Among the throngs of chanting thousands at the "Rise and Rally" event on Tuesday morning outside of the Lasch Football Building were two quickly noticeable faces.
Board of Trustees members Adam Taliaferro and Anthony Lubrano attended the event. Taliaferro, a former Penn State football player, and Lubrano, a 1982 graduate of Penn State, were both on Lasch's practice field shortly before the players began working out.
"This is great," Taliaferro said. "I mean, that's what I've been trying to tell people all along, that this is what Penn State is really about, you know? You say we are Penn State, you look at all the people out here, a big family, that's my heart."
"Rise and Rally" was a grassroots effort to support the Penn State football team after the NCAA hammered it with major sanctions last Monday that, among other things, will prevent it from playing in a bowl or postseason game for four seasons.
Taliaferro, who was elected to the Board of Trustees on May 4 , had his collegiate football days cut very short when he suffered a career-ending spinal injury as a freshman in a game against Ohio State.
"I've talked to a few of the players individually over the last few weeks, just letting them know they got someone to talk to," Taliaferro said, "and to talk to them about my experience and how Penn State stuck behind me when I had my injury...I only played five games, and if anyone can speak to the experience of no bowl games and not being able to play in all the games you wanted to, I thought it was me."
Lubrano was elected to the board on the same date as Taliaferro. He has been a very vocal supporter of Penn State throughout its current hard times.
Though a great deal of Penn State players have reaffirmed their commitment to the program after the NCAA's sanctions, some players have left the program. Running back Silas Redd, tight end Kevin Haplea, quarterback Rob Bolden and safety Tim Buckley are all no longer listed on Penn State's roster.
"Obviously they have to make decisions that are best for them, but I would remind them why they chose Penn State," Lubrano said when asked what he'd say to any players considering transferring. "This is great academic institution, there's a community that will be with them for the rest of their lives that's unparalleled. Ask then to think about the family of teammates they've had for several years."
At the same time, Taliaferro lauded the players who didn't leave the program.
"Those guys are the pillars," the former cornerback said. "Those are the guys that will go down in history as keeping this team together. Those are real Penn State football players The loyalty, the family aspect of things, its fantastic.
"Those are guys I got the utmost respect for."