Penn State’s offense should be far from vanilla as Franklin unleashes the wildcat

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Penn State may have a number of question marks about its team heading into the 2014 season but the one things most seem to agree on without hesitation is the Nittany Lions have no issues under center. Sophomore Christian Hackenberg took some lumps in his freshman season but hit his stride as the year progressed. His season finale performance at Wisconsin offered a mighty glimpse of something special for the next few years in State College. If there is one position nobody is terribly concerned about, it is the quarterback position. That said, new head coach James Franklin should not and apparently will not shy away from trying some new things to mix things up on offense.

Yes, the wildcat will be back in State College this fall if Franklin has anything to say about it (and he does, being the head coach and all).

Speaking at an event Thursday, Franklin was asked about the wildcat and he was prepared to share some details about what could potentially happen. Franklin mentioned receiver Geno Lewis and speedy running back Bill Belton specifically, and for good reason. Lewis has some quarterback experience and Belton offers plenty of speed when healthy and has room to work. The spring game served up some potential plays that could make it to the playbook this fall.

In order for the wildcat to be effective though, Franklin stressed the need to have a threat to pass coming from Lewis or Belton or whomever may be running the offense. Hackenberg will rarely be a threat to run, so having Lewis or Belton give the defense something else to think about will be critical to the success of the wildcat. This is true not just at Penn State, but for any team looking to run the wildcat.

This video of Franklin talking about the wildcat was shared by The Patriot News (PennLive.com);

Bill O’Brien brought some new looks to the Penn State offense each of the last two seasons and really changed the way Penn State’s offense had been operating in a short period of time. He was not afraid to do things that had never or rarely been done at Penn State under former head coach Joe Paterno. When Paterno was fired in the midst of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Bradley and the coaching staff wasted little time in trying a few new things as well, and that included the wildcat a little more frequently.

This is not going to drastically change Penn State’s offensive philosophy. The Nittany Lions should still have a dependable running game and a solid passing game with Hackenberg, a tight-end heavy corp and a respectable stable of running backs, but Franklin is known to mix things up a bit. That applies here as well.

Indiana confirms 2½-year suspension for Morgan Ellison, permanent dismissal from football team

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Morgan Ellison‘s time in Bloomington has officially come to an end.

Friday night, Indiana announced that the running back has been suspended for two and a half years from the university as well as permanently dismissed from the Hoosiers football team. On Oct. 3, an IU panel determined that Ellison had sexually assaulted a female student in mid-August of this year.

IU’s announcement yesterday came after Ellison had appealed the original ruling.

The unidentified victim had alleged at the hearing that she was sexually assaulted in her sleep by Ellison. “It hurt so much and when I woke up I was like stop stop and he wouldn’t stop,” the alleged victim claimed in a text to a friend shortly after the assault, the Indianapolis Star had previously reported.

During the hearing, Ellison had claimed that all sexual activity that night in August was consensual.

Ellison has not been charged criminally in connection to the alleged sexual assault, although it’s unclear if the university’s police department is investigating the allegations.

In late August, Indiana announced that Ellison had been indefinitely suspended from all football activities, including games and practice, by Tom Allen for unspecified violations of team rules. Oct. 2, one day before the panel found him guilty, the head coach revealed that the running back was permitted to practice with his teammates but would remain suspended from playing in games for the foreseeable future.

Last season, Ellison led the Hoosiers with 143 carries for 704 yards and six touchdowns. The true junior had not played in any of the Hoosiers’ games this season before or after the panel’s ruling.

Tim Tebow wonders if Nick Bosa will regret decision

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Everybody has an opinion on one of the biggest storylines of the past week in college football, including a former Heisman Trophy winner.

Tuesday, Ohio State announced that, because of injury, Nick Bosa had decided to withdraw from school “in order to devote more time to his rehabilitation and training efforts” for the 2019 NFL draft. Bosa’s father explained that the decision was “difficult on” his son, who “had set all kinds of team goals.”

