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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Second helping of Steelers

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Wednesday column counts up all kinds of stuff related to the Steelers’ terrific depth.

Exempting William Gay since he took his job way back in Week 2, which backup do you feel has been most effective or most important?

>> Dan O’Hallaran, one of the referees working the Penguins-Rangers game last night at Madison Square Garden, had an extended discussion with New York coach John Tortorella. This was after the first period, it happened on the ice right by the Rangers’ bench. It went on for several minutes. And Tortorella appeared to do almost all of the talking.

Which basically means O’Hallaran put himself into position to get an earful from one coach during what still is the official game in progress.

There are no rules against this, but it looks awful.

And it looked that much worse when the Rangers were awarded six of the seven power plays after that.

>> That said, the Penguins did do some stupid things to draw a couple of those penalties in the third period while trying to come back. They’re hardly absolved.

>> Mike Tomlin did all the usual glowing about the Bengals at his news conference, but it sure seems easier to digest after seeing them a couple weeks ago, doesn’t it?

The Bengals are a wholly legit 7-4, and I take back my skepticism from before their close losses to the Steelers and Ravens, followed by a close win over the Browns. They’ve been competitive all through their schedule to this point, and I can’t imagine anyone questioning Andy Dalton at this point.

>> Anyone complaining that Jim Boeheim isn’t getting it from the media the way Joe Paterno did is overlooking or ignoring one gigantic difference: There is no evidence or even an allegation that Boeheim knew anything. We knew that about Paterno from the morning the grand jury report came out.


  1. Naje says:

    Tortorella and John Harbaugh might just be the same guy. Obnoxious fellows.

  2. radio wave says:

    I am a Rangers fan.
    However, i do not like Avery’s style of play, or the fans booing Crosby.
    You have to respect greatness no matter the player or the team.
    Simply bush league msg fans!

  3. Marc says:

    I am not upset with Boeheim – yet. ESPN’s actions – or inactions – in the Syracuse case nearly mirror those of what Paterno. Not coming forth with that tape for all those years is inexplicable.

  4. JAL says:

    9 Bucs Dugout

    MLB Draft: Teams Can Reallocate Funds For Players Signed For Less Than Recommended Maximum

    Clint Hurdle’s Managerial Tendencies Revisited, Part Two

    10 WHY GAVS

    Reading between the lines, November 29 edition

    11 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates sign Nick Evans to minor league deal

    12 McEffect

    Pujols, Fielder, Astros, NL Central

  5. JAL says:


    13 Philadelphia Examiner

    ‘Puerto Rico’s baseball royalty’ to be honored

    14 Ny Daily News

    Evans signs with Pirates

    15 Wall Street Journal

    An Ex-Met’s Celebrity Wife Reloads

  6. JAL says:


    16 ESPN

    Michael Weiner details MLB’s new CBA

    17 Freakonomics

    Labor Peace in Baseball May Not Last Forever

    18 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Garrett Jones Should Play First Base

    MLB Free Agency 2012: Ranking the 25 Best Pitchers Still Available

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Week 12 Defensive Plays Of The Game Highlighted By Season And Career Firsts

    All Signs Pointing Toward Polamalu Playing In Week 13

    Bengals Rivers Remains on PUP List, Waive Former Steelers LB Davis

    -Steelers Depot

    WSeek 12 TOX Stats

    -Steelers Gab

    Tomlin “confident” Polamalu will play Sunday vs. Bengals

  8. JAL says:

    Pitt Blogs

    Pitt Blather

    All QB Talk

    Cardiac Hill

    Pitt Football: Todd Graham Weekly Press Conference Top Ten – Syracuse Week

    Dante Taylor Expected Back Wednesday … But Will He Start?

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Mountaineer Football Honored For Graduation Rate

    VIDEO: Mountaineer Player Interviews

    WV Illustrated

    Men’s Basketball: WVU vs. Akron Photo Gallery 2

    WVU Unsure Who Will Play Quarterback for USF



    Second-Period Collapse Leads to 4-3 Loss

  9. JAL says:

    WVU Blogs

    Metro News

    Mountaineer Football Honored For Graduation Rate

    VIDEO: Mountaineer Player Interviews

    WV Illustrated

    Men’s Basketball: WVU vs. Akron Photo Gallery 2

    WVU Unsure Who Will Play Quarterback for USF



    Second-Period Collapse Leads to 4-3 Loss

  10. Drew71 says:

    As a Penn State alum, one who adores – still – Joe Paterno but supports his termination, I cannot express how terrible I would feel if Jim Boeheim had been fired at this point.

