John Urschel Named Best Person in Sports


on October 23, 2013 12:50 PM

 Penn State offensive guard and math wiz John  Urschel has another accolade to add to his many accomplishments: On  Monday, Fox Sports named him Best Person in Sports for “excelling in the classroom and on the field.”

Last year Urschel was selected as  a first team All-Big Ten guard and  was also named a Capital One/CoSIFA Academic All-American in 2012. He  finished his undergraduate degree in mathematics in just three years  while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA. He is now working on  earning his master’s degree and has plans to pursue a PhD after his  football career.

Urschel’s research has been published in the “Celestial Mechanics and  Dynamic Astronomy” journal, and he currently has several more articles  in the works. When he is not on the field he can be found teaching mathematics in classes such as Math 041. He can undoubtedly be considered one of the best student athletes in all of college sports.

While Urschel’s academic accomplishments are nothing to be scoffed  at, his success on the field is equally impressive. He has quickly  excelled as an elite athlete and NFL prospect after making the  decision to play football in ninth-grade. Last season he earned  first-team All-Big Ten honors after starting every game at right guard  and helped Zach Zwinak rush for over 1,000 yards. This year, he’s  continued to be a leader on the team while playing a key role in the  offensive line.

O’Brien States Reasons to Stay at Penn State


From the Centre Daily Times, State College

O’Brien sourced numerous reasons for wanting to stay at Penn State where he coached the Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record in his first season as a head coach.

“The group of players and the staff that I have there, obviously along with my family are the three biggest influences,” O’Brien said.

Penn State’s coveted quarterback recruit Christian Hackenberg shed light on his thought process during the last few days O’Brien’s coaching future was in question.

Hackenberg had faith all along.

“He’s a man of his word,” The Fork Union Military Academy star said. “He told us that earlier this month. I can’t be more proud of who I’m going to play for.”

He’s expected to compete with second-year player Steven Bench and incoming junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson for the starting quarterback spot.

Hackenberg has not yet signed a letter of intent but O’Brien mentioned the upcoming quarterback battle in his interview with Jones.

“I think the key position for us is quarterback and who emerges at quarterback,” O’Brien said. “That’s going to be the biggest position for us to get up to speed as fast as we can.”

Ferguson will enroll at Penn State on Monday.

O’Brien Stays at Penn State!


By David Jones, Harrisburg Patriot News

Penn State’s long holiday nightmare is over. Bill O’Brien is staying at Penn State.

In an exclusive conversation, the second-year head coach confirmed that he was contacted by and entertained overtures from multiple NFL clubs through his agent Joe Linta. But he has decided to remain at PSU for at least the 2013 season.

 “I’m not a one-and-done guy,” said O’Brien. “I made a commitment to these players at Penn State and that’s what I am going to do.

“I’m a man of my word. I am what I am. Maybe I get fired in six years. But I’m not gonna cut and run after one year, that’s for sure.”

In addition to a clear testing of the pro head coaching waters, this was a strategic mission of sorts by O’Brien. By having Linta throw his name open to NFL openings and having the agent field offers, he was able to gain additional leverage that allowed him a chance to accomplish structural and personnel changes in the Penn State athletic department that may be forthcoming. O’Brien declined to be specific about those changes when asked but he did not deny those aims.

O’Brien acknowledged that PSU donor Terry Pegula, financier of the new Penn State hockey arena, has been a major ally in his efforts. Pegula was the first person who contacted O’Brien in late 2011 when he was eventually interviewed for the job.

Though O’Brien was not specific about it, high-level PSU sources have told me that a $1.3 million donation is to be added to O’Brien’s salary in the coming year that will bump his total compensation to $3.6 million and place him behind only Ohio State’s Urban Meyer ($4.3M) and Iowa‘s Kirk Ferentz ($3.8M) as the third-highest-paid coach in the Big Ten.

The Making Of A Diehard Penn State Football Fan


Written by Zach Berger for onwardstate.com

(As a follower and alum of Penn State during the “glory days” of the 70′s and 80′s, I have never been prouder of Penn State students than I have been this year.  I remember the students thinking it was “cool” to sing “I don’t know the g-d words” instead of the words–now I hear the words being sung with conviction and meaning, and it chokes me with emotion as I proudly sing along!) - Myke Triebold

If you haven’t experienced it–go to you tube and watch the video–it is most impressive as an example of what Penn State truly is!

