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Penn State tries to return to normalcy in first fall practice

Penn State Abuse AP

There’s no question about it. Penn State, as a football program and an institution, will never be the same. Not after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

The Mark Emmert-levied sanctions against the program in response to the Freeh report? Those hurt, but eventually the Nittany Lions will recover from the scholarship losses (10 initial, 20 overall for four years) and postseason ban (also four years). Bill O’Brien will have plenty of time to weather that storm, but his immediate focus has been on keeping the team together.

He hasn’t been able to keep some players from leaving. Running back Silas Redd is gone to USC and receiver Justin Brown is expected to transfer to Oklahoma. Quarterback Rob Bolden has been out since being demoted to third-string and ended up transferring to LSU. In all, nine players have taken advantage of the NCAA’s specially amended transfer policies, according to the Associated Press.

But when you consider the potential damage, the numbers aren’t all that bad. Penn State reports Monday morning that 109 football players reported to the first fall practice, just over 92 percent of the roster as of July 23. Of those, only 70 are scholarship players though.

O’Brien said he was “very confident” that the players he does have will stick around. He may not fully believe that, but that’s what he has to say in August to keep this team going. There has to be some sense of confidence.

The sanctions have been handed down, and agree with them or not, all Penn State can do at this point is try to move forward as best it can. Emmert could have denied Penn State a football team this year, but he didn’t, so play on.

The first step in doing so was practicing as a team today.

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26 Responses to “Penn State tries to return to normalcy in first fall practice”
  1. tlmoon2112 says: Aug 6, 2012 10:49 AM

    Not possible, Penn State football will NEVER be the same again.

  2. amosalanzostagg says: Aug 6, 2012 10:51 AM

    This season is going to be brutal. Every road game both on the field and in the stands people are going to be merciless toward PSU, coaches, players, fans.

    It will only get better when PSU decides to quit defending the shamed JoePa and recognize the wrong done by the people who knew better. No number of convictions will ever ease the abject horror innocents faced.

    No Blue Out will ever soothe the pain and anguish that senior PSU officials put the victims through and now the University, it’s facility and students, and the alumni now all have to bear the shame by a few prideful
    people who sought to cover up Sandusky’s crimes.

  3. dadsource says: Aug 6, 2012 11:34 AM

    Can’t hit ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ on any previous comment, both are true and hurt. Have to admit, though, PSU cleaned house, took their medicine, and did not fall apart. I’m actually quite optimistic about the season. Paterno always got top 20 recruiting classes, but killed the offense with the ’4 straight up the middle’ play calling. O’Brien has some of his players, most of the old players, a better offense…..shoot, let’s play football, and start over. Nope, never be the same for sure. Loved Joe like a grandfather, will choose to remember the good, which was much. But the blind eye turned is now our black eye, and I still can’t see out of it…..

  4. mungman69 says: Aug 6, 2012 12:13 PM

    No one will ever look at PSU the same way again. That’s too bad.

  5. gfj7000 says: Aug 6, 2012 12:32 PM

    to amosalazostagg-
    Points well taken – however (9) transfers vs. 109 regulars do not mean a disastrous program to me. Even though many of the (9) are key players, I believe the majority can cover up some of the talents of the minority YES, there will be some weaknesses, and those (9) will be severely missed. I don’t think you or others need to ‘pound the nails into the hearts’ of the 109 + fans etc., as ‘mud, dung, and doom mail’ and comments have been pounded now for 5-6 weeks – I’ve seen ENOUGH negative publicity in my e-mails to ‘sink a battleship’ over these weeks.

    as dadsource says: -
    ‘let’s play ball’ and see what materializes. It’s easy to keep pointing ‘finger of doom of the program’ – don’t you think the 92% of the players are already suffering the losses? Of course they are, and will continue to suffer for a while.
    As I said last night in my comments – the NCAA should AMEND their sanctions and DO THEIR OWN investigations rather than come out with a bunch of sanctions they’ve not due diligence ON THEIR OWN rather than ‘cheaply’ use the work of others. THIS IS CHEAP, breaks their OWN POLICIES and they should be held accountable for what they’ve done. END OF SUBJECT!

