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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: Giants 34, Patriots 24


MUNCIE, Ind. – Brief and to the Point …

>> My Friday column follows a fun sit-down I had yesterday morning with Bill O’Brien. Really down-to-earth guy, the type I could see doing very well in recruiting the state. You’ll also find a brief video.

Curious to hear the reaction of you Penn Staters.

>> Last wave of pics until the pregame stuff Sunday …

I snapped this of O’Brien quickly while that standing reporter asked him something. Check the garb.


Bill Belichick’s news conference is bigger than anything the President holds, I think.


Rob Gronkowski is really big. You knew that. But did you also know he can wear a Winnipeg-looking toque? I’ll have more on him and the Woodland-Hills-to-NFL connection in Saturday’s editions.


>> Giants 34, Patriots 24.

I held out as long as I could on Gronkowski’s injury. And, even though he finally practiced yesterday, high ankle sprains take a while to heal. Ask Ben Roethlisberger or Maurkice Pouncey.

Gronkowski is a huge part of what the Patriots do, even with Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez still available for Tom Brady. Fact is, New England needs to score a lot of points to win this game, given their secondary. And they’re not going to score a lot of points without Gronk.

I just don’t see it being more complicated than that.

>> I’ll have a Brady feature for our Sunday sports section that I really hope people like. Tried to come up with something that’s a broader perspective than just this game. But I ended up finding out that this game can change that perspective dramatically.

>> Good piece in Canada’s Globe & Mail on Sidney Crosby’s NOT BROKEN NECK.

>> Breathtaking stuff. Little-known Sam Gagner of the Oilers is the first NHL player since Mario Lemieux in 1988 — yes, the five goals five different ways game against the Devils — to record eight points in a game. Because one of those points involved a slam dunk, Gagner even made it onto ESPN.

>> Pull for Josh Hamilton. That’s a lifelong, daily battle.

>> This is the chat transcript from yesterday. At one point, we had 489 readers on there live at the same time. That’s by far the highest such number I’ve had anywhere, anytime.

Can’t express my appreciation enough. Those things are lousy without great reader participation, and that’s what I’m very lucky to have.


  1. Leah Backus says:

    “Because one of those points involved a slam dunk, Gagner even made it onto ESPN.”


  2. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    LOVE your list of great things about Muncie, Indiana.

    And as well—your Groundhog Day connotation regarding today’s date. (February 2nd again!)

    Wondering how you’ll face getting that speeding ticket again this morning…

    DK: Worked hard on that list. Lots of research.

  3. DannyMoe says:

    Not a Penn Stater, but good article on O’Brien. It will be interesting to see how quickly the kids pick up the new system and what he does with an awful QB situation. Article could only have been better with some sort of subtle Sammy Hagar reference mixed in.

    DK: Hvala, Dan.

  4. dpshadyside says:

    DK, while I will admit that most Penn Staters were not happy initially when O’Brien was hired, the majority of us have come around. I, and most of the PSU’ers I know, have been extremely impressed with everything we’ve heard from him and how he has handled himself. We’re anxious to see how it ultimately plays out on the field, but I think you overplaying the “criticism” from alumni and fans. Let’s face it, you typically only hear from the people that are negative.

    DK: That is true. Sorry for long delay in your comment going up. Only happens with the very first.

    Welcome, Dan!

  5. Jandy says:

    I’m not a HUGE Penn State fan, but I have been known to root for them…
    Bill O’Brien is taking the proper course of action in everything he has done. He’s still committed to the Patriots, and until their season is over, his first priority should be the Patriots.
    His next commitment is Penn State. He’s done his job there too. What is wrong with relying on your recruiting assistants to do their own jobs? Class of 19? Sounds like they did jusst fine. Give the guy a chance.
    As you say, DK, the pain from the Sandusky scandal won’t go away in a few days, or weeks, or even months. It will take a long time for it to ease. I’m willing to see what O’Brien can bring to Penn State.

    Sam Gagner, 8 point night…4 of them goals. Just goes to show you, one never knows what to expect in hockey. Just about anything is possible! Gotta love the game :)

  6. JAL says:

    7 Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Spring Training Tracker


    8—Pirates Prospects

    Taking a Look at the Pirates’ Crowded Bullpen

    Baseball America Releases 2012 Top 100 Draft Prospects

    9 McEffect


    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates sign Juan Cruz

  7. JAL says:


    11 The Economist

    Draft dodgers no more

    12 The Mac Weekly

    Why baseball is different: Moneyball

    13 Chicago Sun-Times

    Former Cubs skipper Mike Quade has some advice for new Sox manager Robin Ventura

    14 PBC Site

    Roberts broke Bucs’ color line admirably

  8. JAL says:


    15 Fangraphs

    Nationals Sign Jackson, But to What End?

