Penn State Nittany Lions: Derek Moye

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The all-time Penn State fantasy draft might be over, but the controversy has only just begun.

NittanyNation thought it'd take an extra day to reflect on the process, offer some analysis, give some opinions and then move on from a memorable three-hour, 24-round draft.

Steve Jones and Mike Poorman will grade each team later today, but NittanyNation wanted to give its own rundown of the draft and offer a behind-the-scenes look at a few picks.

The best PSU player? In a casual Twitter poll Monday night, linebacker Jack Ham received the most mentions for best overall Penn State player. Team Prato took him in the second round, with everyone except the softspoken McDuffie playfully calling Lou Prato a jerk. (Everyone wanted Ham.)

It was an interesting, nonscientific poll because it took about a dozen votes for a single name to be repeated. LaVar Arrington and John Cappelletti also received multiple mentions.

Prato voted for Lenny Moore by drafting him with his No. 1 overall pick.

[+] EnlargeO.J. McDuffie
USA TODAY SportsO.J. McDuffie wasn't happy when Team Moyer drafted him -- immediately before McDuffie planned to draft himself.
Most memorable part of the draft: Definitely the end of the seventh round. Only one receiver had been drafted until that point (Bobby Engram), and Team Moyer needed a wideout.

So, right before Team McDuffie had back-to-back picks, Team Moyer selected O.J. McDuffie for his own fantasy team.

Team Moyer: "Sorry to do this to you, OJ, but I got to. I'm taking O.J. McDuffie. Need Collins to throw to someone."

Team McDuffie: "Damn, Josh. I was just about take myself."

That's when four receivers -- McDuffie, Bryant Johnson, Deon Butler, Kenny Jackson -- were taken consecutively and caused headaches for the other three participants. That was a key part to the draft. And, five days later, O.J. still wasn't happy about the move.

"I still can't believe you did that," McDuffie said, laughing. "Right before me."

Biggest head-scratchers: Cornerback Brian Miller as the No. 2 overall pick? C'mon, Team McClellan. Cornerback was the slimmest position in the draft, so corners had added value -- that was McClellan's reasoning for taking him so high -- but one could've held off on Miller until at least the fourth or fifth round.

Team McClellan passed up Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry Collins for Miller. Team Morris also received some ribbing for making Sean Lee the No. 1 LB, but Stephon Morris wanted to draft someone in the first round with whom he had played. So that was understandable.

But when Morris took kicker Chris Bahr in the 10th round? Definite head-scratcher -- although he did explain that move here. McDuffie also surprised just about everyone when he drafted Larry Johnson over the likes of Curt Warner and Cappelletti.

Best undrafted players: Where to even begin? There were plenty; you could make up a great team on just left-overs from the draft.

QB Tony Sacca, FB Franco Harris, RB Blair Thomas, WR Derek Moye, OT Chris Conlin, and C Matt Stankiewitch are among the best remaining picks on offense. As far as the defense: DT Jimmy Kennedy, DE Bruce Bannon, LB Michael Mauti, CB Derek Bochna and S Harry Hamilton were also undrafted.

Best sleepers (or best-value picks): OK, we'll throw Team McClellan a bone here. Grabbing two-time All-American and College Football Hall-of-Famer Dennis Onkotz in the 16th round was probably the steal of the draft.

That greatly boosted Team McClellan's LB corps. And he grabbed another great-value pick with Lydell Mitchell in the 20th round. Team Morris definitely got great value in QB Todd Blackledge in the 19th round, and Team Moyer's best-value picks appeared to be LB Greg Buttle in the 18th round and Kenny Jackson in the eighth.

Morris means business: A lot of participants hit the books before the draft, but Morris' preparation was a little different. As a player, he had a bit of a leg up, because he didn't just stop at reading up on all the players -- he went straight to the source.

Morris called up several former players -- including Lee, Chafie Fields, NaVorro Bowman, Derrick Williams and Arrington -- to talk about whom they thought deserved to be drafted.

"Once you told me about it, I had contacts with guys who I played with and guys like Chafie Fields, who I was thinking about signing with, so I just did my research," Morris said Tuesday night. "I asked them about some guys, who I should choose and pretty much went from there."

Morris' research seemed to pay off. Prato was pleasantly surprised at Morris' Penn State knowledge, and his defense is among the best.

Can we get a mulligan? When you're picking players without a fancy draft board and you're racing against the clock, sometimes panic and confusion set in -- and it basically happened to all of us.

