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Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Predictions For 2013 Penn State Football

            
                                               (1.)
     Despite getting off to a rocky 0-2 start last year, Penn State bounced by to finish the season at 8-4. Penn State does lose some key players; Matt McGloin, Mike Mauti, Gerald Hodges,



Matt Stankiewtich, Jordan Hill, Sean Stanley.  On the flip side Penn State returns a lot of key players on both sides of the ball as well; Tight Ends Jesse James, Kyle Carter, Matt Lehman(All whom played a huge part of success in Bill O'Brien's Offense) 2012 Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year Allen Robinson also returns. Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton both return and look to combine power and speed to the run game. On the Offensive Line the Nittany Lions return Garry Gillam(who played some Tight End last year and could still see some time there) John Urschel, Adam Gress, Ty Howle, Eric Shrive, Miles Dieffenbach, and Donovan Smith. Penn State's Defensive Front returns some key starters as well; 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Deion Barnes, whom recorded 6 sacks last year leads the way with fellow Defensive End Anthony Zettel (who recorded 4 sacks of his own) and DaQuan Jones at Tackle. Mike Hull looks to be at the helm at Linebacker with Adrian Amos and

Stephen Obeng-Agyapong returning in the defensive backfield. With that said, here are my predictions!
                                                                            My Prediction                         Actual Result
Penn State - Syracuse                                         Penn State 31-13                Penn State 23-17              
Penn State - Eastern Michigan                           Penn State 34-10                Penn State 45-7
Penn State - Central Florida                               Penn State 38-17                Central Florida 34-31
Penn State - Kent State                                       Penn State 35-8                  Penn State 34-0
Penn State - Indiana                                            Penn State 42-10                Indiana 44-24
Penn State - Michigan                                        Penn State 35-24                 Penn State 43-40
Penn State - Ohio State                                       Ohio State 42-20                Ohio State 63-14
Penn State - Illinois                                             Penn State 45-6                  Penn State 24-17
Penn State - Minnesota                                       Penn State 31-17                Minnesota 24-10
Penn State - Purdue                                            Penn State 41-14                 Penn State 45-21
Penn State - Nebraska                                         Penn State 35-28                Nebraska 23-20
Penn State - Wisconsin                                       Wisconsin 38-31                 Penn State 31-24
While it maybe a bit of a stretch, I do think Penn State has a realistic chance at 10-2 so I will go out on a limb and say that they will do so!  WE ARE PENN STATE!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tom Brady "How My Disdain Turned Into Admiration For The Star Quarterback of the New England Patriots"


                                                                                           (John Bazemore/AP)
    (1.) Tom Brady did not always have it so good, but hard work and dedication allowed him to come out on top in his NFL career.  



     For a while, I could never stomach any of Tom Brady's success on the field, much less the sight of him.(He was like that popular guy in school who got all the chicks, no matter what you did, you were always overlooked by all of the of them in favor of him) Seeing him have the last laugh with the Lombardi Trophy three times in four years made me feel sick and uneasy as a fan, much like in baseball when the Yankees would always win the World Series. Because of his success, many football fans essentially saw Brady as a villain who everyone wanted to see be taken down! A great example would be during the New England Patriots historic 2007-08 season. No one could slow down Brady and this particular bunch as he would go on to set an NFL record 50 Touchdown(TD) Passes in a single season that year as he pioneered the New England Patriots to a perfect 16-0 regular record and entered the playoffs as clear Super Bowl favorites. Just as expected, New England would reach the Super Bowl.(the rich just kept getting richer) Not only was a Super Bowl title in Brady's and the Patriots sight, but a place in history as they looked to become the first team in NFL history to finish a season 19-0. The only thing Brady and the Patriots had to do was go through the New York Giants, whom they beat pretty handily in their regular season finale just a little over a month before.

     Late in the 4th Quarter of Super Bowl 42, Tom Brady connected with Randy Moss (whom was Brady's favorite target throughout the season and also set a record of his own that year with an NFL single season record for TD Receptions with 23) for a TD to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead with just 2:42 remaining. The Patriots defense just needed to make one more defensive stop and appeared to be well on their way to doing so until Giants Wide Receiver David Tyree made an acrobatic catch. Tyree's catch was a critical as it helped keep the Giants drive alive and just a few plays later Eli Manning found Plaxico Burress for the go ahead TD. Giving the Giants a 17-14 lead with just 35 seconds left. Despite having three timeouts left, Tom Brady and the Patriots could not even move the ball a single yard on their last possession, with Brady being sacked in the process. On 4th Down, Brady with one last desperate act, hurled the ball into the air intended for Moss only for it to fall incomplete. As a fan of football I was relieved! It felt as if the football gods made everything right, and in the end justice finally prevailed as the evil Tom Brady and New England Patriots were taken down by the New York Giants in a classic "David vs. Goliath" matchup.