  6. overratedgators says: Aug 6, 2012 12:33 PM

    Penn State got punished. And they deserved every bit of it. I hope some of their fans take a few bad seasons as an opportunity to sober up and realize that football isn’t everything.

    But when the dust settles, I do hope they return eventually. They are a fine institution with many proud traditions, and though they have a lot to be ashamed of right now, over the long haul, they also have a lot to proud of. So I hope, over the long haul, once they’ve had some time to think about things that could have been done better, they return to prominence and pride once again.

  7. tommy57 says: Aug 6, 2012 12:39 PM

    @amosalanzostagg, who writes, in part ” This season is going to be brutal. Every road game both on the field and in the stands people are going to be merciless toward PSU, coaches, players, fans.

    It will only get better when PSU decides to quit defending the shamed JoePa and recognize the wrong done by the people who knew better…”

    This issue has been discussed ad nauseam and, except for a few uninformed outliers, PSU supporters fully recognize the enormity of the crimes that were committed and suffer the betrayal of those who should have acted.

    It is those who just don’t like PSU who will be looking for any excuse who will be “merciless” toward PSU students, players, etc who didn’t do anything wrong. And there’s something wrong with that!

  8. righton989 says: Aug 6, 2012 12:54 PM

    PSU working feverishly to get Jerry Showers released for football pep rallies and recruiting. Jerry to lead PSU almuni fundraiser for massive statue of JVP to be enshired on his State College lawn. Said Jerry, “You know that I’ll go that Second Mile for you.”

  9. wingsdings says: Aug 6, 2012 12:58 PM

    Hope you guys drop soap in the shower

    With Love

    Jerry

  10. psunick says: Aug 6, 2012 1:02 PM

    I think that the football team has slowly evolved into an underdog, and that they will be shown respect on their trips Charlottesville, Urbana, Iowa City, West Lafayette and Lincoln.

    I cannot even fathom a scenario in which they are booed unmercifully.

  11. tommy57 says: Aug 6, 2012 1:26 PM

    @psunick

    Not all teams and their supporters are as classy as Nebraska. You’ll recall it was the first game without Paterno when the full scale of the crimes were becomming known and both teams, full benches (players, coaches, trainers) met at mid-field for a brief prayer before the game.

    No, unfortunately, not all teams and their supporters are like that.

  12. hopalongcrc1 says: Aug 6, 2012 1:39 PM

    Ben

    Thx for all your emails and commentary on beloved college football.

    Go Penn St. With great adversity comes, great victory. In the wake of the crimes of a lone depraved individual, a great university, in a great state will, with a continuing great football program and community, an awesome program under OBrien will redevelop to make JoePa proud.

    Joe Pa, a man that was wrongly employed beyond his years of effectiveness, made into a fund raiser extraordinaire, and ultimately a god when what he really did was kick ass winning football and developing men. Victories should be reinstated.

    Joe Pa tried to continue to serve his beloved deservedly so campus and program and sadly tried to help his very depraved friend at the egregious requested of th enot to be trusted Board.

    Ben, thx for pointing out that but for the grace of Mark Emmert and the

  13. hopalongcrc1 says: Aug 6, 2012 1:59 PM

    Ben, thx for pointing out that but for the grace of NCAA and the leadership of Mark Emmert developed by his presidency at two other major learning institutions, CFL would have properly imposed the death penalty for 4 to 10 years.

    As gfj7000 says: The investigation by Freeh who headed the overwhelmingly greatest investigative body in the world (FBI) for almost a decade found the BOT most culpable. You think Freeh might know something about investigations from over 35 years in FBI and justice departments. My guess is that he can be relied upon as a federal judge (most football programs give out scholarships for more players than there are federal judges) and as an investigator – FBI.

