Fera on Groza Award Watch List

Penn State junior kicker Anthony Fera was selected to the Lou Groza Award

Preseason Watch List on Wednesday.

 

Fera went 14-of-17 on field goal attempts after taking over the starting kicking

duties four games into the 2011 season. He scored 62 points in 10 games for

the Nittany Lions and earned second team All-Big Ten honors.

 

Fera, a semifinalist for the award last season, joins a 30-player list filled with Big

Ten players. Iowa’s Mike Meyer, Ohio State’s Drew Basil, Michigan State’s Dan

Conroy, Indiana’s Mitch Ewald, Michigan’s Brendan Gibbons and Nebraska’s Brett

Maher are also made the list.

 

The award is given to the nation’s top kicker based on a voting panel of Division I

coaches, sports writers, sports broadcasters, previous award winners,

professional kickers and conference representatives. The award is named after

kicking pioneer Lou Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

 

Fera also punts for the Nittany Lions.

 

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Redd, Hodges on Watch Lists

Penn State’s Silas Redd and Gerald Hodges are on the Watch Lists for the

Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik Awards, respectively, presented by the Maxwell

Football Club.

 

Penn State leads all colleges and universities with its seven Maxwell Award

winners and its four Bednarik Award recipients.

 

The Maxwell Award is presented in honor of Robert W. (Tiny) Maxwell, a

legendary college player, official and sports columnist. First bestowed in 1937,

the Maxwell Award will be presented for the 76th time to the nation’s college

football player of the year.

 

The Bednarik Award was established in 1995 and is annually presented in honor

of linebacking great Chuck Bednarik — a member of both the College Football

and Pro Football halls of fame — to the nation’s defensive player of the year.

 

Redd, a junior this season, ran for 1,241 yards last season, the 10th-highest

season total in Penn State history, en route to second-team All-Big Ten honors

last season. Redd averaged 5.2 yards on his 321 attempts and scored seven

rushing touchdowns, with a long carry of 42 yards.

 

A senior preseason All-American, Hodges earned first team All-Big Ten honors

from the coaches and ESPN.com. in 2011. Hodges was instrumental in Penn

State having the nation’s No. 5 scoring defense in 2011 and became the 22nd

Nittany Lion to post at least 100 tackles in a season. He led the team with 106

tackles (60 solo), ranking in the top 15 in the Big Ten in hits (eighth) and sacks

(tied-14th with 4.5). Hodges also recorded 10.0 tackles for loss, forced two

fumbles, broke-up four passes and made one critical interception and 63-yard

return to set-up a touchdown in the win at Northwestern.

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Hodges named preseason first-team All-American

Lindy’s College Football Preview has selected Penn State senior outside

linebacker Gerald Hodges a first-team preseason All-American.

 

Hodges was also a first-team preseason All-Big Ten choice by Lindy’s.

 

Junior Anthony Fera was selected the second-team All-Big Ten punter and

third-team placekicker by Lindy’s. Senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill and

tailback Silas Redd also were second-team all-conference picks. Senior wide

receiver Justin Brown and senior linebacker Michael Mauti were third-team

preseason All-Big Ten choices by Lindy’s.

 

Hodges burst onto the collegiate football scene last year, earning first-team

All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and ESPN.com.  He led the team in 2011

with 106 tackles (60 solo), ranking in the top 15 in the Big Ten in hits (eighth)

and sacks (tied-14th with 4.5). Hodges also recorded 10.0 tackles for loss,

forced two fumbles, broke-up four passes and made one critical interception

and lengthy return in a win at Northwestern.

 

The former Paulsboro High School All-South Jersey standout was selected Big

Ten Defensive Player of the Week in consecutive weeks in late October last

year, becoming the first Nittany Lion to earn back-to-back conference

accolades since linebacker Navorro Bowman in 2009. Hodges earned his

second straight honor after recording a career-high 19 tackles, with an

eight-yard sack and a fumble recovery, in the dramatic 10-7 win over Illinois.

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Dallastown grad Kline excels in classroom

Dallastown High School graduate Ben Kline is apparently doing more than

studying his playbook at Penn State.

 

Kline, a redshirt freshman linebacker for the Nittany Lions, earned a 3.94

grade-point average during the spring semester and brought a 3.92 cumulative

GPA in the summer academic sessions. He was named to the school’s Dean’s List

and is listed on PSU’s second team in a recently released depth chart.