     Tom Brady was now dealing with what is arguably one of his most bitter losses in his entire career (something every athlete, no matter at what level, hates to endure.) and to make matters worse for him, he would have to wait much longer for redemption as he would injure himself in the first game of the following season. The injury was severe enough to cause him to miss the entire 2008 season. In retrospect, (this was probably the turning point in which my feelings of turmoil for Tom Brady began to transform into admiration as I realized he was not always on top. He started with nothing and made something out of it). Brady's perseverance(much like he has faced his entire career dating back to his years in college at Michigan) is what allowed him to continue to play at an elite level as he returned the following season after his injury and win the 2009 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Even with age, Brady maintains the same competitive level of play he had upon entering the league. Brady has practically always played with a chip on his shoulder. Coming into the 2000 NFL Draft, many of the football "experts" deemed Brady, slow, undersized, and was not perceived as a quality NFL type Quarterback, while others Quarterbacks like Chad Pennington(yes you read that right) received much hype heading into the draft. Hell, Brady was not expected to pose any threat to the New England Patriots backups upon drafting him. Brady (much like me or anyone else in life) had to prove his worth, (and just like many others want to do in whatever profession they are in) Brady did as he sits at the top at what he does best! (2.)
    
     Though I still root against Tom Brady come game day(mainly when he is playing against a team I like) I cheer and root him on as a football player in general as my respect for him continues to grow. Even his critics have to appreciate Brady's work as he proved many of them and the so called "experts" wrong. Brady's performance on the field and overcoming any and all adversity, should not only inspire young players looking to improve their performance for football but for your everyday "Ordinary Joe". Again, those whom are aspiring to make positive changes in their lives, should look at Tom Brady as an example. He took advantage of every opportunity that came his way and while doing so, proved many wrong along way! I think as humans we can all relate to that. I know I can thanks to someone like Tom Brady! (3.)
   
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Sources: (Image) (1.) http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2013/02/27/tom-brady-contract
                            (2.) http://www.footballperspective.com/what-did-the-media-say-about-tom-brady-in-2000/
                            (3.) http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/players/playerpage/187741/tom-brady

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How The Hiring of Jacques Martin May Impact The Pittsburgh Penguins



   
                          (1.) Will Jacques Martin defensive coaching strategy be the perfect combination for the Pittsburgh Penguins high scoring offense?

     Dan Bylsma has been one of the most successful head coaches in Pittsburgh Penguins in the history of the franchise. Bylsma took over midway through the 2009 season as head coach when the Penguins were struggling to stay in playoff contention. The Penguins entered that season as the defending Eastern Conference Champions after reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. (losing to the Detroit Red Wings in 6 games) Despite receiving a three year extension, then head coach Michel Therrien, was given the axe. The Penguins called up Bylsma from Wilkes Barre/Scranton to serve as an interim coach (eventually going on to become head coach). Bylsma would lead the Penguins to its 3rd Stanley Cup title in franchise history, by redeeming themselves of the previous years Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit, beating them in 7 games.

     Bylsma already has 201 regular season wins, and is only 2nd to Eddie Johnston's (who had two separate tenures as head coach) 232 wins in the history of the Penguins organization. With success though comes high expectations. Especially when you sports world class players such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Despite his winning of the Stanley Cup in 09' and the success in the regular season, Blysma has had trouble matching that success in the playoffs. In 2011 and 2012, the Penguins were knocked out of the first round. In 2013, even after loading up with big talents at the trade deadline (Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow, Douglas Murray, Jussi Jokinen) the Penguins season ended in disappointment, being swept by the Boston Bruins in four games. 2010 saw the Penguins enter the season as the defending Stanley Cup Champions and looked to be the favorites to recapture Lord Stanley. Especially after the heavily favorited Washington Capitals were upset in the first round by the Montreal Canadiens, whom the Penguins would end up playing in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Montreal though would again shock everybody, beating the Penguins in seven games. Game 7 was also the last game ever played in the Mellon Arena.(As the Penguins would open up the New Consol Energy Center the following season) Then head coach of the Montreal Canadiens Jacques Martin, used his defensive minded approach to upset the Penguins. The Penguins have had trouble in the defensive department the past few years in the playoffs, so they went out to find someone to match Dan Bylsma's high offensive attack with an equally effective defensive minded coach. That man ended up being none other than...... Jacques Martin!

     Bygones be bygones though, as Martin is now one of the good guys and the impact he could have, may make the Penguins a more well balanced team. Kris Letang, who is one of the best offensive defenseman in the league today, struggles on the defensive aspect of the games by committing costly turnovers and overcommitting on defense that lead to many scoring opportunities for the opposition. With Martin now on board, he will be able to gel his defensive scheme into Letang's gameplay and improve his performance all around. Letang though is not the only one who could surely benefit from Martin's coaching style. Even superstars such as Crosby, Malkin, James Neal, and others, will be able to polish their defensive games and become better two-way players by matching their offensive abilities with an equally effective defensive gameplay.

     Pittsburgh has had no trouble in the scoring department, and now with the hiring of Jacques Martin, the Penguins hope to have an equal balance of offense and defense.


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