First, The Important Stuff. You may know John Tecce from his work with Paternoville and Onward State. He danced in THON over the weekend, and dedicated his performance to an uncle he never knew. His uncle, Mark, died at age five due to cancer:
I dedicated my THON 2012 experience to you, Uncle Mark. I wrote your initials on my headband and sweatband and I thought of you the entire time, especially when I felt myself struggling. I had a rough few hours on Sunday morning, but seeing a reminder of why I THON (that’s you!) hanging on a curtain along with the reasons the other 700+ dancers THON gave me strength to push on. I know that the pain you experienced during your year of treatments, which your dad told me you never once complained about, must have been much worse than the few hours of pain that I felt.
You existed in every Four Diamonds kid I saw, kids you have so much in common with, who spent their weekend away from hospitals and treatments to squirt us with water guns and play games with us. You existed in every line dance I danced, every piece of dancer mail I received (and there was a lot, including some pictures of you!), and every time I laughed, cried, smiled, hugged, danced, and felt loved. And, perhaps most importantly, you existed in the amazing support I received from your brother, his wife, and from your niece, Lauren, who will continue to THON for you after I graduate this spring.
An excellent tribute to a great cause and a young boy who wasn't given the chance to live a full life.
Baseball In February? Yes, college baseball starts early, and usually requires northern teams to start their seasons with extensive Southern road trips. Corn Nation is taking the Big Ten baseball season by the reins, and has a rundown of each team's initial week of action. Penn State has started 1-2, picking up a win against Cincinnati after two opening losses.
Kill, Kill, Kill Oh Crap Another 80-Yard Touchdown. David Jones goes in depth with new PSU defensive coordinator Ted Roof:
And, say what you like about the stay-at-home, cover-two-zone and largely blitz-less defenses of Paterno and his longtime coordinator Tom Bradley, they surrendered few points. Yes, the scheme was conservative.
"And it worked," acknowledged Roof without prompting. "They played great defense here for a long time."
But every man has to be true to himself and there's a little swashbuckler in this guy. At 48 years old, Roof is extremely personable in an effortless Southern manner in casual company. But his history both as a player and a coach indicates a man in the workplace who has little use for those who aren't all in.
"What I believe is that we've gotta do everything we can so that people understand their jobs and can execute their jobs at full speed," said Roof. "And if something's not full speed, I have a very short fuse – with people who aren't committed or don't work or are not giving us everything they have."
OMG MUST HAVE. Victory Bell Rings puts together Penn State's ten most important football recruits for the 2013 recruting class.
Slow, Stodgy Reading. Off Tackle Empire looks at the Big Ten's competitiveness on a national scale. Now with numbers!
Award Tour. Sara Ganim receives a Polk Award for her work on the Sandusky story.
Ganim is a 24-year old crime reporter for the Harrisburg Patriot-News whose dogged pursuit of a grand jury investigation helped her uncover one of the biggest scandals in the history of college athletics. She won for Sports Reporting.
The reporting of Ganim and some of her colleagues was instrumental in uncovering a lurid history of alleged sexual abuse and rape by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, a loyal lieutenant of Joe Paterno.
Paterno, the winningest coach in college football history, died Jan. 22, just a few months after the university dismissed him. Many suspected he was complicit in covering up Sandusky’s actions, though both students and alumni of the school protested his firing.
Also Receiving Votes. In honor of Presidents Day, why not play a little Hail To The Chief To The Death? And if you're not following Tailgate Shogun's 365 beers in 365 days project, now is a good time to jump in. Mostly because I gave him this beer.