    At some time, we will realize that it is not mutually exclusive to:

    1) Abhor pedophilia and
    2) Respect the ideals of the American jurisprudence system.

    Our judicial process doesn’t always work perfectly, but its noblest ideal is innocent until proved guilty. And since there is not even a charge against Fine, let alone Boeheim, it is time to remember that no one is remotely close to being found guilty of anything. Yet. And it is time to recognize that even if you feel as I do about Paterno, there is a difference between a coach who apparently knew – and acknowledged he knew – something, and one about whom at this point there is not one shred of evidence he knew anything.

    It is time to remember our respect for our judicial ideal.

    I believe it is possible to abhor pedophilia no less for holding that sentiment.

  11. NMR says:

    How can you say that Boeheim didn’t “know anything”?

    It’s pure fact that he knew EXACTLY what the victim has claimed all along. His reaction has been to unapologetically called a victim of child abuse a liar. Listen, I could care less how this relates to a basketball team or a job. His reaction has been the epitomy of what victims of child abuse must fear.

    This isn’t a Penn State issue. No heat is being taken off of them. This is an issue of creating an enviroment where children will no longer be afraid to come forward when adults in positions of power are taking advantage of them.

    I usually respect your opinion, DK -and far be it from me to assume you should even care- but seriously, this reaction is sad. How do you honestly think this makes other victims feel? How does this make it any easier for them to come forward?

    DK: Where is this pure fact that Boeheim knew? My understanding is that he didn’t. If you have something, I’m genuinely all ears.

  12. Scott says:

    I seriously question Andy Dalton. From what I’ve seen, he keeps throwing up jump balls and letting his receivers come down with them. That’s not a recipe for long-term success in the NFL.

  13. Arriba Wilver says:

    While I agree with all your sentiments about Boeheim, Drew, the judicial system has little to do with it at this point. Just like it had little to do with Paterno’s firing, other than it took the grand jury report for people to pay attention.

  14. Milo Hamilton says:

    Andrew McCutchen can’t become a free agent until after the 2015 season.

  15. Steve says:

    Hopefully if the Steelers jump oout to an early lead this week they won’t let the Bengals back in the game. Most effective or most important backup? Tough call. Redman has done his share when called upon. Mundy was good on Sunday. K. Lewis has certainly worked his way in as a key contributor. Saunders is coming on. hard to single any one out.

    DK: Agreed. Maybe it’s Kapinos!

  16. Drew71 says:

    Another difference. At Penn State, no one told the police. At Syracuse, though they may not have handled it well, the police were involved years before.

    If Boeheim had been fired, it would have been for making a vigorous statement in support of his 36-year, UNCHARGED friend, who had already been officially investigated once without any charges being filed. The possibility that the investigation was weak or tainted was not Boeheim’s fault.

    Those who are calling for Boeheim’s termination because of loyalty to a friend, rather than for anything HE did, are creating a modern day Red Scare.

    That’s not to say pedophilia itself is a Red Scare. It is a horrible crime. Back in the 50s, treason was a crime as well…still is today…and it SHOULD be. But the REQUIREMENT, some seem to pose, to turn on your uncharged friends had in the 50s and has today an unsavory feel.

    Now is the time for media voices to point some of this stuff out. A few lonely voices have. However most are involved in the feeding frenzy. That is NOT a Blame The Media comment. Exactly the opposite. They didn’t cause this. But some of them are feeding it. It is instead a request that more media members step forward and challenge what is starting to become conventional thinking.

    Dejan’s PSU-Syracuse comparison comment is in the proper direction. I would love to see some national media venue publish a major exposition on this about Rushing To Judgment. Not about Fine. But about others who apparently knew nothing.

    As you can tell, I do not like blanket “Clean House” thinking. Clean the TRASH. Not everyone within 1000 feet of the trash.