Just six weeks ago, I was one of the biggest National Football League fans that you could ever meet. There was nothing that excited me more than the prospect of a new football season. I bled green and white as a die-hard New York Jets fan. Penn State football, though something that excited me, was simply an afterthought in my realm of football fandom.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Beaver Stadium experience — the chants, the feeling of standing with thousands of fellow State fans in the student section, the pre-game tailgates, and the official or unofficial whiteouts. I liked it. But I never loved it. In just six short weeks, Bill O’Brien’s new-look Nittany Lions football team has forced me to completely re-evaluate my disinterest towards college football.

I used to consider Saturday to be something that stood in the way of my NFL Sunday. Now Sunday just means that there are six days left until I make the walk to Beaver Stadium again. Based on conversations that I’ve had with fellow students, it seems that I’m not alone in this newfound love of college football. Thanks to a scandal that rocked the foundation of this university last November, the solidarity among the student body has grown and the vibe at football games appears to be stronger than ever as a result.

With a target on this team’s — and in extension, this school’s — back, the student body has recognized that the stakes are high during the few hours we spend each week in “The House That Joe Built”. This is very clearly the most important season in school history, and students are more excited now than ever about Penn State football. But “excited” isn’t the right word, because it’s so much more than that. Saturday is no longer just an excuse to get drunk and scream until you have no voice left. Saturday is serious.

On Saturday, the perseverance of our football team and our student body (and yes, our alumni too) is put on trial for the world to see. Six weeks ago, the projections for this team were dull. We were expected to win our first two games and lose our next four, not the other way around. Six weeks later, there’s a feeling that something really special is happening in that monstrosity that we call Beaver Stadium. The student section is exercising their power as the “12th man” more than ever before. The players feed off of the crowd and the crowd feeds off of the players. But none of this would be possible without the man that we affectionately call B.O.B.

Bill O’Brien has reenergized a football program and a fan base in the nine short months that he has been here. Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions had me convinced that college football could never even touch the excitement and electricity of a National Football League game. The pace was slower. The plays were conservative. The passes were short. Nothing that I saw in Beaver Stadium during the last two years of the Paterno era — my first two years at Penn State — made me want to jump off of my couch in joy or scream “We are…” at the top of my lungs. And now I can’t stop doing either of those things when watching the exciting Bill O’Brien offensive scheme.

Trick plays. Long passes. Rugged, downhill running backs.

Cover corners. Run-stoppers. Tough, hard-hitting linebackers.

The list of electric players on this team goes on and on — Michael Mauti, Gerald Hodges, Michael Zordich, Zach Zwinak, Derek Day, Matt McGloin, Allen Robinson, Matt Lehman, and Kyle Carter. With Bill O’Brien at the helm, this Penn State football team has a powerful and explosive offense that looks to be light years ahead of the scheme that we were running just one year ago.

They operate at a faster pace. They use more complex looks and seem to be somewhat unpredictable for the first time in years. They go for fourth downs in field goal range. Every. Single. Time. They have a (fairly) accurate quarterback that’s found great chemistry with wideout Allen Robinson, who has been doing his best Derek Moye impression for the last six weeks. They average almost 400 yards of offense per game.

On the other side of the ball, the defense has dominated through the first half of the season. Their average of 16 points allowed per game is the 20th best in the nation. They have the ability to both run-stop successfully and play lockdown pass coverage. Their front seven features Michael Mauti, the defense’s fearless leader and just an all-around intimidating guy thanks to 232 pounds of destructive, havoc-wreaking body mass.

This is a well-rounded football team that has undergone a transformation, bringing just about every disinterested fan like me along with them.

Six weeks ago, I was an NFL fanatic who happened to go to college football games on the weekends for fun.

Six weeks later, I bleed blue and white and have been cursing the football gods for scheduling a bye one week after the best football game that I’ve seen Penn State play in my time as a student.

Sanctions be damned. I’m all in.