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September 30, 2015
by Bob Cohn

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Schedule conflicts


It’s a little muddy knowing just how good (or not) Penn State is at 3-1,  because of how bad their schedule has been. As others have noted, the Nittany Lions are the only Big Ten team whose non-conference schedule does not include a Power 5 opponent.

The cupcake diet this week features Army (or Army West Point, as the new branding goes) visiting Beaver Stadium Saturday, fresh off its first win of the season, 58-36 win over Eastern Michigan.

The Black Knights, (at least that stayed the same), who lost 21 straight road games prior to that, dropped their opener to FCS-member Fordham, and followed that with losses to Connecticut and  Wake Forest.

Penn State last week beat San Diego State, although the Aztecs, probably hung in longer than they should have. Two weeks ago, Penn State caught a break when a decimated Rutgers team came in besieged by dismissals and suspensions that included the head coach. And prior to that it was Buffalo.

Those were the three wins. The loss, of course, came in the opener to Temple, which is 3-0 and leading the American Athletic Conference. What everybody remembers, though, are the 10 sacks the Owls laid on the Lions in a 27-10 loss so ugly that Penn State coach James Franklin shook up not just his offensive line but elements of the entire offense so quarterback Christian Hackenberg would have more time to throw.

Temple is pretty good, but it is interesting to note the Owls recorded just two sacks and yielded 49 points in subsequent wins over Cincinnati and UMass.

Buffalo, Rutgers, San Diego State and Army are not as good. These Penn State opponents are respectively ranked, 99th, 97th, 83rd and 115th among the 128 Division I programs, according to the ESPN Power Index. Penn State, by the way, is No. 44, but six 2-2 teams and three 1-3 teams are ranked higher.

Obviously such rankings are not the final word, but they do provide a reasonably accurate assessment of Penn State’s schedule, beyond what the eye can see. Which isn’t much.

Cupcake, anyone?







July 29, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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Live interviews with James Franklin, Franco Harris and Steve Jones



“Tonight we’ll blow off the doors, and darling we won’t look back”


Fitting that I’m up here in Latrobe at Steelers training camp hanging with our fine columnist, Mr. Rob Rossi. It’s long been his schtick to drop relevant Springsteen lyrics into his blog, broadcast and social media postings. I asked him for one for today.


I’ve long since had my duties changed at Trib Total Media from Penn State sports beat writer to the Steelers’ beat alongside Mark Kaboly and Ralph Paulk. The final vestige of my PSU coverage was the weekly show on TribLive Radio, which began almost exactly a year ago.


Its run — at least with me as its host — ended Wednesday morning. And if I was going out, I wanted to “blow off the doors.”


So we had the best guests of the show’s long and illustrious (well, illustrious? OK, neither…) tenure: Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin, Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris and The Voice of PSU, Steve Jones.


Franklin talks about, among other things, dealing with the media, rivalries and the college football postseason format.


Harris discusses his recruitment to Penn State, the team going 40-4 while he was at the school, and compares/contrasts Joe Paterno and Chuck Noll.


Jones expounds upon the skills and temperament needed to perform his duties as a play-by-play man (and talk show host) successfully.



Hope you enjoy listening here:




I’m still, of course, part of the Trib Total Media team. And I still will even appear on the TribLive Radio airwaves (the Steelers Roundtable for the 2015 season begins Thursday, and I’m exploring beginning a weekly Steelers show).


But I wanted to send a public thank you to all the radio-show guests over the past year, and all the PSU players/coaches/media-relations personnel/sources for their help. Mostly, though, I appreciated the interaction with all of you.


Be it for the written product or the radio show, I got a lot of feedback. Some of it negative, but most of it positive. I don’t run from being a Penn State alum; I’m proud of that (most of the time, at least) — but I also had a job to do, and I’d be critical when it was called for. The radio show was a little different than writing when it comes to giving an opinion, but even if I had something negative to say you might not have liked, I appreciate your reading and listening.


Now the great Bob Cohn is covering all things Penn State, and he will do a better job than me. As I said on the show, me describing Bob as “veteran” and “experienced” aren’t merely euphemisms for “old” (although I’ll tell him they are) — he knows what he’s doing and I can only wish to be as good a writer as him someday.


Check me out on the Trib’s Steelers page and blog. (At very least, Penn State fans, you’ll get some periodic updates on Jesse James and Miles Dieffenbach, no?).


Yes, this all is a little over-the-top for a show on the air about a calendar year. But that said, for the final time on this forum, I wish you all a lovely day.