    16 Sweet Spot

    You can go from losing record to playoffs

    17 Bleacher Report

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Breaking Down the Top 5 Prospects in the Pirates’ System

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    -Behind the Steel Curtain

    2012 AP NFL MVP Award to be Given Feb. 4 in Gala Event

    The AFC North Has Three New Coordinators for 2012

    Giants Quarterbacks Coach Mike Sullivan Brings a Unique and Fresh Approach to Steelers Offensive Coordinator Search

    -Steelers Depot

    Don’t Count Out Koogs

    -Steelers Gab

    Kirby Wilson in Stable Condition at UPMC Mercy Hospital

  10. DannyMoe says:

    Interesting to see John Clayton’s post that Kirby Wilson is set to be the OC if he recovers quickly. All the reports seem to indicate that it’s going to be a while for him so I see this as quite doubtful.

  11. February 3

    15 days from today Pitchers & Catchers report to Pirate Spring Training

    I kindly ask all of you to join me on this positive chain and pray for Bob, Neal, Frank, and the Pirates, so they can feel confident, healthy, and strong. Envision Bob, Neal, Frank, and the Pirates happy and fulfilled, experiencing with the team .500.

  12. Jandy says:

    What’s that you’re drinking, Groat?

  13. NMR says:

    Good stuff, DK.

    Other than the two small minorites – the hyper-obsessed fan that thought PSU should get an Urban Meyer type and the former jocks that thought PSU owed it to Bradley – is there really the backlash that you and other writers described?

    As a member of the portion of alumni that like football, yet love the University more, I’m more than willing to accept O’Brien as coach and welcome him to the family.

    I know it doesn’t make for good headlines, but we are by far the majority opinion.

    DK: Thanks, N.

  14. PhillyJake says:

    DK, I stole your pick for our office pool.

    Chai Lattes @ Starbucks on me next time you’re in the City of Brotherly love if I win!
    (Actually, if you’d like, I’ll take you for some real coffee!)

  15. Drew71 says:

    Penn Stater alert. Ok, you asked…

    I have to separate these things, Bill O’Brien and Joe Paterno.

    I, um, dislike (intensely) how the Paterno dismissal was handled as well as the ongoing disrespect that was being conveyed from Old Main. Until they suddenly “cared”. After he died.

    But that has nothing – NOTHING – to do with Bill O’Brien.

    What do I think of Bill O’Brien? From a presser? From a video? From a column? From my two minute internet search of his background? Not Enough To Judge.

    But I don’t NEED to judge.

    Because he’s Penn State now.

    So I will accept him and support him. That’s what Penn State is and that’s what Penn State does.

  16. Absolute59 says:

    DK: Just read yesterdays chat and in it you said the Pirates never offered De La Rosa three years. My memory was that Pirates offered three but De La Rosa wanted the third year to be a player option which Pirates were not interested in. Ultimately he got the two year deal with a player option for the third year from the Rockies. A quick goggle search shows that John Perratto reported Pirates offered him a 3 year deal.

    Do you have different information?

    DK: I’ve read this three times, 59, and have no idea what you’re asking me.

  17. Jandy says:

    Drew, well said =)

  18. Catfish293 says:

    Did you just ask Gerry Dulac? He called that score a while ago.

    DK: Seriously? Same score? No, I didn’t know that.

  19. JohninOshkosh says:

    Now that you have gone big time with the live chat, I think a corporate sponsor is in order: Live Chat with Dejan Kovacevic Presented by Cuisinart Toaster Division

    C’mon, no photos of Gisele or Madonna? I am sure they are staying at the same hotel as you.

    Courage and Strength to you, Josh Hamilton.

    Great work this week, Dejan. Very entertaining. To the point I haven’t watched a single minute of ESPN’s (the “others” network) bloated coverage. Enjoy the big slice of American Pie that is the Super Bowl.

    DK: I appreciate that, John.

  20. NMR says:

    Couldn’t have said the O’brien part better, Drew.