Prato regretted not taking Gregg Garrity; Morris likely would've taken Brandon Noble over Devon Still if he had another chance; McDuffie would've drafted himself sooner. And Team Moyer? Why, oh why, couldn't Lydell Mitchell hold out for one more round? Michael Mauti also likely would've replaced Ed O'Neil upon closer inspection.

Looking back on the draft: The most difficult part wasn't necessarily creating your own "cheat sheet" and ranking the best players at each position. It was trying to weigh whether someone like Michael Robinson had more value than someone like Engram.

There was no blueprint to this, since it had never really been done before. We all knew what players we wanted -- but we weren't so sure just who we could wait for and who we needed to grab right away.

Morris agreed that you kind of had to adopt a reactive strategy with the draft. With no mock drafts, it was definitely unique. But, looking ahead, at least future drafters will have some idea of what to expect.

It was definitely a lot of fun. The NittanyNation staff will probably continue trash-talking about this throughout the season. And McDuffie, Morris and Prato were all great sports.

"If I’d know the level of participation McDuffie and Morris would have I’d have picked them 1 and 2," McClellan said. "Great guys and tremendously patient during the whole process, too."

5 Questions: Former PSU WR Derek Moye 

October, 5, 2012
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Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.

This week's subject is former Penn State wideout Derek Moye, who's fifth on PSU's career receptions list (144). He was a three-year starter who ended his career with 2,395 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Moye graduated in December and later signed a free-agent deal with the Miami Dolphins. He was waived, claimed by the New Orleans Saints and then cut. He's back home in Pennsylvania and working hard to make it onto another NFL roster.

PSU offense improves despite setbacks

September, 26, 2012
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Matt McGloin chuckled when asked whether this offense was an improvement over last year.

He didn't point out his conference-leading nine touchdown passes or argue how the Nittany Lions are spending more time in opponent territory than in the locker room. No, he just stifled a laugh.

[+] EnlargeBill O'Brien
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarMatt McGloin believes this season's offense is markedly better than last season's.
"What kind of question is that, man? You can't compare the two," he said in a light-hearted prodding Wednesday. "It's different philosophies. All I'm saying is that I'm happy to be in the offense this year."

Despite four new starters on the offensive line, starting four different tailbacks in four weeks and watching three wideouts leave since the spring, this offense has transformed from a run-up-the-middle slumber party to one where adjectives such as "exciting" and "high-powered" are no longer used ironically.

Former quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno struggled building offensive foundations with four- and-five star talent (Kevin Newsome, Paul Jones, Rob Bolden). But Bill O'Brien and Charlie Fisher have molded an above-average Big Ten quarterback out of a former walk-on.

Penn State's leading receiver, Allen Robinson, was a third-string afterthought last season. Zach Zwinak was the third-string fullback. Against Temple, the two led the team in rushing and receiving.

O'Brien has taken a patchwork offense and stitched it into something that's attracted the top high school offensive talent in the country.

"I'm looking forward to working with that system," said ESPN's No. 1-rated passer, Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union).

McGloin boasts one more yard passing right now than USC's Matt Barkley. No one is saying McGloin's the better signal-caller, but no one thought he'd be ahead of Barkley at this point either. Penn State's offense still has a long way to go before it can call itself one of the best in the Big Ten, but the fact it somehow seems improved is a feat in itself.

The Lions averaged less than 20 points a game last season with stars like Silas Redd, Justin Brown and Derek Moye. Through four games -- against three teams that played in bowls last season -- Penn State's put up an average of 22 points on the scoreboard and left a lot more points on the field.

Against Temple, Penn State's first eight drives entered opponent territory. Against Virginia, the Lions drove close enough to attempt five field goals.

They've been close to scoring, breaking out of mediocrity, and they're getting closer every game.

So, near the end of McGloin's teleconference call Wednesday afternoon, the quarterback wasn't in the mood to discuss whether this offense was better. He admitted the passing game struggled in the past and labeled it "successful" this season ... but he wasn't answering that question.

"Come on, dude, asking stuff like that," he said with a laugh. "All right, we're done here."

McGloin: A-Rob deserved more PT in '11

September, 20, 2012
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Matt McGloin didn't hesitate Wednesday when he was asked whether his No. 1 target, sophomore Allen Robinson, should have received more playing time last season.

"He definitely should've played a lot more last year," McGloin said. "He's a great athlete, a great player, a great person. I think the coaches last year didn't give him the opportunity he deserved.

"He didn't get discouraged. He kept working his tail off ... and hopefully he's going to be one of the best wideouts this place has seen."

The 6-foot-3 sophomore has already garnered national attention by amassing 24 catches for 322 yards and four touchdowns. He was named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list on Tuesday, and he's currently on pace to shatter just about every PSU single-season receiving record.