One of those team goals was likely earning a berth in the College Football Playoff. Because he withdrew from school, Bosa will not be a part of the playoffs if the Buckeyes qualify, a decision that Tim Tebow said the All-American defensive end could very well come to regret.

From USA Today:

This is a really tough situation, because yes, he’s got a severe injury and he’d probably be out until early December healing from it. One one side you can say ‘you know what, if he waits and he goes and trains, he can probably make 20 to 30 million dollars, and that’s amazing.’

But at the same point, when you’re 50 years old and you look back, aren’t you going to regret it a little bit? To say ‘my guys went to the playoff and they played Alabama in the championship… I could have been with them, but I was more worried about the money.’

Listen, your family’s already made however many million. You’re probably still going to make that. And I get that you want to be safe and keep your body [healthy], and I can see both sides. I get where he’s coming from. But at the same point, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ve got a team that has a chance to win a championship. Your brother’s got one. You don’t want to compete to go win a championship like your brother?

For me, what I would do? I would wait, I would get healthy, and if my team was in the Playoff, I’m going to compete with my team. But that’s who I am.

As long as Nick Bosa is comfortable with his decision, that’s all that really matters — regardless of what Tebow would or wouldn’t have done

Big 12 denies Iowa State’s appeal of $25,000 field-rush fine

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It was worth a shot, I guess.

Friday night, Iowa State announced in a short, to-the-point press release that its appeal of field-storming fine slapped on it by the Big 12 had been denied by the conference. The fact that ISU came out on the wrong side of the ruling was the expected result of the university’s Hail Mary appeal.

“Our institution takes the safety and welfare of all student-athletes, officials, and fans very seriously,” ISU president Dr. Wendy Wintersteen said in a statement, “and we will continue to review and refine our safety protocols based upon our actual experiences.”

Earlier in the week, the Big 12 had announced that ISU was fined $25,000 after their fans stormed the field this past Saturday. The field storming came in the aftermath of ISU’s huge upset of then-No. 6 West Virginia in Ames.

In a statement announcing the fine, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that the league “[has] a duty to provide a safe game environment” and that ISU “has a written event management policy that was not thoroughly implemented, and was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of all visiting team game participants” — a sentiment with which WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen is likely to agree.

“Our institution takes the safety and welfare of all student-athletes, officials and fans very seriously,” Wintersteen said in a midweek statement, shortly after the fine was announced. “We have reviewed all of our procedures, including several videos of the post-game celebration, and we do not agree with Commissioner Bowlsby’s assessment of the events that evening.”

Boise State blasts Colorado State, keeps pace in MWC Mountain

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At 2-1 in Mountain West play, Boise State entered Friday night’s game looking to keep pace with league and divisional unbeaten Utah State. After 60 minutes, it was the Broncos who maintain conference title hopes while the Rams could very well have seen theirs dashed.

On the strength of Brett Rypien‘s right arm, the Broncos jumped out to a 35-7 halftime lead and never looking back, crushing the Rams 56-28 in Boise.  Three of Rypien’s touchdown passes came in a first half that included a wild punt return that featured a fumble recovered by Boise and ended with Kekaula Kaniho being credited with a 74-yard touchdown as time ran out in the second quarter.

Rypien would finish the night with 304 yards passing and as many incompletions (four) as touchdown passes (four) on his 26 attempts.  The Rams actually led the Broncos in total yards 489-472, but committed three turnovers (one lost fumble, two interceptions) that led to 14 Boise points

Pending the result of Utah State (2-0 in MWC play) vs. Wyoming this afternoon, Boise State (3-1), with the only league loss to the West Division’s San Diego State) will exit Week 8 either a half-game ahead or behind USU in the divisional standings. Depending on how the next several weeks play out, the Nov. 24th meeting between the Broncos and Aggies on the blue turf could determine the Mountain Division’s representative in the conference championship game the following week.