Ex-Penn Stater Jared Odrick weighs in on anthem protests; James Franklin opposed to OL changes

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Jared Odrick on the anthem

Former Penn State and NFL defensive tackle Jared Odrick writes an essay for The Sporting News in which he discusses Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice, and how the message has become muddled amid this season’s widespread NFL demonstrations, as well as the resultant backlash.

Kaepernick, Odrick writes, wanted to go it alone from the very beginning, and said so on a conference call with other players early last season. Odrick, then with the Jacksonville Jaguars, viewed that stance as “a smack in the face” at the time, but came to see it as something rare in pro football — “pure, unapologetic independence.”

And, Odrick added:

Since that initial conversation, Kaepernick’s independent protest against police brutality has evolved into a social media controversy between those who call themselves patriots — or president — and those in the NFL who preach solidarity, with neither party acknowledging the actual issue at hand or working toward a solution. Waking up and seeing sensationalized headlines and derogatory claims against players advocating for change didn’t surprise me, but the ignorance from all parties [ticked] me off.

Odrick, who spent his first five NFL seasons with Miami, played for Jacksonville in 2015 and ’16. Released after last season, he is currently a free agent.

No changes expected along OL

As noted by Fightonstate.com, James Franklin said during the Big Ten conference call on Tuesday that while a great many things will be reevaluated during the team’s bye week, he doesn’t expect to reshuffle the deck along the struggling offensive line. Asked specifically if he might consider moving starting right guard Brendan Mahon to right tackle — previously identified by the coach as the big trouble spot — Franklin said it was “a possibility.” He quickly added, however, that doing so “may be creating two [problems],” since one player would be moving to a new spot and another — be it Will Fries, currently a tackle, or backup guard Michal Menet — would be seeing significant action at Mahon’s old position for the first time.

Breaking down the offense, including the breakdowns

Andrew Callahan of Lions247 breaks down the offensive video from the 31-7 victory at Northwestern last Saturday and makes the expected points about the offensive line’s inability to hold blocks a half-second longer, while also noting the Wildcats’ aggressive scheme. That scheme, he writes, forced the Lions to turn away from their usual run-pass option game and employ more conventional running plays, one of which resulted in Saquon Barkley’s 53-yard touchdown gallop in the second half. Callahan also notes that Trace McSorley’s ability to make the proper reads and deliveries against Northwestern’s soft zone coverage served him and the team well; McSorley completed a school-record 15 straight throws in one stretch.

Delightful defense

Nate Bauer of Blue White Illustrated weighs in on Penn State’s defensive improvement, noting that besides allowing the fewest points in the nation (9.0 per game) and forcing the most turnovers (17), the Lions have shown impressive depth. No fewer than 14 players, Bauer writes, have been credited with a half-sack or more, and 26 have registered a tackle for loss. As cornerback Amani Oruwariye told Bauer, “The defense is good because we’re just confident, we’re experienced and we prepare every week like it’s the Super Bowl.”

He’s a legacy

John McGonigal of the Centre Daily Times writes that State College High wide receiver Brandon Clark, son of former Nittany Lions great Bruce Clark, was offered a spot as a preferred walk-on at Penn State on Wednesday, an offer he plans to accept. Bruce Clark, a defensive tackle, won the Lombardi Award in 1978 and was a consensus All-American in 1979 while playing alongside Matt Millen. The fourth overall pick in the 1980 draft, Clark played in the NFL for eight years, making the Pro Bowl in 1984.

Two women’s soccer players honored

According to the university’s official website, Megan Schafer, a senior forward for the women’s soccer team, was named Big Ten co-Offensive Player of the Week after scoring 3 goals during victories against Michigan and Michigan State. Fellow senior Brittany Basinger, a defender, was named to the TopDrawerSoccer Team of the Week after scoring her first goal of the season against the Wolverines and adding an assist against the Spartans.

Field hockey team wins twice, drops in poll

Also according to the university’s website, the field hockey team fell from No. 5 to No. 6 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, despite victories last week against Ohio State and Cal. The Lions (12-2) next visit Maryland on Sunday.

Munch a bunch

The Big Ten Network tweeted out video of Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki squaring off against Michigan offensive tackle Mason Cole in the Saltine Challenge.

Also in the Land of 10

Miss previous editions of the Wakeup Call? They can be found here.

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