The domesticated version of the wild turkey, the Nittany, was bred for market use by Pennsylvania (College) State University in the 1930s. Selections were made for developing a docile temperament, improving egg production and increasing the quality of a finished carcass. Proposed standard weights were 20 pounds for a adult tom and 12 pounds for a adult female. These weights show the smallest sex differences of any variety of domesticated turkey. The Nittany’s covert and main tail feathers are marked transversely with brown and black penciling, and tipped with a solid black band, which in turn is edged completely with chestnut brown. It seems to have lacked the coppery bronze band in the tail that is in the Eastern wild. Even though no one indicated having Nittanys on the survey, I believe it is very possible that some of the captive wild turkeys listed under the Eastern wilds are Nittanys or Nittany crosses with wilds. One interesting survey came in that describes his flock resulting from saving light-colored turkeys that are similar in color to Bourbon Reds, out of his original flock of commercially raised Eastern Wild turkeys. These birds are colored like Bourbons, but retain “all the wild traits” such as “thin necks, long legs, alert, intelligent and can fly.” It is possible that they could be Nittany descendants?
Archives for August 2004
That is the title of the story written by Pat Jordan in the New York Times Sunday Magazine of August 29. Joe Paterno is the subject of the story. Your Thanksgiving Fowl found it entertaining. While true-blue Penn Staters probably won’t find much new material in the story, it is still worth reading. Here’s an excerpt:
Paterno admitted that he was lazy last year, maybe the last few years, which is why he has no thought of retiring. ”If I thought I’d done a better job, I’d say, ‘You had it,”’ he said. ”But I’m working harder this year than in the last 30 years. I’m spending more time with the coaches, the kids, looking at tape. I’m working my butt off and paying attention to details. Last year I let things fall through the cracks. Kids got away with things, and I didn’t get in their faces in practice when I should have. In my mind, I thought it was coming to an end. So I decided to go back to the way I started. I was an S.O.B. when I started, and I’ll end up as an S.O.B.”
Having watched the past two Steelers’ pre-season efforts, I am optimistic about the season ahead. I took the drubbing of the Texans with a grain of salt. I wanted to see more, against some more serious talent. The Eagles provided that test, even with their depleted linebacker corps and bearing in mind that these games don’t count. They have some serious talent. (Rush Limbaugh aside, I consider Donovan McNabb some serious talent. And, when Terrell Owens is not being a dick—and sometimes, when he is—he is seriously talented.)
In the Eagle game, I saw a lot of positive things for the Steelers. Tommy Maddox looked sharp behind a revamped offensive line that promises a bruising running game and enhanced pass protection. Duce Staley added an extra dimension to the running game, which had been de-emphasized last season. Bettis, too, looked comfortable and fit. So did Plaxico Burress, who apparently was true to his word about rocking up and being in game shape. His early circus catch, today an ESPN SportsCenter highlight, demonstrated that the latent talent we knew was there these past few years might finally develop. Antawan Randle El put on some moves that promise a very entertaining season. The defense looked solid, except in one area, an area that has been a problem of late.
That area is the defensive secondary. Last year’s much heralded draft choice, Troy Palomalu, was supposed to add some life to the secondary. He might do so—he is starting this year—but they need more help. Chad Scott was continually beaten by Terrell Owens. Now, Owens is a big and talented wide receiver, but he isn’t the fastest or slipperiest in the league. Both corners are suspect. Deshea Townsend has never shown me much. Now, with Dick LeBeau back, these guys are going to be doing some pretty ambitious blitzing. Used to work pretty well when Rod Woodson was at the corner, but how will these guys handle it? One indication of how well the secondary blitzes worked was the play in which McNabb got loose for a 20-yard gain when he should have been snuffed in the backfield—with Polamalu chasing him. On another, similar play, I believe it was Ike Taylor who tried to shoulder tackle McNabb, which worked about as well as a one-armed man trying to grab a greased pig. The secondary needs work, both in pass coverage and in their blitz packages.
In rookie watch, Ben Roethlisberger showed that he can make mistakes, which is good. Better he should make them in the pre-season, and early in his pro career. Those of us who have been around the Steelers for a while can remember another first-round draft pick who made tons of mistakes in his first season. He later vindicated himself, and is now in the NFL Hall of Fame. His name is Terry Bradshaw. It is obviously premature to put Roethlisberger in the same category, but what he has shown thus far is that he is a cool customer with a rifle arm and good field vision. According to what I have read, he is a natural leader and respected in the huddle in the locker room. But don’t look for Maddox to move aside soon. Aside from Tommy looking pretty sharp in the pre-season, Roethlisberger—as does any rookie—has a lot to learn before he can step into a starting NFL quarterback assignment.
Having observed this performance against the Eagles, which by the way, the Steelers won 27–21, I am encouraged and optimistic about the season ahead.