 

Overall, the Penn State football team had 34 squad members earning at least

a 3.0 GPA, while 15 earned Dean’s List recognition by posting a 3.5 GPA or higher

this past semester. That brings to 37 the total number of PSU football

student-athletes with a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA through the spring

semester. Thirty-six of the 37 return for the 2012 fall semester.

 

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Bolden’s career changed forever on one pivotal day

Oct. 23, 2010 _  it’s the date that Rob Bolden’s Penn State football career changed

forever.

 

Before that date, Bolden was a promising young quarterback blessed with size,

intelligence, a strong right arm, poise and confidence.

 

After that date, Bolden’s size, intelligence and right arm remained intact. But the

poise and confidence he displayed while shockingly earning the Nittany Lions’

starting QB job as a true freshman were gone.

 

What happened?

 

No one may know for sure  maybe not even Bolden.

 

The simple answer is that on Oct. 23, 2010, Bolden suffered a concussion

while enjoying an apparent breakout performance at Minnesota. In less than a

half that day, Bolden was 11-for-13 (84.6 percent) for 130 yards with one

touchdown and zero interceptions. His QB rating that afternoon was a staggering

194.0.

 

Bolden’s numbers before the concussion were solid for a seasoned QB, much less

a true freshman. Before the injury, he was 107-for-184 (58.2 percent) for 1,307

yards with five touchdown passes and seven interceptions. His NCAA QB rating

was 119.2.

 

After the concussion he saw only limited action in the rest of 2010, throwing just

nine passes. Matt McGloin took over the starting QB job and played well at times.

Bolden, meanwhile, didn’t play at all in the regular-season finale against Michigan

State, nor the bowl game against Florida, even though McGloin threw five

interceptions in a 37-24 loss to the Gators.

 

That national snub angered Bolden and his father, leading to a transfer request.

But Head Coach Joe Paterno famously refused to release Bolden because it would

have left the Lions dangerously thin at the QB position. Bolden reluctantly

returned to Happy Valley for the 2011 season.

 

Unfortunately, in 2011, a completely different Bolden emerged. He appeared

tentative and confused  a far cry from the poised, confident freshman.

That clearly showed up in his numbers. Bolden finished 2011 going 53-for-135

(39.3 percent) for 685 yards with two TD passes and seven interceptions. His

QB rating was a dismal 76.4.

 

Still, Bolden remained on the PSU roster this spring, hoping to impress new head

coach Bill O’Brien  a man who coached the legendary Tom Brady and with a

reputation as QB guru. In the Blue-White Game, however, Bolden continued to

struggle, going 7-for-14 for 78 yards with three picks and zero TDs.

 

Now, according to multiple reports over the weekend, Bolden is no longer

working out with the PSU team and plans to transfer. However, another report

from the Centre Daily Times on Tuesday indicated that Bolden would stay at PSU.

If Bolden does ultimately decide to transfer this summer, it’s unlikely that the PSU

head coach would do anything to stop him this time.

 

Even if Bolden stays, it’s unlikely he’ll see signifcant playing time in 2012. In fact,

O’Brien has announced he’ll likely name his starting QB for 2012 by the end of the

month, and it’s expected that McGloin will be his choice. It also appears that

talented Paul Jones has overcome his academic woes and passed Bolden in the

QB pecking order at Happy Valley.

 

PSU also has recruited two promising young QBs, with one arriving this summer

(Steven Bench) and one arriving in 2013 (Christian Hackenberg).

 

PSU is no longer thin at QB, and a Bolden transfer seems in the best interests of

both Bolden and Penn State.

 

Maybe a change of scenery, and coaches, would allow Bolden to recapture the

potential he showed during his freshman season.

 

Still, it’s stunning how one day and one injury can seemingly change the playing

fortunes of a young man who appeared destined to become one of the great QBs

in PSU history.

 

Nittany Nation is still searching for answers on how it could have gone so bad, so

fast.

 

Was the concussion more serious than first thought?

 

Did the PSU coaches, especially QB Coach Jay Paterno and Head Coach Joe

Paterno, badly mishandle Bolden, crushing his confidence?

 

Was Bolden overrated to begin with, compiling his most impressive numbers in

2010 against overmatched foes?

 

Was there something else at play?

 

Was it a combination of all of the above?

 

The answers remain elusive.

 

There is only one certainty.

 

On Oct. 23, 2010, Rob Bolden’s football career changed forever.

 

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com or at 854-1575, ext. 455. 

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