Penn State players keep focus on season, not overanalyzing future of sanction-era - The Daily Collegian: Football

Welcome!
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Penn State players keep focus on season, not overanalyzing future of sanction-era

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 3:51 pm | Updated: 7:12 pm, Wed Sep 25, 2013.

One by one on Tuesday afternoon, Penn State football players unexpectedly learned their program would suffer fewer punishments through the sanctions than originally expected.

Coach Bill O’Brien said soon after the announcement was made that he hadn’t yet addressed his team, noting his players were mostly all in class at the time.

But, that didn’t stop many of them from hearing about it prior to the 2:45 team meeting.

"I think someone said it on Twitter and, like everything nowadays, it more [spread] through social media,” running back Akeel Lynch said. “But, it got through Twitter and a lot of guys were retweeting what the NCAA said. Coach O'Brien had a meeting to talk about it, and then we got back to business as usual.”

After undergoing the first 14 months of what was expected to be a four-year period of decreasing scholarships, the Penn State football program collectively learned Tuesday that the amount would be back on the increase beginning next year.

Several players who were available on conference calls Wednesday stressed the importance of remaining focused on the current season. However, they also expressed excitement toward the NCAA’s decision to lessen the penalties — thanks to what NCAA representatives referred to as “positive action” from the university.

Junior kicker Sam Ficken said the news, to a certain degree, reinforces the bond formed among many players who made the decision to remain at Penn State after the sanctions were originally announced. They could have gone elsewhere without penalty.

“We did stick it out,” Ficken said. “That’s a testament to the courage of this team and how we all fought through it. We’re coming out as better players and better people.”

As for O’Brien’s message to the team? “Win the day,” Ficken said players were told, just as they have been all season.

Tuesday, O’Brien had already set the tone, saying, “Today is definitely more about the future,” and it will be important for the Nittany Lions to maintain that mindset as they head into the thick of their Big Ten schedule. After the Lions’ (3-1) bye week, they will travel to Indiana next weekend to begin conference play.

Both Ficken and Lynch said they’ve tried not to focus on whether future modifications may be made to the sanctions — including the potential for the removal of the postseason ban.

But the hope will likely remain for most players moving forward, albeit to a lesser degree, at least outwardly, than with several vocal lettermen.

“There’s a thought that the sanctions might have been reduced, so you’re always hoping for that,” Ficken said. “But you’re not really [focusing] on that too much. You’re just going through your daily routine. No matter if the sanctions get lifted or what-not, we’re not going to practice any differently.”

Even if players were to spend much time analyzing the modified sanctions, they’d likely have equally as hard of a time predicting the future as the rest of the college football world.

Lynch said, “We obviously don’t know what’s going on with it,” in regard to the Penn State’s sanction future, and Ficken said he’s glad to only have to focus on kicking the ball on Saturdays.

“To be honest with you, the players are not really looking into it too much. That’s more the administration and coach thing,” Ficken said. “So, it’s good news, but we’re players here. We’re not interpreters of what’s happening.”

Lynch was also asked if he felt the Lions’ program had nullified the theory of Penn State representing a “Football Culture,” leading the well-spoken redshirt freshman to explain the program’s foundation as simply as possible.

"We play football and we graduate our players,” Lynch said. “We're just doing what the NCAA asks us to do and we're just going to continue to do that."

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Connect with us


Football Columns

My View: Title IX is a scapegoat for college football’s role in decline of NCAA men’s sports
Posted: March 05, 2014

In this article, I argue that Title IX is a scapegoat for the true culprit for the decline in men’s non-revenue sports: the exorbitant spending on football programs by schools which fruitlessly pursue a mirage of revenue.

Comments (0)
In the midst of uncertainty, Penn State needs stability — whether it's Bill O'Brien or his successor
Posted: December 31, 2013

If Penn State brass is out shopping for a new coach in the coming weeks (or days), its representatives need to identify who could also be using this job as a way to boost their personal brand.

Comments (7)
Penn State football: given ‘new normal’ in Happy Valley, 7-5 record even more impressive than 2012 results
Posted: December 02, 2013

There wasn’t a grand reveal to honor Penn State’s season on Senior Day, nor will there be a Maxwell Coach of the Year award waiting for coach Bill O’Brien come winter.

Comments (2)
Purdue coach Darrell Hazell unwise giving Penn State bulletin board material
Posted: November 18, 2013

Hazell thought earlier last week that Penn State’s running game wasn’t on par with Iowa and Wisconsin. Bill O’Brien proved otherwise.

Comments (0)
If Jameis Winston deserves the benefit of the doubt, so does the woman who said she was sexually assaulted
Posted: November 15, 2013

Media, fans and those pesky pundits are responding in a typical way — they’re perpetuating the idea that sexual assault can be the fault of the victim by blindly criticizing a typical 11-month investigation.

Comments (4)
In recruiting ratings, the analysts tab the five-stars, but lower than that? It’s shades of gray
Posted: November 14, 2013

Rating Division I football prospects is a serious business that garners a great deal of national attention. So we had to ask: are these ratings indicative of how a player will perform in college?

Comments (0)
Column: Penn State football once again shows down doesn’t always mean out
Posted: October 13, 2013

A Penn State win appeared hopeless at several points in Saturday’s game against Michigan. But resiliency once again led coach Bill O’Brien’s squad to victory.

Comments (0)
Lions face a gut check in Michigan
Posted: October 11, 2013

The second-year coach said this week it’d be crazy to think Saturday’s all-stadium White Out on ESPN at night is a normal contest.

Comments (0)
Penn State football isn’t perfect, and that’s OK
Updated: October 08, 2013 - 12:00 am

Yes, a Joe Paterno-coached team never lost to Indiana. And no, Penn State didn’t play or coach its best Saturday in a loss to the Hoosiers. But come on, Internet. Settle down.

Comments (0)
Penn State didn’t play horribly Saturday --- it just didn’t play complementary football in a loss to Indiana
Updated: October 08, 2013 - 2:17 pm

While football seems like a game distinctly separated into offense and defense, the two indirectly go hand-in-hand. The units aren’t on the field at the same time, but one affects the other in a major way.

Comments (0)