bowl game.
Starting Quarterback Unknown
In Monday’s media session, Bradley said that McGloin’s status was still uncertain because of effects from the concussion he got during his spout of fisticuffs with Drake. On the other hand, Rob Bolden, who was facing a minor legal issue involving retail theft, will not lose any playing time over what Bradley chalked up to as “a prank gone awry.” Redshirt freshman Paul Jones, who has been academically ineligible this season, may be available to play in the bowl game depending on his first semester grades, which Bradley expects to be over the required 2.0 GPA. Shane McGregor is also reportedly seeing increased practice time.
Assuming McGloin is healthy, he will most likely play the majority of the snaps; I wouldn’t mind seeing a few packages installed for Bolden and Jones though. Bolden can get another chance to gain some confidence before he has to decide about his future at Penn State and Jones, the star of the 201o Blue-White game, could finally see some live snaps.
Urban Recruits, Ohio State Gets Bowl Ban
Sunday night, Urban Meyer received a verbal commitment from Noah Spence, a top Pennsylvania recruit out of Harrisburg and 5-star defensive end, to play at Ohio State. Many recruiting analysts believed Spence would pick Penn State, marking the low-point of what has no doubt been a bad season for this year’s recruiting class. Though Meyer scored Spence, he might see greater troubles going forward: Stemming from the Jim Tressel cover-up, the NCAA ruled that Ohio State will not be eligible for postseason play next year, including the Big Ten championship game.
Silas Redd made it clear on Monday that he intends to remain at Penn State no matter who the next coach is. This was great news to hear from the sophomore running back. Other players are likely getting anxious about the prolonged coaching search, which could lead to a few transfers after the bowl game.
Pitt Hires A Coach
The University of Pittsburgh, which has had a lot of experience hiring new coaches as of late, hired Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. The bigger news here is that they did not hire one of Penn State’s potential targets, Mario Cristobal. Cristobal is a hot, young candidate after essentially building a program from scratch at Florida International. If Penn State does not have its mind made up already, athletic director David Joyner would be wise to give him a call.
Joyner Issues a Statement
On Day 44 without a permanent coach, Joyner issued a statement regarding the search:
“As we head into the holidays, I wanted to share an update on the search for the next head football coach at Penn State. We are continuing to talk with individuals that we’re interested in and work through the interview process. As I’m sure all can appreciate, this is a very important hire for Penn State and, as a result, the search committee is taking a very deliberate and measured approach to the process in order to identify the coach that best fits the requirements of the position.
“We look forward to introducing our new football coach at the appropriate time. In the interim, I’d like to wish everyone happy holidays as well as remind all Penn Staters to support our team and its 23 seniors as they compete against the 12-1 Houston Cougars in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 2.”
Not much substance from Joyner there. I could devote an entire post to talking about the coaching search, and it would still not fully convey my feelings. I am as anxious and frustrated as everybody else, but I have also pretty much come to terms that a hire will most likely not be made until after the bowl game on January 2nd. Time will tell whether or not it was worth the wait.
That should do it for now, as the players are uncharacteristically home enjoying the holidays with their families before reporting to Dallas on December 26th. Onward State will have you covered with bowl previews and any other updated news, so stay tuned.