  17. 21sthebest says:

    “Anyone complaining that Jim Boeheim isn’t getting it from the media the way Joe Paterno did is overlooking or ignoring one gigantic difference: There is no evidence or even an allegation that Boeheim knew anything. ”

    But Dejan, I think you’re overlooking that Boeheim called the victims liars. Although he apologized, if he were fired for this, I think that’s a reasonable result of his knee jerk reaction. And his apology needed to be more sincere, IMO.

    DK: He pointed to two of them, based on the only accusation he claimed to have heard, right?

    Agreed about the apology.

    My broader point with all this is that the scenarios and situations are more different than any broad brush should be trying to paint. Let’s look at Syracuse on its own merits rather than Paterno vs. Boeheim. Again, with Penn State, you knew that Paterno was directly informed by an actual witness to an alleged crime of epic proportions. It’s in testimony. To my knowledge, we have no such thing with Boeheim.

  18. Absolute59 says:

    Drew: Do you think Boeheim should have listened to the tape of Laurie Fine before he gave his second statement about how much Bernie Fine has contributed to the program?

    According to the guys on Mad Dog Radio this morning, Boeheim had not listened to the tape before making his second round of comments.

    I don’t think anyone who heard that tape (long time friend or otherwise) would and publicly praise Fine for how much he has contributed the the SU basketball program.

    I’m not saying JB should be fired (or that the PSU and SU cases are similar) but he can’t put his head in the sand and continue to have blind allegiance to Bernie Fine in light of what is on that taped phone call.

  19. aglebagel says:

    That has got to be one of the most picky criticisms I’ve ever heard. I actually think it’s a good sign for a QB to know the capabilities of his receivers and to trust them. I watched a fair amount of Dalton in college, and he mostly had quicker guys and the jump ball wasn’t much of his game at all. Good for him to adapt to his new guys. As great a QB as Kurt Warner was, it took him a whole lot longer to figure out that he could just chuck the ball up to Fitzgerald.

    Lol, all that said, if Troy decides to actually, you know, make a play on the ball to A.J. Green in the endzone, your point appears more valid.

  20. Drew71 says:

    I thought that tape hadn’t been made public by Sunday night. If not, how could he have listened to it before making his Sunday comments?

  21. JAL says:

    With Boeheim it will come down to same question always asked in scandals, what did he know and when did know it. Don’t know if they will ever be able to confirm all the stories but the most damaging one to the program would be if things happened on team road trips. One accuser says Boeheim saw him in Fine’s room on a road trip. We shall see what, if anything, the investigation turns up.

  22. Vinqtin says:

    I know Marcus Gilbert has been the starter all season but he was intended to be the backup to Willie Colon. As such, I’d have to say he’s been the most effective. Although, he was a little less so on Sunday night.

    Antonio Brown would have to fall into the same category as Willie Gay, right?

    DK: Not really. Brown hasn’t started much. One thing I could have made clearer: My definition of starter was the literal one, meaning they’re on the field for the first snap and listed as official starters. It was the only fair way to do a team-by-team comparison.

  23. Arriba Wilver says:

    Getting back to DK’s question above about the Steeler backups, it seems to me that the legit candidates are Worllds, Cotchery, McLendon, Gilbert, Hood and Heyward. With all the injuries to the LB’s, I think I would go with Worllds, but arguments could be made for all (except maybe Cotchery since he hasn’t played much yet). One veteran (other than Cotchery) who may also deserve consideration is Foote because with Farrior out for injuries or ineffectiveness, he’s pretty important to the whole defensive scheme and has filled in exceptionally well.

    DK: Funny, I’ve really liked Worilds, but I’ve also heard from readers who really don’t.

  24. Milo Hamilton says:


    Thanks for the Anna Benson update. She was always so much more interesting than her husband.

  25. NMR says:


    Boeheim admittedly knew of the exact allegations coming directly from the victim.

    Paterno admittedly heard a third party description of allegations of unkown degree of specification.

    They both chose to continue living with a child molestor in their presence.

    Again, I could care less about how Paterno was treated, blah blah blah, and I certainly don’t think Boeheim should be treated the same way. It is not my place, nor anyones, to judge him as a person. But to characterize his actions as any better Paternos is ridiculous.