    I know PSU only cares about winning football games, the culture produced a serial child molestor, the priorities are out of whack, and whatever other garbage the moral majority has decreed, but THEY are the ones that “just don’t get it”. And yes, I hate that phrase with a passion.

    Writers are still confusing loyalty to Paterno, the man, with the potential impact on the football field. In this case, specifically with the reception of O’brien as coach.

    They have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

    How fast they forget that no other major program in the country would’ve allowed an 85 y.o. man who couldn’t even keep his headphones on straight in the press box to remain as coach.

    Yeah, PSU culture is the one that needs to change…

  21. TK says:


    Actually Dejan is in the process of lining up a deal with Escort Radar Detectors.

  22. MSCulver says:

    Agree 100% with Drew

    O’Brien is part of the Penn State family now and the 107,000 people attending the home opener at Paterno Field at Beaver Stadium will ensure the support is there.

  23. JohninOshkosh says:


    BAM!! You nailed it!

  24. radio wave says:

    As a lifelong Pats fan I have one word;

  25. Leefoo says:


    You made my morning 3 ways:

    a) as a PSU grad and fan, that was a wonderful interview with O’B.

    b) loved the 34-24 prediction, even IF it means O’B will be unhappy. I hate the Pats.

    c) loved the comment about Josh H. Alcoholism IS a lifelong battle that you’re never cured of at any time. You can only say ‘Today I will not drink” until you die.

    Glad to hear your chat room has filled to record proportions. You deserve it, even IF I’m a tea guy and you’re a coffee guy. lol

    Lipton Foo


    DK: Appreciated, Foo.

  26. Drew71 says:

    Foo – A little birdie told me he drinks iced coffee.

    ICED coffee

    He may as well drink tea.

  27. Fang58 says:

    Good article on O’Brien. As a PSU alum and NitLion fan, I welcome Coach O with open arms. While I luv’d JoePa and what he stood for, I have been ready for change for 10 years or so. Coach O seems to be a good guy with a good heart and good mind for the game. I do think he will do the program proud.

    I also hope and know that Tom Bradley is going to land on his feet. He would’ve been a fine successor, but he really belongs in media, where his tremendous personality and energy can flourish.

    Keep up the great reportage!

    DK: Danke, Fang.

  28. PetroSteel says:

    DK, Great work as always!

    JAL, Thanks very much for the daily links!

    Groat2Maz2Strangeglove, I’m praying buddy!!! Surely, they can’t go into this season (AGAIN!!!) without putting a team on the field that cannot compete for the pennant. Can they???

    DK: Gracias, Senor Petro.

  29. Dejan,
    Excellent article on O’Brien: makes me appreciate him all the more. So many have myopicly derided him for not jumping to State College immediately. He seems to be in it for the long haul, while respecting former and present promises. Superior quality to possess.

    Still waiting for pictures of your motel at the far end of the road to hell.

    I’m surprised no one has picked up on my Gisele homage today.

    DK: Merci, Groat.

  30. Oily Steel,
    Unless Pedro turns into Mike Schmidt (he accomplished the 1st full season part) and Garrett Jones turns into The Legend; unless Mike Lincoln turns into Todd Ritchie’s last year here and James McDonald figures out that Little League goes 6 innings and Major League goes 9 innings; unless McCutch turns into the McCutch we all have seen consistently only in our dreams and Joel Hanrahan stays Joel Hanrahan . . . . .

    there will be no competing in Pittsburgh in 2012.

    That’s a lot of ‘unlesses.’

  31. Bizrow says:

    Well said Sir Groat

  32. Milo Hamilton says:

    Didn’t Mike Lincoln step on a golf ball ?

  33. JAL says:

    So they didn’t get Jackson!

    Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Sign Brian Tallet

  34. JAL says:

    Mike Lincoln last pitched for the Pirates in 2003, did not pitch in majors or minors in 2011.

  35. Drew71 says:

    You are correct sir.

    Just looked it up, and yes, in 2003 he ended up on the DL after stepping on a golf ball.

  36. Drew71 says:

    According to the article, and from my vague recollection from visiting last spring, there is a golf course next to Pirate City. An errant golf ball ended up on Pirate grounds (probably my slice).

    Good thing Pirate City’s not next to a beach. Had he stepped on a beach ball, he might have put an eye out.

  37. Of course, I meant Brad——don’t call me ‘Mike,’ that’s my mother’s name——Lincoln.

    He doesn’t golf . . . . . he hits!

  38. Arriba Wilver says:

    Tough crowd, Groat2Maz!