July 15, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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TribLive PSU show ep. 49: Recruiting news from Rivals’ Adam Friedman



Enjoy the Nittany Lion Nation show on TribLive Radio while you can. Wednesday morning was this week’s edition, which featured Adam Friedman. He’s the Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst for, and he had some insights on Penn State’s stellar 2016 incoming class, as well as who’s coming to visit campus on a big recruiting weekend for PSU.


Listen live with one click here:



Have a lovely week.





June 29, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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From Penn State to the Steelers




On my most recent weekly Penn State TribLive Radio show, I talked to Miles Dieffenbach and Jesse James. The guard and tight end, respectively, are on the Steelers training camp roster.  As a bonus in the root-for-them department, each is a native of greater Pittsburgh: James, a fifth-round pick, is a South Allegheny High School alum, and Dieffenbach is from Fox Chapel.



It got me to thinking about how often Penn State products are brought in by the Steelers. Of course, two of the 18 Steelers players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame are PSU alums – Jack Ham and Franco Harris – so the legacy runs deep.



I didn’t go back too far, just a decade. And I’ll even allow that I might have left off a name or two: My research consisted of the list of Penn State alumni who played in the NFL. My list takes into account anyone who just so much as appeared on the Steelers roster (be it 53-man roster, practice squad, or training camp). So, in theory, there is somebody I am forgetting who went to Penn State, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Steelers at some point but never appeared in a game for any NFL team. (This loophole is also why did not attempt to compare PSU’s ratio of Steelers with any other school, as I had originally intended).



Anyway, I found 14 players from Penn State over the past 10 seasons who collected a playing check from the Steelers. Excluding James and Dieffenbach – rookies who, of course, have not had a game to appear in yet – six players on that list never appeared in a regular-season game with the Steelers. Four were drafted: James, WR Justin Brown (sixth round, 2013, albeit out of Oklahoma because he transferred, but he did earn a degree from Penn State and played three of four years there, so I count it), OG A.Q. Shipley (seventh round, 2009 – never played for the Steelers but has made 19 starts over three seasons in the league) and TE Matt Kranchick (sixth round, 2004 – he played in four Steelers games in 2005).



The Pitt football program likes point out it shares a facility with the Steleers. But interestingly, they have never drafted a Pitt player since the UPMC facility opened. The most recent Pitt player drafted by the Steelers was cornerback Hank Poteat in 2000. The Steelers, it seems at least anecdotally speaking (although this could never be proven these are their intentions) like to bring in an undrafted “local product” when they have a chance.



Over the past quarter century, eight former Penn State players have been drafted by the Steelers (also, FB Jon Witman, third round, 1996; LB Eric Ravotti, sixth round, 1994; FS Darren Perry, eighth round, 1991; RB Leroy Thompson, sixth round, 1990). In that same time span, only two Pitt players have been drafted by the Steelers (Poteat and QB Alex Van Pelt, eighth round, 1993).



As far as West Virginia goes… from Terrance Garvin and Will Johnson on the current roster, to Ryan Mundy from 2009-12 and Amos Zereoue from 1999-2003, to guys such as Wes Lyons and Mortty Ivy who were invited to training camp over the past half-decade, the Steelers have a recent history with Mountaineers, too.



Here’s a list of Penn Staters to the Steelers over the past 10 years…

  • *-Jesse James, TE, 2015
  • Miles Dieffenbach, G, 2015
  • *-Justin Brown, WR, 2013-14
  • Derek Moye, WR, 2012-14
  • Levi Brown, OT, 2013
  • Justin King, CB, 2012
  • x-Derrick Williams, WR, 2012
  • Jeremy Kapinos, P, 2010-11
  • x-John Gilmore, TE, 2011
  • *-x-A.Q. Shipley, OL, 2009
  • x-Eddie Drummond, WR, 2008
  • x-Scott Paxson, DT, 2006
  • x-Isaac Smolko, TE, 2006
  • *-Matt Kranchick, TE, 2004-05


*-Denotes was drafted by the Steelers

x-Never appeared in a regular-season game with the Steelers (2015 rookies excluded)




Anyway… also on my wildly-popular Nittany Lion Nation show, we talked to Dan Duggan of He covers Rutgers for NJ Advance Media, and he was quite informative and entertaining as we continue our tour of the Big Ten East Division rivals for PSU, having a beat writer from each team on to give kind of a state of the program.



Once again, click here to give it a listen.



I have my new gig now, as I have written about before. But I’ll keep checking in here at Penn State Sports Blog, as news warrants (the Dieffenbach and James stories made for some nice crossover)…


Take care.



May 6, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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TribLive show ep. 38: guests PSU defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, PSU football historian Lou Prato



The newest episode of the Nittany Nation Show on TribLive Radio features our favorite guest, Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Bob Shoop. It also includes unofficial Penn State football historian Lou Prato – he of the seven books written about the program and five decades spent around it – and an update on the commitment level of Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders to the Nittany Lions program.



