Some random observations while enjoying the Pirates' better-than-expected start:
n The Big Ten and Penn State made the right decision in setting the Nittany Lions' game with Ohio State - PSU's lone home night kickoff - for 6 p.m. on Oct. 27. Penn State fans, and particularly the students, have proven repeatedly that they cannot handle a later start without upping the arrest count significantly. (And in defense of PSU, most stadiums with 100,000 seats are in the same boat.) So good call, Big Ten.
n Maybe the most interesting comment from the Blue-White Game was uttered by quarterback Matt McGloin on the difference in how the quarterback competition is being handled from a year ago. Said McGloin: "The most important thing is that we are being told the truth. Coach [O'Brien] is being honest with us, and that's something that hasn't happened too much [in the past]."
n The impressive enthusiasm, energy, personality and intelligence of Bill O'Brien have all been on full display during the current Penn State Coaches Caravan that is in the midst of a nine-day, 18-stop tour around the state and East region. It's been well executed and a great idea, successfully designed for O'Brien to get to know the Penn State Nation and vice versa. The bus stops in Altoona for a May 14 breakfast.
n While O'Brien has been greeting fans and answering questions, his assistants have been hitting the recruiting trail hard to find talent and build relationships. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof has Blair County, and he stopped at Altoona and Hollidaysburg last week, but the rural schools are also included, evidenced by Mac McWhorter's extended visit to Moshannon Valley on Wednesday.
n Was surprised to see John L. Smith hired at Arkansas. Thought Todd Graham would take the job. He's only been at Arizona State five months - long enough by his standards.
n Speaking of coaches on the move, good luck to Susan Robinson Fruchtl. The former St. Francis coach, headed to Providence, did a great job in Loretto and was a pleasure to know. And she'll need luck in banging heads with UConn and Notre Dame in the Big East. Here's hoping Robinson can find the success that eluded former SFU women's coaches Jenny Przekwas (Washington State) and Myndi Hill (Manhattan) who left for higher-profile jobs but didn't succeed.
n Coquese Washington, who flirted with Michigan, staying at Penn State should bode well for the Lady Lions.
n Of the 10 players listed on the Penn State golf team, Hollidaysburg's Anthony DeGol is No. 1 with an average score of 74.2 in 22 matches and four of the Lions' six Top-10 finishes. Not bad for a walk-on who basically fell into the program's lap.
n Recovery wishes to the Mirror's John Hartsock, who suffered a fishing accident and will be sidelined for a few weeks.
n The Kentucky Derby goes off Saturday so it's time for my annual pick, courtesy of my racing guru, one David Rudel, who nailed Funny Cide out of the blue in 2003 but hasn't had a call since. Dad is due, and he knows it, so here goes: "Creative Cause is in his first Derby, and I'll bet he goes off lower than 12-1. And Daddy Nose Best at 15-1 is a great closer and would be a good perfecta."
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.