Penn State

Beat writer Donnie Collins keeps you posted with in-depth analysis and commentary

Three players elected 2017 captains

Three players elected 2017 captains

There really wasn’t much suspense about who the favorites to be the Nittany Lions’ captains this season might be, and the program put any potential questions to rest today when the players elected three of them to lead them in the fall.

Senior linebacker Jason Cabinda and two juniors, quarterback Trace McSorley and safety Nick Scott, were voted into those roles by their teammates.

“These three young men have been leaders in our program, on and off the field,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “They live our four core values and act with the program’s best interest in mind. Our team is in good hands with these guys!”

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Registration under way for Coaches Caravan

Penn State fans who aren’t members of the Alumni Association can now sign up for tickets to the annual Coaches Caravan. Click here for more information.

The Caravan will make seven stops around the state from May 8 through 11, and for anyone interested in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, the nearest the Caravan and head coach James Franklin will be to the region is a lunchtime stop at the Penn State Hazleton Campus in West Hazleton on May 9.

Franklin is the guest speaker at every event. Here are the other stops:

May 8
York – Penn State York campus (lunch)
Philadelphia/King of Prussia – Valley Forge Casino (evening reception)

May 9
Hazleton – Penn State Hazleton campus (lunch)
Harrisburg – Penn State Harrisburg campus (evening reception)

May 10
Pittsburgh – Omni William Penn hotel (evening reception)

May 11
Altoona – Altoona Heritage Discovery Center Casino (lunch)
Williamsport – Genetti Hotel (evening reception)

I believe this is the first time in the Caravan’s history that it hasn’t made a trip to either Scranton or Wilkes-Barre, and I believe this is the first trip to Hazleton.

Noah Beh transferring from PSU

Noah Beh transferring from PSU

Well, here is the reason why Scranton Prep grad Noah Beh isn’t on Penn State’s spring roster: Lions247 is reporting that Beh has decided to transfer to Delaware.

Of course, since Delaware is an FCS program, Beh will be eligible to play this fall, which he can do as a redshirt junior. His Nittany Lions career ends with him appearing in 13 games — all during the 2015 season, and all as a backup offensive lineman.

It turns out, this has been a busy day for offensive tackles leaving the football program. Lions247 is also reporting that junior Brendan Brosnan is also going to be off the roster (he was on the one released this morning).

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Brosnan played in 10 games as a backup tackle the last two seasons, including the Rutgers and Michigan State blowouts in 2016.

Noah Beh no longer listed on PSU roster

Noah Beh no longer listed on PSU roster

It sure doesn’t look as if Scranton Prep product Noah Beh is going to be part of Penn State’s football program this spring, if at all again.

The 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle who started in the 2016 Blue-White Game and was thought to be in line for increased playing time last season, is not listed on the spring roster the program released this morning.

This is not entirely a surprise. Head coach James Franklin said in October that Beh had been suspended by the team for a violation of team rules, and Beh didn’t play the rest of the season. He didn’t travel to the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 3 or to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2, and a few weeks later, Franklin offered merely a “we’ll see” when asked directly if he anticipated Beh would be part of the program moving forward.

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Hello Spring! Lions set to begin practice on Wednesday

Hello Spring! Lions set to begin practice on Wednesday

In case you can’t tell by looking out your window — and if you live in the Scranton area, here’s guessing you can not — today is actually the first day of spring. Winter is over! You made it…barely!

For Penn State fans, though, it’s probably safer to give it a few extra days before we say it’s officially spring. Because the Nittany Lions’ 2017 spring practices don’t start until Wednesday.

As you know, there will be 15 of those practices, culminating in the annual Blue-White Game on April 22. And, head coach James Franklin will hold his annual spring press conference at noon on Tuesday to update everyone on what he’ll be looking for during those sessions.

Seems like as good a time as any to look at the five very early storylines that should be important to Nittany Lions fans as the team nears that first big step toward what this program hopes will be an historic 2017 season.

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Former Lions great Hartings says he abused painkillers at PSU

Former two-time All-American Penn State guard Jeff Hartings told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for an article published today that he abused painkillers during his playing days, and that the abuse began during his days with the Nittany Lions.

Hartings told the Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo that he had been taking so many prescription drugs throughout his career, the health risks were a prime reason he decided to retire after an 11-year career. He said that his abuse of the painkillers didn’t start in the NFL, but at Penn State. “That,” he said, “was the first time I was exposed to it.”

Penn State commented via a statement for Fittipaldo’s story, which is well worth a read considering it gives a look into drug abuse at the NFL level during a week when that became a big story.

Earlier this week, The Washington Post reported that, according to previously sealed court documents, NFL teams violated federal prescription drug laws in their supply of potent painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to players. More than 1,800 former players are suing the league in a U.S. District Court, claiming excessive distribution of pain medication has lead to numerous, long-term health issues. Hartings is not one of the players named in the suit.

As for Penn State, it”s certainly not the best public relations that it happened to be the program mentioned by a big-time player commenting on his prescription drug use and abuse. But, hey…it’s common sense that painkillers were fairly overly used by football players in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Hartings hasn’t played at Penn State since the 1995 season. Football has changed a lot since then.

With NFL free agency under way, where can McGloin wind up?

With NFL free agency under way, where can McGloin wind up?

There has been so much talk about the start of NFL free agency, and teams’ constant pursuit of the quarterback that can take them to the next level, that it stands to reason this will be the most interesting offseason of Matt McGloin’s career.

The former West Scranton and Penn State quarterback has spent the large part of the last four seasons as the top backup in Oakland, where he built a bit of a reputation for being among the more capable reserves in the league at the position.

As a rookie in 2013, he completed 118 of 211 passes for 1,547 yards, eight touchdowns and eight interceptions, just months after signing in Oakland as an undrafted free agent. But in 2014, the Raiders used a second-round pick on Derek Carr, who looks like the real deal. And in 2016, they took former Michigan State standout Connor Cook in the fourth round, who started the Raiders’ Wild Card round loss to Houston in January after McGloin left the regular-season finale against Denver with a shoulder injury.

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Former WVW, PSU receiver Lewis shines at Oklahoma Pro Day

Former WVW, PSU receiver Lewis shines at Oklahoma Pro Day

Looks like Eugene Lewis had a pretty big Pro Day in Norman, Oklahoma.

The former Wyoming Valley West star and one-time Penn State receiver posted draftable numbers at Oklahoma’s Pro Day, even as running back Joe Mixon and receiver Dede Westbrook kind of absorbed most of the attention.

Here are some of the results for Lewis, and the other Sooners if you’re interested:

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