Posts Tagged ‘LaVar Arrington’

LaVar Steps Up for JoePa!!

In Joe Paterno on January 24, 2012 at 10:10 am

Following is an interview done with LaVar Arrington yesterday that I wanted to share. Thanks to my friend Don for sharing it with me. I don’t know where it came from so can’t provide a credit. This says it all about Joe Paterno and the lessons taught to so many, even an emotional person like LaVar Arrington. Great job Joe and great job LaVar.

People have been asking about my feelings on this weekend’s passing of Joe Paterno. My phone has not stopped ringing with requests for interviews about Joe.  I know this will be a very long week for me. In a blog entry I posted after his last interview, I pretty much said my piece about my relationship with him and my thoughts on how he handled the scandal. I really thought I would wake up angry and upset today, ready to fight against what I feel took Coach down that final road of no return, but I didn’t. Instead of gearing up to lash out and let my emotions get the best of me for the second time, I actually woke up feeling a great deal of peace. I began recounting so many times I heard that loud distinctive voice directing and teaching. I started envisioning all the funny little moments, like when I use to smack Joe on the behind at team meetings and say, “Good day to be a Nittany Lion coach!”

 I remember the pregame speeches. Boy could he deliver a pregame speech. There are so many moments yesterday evening and this morning that I’m recounting about my time at school with him. I remember one time he sent for me to come to his office. At the time that was a scary invite, and I was right; my grades had started to slip after I became a “superstar” and he got into me pretty good about it.

The reason why I feel peace about Joe’s passing, is because all that Joe was is what I represent today and will pass on to my children. People may try and tear down his legacy. They will attempt to turn Joe into something he was not because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. I waged war on the Penn State board of trustees because in my opinion they allowed this to happen. 

My focus was misguided. I should’ve approached the coaching search the way Joe would have — with grace and thoughtfulness. I made a terrible mistake when I said I was done with Penn State. I let frustration and anger guide my actions. But today my focus is not about attacking those who wish to say or do things to try and tarnish his legacy or ours. It’s not even about defending him in the media every day. Joe’s work speaks for itself. Through it all, he maintained the man that he was and even when he had one last chance to open fire on those who sacrificed him, he didn’t. I realize it’s our actions, in how we live our lives and impact others, that will forever tell the true story of Joseph Vincent Paterno.

Today I’m rededicating myself to strive to work harder, to be better — a better husband, a better dad, a better son, a better role model. Today I will carry the lessons taught to me by the great people who have graced my life and work to be better.

 The biggest tribute I can give to Coach Paterno is taking all that I’ve learned from him and apply it in my life. I, too, someday will cease to exist on this earth physically, but to know that my good works impacted someone so much that they would speak of me the way I speak of my former coach today, that’s the best way for me to honor the man who for three years taught me in his own way what it took to be a man.

 Thank you so much for being a great example, Joe. I will keep your memory alive as I too am not a perfect man, but yet and still a man. That means I can admit when I’ve made a mistake. I will protect and provide for my family, I will never yield standing on my spiritual, moral values and principles. Most important, I will always keep God first in the things that I do in my life.

 I didn’t see Joe much after I left school, so selfishly a small part of me will continue on as if he is still around just enjoying retirement. I hope in some way, maybe he is.

 Take care, Joe.


LaVar Arrington, Class of ’99. We are Penn State.

Penn State Football All Time Team – Part 5

In Penn State All Time Team, Penn State Football on January 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

PART 5– Now that the Joe Paterno era of Penn State football has officially ended I wanted to have some fun and come up with my All Time Joe Paterno Penn State football team. There was actually a lot of thought that went in to this. I did a good bit of statistical research, used my long memory of Penn State football games and seasons gone bye and of course a lot of my opinion. I also tried to base my picks on their Penn State career and not their NFL career which leaves a few NFL Hall of Famers off the 1st Team. Please feel free to leave your comments. All positions can easily be disputed since there have been many great players to come through Happy Valley. I’ve even taken the liberty to add a few extra players because I couldn’t split the hair on who to pick. It was tough enough as it was. Part 1, I will pick the Offensive Line (5) and TE (1). Part 2, I will pick the WR (3) and QB (1). Part 3 I will pick the RB (3) and it was tough. Part 4 the DL (4), and DB’s (4) and Part 5 I will pick the LB’s (4), it was impossible and I may still change my mind at the last second, the kicker (1) and punter (1).  I’ve added a 2nd Team and an Honorable Mention list.

Although selecting the Running Backs was very difficult selecting the Linebackers was nearly impossible. I’m sure you will have comments and your own opinions. I’d take the 2nd Team and put it against the 1st Team and still have a great group.

Also, I have decided to have an additional article to cover the Kickers and Punters. That wasn’t as easy as I thought so I’m doing to separately. It also won’t take away from this list of Linebackers.


I have selected 4 LINEBACKERS on my 1st Team.

Dennis Onkotz: 2 Time 1st Team All American (’68 & ‘69), both teams were undefeated.  2nd Team All America (’67). Dennis was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Onkotz was the original All American of what would become ”Linebacker U” under Joe Paterno.  Dennis ranks #6 on the All Time Career Tackles list with 287. This was accomplished in 3 seasons since freshman were not eligible at that time. An outstanding athlete Dennis was also the teams punt returner, returning 47 punts for an average return of 13.2 yards and 2 TD’s. He had one return for 71 yards that was not a TD. Dennis was a 3rd round draft pick of the New York Jets but his career was cut short by an injury.