    To set an example with Boeheim that it takes some sort of trifecta of corroborating evidence just to try and stop a sexual deviant is absolutely disgusting behavior. Nothing has been learned from Penn State’s mistakes if that is true.

    Again, I’m not questioning your character by any means. I know you’re obviously just as against child molestation as anyone. This isn’t a contest.

    I’d just like to hear how you would justify Boeheim’s actions in 2005, and especially in the last week, in front of a victim who is scared to come forward for fear that they wouldn’t be beleived?

  26. NMR says:

    You do a great job with this blog, btw. Along with the twitter action, your passion definitely comes through. Without question the go-to for Pittsburgh sports.

    DK: I appreciate that. Is there a link to anything confirming that Boeheim had knowledge approximating that of Paterno? Remember, Paterno heard directly from an actual witness of the 2002 incident.

  27. DaveIn84 says:

    Do Avery and Kennedy have a history? Seemed like some intense dislike in last night’s encounters.

  28. Jandy says:

    My favorite second helping right now is Brown. Saunders is second. These guys are really stepping up.

  29. Jandy says:

    Davein84…they showed in the game after the first fight…a fight between Avery and TK from last November. So yes, they have a history. lol

  30. jackdeloplane says:

    Best reserve to date has to be Ziggy Hood. Anyone remember how the run defense was having problems earlier in the season and no one wanted to admit that maybe Aaron Smith was having problems. Enter Ziggy and viola, run defense fixed. May not be the entire reason, but seems like a worthy candidate.

    What say you, DK?

    DK: Ziggy looked a lot better when LaMarr was in there, but yeah, I’d put him up there. I guess the reason I hesitate is that Ziggy never should have been a backup to this version of Aaron Smith.

  31. JAL says:


    My pleasure, always hope there is something in morning links of interest to many.

  32. Milo Hamilton says:


    I think the dear Anna has added a few pounds. Also, Jason Kendall’s wife is on the show. From the preview, she always seems to be crying. Insert joke here.

    Lots of Emmys in the future for Baseball Wives on VH1.

  33. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR–how would you react if someone alleged that a friend of yours you’d known for decades, and trusted, was an embezzler, or a serial rapist? I think it’s a little more complicated than what’s being depicted.

    And before the Joe defenders come out, Joe didn’t even go to Sandusky’s “retirement” dinner in 1999. And I have it on good authority (Foo) Joe and he weren’t friends then.

  34. Milo Hamilton says:

    Lots of good points made here today on Jim Boeheim. Bottom line is he won’t survive this. He can’t. The clock is ticking.

  35. jackdeloplane says:


    Agreed. This can’t go on in a program and not have the head of the program fall. Lack of institutional control to the nth degree. Plus his reaction was soooo poor. Yep, he will “retire” by the end of the season. Sad all around

  36. NMR says:


    I absolutely agree with the point I think you’re trying to make about it being a complicated issue. Neither you nor I know what the interplay has been between friends. I can, though, easily say that I wouldn’t be able to look at any aquaintence, let alone loved one, until I was absolutely sure they were innocent. People talk about whispers and signs in the PSU case. Well, they were all certainly there in the Syracuse case as well. Neither situation put the child first. THAT is my point.

    Again, please stop making this a Joe Paterno/PSU issue. I just find it funny you chastise Joe Paterno supporters for their loyalty, albeit blind, yet excuse Boeheim for his actions, presumably due to the same thing. Your bias is showing strong on this one.

    Disclaimer: I fully support the firing of Paterno.

  37. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    My first instinct, like many others was: JB needs to be fired as well. But of course after everything coming out, he seems to have known nothing about the whole thing. I thought he was actually a pretty good witness to the ball boys’ character whenever he called them liars, hell, he knew them too.

    Now with everything else coming out, including his apology, he seems as though those two guys are telling the truth. JB did the right thing by apologizing. If I had a friend that I have known for as long as him ( I’m not that old) I would defend him as well, if I had no known information.

    This is definetly, at least from the perspective so far, different from the PSU thing. I am/was a diehard PSU/JoePa fan. I am not anymore. This just goes against everything Joe stood for and proved that anything was not as big as “the program.”

    DK: I agree that they’re different. Boeheim’s default mode was going to be to believe his longtime friend. Now, if someone reports to him that they saw Fine doing something — say, someone on his staff — and he takes only nominal action, that’s more in Paterno’s area. I haven’t heard anything to that effect.