  39. Those guys who run the golf course are MEAN. It’s behind center and left field on one of the batting practice fields——ergo, lots of homerun balls deposit there. But no one can come on their property to retrieve those magic missiles. A guy sits there hiding behind a shed in center field, chasing trick-or-treaters.

    I did surreptitiously retrieve a ball pounded by Rob Wright one Spring Training. Longest ball I ever saw hit there!

  40. You’re right, WilverDornell!

    Little help, guys.

  41. JAL says:


    Knew you meant Brad, just playing with the names since Mike was a Pirate pitcher.

  42. Tallet certainly to play at Indy.

    Since Huntington doesn’t believe in LOOGY’s and Tallet was a starter in Majors 2006-2007-2008-2009, throwing 160 innings as recently as ’09——

    does he compete with Moskos and Watson, or is he a starter in Indy for emergency, like Bass and that former little lefty?

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    @ Groat

    Let’s get you back on track. How many days again ?

  44. I guess Tallet only started in 2009, with spots starts only in 2010.

    Sounds like insurance for Moskos and Watson.

    You’re right, Milo!

    15 days until pitchers and catchers report
    and then that Gisele stuff . . .

  45. Drew71 says:

    I’ll be there. February 18. Pirate City. Chasing golf balls.

  46. Bizrow says:

    I’ll have to wait till April 5th? Who do we open up with, the Phillies?

  47. JAL says:

    Philies April 5, 7, 8 then they follow Horace Greeley’s advice and go west

  48. Arriba Wilver says:

    DK–In regards to Absolute’s question (#19) All he’s asking is if you are sure/confident that DLR was offered only 2 years instead of 3 years by the Pirates last year, because the published info (by Perroto) is it was 3. (I don’t have a dog in this fight, I don’t care if it was 2 or 3).

    DK: So, it’s tantamount to asking: “You wrote that you bought a blue car? Did you buy a blue car?”

    What is that?

  49. JohninOshkosh says:

    JAL-Not everyday a Whig gets mentioned on a sports blog. Curious as to your musical selection this morning. I thought we might get Kristy MacColl’s “A New England” or a selection from They Might Be Giants to tip us off as to your choice on Sunday’s game.

  50. JohninOshkosh says:

    Don’t want to get into hot water with ASCAP-“A New England” was written by the great Billy Bragg.

  51. Pirates have a KILLER of an opening schedule——16 of first 25 games are on the road.

    Open at home with easy Phillies and their lackluster rotation; then 9 games on West Coast against Dodgers, San Fran, and Arizona; then home for 3 with World Champs and 3 more with Rocks; then back on the road for 4 in Atlanta; closing out with 3 on road against World Champs.

    If they can win 12-13 of that group, I’ll become a BELIEVER.

    I’m expecting them to win 9.

    Actually—1 against Phils, 1 each in LA, SF, & Arizona, 2/3 at home against Cards, 2/3 at home against Rockies; 2 of 4 in Atlanta; and 1 in St.Louis = 11

    11-14 would be an excellent start w/ that schedule!!!

  52. JohninOshkosh says:


    Wow-hadn’t looked at the schedule in a while. That is rough. Going to Atlanta that early gives me a Leah *twitch*

  53. JAL says:


    Clannad, and Irish band In A Lifetime we hope to see every Pittsburgh team win a championship. Steelers and Pens have done it for everyone who posts here but only some of have seen the Pirates or any of the college teams do it.

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    I understand the difficulty of the schedule, but that actually makes a lot of sense for April in that a lot of the games will be in warmer climates. So much so, I wonder what the heck MLB was thinking, since so often they don’t, except for Boston and New York. Must have been a computer error.

  55. JohninOshkosh says:


    Love your musical links. Always try to glean some meaning from them. Often, they send me on excursions on the internet machine. Excellent work diversion.

  56. Oshkosh b’gosh,
    You’re right about Atlanta. Bucs could be 10 under by the time they come home after 26.

    Geez, I hope Jerry Meals is not the Home Plate ump in Atlanta!!!!!!!!

  57. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    DK-As a lifelong PSU fan, I really appreciate the article on the new coach.

    Drive slowly.

    DK: Thanks, Ryan. Yeah, I slowed down today.

  58. MadTurk says:

    “Good thing Pirate City’s not next to a beach. Had he stepped on a beach ball, he might have put an eye out.”

