Neil Rudel

Victory takes treasured place in PSU history

UNIVERSITY PARK — This is why we all love sports. Because you just never quite know when you might witness something amazingly unexpected. Like Saturday night. Trailing Ohio State 21-7 with 14 minutes left and showing no signs of being able to spring a monumental upset, Penn State — ...

Nits’ big-play ability major improvement

I know I wrote last week that offensive preparation was the most disappointing aspect of the 2016 season.(Cue the scene from "A Few Good Men" when Jack Nicholson said on the stand, "I recall what I said - I don't have to have it read back to me.")OK, some levity, which seems fitting because I ...

Rudel: Offensive scheming has fallen short

There have been several, of course, but I'm going with the overall coaching in general and specifically the offensive preparation.Barring the roof falling in the form of second-straight loss to Temple, most thought it was a distinct possibility that the Nittany Lions would limp into October at ...

Battered defense holds up its end

UNIVERSITY PARK - OK, Penn State fans: Raise your hand if you're satisfied with a 34-27 victory over Temple.There should be more hands up.While the Nittany Lion faithful will likely never get used to having to recover a late onside kick to pretty much snuff out the Owls' last breath - nor ...

Game shows pride of series

PITTSBURGH - As Trace McSorley was facing a pack of reporters underneath the Heinz Field stands late Saturday afternoon, trying to express his disappointment over his last-minute interception that clinched Penn State's fate in a 42-39 loss to Pitt, the session was interrupted by a vociferous ...

Knocking off Panthers shot in Franklin’s arm

If you put the behavior of both coaches under a microscope, Saturday's game would seem to mean more to Pat Narduzzi than James Franklin.Narduzzi, after all, has closed ranks and decided all players are off limits to the media this week, the first time he's done that in his short Pitt ...

McSorley, offense leave room to grow

UNIVERSITY PARK - Almost the entire time he was watching Christian Hackenberg lead the Penn State offense the last two years, James Franklin never let go of his opinion that a running quarterback puts added pressure on the opposing defense.We saw some of that Saturday.Trace McSorley made his ...

Lions should have fresh(er) start this year

A little nitpicking while eager for the 2016 curtain to go up:n James Franklin had a good explanation to a question this week on why the Nittany Lions looked so flat against Temple in their opener last year.He said the lack of depth in practice kept the 2015 regulars on the field longer, in the ...

Measure program’s strides in its improvements

Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record says you are."That statement probably applied more to the NFL, where Parcells spent the vast majority of his Hall of Fame career.(Parcells, incidentally, was approached by a Penn State representative to succeed Joe Paterno after all the fallout ...

Pry ascending to his biggest stage

UNIVERSITY PARK - When Bob Shoop left Penn State's defensive coordinator position for a similar job at Tennessee after last season, several Nittany Lion players told James Franklin he didn't need to search hard for Shoop's successor.He was right down the hall.Of course, Franklin knew that.Brent ...

Griping publicly doesn’t help Penn State

James Franklin went 0-1 at the Big Ten Media Days.In two-plus years, we've learned that Franklin is an excellent representative of Penn State and has strong recruiting, leadership and communication skills.There are far more questions about his coaching ability, but even that's not entirely fair ...

Pitt’s call on beer hits spot

Some recent news items in sports worthy of comment while wondering how many saw this big of a dropoff coming for the 2016 Pirates:ITEM: Pitt to sell beer at Heinz Field.This is a decision that shouldn't be criticized.If you haven't noticed, college sports long ago became big business, and if ...

Rudel: Chambers sees the light at PSU

Patrick Chambers was right at home during the Bishop Guilfoyle Marauder Club's annual spring luncheon Friday at Park Hills Country Club.As one of 12 children from an Irish-Catholic family in Philadelphia, Chambers quickly drew on his roots."I'm floored by the passion everyone here has for BG," ...

West follows heart home

As Doug West worked through some morning pancakes earlier this week, a couple of days removed from being named head boys basketball coach at Altoona Area High School, his alma mater, he pondered the number of stops he's made since his NBA playing career ended in 2001.From high school athletic ...

‘Chopping’ at bit to help Altoona searches

"Neil? This is Dick Lockard. Can we borrow the Mirror helicopter?"I chuckle."Well, sure, Dick - but I'm driving. Company policy. I figured you'd be calling. You know it's reserved for special occasions, like Altoona High searches.""Yeah, and we've got two."I correct him that it's three if you ...

PSU needs patience to be virtue

The Nittany Nation just completed a week unlike one it's ever seen.It began with defensive coordinator Bob Shoop accepting a similar position at Tennessee and continued with six more defections.Offensive line coach Herb Hand left for Auburn, graduating seniors (with eligibility left) Geno Lewis ...

‘Super’ night awaiting Kostelniks

The Kostelnik family is holding a reunion Friday night at Central Cambria High School.And the honoree will no doubt be looking down proudly.Ron Kostelnik, a native of Colver, a Green Bay Packer legend as a defensive tackle and the only NFL player in Central Cambria history, died in 1993 at the ...

Rudel: Franklin, staff hit crossroads

Most fair judgments of a college football head-coaching hiring take place after four years.That time span gives a coach a fair opportunity to recruit a full roster of upperclassmen and implement the kind of system he sees fit.Verdicts prior to that are premature, and beyond are patient.James ...

McSorley whets appetite for 2016

JACKSONVILLE - Down 24-3 in the fourth quarter of Saturday's TaxSlayer Bowl against Georgia and with injured Christian Hackenberg done for the day, Penn State appeared on its way to a 35-point drubbing.Which, given the circumstances, almost could have been understood if not forgiven.Instead, ...

For Hack, clock about to strike midnight

JACKSONVILLE - The biggest question concerning the Penn State football program - whether Christian Hackenberg is in fact playing his final game today and will move on to the NFL - has yet to be answered.At least verbally.Hackenberg read a prepared statement in August politely requesting the ...