  38. Dejan,
    Just listened to you become the “Daddio of the Radio.”

    Ovie on roids or HGH. Wow!!

    I know it was an observation, not an accusation. But, Wow!!

  39. Arriba Wilver says:

    NMR–I’m glad you’re amused, but where have I “chastise[d] Joe Paterno supporters for their loyalty, albeit blind, yet excuse[d] Boeheim for his actions, presumably due to the same thing?” My bias is showing strong on this one? I don’t see where I have excused Boheim for his actions or chastised Joe supporters. I raised a legitimate question. You might be misinterpreting my comments about Drew and Foo. I don’t think they are.

    But it’s kind of sad if you don’t have any friends or loved ones that you are confident enough in that they would have to prove their innocence to you before you would be able to look at them if someone accused them of something.

  40. Milo Hamilton says:

    Baseball’s new “competitive balance lottery” is farcical. A “competitive balance lottery” would give the same have-not teams a chance to win Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder while the Yankees & Red Sox contribute to a fund to pay them. Congratulations Pittsburgh, you get Prince Fielder.

    Now that’s a “Competitive Balance Lottery”.

  41. Milo Hamilton says:

    I don’t think the Jim Boeheim situation is complicated at all. He’s going to be fired for what he’s said in the last 10 days. Not for what he’s done the last 10 years. Tick, tick, tick.

  42. NMR says:


    “But it’s kind of sad if you don’t have any friends or loved ones that you are confident enough in that they would have to prove their innocence to you before you would be able to look at them if someone accused them of something.”

    -Not just of “something”. Of molesting children. Don’t dumb down what happened here. And to answer you, no, there is nobody in my life I would protect at all costs if it was even possible that they could be harming another. Don’t be naive enough to think this couldn’t happen to any one of us. Please. (And I wasn’t referencing your Boeheim bias, I was speaking of your Paterno bias. I’ve been reading this blog for a while. Nothing personal, just observation)


    Our difference boils down to you(and many others) beleiving a witness over an actual victim. I certainly “understand” why Boeheim would choose to beleive his long-time friend, but it still doesn’t make it right.

    I just find it surprising, and disheartening, that so many out there would choose to protect a friend over a victim.

  43. Arriba Wilver says:

    MMR–I knew you meant my “Paterno bias.” Maybe if you’d get off you moral high horse for a second, you would realize no one, certainly not me, is advocating protecting a friend at all costs no matter what the allegation or evidence is. You said they would have to prove their innocence to you before you could look at them. How would you be convinced of that? Did anybody ever accuse you of anything you didn’t do?

    And I haven’t seen anyone say they would protect a friend over a victim. Maybe Drew was right, we should be looking at this in a legal sense . . . innocent until proven guilty.

    Look, I suspect Fine did what he is accused of, but it’s way early in the case to accuse Boeheim of anything other than insensitivity at this point. Nobody is defending Fine, but you are treating it like they are. I will say this, I know way less about Syracuse and Boeheim than I do about Penn State and Joe, but that’s just knowledge, not the bias you claim.

  44. NMR says:


    Again, I’m not trying to make this a contest of who has higher morals. I specifically said its not my place to judge anyone in that regard, including you. I have no reason to beleive you’re not a good person.

    This has gone off on a tangent, but our original discussion focussed on whether to beleive a victim or a witness. Thats what the issue boils down to. It doesn’t matter if the players are iconic NCAA coaches or little league coaches.

    My stance is that we are failing victims by setting a precedent that nobody will beleive them unless someone else is somehow able to see the abuse happen. I have yet to hear someone refute that.

    I appologize for falling into the Paterno bickering trap.

  45. NMR says:

    And obviously nobody is defending Bernie Fine. They are defending Jim Boeheim.

  46. Bizrow says:

    Dejan and Co

    I know this talk will go on for a long time

    Gawd how I miss just getting chewed up for saying the BMTIB are sleazeballs

    Not how to be dissing the significance of what has happened

    Its just a sad sign of the times

  47. NMR says:


    Couldn’t agree more. I’d rather read an article about Pirate shortstop scouting proficiency at this point. Even that would be more positive than what has gone on lately.

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