Monthly Archives: February 2014

TEAM REAM DAY

TEAM REAM DAY

ReamDay

First Annual Team Ream Day (2014)

On March 2, 2014, the Penn State Men’s Basketball Team plays the Wisconsin Badgers.  This day typically is reserved for Alumni Day, in which Penn State annually celebrates the tradition of its past basketball student athletes.  This year Coach Chambers is starting a new tradition – Honoring the life of one of the most beloved student athletes from Centre County, Brandon Ream.  On November 25th, 2013, Brandon passed after a long and dignified battle with cancer. But Brandon’s spirit will always endure.  Team Ream is eternal; Team Ream embodies the never-give-up attitude of a winner; Team Ream is forever.

Brandon Paul Ream was born in State College, PA on January 23, 1984. A lifelong resident of Happy Valley and a Penn State Graduate, he loved Central PA and could never imagine calling anywhere else home.

As a child and teen Brandon was a standout football and basketball player. Through competition, Brandon developed an unbreakable attitude for success and a dedication to team spirit. He continued his athletic career by playing football at Penn State University where he met his wife, Samantha, a PSU volleyball player.

 After graduation, Brandon channeled his passion for success into his family’s business, Camp Woodward, an action sports and gymnastics camp. He worked his way up to become VP of Operations and guided the camp through both national and worldwide expansions. 

In November, 2011, Brandon was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Upon learning the diagnosis, Brandon drew upon his competitive drive and immediately entered “Battle Mode”. He, along with his family and friends, confronted the crisis head on with a positive attitude and a gracious spirit. Giving up was never an option and Brandon NEVER gave up! Which is why his battle continues…

 Through his life and his journey with cancer, Brandon recognized the value and the importance of a solid support system, the love of family and friends and the availability of quality resources. There is no such thing as good byes, only see you laters.

For more information or to make a donation please visit http://www.teamream.org/

Snapshot of James Franklin”: the New Nittany Lion King

The skys brighten after the rain moves out.Photo by Mark Selders

Snapshot of James Franklin”: the New Nittany Lion King

Just when things seemed to be in place for former coach Bill O’Brien to lead the Penn State Nittany Lions into the era of their next dynasty, he pulled up anchor hastily and quickly set sail for the NFL. This left a void atop one of the most esteemed and well-known college football programs in the nation. It was quickly filled by the worthy and capable James Franklin, a 42-year-old native of the state who is already poised to ultimately make this job the defining role of his coaching career.

Franklin was born in the tiny town of Langhorne in the early 1970s before he attended the local high school and starred as a four-year starting quarterback at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. They played in a tiny division where evenly matched teams would do battle against one another for a full 60 minutes – the kind of games that help one carve out a deep competitive spirit and establish a familiarity with what it takes to win.

Like almost every head coach in major college football, he slowly climbed the ranks throughout the past decades, putting in work at small universities and gradually climbing the ladder of respect and recognition. His first paid coaching gig came in 1995 as the wide receivers coach for Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, a Division II team. He was only there one year before returning to his alma mater to coach defensive backs. His break in the Division I ranks came in the late 1990s when he was hired as the tight ends coach at Washington State University. In the following years Franklin coached wide receivers at Idaho State and eventually Maryland, a job he held onto for five years until he got the attention of the NFL and was tapped to fulfill the same role for the Green Bay Packers throughout the 2005 season.

After stints at Kansas State and big role with Maryland as offensive coordinator, it was becoming clear to the entire college football world that Franklin had the mettle to someday be a head coach. That day came at the perfect time when the Vanderbilt Commodores came looking for head coach in 2011. He went on to rack up the highest winning percentage of any coach in last half-century at Vandy, leading the school to a bowl appearance in each of the three years he was at the helm.

Throughout the 2013 season and especially throughout the last five games, Franklin showed an ability to win a football game in a variety of ways. A 52-point output in a win over the University of Alabama Birmingham demonstrated that the team could light up the scoreboard, and a 14 – 10 victory over the Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee showed that they could win a slugfest in hostile territory.

Franklin will likely move quickly to connect himself with the local community and a large and passionate fan base. Winning fans over is all about winning football games, and the Nittany Lions will have plenty of opportunities to do so throughout a 2014 regular season schedule in which they will likely be Las Vegas favorites in at least nine of their 12 scheduled games.

Penn State nabs stud QB and many others in impressive 2014 recruiting push

PSUBlogImage9

Penn State nabs stud QB and many others in impressive 2014 recruiting push

It is true that the Penn State Football Team will be dealing with a couple NCAA sanctions in the upcoming years, and head coach Bill O’Brien made a quick departure for the NFL after it appeared that he was going to be the next face of the program in Happy Valley. Given these harsh realities, it might seem as though their 2014 Recruiting Class would suffer greatly. Luckily for fans of Penn State Football, that is not the case.

New coach James Franklin has hit the ground running and was able to lure a couple big-time recruits to campus using only the few weeks he had before the official February Signing Day. As a freshman, quarterback Christian Hackenberg came into the program and did a heck of a job in limited action over the course of the 2013 regular season, but Penn State made a proactive move by recruiting Michael O’Connor, a 6’5”, 223-pound four-star quarterback out of Florida who seems eerily similar to Hackenberg. This will obviously create a friendly rivalry that should greatly increase the stakes in spring practice.

Penn State landed a collection of four-star recruits, highlighted by De’Andre Thompkins, a 5’11″ sure-handed wide receiver with insane 4.41 40-yard dash speed and a thirst for soaking up as much of the game as he can. But the score of the entire bunch will likely end up being Saeed Blacknall, highly-touted recruit out of New Jersey who snags passes out of the air with ease thanks to his 6’3″ lanky frame and his nose for the football. What the team has in place with this trio is a young nucleus that could end up forming one of the most formative passing attacks in the nation in the next few years.

The team obviously continued its historic pedigree of defense by making an effort to land some of the strongest defensive players in the region. They didn’t exactly knock it out of the park, but young men who are expected to have an impact soon include linebacker Troy Reeder out of Wilmington, Delaware and defensive back Christian Campbell out of a small-town in Alabama. Both are big men expected to grow a few more inches, and both have posted staggering 40-yard dash times that have defensive coaches dreaming up possible schemes.

To have a change of the guard in terms of coaching during a critical period of recruiting is less than ideal, so fans should really be happy about what Coach Franklin has been able to do so far. Franklin got the attention of the college football world over the past three seasons while serving his head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores Football Program, and he comes to Penn State determined to make this job the signature one of his impressive career, where he has climbed the ranks from being a Wide Receivers Coach at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 1985 to the lead figure of one of the most storied programs in college football history.