Penn State could be changing their football uniforms again. Three years after removing the white neckline from the home blue uniforms and blue neckline from the road white uniforms, the striping looks like it could possibly, potentially, perhaps be making a return. Maybe.
In recent weeks Penn State football players have already been seen wearing football uniforms in public showing off the new, yet old, look. This photo gallery from Patriot News photographer Joe Hermitt shows many current Nittany Lions players wearing home jerseys with a white neckline, although the road white uniform appears to be solid white with no blue neckline or sleeve striping to be seen. The pictures are from a recent Uplifting Athletes event prior to a home basketball game. The players took part in a number of activities with children and signed autographs while wearing these jerseys.
Penn State removed the striping from their jerseys before the 2011 season. The changes were subtle but were not received well by some fans. In 2012 former head coach Bill O’Brien added last names of players to jerseys, which caused even more of an uproar for some despite it being a way to recognize players who chose to stay with the program after NCAA sanctions were levied against the program. Penn State also added a blue ribbon to the back of the football helmet to pay tribute to victims of child abuse. In 2013 all Big Ten teams added the updated Big Ten logo to their jerseys. Penn State also played their final home game of the 2012 season with a No. 42 on the helmets in honor of team leader Michael Mauti, who suffered a season-ending injury.
James Franklin comes off as a guy who is understanding and appreciative of the history and tradition within the program, so major tweaks to the football uniform are probably not likely. But a simple twist to return to the more familiar jerseys seems much more plausible. Penn State has a contract with Nike, and despite past attempts to provide an alternative look, Penn State has stayed true to their roots when it comes to the uniform. We’ll see if anything else happens to change.
Penn State has not commented on the potential uniform change for the 2014 season. It is entirely possible the jerseys already seen will not be the official jerseys worn in the fall. These jerseys also did not have names on the jerseys, so they could have just been used for special or one-time use, while more official jerseys will be organized and put together later. Some programs have already announced or leaked uniform changes for 2014, which is not uncommon this time of the year, but we will just have to wait and see what Penn State ends up doing.
An off-field incident involving alcohol has unofficially cost an assistant coach a job.
It had been reported that Gerad Parker, who served as Purdue’s interim head coach last season, decided to leave his new job at Cincinnati to take another at East Carolina. That reported move was complicated after reports surfaced that, following a going-away party in West Lafayette early Tuesday morning, the coach was pulled over and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
Parker had been expected to take over the wide receivers coach job at ECU; Wednesday, multiple reports indicated that the Pirates are moving on from the coach in light of the recent development.
In a tweet that has since been deleted from his Twitter account, Parker apologized. “I’m sorry to all my friends and family,” the coach wrote. “Thanks to all that have reached out and shown support.”
Parker would’ve replaced Phil McGeoghan, who left ECU in late January for a job with the Buffalo Bills. ECU’s search for a replacement will continue.
After making some changes to the coaching staff this offseason, Kentucky is locking in offensive coordinator Eddie Gran for the next few seasons. Kentucky has signed Gran to a contract extension good through the 2019 season, according to The Courier-Journal.
According to the reported contract extension, Gran will be paid $825,000 in the 2017 season and will be given a $25,000 raise each of the next two seasons. A buyout cost of $150,000 per years is also added to the contract should he leave for another job during that span. Gran was originally under contract through the 2018 season, so his new deal tacks on an extra year in Lexington. The extended contract also bumps Gran’s pay by $175,000 compared to his previous contract.
Kentucky may have finished the 2017 season ranked 9th in the SEC in total scoring, but the Wildcats bumped up their average points per game by roughly six points in 2016 compared to the 2015 season. Kentucky also had the SEC’s third-most productive rushing attack with an average of 234.15 rushing yards per game and 30 rushing touchdowns. Only Auburn and Alabama had better averages and touchdown totals (and Alabama had two more games to pad the stats).
Kentucky has room to improve in the passing game after finishing the 2016 season ranked 13th in passing offense in the 14-team SEC. Kentucky also had an SEC-high 28 turnovers lost in 2016, with 16 fumbles and 12 interceptions thrown.
Gran joined the Kentucky program last year after a three-year stint at Cincinnati as offensive coordinator. Gran has previously been an assistant at Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, and Ole Miss as well.
Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams pled no contest to charges from a DUI incident last August. On Wednesday, he received his sentence from a county judge and learned he would be sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation.
According to The Lincoln Journal-Star, Williams was also fined $1,000 for his latest DUI charge. Williams has until March 3 to apply for house arrest, although prosecutors made a push for Williams to serve his time behind bars after not being locked up for two prior DUI charges.
Nebraska opens spring football practices on March 4. If he is ruled eligible for house arrest, that would allow Williams to continue coaching in the spring. Otherwise, he could have to miss at least some of Nebraska’s spring practices depending on when his jail sentence would begin.
Williams was pulled over for driving under the influence last August with a BAC above .15. Further complicating things was the fact Williams also had two previous convictions for DUI. Nebraska head coach Mike Riley suspended Williams without pay through the end of August and was prohibited from coaching in Nebraska’s first four games of the 2016 season.
Former Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa has landed in Ann arbor with a new job. Michigan announced Lempa has joined the staff as a senior defensive analyst under Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown.
“Kevin is a great addition to our football program and defensive staff,” said Harbaugh in a released statement. “He adds a wealth of experience and knowledge on the defensive side of the ball, and Kevin’s working relationship with Coach (Don) Brown will be a big asset for our team.”
“I am very excited and honored to become part of Coach Harbaugh’s staff,” Lempa said in his released statement. “I am also fired up to be working with Coach Brown again.”
Lempa resigned from his position with the Hawaii program following the 2016 season. He previously served as a defensive backs coach at Boston College from 2013 through 2015, when Brown was the defensive coordinator of the Eagles.
As a defensive analyst, Lempa will not have any hands-on instruction with the Michigan roster but will assist in film breakdown and other orders of business in preparing Michigan’s game plan.