Robinson, a soft-spoken player, deflected any talk Wednesday about whether he should have played last year. He said all the right things about his three-reception rookie season: He needed to remain patient, there was more depth back then, he probably would have played this year even with the old staff, etc.

But it's clear he made an instant impact on the new staff. He was listed as a third-string replacement last November but, three months after arriving on campus, receivers coach Stan Hixon noticed his work ethic.

He called Robinson the most improved receiver shortly after April's Blue-White Game. "He's really shown what he can do early," Hixon said at the time.

Robinson acknowledged he's uncertain whether his gaudy numbers would persist -- but he didn't seem to mind if those stats do drop off.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing," he said. "I'm not really concerned because, if I'm not getting the ball as much as I have been, then a lot of the other guys will be stepping up and becoming open."
Graham Zug will lie back and peruse the box scores every Saturday. He'll glance past the passing, sometimes the defensive stats. Sometimes, he won't even look at the other team.

The former Penn State wideout isn't interested in the Heisman race or even the national title picture. He just wants to know how Penn State's transfers played.

"I still watch them," Zug said.

Zug isn't alone. Several lettermen said a majority of recent players support the transfers, although they believed the mood is more evenly split among other alumni.

Derek Moye, last year's top wideout, said he harbors no resentment toward the nine transfers. He wishes they would have remained in Happy Valley, but their departures have led to an unexpected bonus on Saturdays.

"I watch a majority of the guys' games, and I think it's kind of cool to have a rooting interest for teams other than Penn State," Moye said.

[+] EnlargeSilas Redd
Rich Barnes/US PresswireMany of his former Penn State teammates admit to watching Silas Redd run for his current team, USC, on Saturdays.
Moye and Zug have watched both games of USC transfer Silas Redd, not others, because the Trojans appear on TV so often. Whenever Moye's clicking through the channels, finding games with the transfers becomes a priority -- as long as it remains competitive.

He admitted to clicking away from the USC-Hawaii game after awhile. But, then again, USC led 35-0 at halftime.

"I don't really know if I could say if they made the right or wrong decision," Moye said, referring to Redd and Oklahoma's Justin Brown. "But both of their teams are 2-0 and Penn State's 0-2. It's really hard to look at how they're both doing and say they made a wrong decision."

Feelings appeared to be mixed among the current team. Defensive end Pete Massaro shook his head Tuesday and said he doesn't follow them. Deion Barnes said he'll chat with Redd occasionally -- but that's the extent of his involvement.

Allen Robinson and Adrian Amos both said they continue to root for their former teammates.

"At the end of the day," Robinson said, "we're still brothers."

Adam Taliaferro, a member of the 2000 recruiting class, agreed with Robinson's sentiment. He hasn't missed Redd's first two games, and he still talks with Brown.

Taliaferro and a few former players packed into a downtown sports bar after the Penn State season-opener and cheered for Redd against the Rainbow Warriors. Taliaferro still hasn't watched Brown, but the Sooners haven't yet appeared on national TV.

"I told Justin he's still a Penn State guy, he's just in a different uniform for a while," Taliaferro said. "When you're part of the family, it's hard to turn your back on anyone like that."

Most players said they understood the transfers, but Brown's and Redd's still came as a shock. Redd was a returning tailback who could have seen 25 touches a game, while Brown would have been the No. 1 option in a pro-style offense during his final semester. But, the current and former lettermen said, the transfers did what they thought was best for them.

"I don't have any hard feelings for them," Zug added. "But, if it was me, I would've stayed at Penn State because I dedicated my life to Penn State. But you can't get mad at other people -- they had great opportunities."

Nittany Lions in the NFL: NFC offense

August, 22, 2012
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Michael RobinsonSteven Bisig/US PresswireMichael Robinson (right) has become one of the better fullbacks in the NFL after playing quarterback at Penn State, making the Pro Bowl this past season.
NittanyNation takes a look at every Penn State player currently playing in the NFL -- where they are, what their role is and what their careers have looked like.

NittanyNation will look at offensive NFC players this afternoon after glancing at offensive AFC players this morning:

Stephfon Green, RB, Detroit Lions
Height/weight/age: 5-10/193/23
Role: Battling for a roster spot as the No. 4 RB
PSU career: Green burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2008 -- but that turned out to be his best season. He had 578 rushing yards and found himself in Joe Paterno's doghouse by his senior season. He finished his career with 1,351 yards and 14 scores.
NFL career: Went undrafted. Green has six carries this preseason for 92 yards -- including a 76-yard scamper for a score against the Baltimore Ravens.

(Read full post)

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