In 2016 Penn State decided to cancel its Coaches Caravan, the (now) statewide tour by some of its athletic coaches to talk Penn State sports, due in part to the state budget crisis. Not so in 2017, as it has been announced that James Franklin will be leading the Caravan through the Commonwealth from May 8th through the 11th. The coaches which will be joining him have yet to be announced.
Some big screen news has broken from Hollywood - former Penn State men’s basketball player Joonas Suotamo has been cast as Chewbacca for all upcoming Star Wars films. Joonas served as the body double for Peter Mayhew in “The Force Awakens,” and will be taking over the role full time. Mayhew had played Chewbacca since “Episode IV: A New Hope” premiered in 1977.
In some unexpected news, women’s gymnastics coach Jeff Thompson has been fired by the University. The University has only said that it was a personal matter, though some prior allegations of athlete bullying may cause some angst from the Blue and White faithful. Two assistants will fill in as interim head coach until a replacement can be found.
As winter workouts get underway, PennLive takes a look at the quarterback position. James Franklin finally has five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in Billy Fessler, Trace McSorley, Tommy Stevens, Jake Zembiec, and Sean Clifford. How the quarterback competition plays out between now and September 2nd is up to these young play makers.
James Franklin is a busy man, but even he took time out of his hectic schedule to speak with SportsCenter about the wonders of Thon. The Head Bald Coach appeared on the “Why We Love Sports Today” segment of the show, and highlighted the family community Thon endorses, as well as the fact that offensive lineman Charlie Shuman was one of the dancers this year. For The Kids!
Lastly, Victory Bell Rings is helping you through your off-season doldrums by reviewing every game from the 2016 season, starting with the season-opening win over Kent State. As was typical of the 2016 squad, Penn State seemed sleepy in the first half, and went into the break only up 16-13. The defense would come alive in the second half, however, with Amani Oruwariye recording a pick six on the Flashes’ first drive after the break. Penn State would go on to win 33-13 before an in-state showdown at Heinz Field the following week.