LaVar Arrington ‘slightly miffed’ over O’Brien hiring

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And by “slightly miffed” I mean “vehemently opposed”, of course.

If you haven’t heard by now, reports surfaced Thursday night that Bill O’Brien has been offered and accepted the Penn State head-coaching position.  The current offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots is expected to be officially introduced as the new coach as early as today, but more than likely tomorrow.

O’Brien’s name didn’t come into the mix publicly until this past weekend, and his hiring has not gone over well with some members of Nittany Lions Nation.  One of the more vocal members has been LaVar Arrington, the former PSU All-American and current Washington D.C. radio host.

Arrington took to Twitter Friday morning and ripped his alma mater, emotionally venting the feelings that, based on my emails and Twitter timeline, is certainly shared by others:

Arrington went even further in an interview with BlueWhiteIllustrated.com, making it perfectly clear that a big reason for his reaction is that his allegiances lie with the interim head coach of the Nittany Lions.

“I will put my Butkus (Award) in storage. I will put my Alamo Bowl MVP trophy in storage,” Arrington told the website this morning. “Jerseys, anything Penn State, in storage. Wherever Tom Bradley goes, that’s the school I will start to put memorabilia up in my home. I’m done. I’m done with Penn State. If they’re done with us, I’m done with them. …

“By these people making the decisions the way that they are making them, basically coinciding with everything that’s being written about our university, if they get rid of Tom Bradley, that means they in essence have accepted the fact that we are all guilty. You might as well call it all the same thing.”

Arrington wasn’t the only former Nittany Lion who feels the O’Brien hiring shafts the man who they feel truly deserves the job — Bradley.

“I don’t want to be affiliated with the university,” former All-American linebacker Brandon Short said, “if they don’t choose a Penn State guy because of our standards, our graduation, all the things that have been important… it’s no longer Penn State, so we might as well be in the SEC. They are intent on turning it into a booster culture. Ira Lubert went out and purchased a national title with wrestling and he’s under the illusion that he can do that in football. Well, ask (Redskins owner) Dan Snyder about that.”

“Penn State is a family and it is real and if they choose to get rid of Bradley and not hire a Penn State coach, then they’ve turned their backs on our entire family.

Look, I have no idea whether this will be a good, bad or indifferent hire, but could people at least give O’Brien a game or two to screw up and/or lose before vilifying him?  It’s understandable why some connected to the school see the job of head football coach as “better” than an O’Brien hire, but the scandal that’s rocked Happy Valley has obviously dictated otherwise.

Certainly the university is culpable on multiple levels when it comes to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal, but, as it specifically relates to the search for Joe Paterno‘s replacement, it’s hard to find fault with them identifying an individual with no connection to the past who’s actually willing to step into the quagmire that is currently Penn State football.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.