Greg Buttle – 1st Team All American (’75). Arguably the best LB in PSU history. Buttle was a tackling machine. He was the all time tackles leader for over 30 years before he was passed by Paul Posluszny in 2006. He only played 3 seasons due to freshman being ineligible at the time. He holds the PSU records for tackles in a season with 165 and solo tackles in a season with 86. Buttle had individual games throughout his career with 24, 23 and 19 tackles. In 2001 he was awarded the Silver Anniversary Butkus Award for the 1975 season. Greg was a 3rd round draft pick of the New York Jets. He played in the NFL from 1976-1984.

Shane Conlan – 2 Time 1st Team All American (’85 & ’86). The leader of the 1986 defense considered one of the greatest of all time not allowing any opponents to score more than 19 points. Shane was the MVP of the 1987 National Championship Fiesta Bowl win over Miami. Conlan ranks #8th on the All Time tackles list with 274. He also ranks #7 in career tackles for loss. Conlan was selected in the 1st round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. He was selected NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He played in 3 Pro Bowls. He played in the NFL from 1897-1995. 

LaVar Arrington – 2 Time 1st Team All American (’98 & ’99). In his junior season, his last season, he won the Bednarik, Butkus and Lambert Awards. Possibly the finest athlete to ever play on the defensive side of the ball at PSU. LaVar is not in the Top 10 in all time tackles in a career or in a season. He does rank #8 in career QB sacks and #8 in career tackles for loss. LaVar was the 2nd pick in the NFL draft by the Washington Redskins. He and Courtney Brown are the only teammates ever selected as the top 2 picks in the same draft. He played in 3 Pro Bowls. LaVar played in the NFL from 2000-2006.


Dan Connor – 2 Time All American (’06 & ’07). The All time Career Leader in tackles with 419 passing his teammate Paul Posluszney. He ranks 2nd in tackles in a season to Buttle with 145. His 4 year tackles totals were 85, 76, 113 & 145. Connor won the 2007 Bednarik Award. He had 18 tackles in one game against Ohio State in 2007. Dan was a 3rd round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2008. He is still playing in the NFL.

Paul Posluszny – 2 Time All American (’05 & ’06).  He was only the 2nd 2 time winner of the Bednarik Award. He won the Butkus Award as well in 2005. Poz broke Greg Buttles 30 year record to become the all time career tackles leader in 2006 which was broken by teammate Dan Connor the next season. He’s the only Penn State linebacker to ever record 100 tackles in three consecutive seasons (2004-2006). His career consistency as a linebacker is second to none. His yearly tackles were 36, 104, 136 and 136. He recorded 22 tackles against Northwestern in 2005. Poz was a 2nd round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills. He is still playing in the NFL.

Jack Ham – 1st Team All American (’70). Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. He teamed with Dennis Onkotz to lay the foundation for the legacy that would go on to become “ Linebacker U”. Ham was a three year starter who ranks #14 on the all time career tackles list. He only played 3 years since freshman were not eligible at that time. He is tied with Andre Collins for both Blocked Punts in a season with 3 and Most Blocked Punts in a career with 4. Jack was selected in the 1st round of the NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played in 8 Pro Bowls and won 4 Super Bowls. He was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary Team the 1990 All Decade Team and the Steelers All Time Team. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Andre Collins – 1st team All American (’89). Andre ranks #10 on the All Time Career Tackles List with 257. He is tied with Jack Ham for both Blocked Punts in a season with 3 and Most Blocked Punts in a career with 4. Collins career consisted of 2 seasons in which he played very little and 2 seasons that he was spectacular. He had 110 tackles as a junior and 130 tackles as a senior. He was a 2nd round draft pick of the Washington Redskins. He played in the NFL from 1990-1999.

 Honorable Mention:

Sean Lee, John Skorupan, Brandon Short, Jim Kates, Pete Giftopoulos, Brian Gelzheiser, Trey Bauer, Jim Nelson, Mark D‘Onofrio, Gary Gray, Ed O’Neil, Kurt Allerman, Lance Mehl, Chet Parlavecchio, Scott Radecic, Gerald Filardi, Navarro Bowman, Josh Hull, Charlie Zapiac, Don Graham, Mac Morrison, Jim Rosecrans, Trey Bauer, Brian Chizmar, John Ebersole, Phil Yaboah-Kodie, Jim Laslavic, Doug Allen, Ron Crosby, Rich Milot, Keith Goganious, Rich McKenzie, Reggie Givins, Josh Hull, Tim Shaw

There it is!!! How do you have a 1st Team that doesn’t include the top 2 tacklers of all time and an NFL Hall of Famer? I’m not sure either but that’s the way it worked out. The first two teams consist of 13 seasons of 1st Team All Americans and another 5 seasons on the Honorable Mention list. The Honorable Mention list is long due to so many great players that have been part of the “Linebacker U” legacy. What a tremendous group of players!!!

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