Shoop provides a position-by-position breakdown of his 2015 defense, talks about what it’s like being from a Pitt family while growing up in Pittsburgh and now being a coach at Penn State, breaks down the NFL prospects for some recent PSU graduates and even provides his analysis on the Penguins’ — and Pirates’ recent struggles!



Listen to the episode by clicking here.



Shoop, coach James Franklin and defensive recruiting coordinator Terry Smith are in Pittsburgh on Thursday recruiting and making a stop on the Penn State Coaches Caravan in Cranberry.



Here’s where I thank you for listening and wish you a blessed day.




April 16, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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TribLive ep: 35: Blue-White Game preview, chat with (parody) Evil James Franklin



With the Blue-White Game upon Penn State this weekend, we spend this week’s show looking ahead to that — both in a serious way (via’s Nittany Lions beat writer Bob Flounders) and in a not-so-serious way (via the “fake, darker, arrogant, egotistical” wit and wisdom of the Evil James Franklin parody).


Flounders discusses the predicted emergence of defensive ends Carl Nassib and Garrett Sickels, the strength of the PSU secondary, the battles along the offensive line and the state of quarterback Christian Hackenberg.


Evil James, well, he discusses Penn State football in a way only Evil James can.


Give it a listen, please. And follow Bob Cohn’s coverage of Saturday’s game for the Trib.


Thank you.



Click here to download the podcast via this link.







April 8, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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TribLive show ep. 34: Spring football talk with columnist Mike Poorman, plus longtime men’s volleyball coach Mark Pavlik

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail columnist Mike Poorman shared his unique insights and perspective not only onto the current Penn State football team but in more than three decades of covering the program during this week’s Nittany Lion Nation show on Trib Live Radio.


Mike and I discuss Christian Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions’ defense’s chances of being as good as last year’s – as well as his experiences teaching a “Joe Paterno and the Media” course at PSU.


Our guest for the second half of the program was the head coach of the highly successful Penn State men’s volleyball program, Mark Pavlik. In addition to talking about his current team (ranked in the top 10 nationally) and the state of his program (has made 15 consecutive NCAA final fours), Pavlik discusses how Penn State’s new “cost of attendance” initiative affects his program.


Download the podcast here:






A sincere thank you for listening.


April 1, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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TribLive show ep. 33: The Voice of Penn State, Steve Jones, joins us, as does baseball coach Rob Cooper



No joke – the April Fool’s edition of the Nittany Nation Show on TribLive Radio featured The Voice of Penn State, longtime basketball and football play-by-play announcer Steve Jones. Jones talked Nittany Lions spring football, the long-dormant basketball program, his personal experiences in falling in love with Penn State and on the future of the football team behind James Franklin & Co.


Cooper’s team had won five consecutive and seven of eight when he came on, so he talked about that as well as the perceived challenges in building a “sleeping giant” of a program and in recruiting baseball to a “northern” school.




Listen live here with one click:




And click here to download the podcast link:




As always, thank you for listening.


March 4, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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TribLive ep. 30: Penn Staters heading to the NFL, plus how Scranton holds the key to the Lions’ ’15 OL



This week, talk on the show revolves around two things: The nine Penn State players prepping for the draft and an NFL future, and the prospects for who will provide the reinforcements in 2015 for the Nittany Lions’ woebegone offensive line.


Since the top three candidates for the latter all previously played in Scranton, we had the Scranton Times-Tribunes’ longtime Penn State beat writer, Donnie Collins, on as a guest.



Listen here with one click:


And download the podcast here:



Thanks, as always, for listening.




February 25, 2015
by Chris Adamski

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TribLive ep. 28: Breaking down the Penn State defensive depth chart, chatting offseason news



Midway between Signing Day and the start of spring practice, my Penn State TribLive Radio show spent this week’s episode going down the Nittany Lions’ depth chart — position by position – on defense.



The defensive line has gone from the deepest unit on the team into a group (particularly at end) that has a large void and plenty of question marks. The linebacking corps at Linebacker U was thin last season and lost its heart and soul in Mike Hull – what young players could step up? In the secondary, the apparent move of two-year cornerback starter Jordan Lucas to safety helps clarify that position, and there is an abundance of young talent at cornerback. Who will fill critical roles?



Longtime York Daily Record Penn State beat writer Frank Bodani joined me over the final segment of the show to assist in the defense breakdown and also to talk about signing day, spring practice issues and the Nittany Lions’ schedule this fall.



Worth a listen?



Listen here with one click:



Or download the podcast link here:




Thank you for listening.




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