Nitt Picks Is On The Take


Last week we looked at Penn State's non-conference basketball schedule and came to the conclusion it's an improvement over the terrible schedule from the 2008-2009 season. Today David Jones weighs in and he too likes it.

Right away, you can say this about it: By about a power of five, it's a smarter schedule than the trash bin of opponents head coach Ed DeChellis and then-basketball operations director Eldon Price collected in 2008-09. That was when he had Talor Battle, Jamelle Cornley and Stanley Pringle all at once and had a legit shot at an NCAA bid and tossed it to the wind because he had no idea how the selection committee judged at-large candidates.

 

The only knock Jones has is that the schedule lacks an opportunity for a home run like the 2001 team had when they upset Kentucky on their home court. Without doing the research, State may have been counting on the 76 Classic to provide that before they pulled out. I'm not sure about the dynamics there, but Jones has a good point. A win over somebody like Pitt or Kentucky could allow State to punch their ticket to the dance in early December.

Dolla Dolla Bills Y'All

Since the NCAA cracked down on USC in the Reggie Bush case, they have not been sitting back and admiring their work. Several teams have been notified in just the past week that they are under NCAA investigation for improper contact between agents and their players. The list of schools include North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. And then yesterday there's news that a big opponent on Penn State's 2010 schedule may lose one of their best defensive players.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- University of Alabama officials are investigating whether junior defensive lineman Marcel Dareus broke NCAA rules by attending an agent's party in Miami's South Beach earlier this summer, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

Dareus, ranked as the No. 7 prospect for the 2011 NFL draft by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, is the latest prominent college football player to be entangled in an evolving NCAA investigation into illegal contact and conduct by sports agents.

 

The NCAA has a pretty serious problem on its hands. NFL agents have become pretty brazen in courting NCAA athletes and offering them illegal benefits. They are putting kids at risk of losing their eligibility, and other people like Reggie Bush are having their reputations ruined and all of their accomplishments wiped from the record books. Don't get me wrong, Reggie Bush did a bad thing, but at some point the NCAA has to take a tougher stance on sheltering athletes from the temptations these agents present them with.

Can We Talk Some Football Now?

Sure, why not. There's a pretty good article in the Pittsburgh Tribune about how Penn State expects to reload at linebacker this year.

It's time to reload at linebacker for Penn State. Last year's standout starting trio of Sean Lee, Navorro Bowman and Josh Hull have all departed Happy Valley after being selected in the NFL Draft.

Enter Mauti, Bani Gbadyu, Nathan Stuparand a host of other young players or career backups expected to play bigger roles in 2010. What coach Joe Paterno loses in experience at linebacker, he makes up for with promising depth.

I keep saying I am not at all worried about linebacker. We know Mauti and Stupar can play when they're healthy. Gbadyu was named the most improved player in the spring. Heck, I mentioned after the Blue White game that the backups of Yancich, Hodges, and Van Fleet looked good enough for me. Then you got the freshmen Mike Hull, Glenn Carson, and Khairi Fortt who all look promising. Penn State will be just fine at linebacker. Bank it.

Aaaaah....What Else You Got?

How about some alumni updates?

Eh....okay...

Hey, it's July. What do you want from me?

The Dallas Cowboys sound like they are absolutely in love with Sean Lee. They like his speed and athleticism, and especially his ability to absorb information. But here is my favorite part about the linked article.

It didn't take long for the Cowboys to conclude that Lee would be able to contribute as a rookie. After he impressed during their three-day rookie minicamp, the Cowboys traded incumbent nickel linebacker and former first-round pick Bobby Carpenter to the St. Louis Rams for offensive tackle Alex Barron.

That's the same Bobby Carpenter that played for Ohio State. So suck it, Buckeyes.

I was not aware of this until I read about Daryll Clark joining the CFL, but apparently former Penn State quarterback John Hufnagel is coaching the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL, and he sounds like a regular Joe Paterno.

It was, suggested Calgary Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel, nothing but a pep talk.

 

Mind you, that generous description came an hour after a couple of angry outbursts directed toward his first-team offence during Tuesday’s practice at McMahon Stadium.

 

At the time, it looked more like an angry diatribe at a series of missed assignments than a pep talk.

 

But either way, the message was clear: mistakes in practice will translate into mistakes in games, and the Stampeders can’t afford any when they host the unbeaten Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday (7:30 p.m., TSN subject to blackout, QR77 Radio).

 

"There was a three- or four-play series there where there were some assignment busts, and I wasn’t pleased," conceded Hufnagel. "But it was a good practice today; I’m not disappointed with the practice. It was a good start. The effort was good, it was a fast-paced practice. But they need to improve on their assignment knowledge and have better execution tomorrow."

Greg Schiano and Al Golden are two names commonly mentioned as potential candidates to replace Joe Paterno when he retires. I think we can officially ad Hufnagel to that list. He has coached for five different NFL teams, and he led the Stampeders to a CFL championship in 2008. And you gotta love that he's a former All American player for Penn State.

Also, Tamba Hali is highly admired by the Kansas City Chiefs.

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