Neil Rudel

Moorhead doesn’t miss deep shot at critics

UNIVERSITY PARK — Of all the great recruiting James Franklin has done since arriving here, a case can be made that no one has made a bigger one-year splash than Joe Moorhead. Never mind that he’s not a player but the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator. Moorhead took a dormant ...

Hockenos’ recent distinction a well-earned accolade

Commentary Rick Hockenos has enjoyed his life in basketball, and it came full circle with his enshrinement in his high school’s athletic hall of fame. Hockenos, a former Saint Francis standout, was inducted into Niagara (N.Y.) Catholic High School Athletic Hall of Fame on July 14 for his ...

Bennett ruled with iron fist, open heart

When the tapestry is ultimately drawn to highlight those who have made Altoona such a special place for sports — the athletes and coaches, contributors and characters — you had better believe there will be space reserved for one Carl Bennett. The former truck driver saved the old Howard ...

Bickel’s Richards project comes to fruition with basketball courts

Commentary A celebration of basketball and a legacy came together Saturday morning. Galen Bickel realized his longstanding dream of establishing a pair of circular courts at the Eldorado Kiwanis complex, at the same time naming them for late local broadcaster Dick Richards. “I’m ...

Barkley’s challenge: keep stock

Some random thoughts while wondering if we’ll hit 70 degrees again before June ... n The ink wasn’t dry from this year’s NFL draft before speculation immediately turned to the class of 2018 and, with it, where Penn State running back Saquon Barkley fits in. Based on all the projections, ...

Reid’s void anything but secondary

Some random thoughts while welcoming spring: n The loss of Penn State cornerback John Reid to a knee injury that could possibly sideline him for the entire season cannot be underestimated given that Reid was the Nittany Lions’ best pass defender last season and by far their top punt ...

PSU Altoona poised to be playoff venue

Some random thoughts with the (March) madness about to begin: n This region is blessed with two outstanding facilities at Saint Francis and Mount Aloysius that are used for high school playoff games. Another could be added to the mix next year. Penn State Altoona’s Adler Athletic Complex ...

Loss can’t take shine off season

PASADENA, Calif. — The effort and the finality moved James Franklin to tears. After the Nittany Lions wound up one stop and a field goal short of beating Southern Cal on Monday in the highest scoring Rose Bowl of all time, losing 52-49 as time ran out, Franklin didn’t mask his ...

Nittany Lions are playing for more than themselves

LOS ANGELES — Bowl games are generally viewed as either a cap to a great regular season or a springboard toward next year. With the gorgeous Rose Bowl as tonight’s backdrop, Penn State actually finds itself in both scenarios. The No. 5 Nittany Lions’ glamour matchup with No. 9 USC ...

Rudel: Father’s pride: Jim Pry shares in son’s success

Throughout his football coaching career, Brent Pry has never had to go too far for advice. In the early years, it was across the kitchen table. Now, it’s still just a phone call away. Pry’s father, Jim, is a lifelong coach whose mentorship of James Franklin as offensive coordinator at ...

Lions deserve Big Ten glory

Commentary INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State won its first Big Ten championship game Saturday night, and its heroic performance was more than fitting as the Nittany Lions have shown the heart of a champion all year. But never did their heart pound harder than at Lucas Oil Stadium against a ...

Experience at Pitt beneficial for Chryst

Commentary INDIANAPOLIS — It’s pretty obvious Paul Chryst feels right at home in Wisconsin. Chryst, whose Badgers are standing between Penn State and the 2016 Big Ten championship, wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire at his previous coaching stop — at Pitt. In three ...

Big Ten champion belongs in playoff field

Commentary The simple answer here is yes, and I say that whether Penn State or Wisconsin win Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. And if it’s not yes, then why bring everybody to Indianapolis for the championship game? Why not just play out the regular season and then have a ...

Lions’ progress hits historic proportions

UNIVERSITY PARK — There are 16 unbeaten or championship Penn State football teams that are recognized by year, in large blue numbers, across the west side of Beaver Stadium. They span from 1894, through the early 1990s (1909, 1911, 1912) to the juggernauts of Hugo Bezdek in 1920-21 to the ...

Nittany Lions’ focus gets final test

UNIVERSITY PARK — While Penn State’s 9-2 record this season was definitely unpredictable, the same cannot be said for James Franklin’s weekly approach. Franklin’s focus has been such that many questions throughout this seven-game win streak that even inched toward the bigger picture ...

Missing Big Ten final wouldn’t hurt progress

Commentary Penn State even being in the College Football Playoff conversation is a pinch-yourself kind of scenario. And, obviously, the best way to cap this dream season and program-restoring two-month surge would be to land in the Big Ten championship game, win it and play Alabama in ...

Credit where due: Franklin’s star shines

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — James Franklin was announced as a semifinalist for the George Munger national coach of the year award Friday. There are 16 candidates, and Franklin is as worthy as any of his peers and more worthy than most. Don’t be surprised if he wins it. Following Penn State’s ...

Center should get attention

The unsung hero of the 2016 Penn State football team is ... Center Brian Gaia. And no matter what Cory says across the page, I’m comfortable with my selection and am confident you’ll agree. Gaia has been the one constant on the one unit that needed to improve the most and certainly ...

Lions progressing to lofty heights

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — After Penn State completed yet another second-half comeback en route to its sixth-straight Big Ten victory and headed for the 2016 regular-season finish line at a spiffy 8-2, the Nittany Lions’ extraordinary progress and improvement was not lost on the man who sits in ...

Penn State looking like its old self again

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A caste system, featuring the haves and the have nots, has generally existed in college football for decades. Fast forward to the year 2050, and it’s a pretty safe bet Alabama will still be pretty good. And Purdue probably won’t be. There may be some trends at ...