    Well he could have had a broken neck

  59. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    Everyone see the new Mean Joe Greene commercial? It’ll run during the SuperBowl…

  60. Eric Bowser says:

    Rumor has it, Penguins forward Eric Tangradi has been traded… one rumor says to the Blue jackets but nothing definitive.

    DK: Oh, you’ve just to give up where you saw the Blue Jackets thing now. That’s one to scratch off the list from now until the end of time.

  61. JAL says:


    haven’t seen anything on the trade but did see the signed Joe Vitale to a two-year, $1.1 million contract extension

  62. Eric Bowser says:

    JAL – Yeah, I saw a twitter update by Shelly Anderson at PG that Tangradi wasn’t traded and in fact was scratched for back spasms.

    I love trade rumor season.

    Vitale’s 2-year deal is awesome value for the Penguins

  63. Steve says:

    Keep up the great work Dejan, much appreciated!!


  64. Arriba Wilver says:

    # 51–“DK: So, it’s tantamount to asking: “You wrote that you bought a blue car? Did you buy a blue car?”

    What is that?”

    That’s asking that maybe in the billions of things you write maybe in a chat you made a mistake. Not accusing you of making a mistake, just asking essentially for clarification since it was different than what the vast majority thought (3). Kinda like, “but everybody else thought you bought a teal car, are you sure you meant to say blue?” But, hey, it wasn’t my question in the first place. I’d a been happy with 2.

    DK: Again, think about what’s being asked: Do you compare notes/sources with everyone else who wrote on the topic? Have a pow-wow a year-plus later? The whole thing is weird.

  65. Leefoo says:

    I just realized you insulted BOTH of us. “Might as well be tea”. Tea is the CIVILIZED man’s drink. Coffee is the COMMON man’s drink….and iced coffee is a woman’s drink. Not that there’s anything wrong with Dejan drinking it, of course.

    Btw, I hope you lose all of your (golf) balls this spring.

    :) :) :)

  66. Arriba Wilver says:

    # 67—I don’t think it’s weird, I think it’s a misunderstanding. I went back and re-read your chat answer:

    “They didn’t offer de la Rosa three years. It was just two.”

    Which is different than what I was thinking, which was just that it was a quick answer mentioning 2. So my apologies for being a little dense on it. Saying that they didn’t offer 3 pretty much seals it. My bad. I suspect Abs made the same mistake I did.

  67. MrB says:

    DK – Were you not one of the many deriding O’Brien for not immediately leaving the Pats for PSU?

    Nice reversal (flip-flop) of position there.

    DK: I questioned it. Deriding is really strong. I changed my mind. I’m never, ever going to be afraid to do that once I get more information. The reference you’re making is to what I remember as being a two-sentence blog entry. This was a full-blown column after an extensive interview.

    I hope you can appreciate that. One thing I’ve always HATED is when people stand by a position pointlessly in the face of overwhelming evidence. I hope never to be that stubborn.

  68. JAL says:

    Indeed, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    Not consistency but “foolish consistency”, which could be refusing to change a position in the face of overwhelming evidence.

  69. JohninOshkosh says:

    Your self realization that you “hope never to be that stubborn” ensures that you will not become “that stubborn”, Grasshopper.

  70. MrB says:

    DK – Deriding may have been too strong. In retrospect, I’m no longer sure why I chose that verb. “Criticizing” may have been more appropriate.

    I checked the archives. Your initial critique was a bit more than a two-sentence blog entry. But here is the thing with respect to today’s media world in which you are gainfully employed. Just like the pro athlete, who lets loose on twitter, you as a professional reporter/columnist are going to be verbally digested by every communication medium you utilize. Your columns, blogs, chat responses, twitter, etc. are all inclusive.

    With respect to O’Brien’s NE/PSU time split, there was your blog and chat responses (one that was completely unnecessary) over several weeks that continued to express your critique.

    Personally, I appreciate that you can change your mind. I really appreciate that you have now finally admitted so with respect to O’Brien. I’ll assume that since you had yet to write a full-blown column on O’Brien, that you didn’t feel it necessary to verbally express your “change of mind” in the article.

    In this modern age, I as a reader am going to hold all your writing accountable, be it blog entries, chat responses or columns. You’re a professional reporter/columnist and as opposed to a pro athlete, your writing/opinion is going to be held to a higher standard.

    Change your mind on any subject as you see fit. Just own up to it somewhere when you do. Your readers (at least this one) will both appreciate and respect you more for it.

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