    Penn State will never be the same. I would not want the Happy Valley community, O’Brien, Penn St. education, and great state of PA on my schedule as underdag for 4 years or definitely not in 5 years when the Sandusky sin is absolved.

    Penn St. will be the model of a great football program in a even better state, community, and university for football in its proper place on campus. Once the arrogant trustees are dismised and the irresponsible system and lack of accountability is replaced, fans, maintenance emloyees, and most importantly the victims can all attest in honesty of the greatest that is Penn State in reemerging from sins of Sandusky with the grace of the NCAA and college football.

    Go Penn State (except when you play against my school of choice). I would hope my alma mater would shut football down for 5-10 years if a Sandusky predator would be allowed to roam free on campus, but Penn State will make CFL football better and the victims remembered because of what will be accomplished there.

    Note to AD: do not schedule Penn State unless it is for bowl game for next four years. Every time Penn State gains a yard, scores a point, wins a game, and ultimately wins national title it will be a tribute to the victims and the great Penn State community.

  14. dannythebisforbeast says: Aug 6, 2012 2:28 PM

    Freeh was accused of multiple coverups as the head of the greatest investigative body as you say. Also can not be viewed as objective since he is a VERYCLOSE ally of governor Corbett who also played a role in this fiasco. Not surprisingly his role was minimized or glossed over in the Freeh report. Please don’t quote Freehs wonderful resume as it has many pock marks.

  15. ohioirishfan says: Aug 6, 2012 2:32 PM

    As a Notre Dame fan I wish the PSU players and fans good luck this season and the seasons to come. To coach O’Brien, good luck sir! Hang in there and make that school special again to the PSU fans everywhere…

  16. hopalongcrc1 says: Aug 6, 2012 2:48 PM

    danny

    I hope you can forgive Freeh for imperfections as head of the FBI and for alliance with PA governor, similar to PA. ST. trustees and Mark Emmert to provide grace to move forward. There are obvious problems at the highest levels of PA politics (as with all states I surmise) and with the PA. ST. football program that successfully earned high respect and esteem (while other programs struggle with same out of balance revenues and poularity caused misbehavior and too much football emphasis).

    Freeh and Emmert with all their imperfections did not oversee a campus that allowed multiple child rapes. they have worked a path that the great to be envied community, team, state, and university can move forward with to achieve.

    Would you really have no end in sight and continue with contesting the criminal charges already decided by the judges right there in PA, no compensation for the victims, or worse continue to overemphasize football to cover up?
    How would you have like to have been a victim of PA. ST. football, or a maintenance employee and campus dean afraid to speak out, or a coach that witness the atrocities and not be able to do anything? Really?

    Please let PA ST child rape football die and reemerge as Penn State university with a great football program develop with or without the Freeh and Emmert shortcomings?

    We love college football. College football without Penn State in its future is not college football.

  17. righton989 says: Aug 6, 2012 2:52 PM

    PSU and JVP Ent to announce strategic partnership in marketing Jerry Showers signature line of leisureware. Some of profits to fund the perpetual flame commemorating Jerry’s devoted passion to helping disadvanted youth.

  18. florida727 says: Aug 6, 2012 3:02 PM

    “righton989″, I was going to say this really isn’t an appropriate time to throw down Sandusky/Paterno jokes. But then I realized that because of the severity and type of crimes committed, there never will be an appropriate time to joke about this. Hope you learn that lesson, quickly. Your attempt at humor failed miserably. Good of you to give yourself a thumbs-up though, seeing as it might be the only one you get.

  19. psunick says: Aug 6, 2012 3:59 PM

    Very classy, ohioirish.

    Thank you kindly!

  20. dannythebisforbeast says: Aug 6, 2012 4:09 PM

    @hopalong it is a problem to me when the
    Following is the fallout:

    1. Penn states football team and players feel the wrath of the NCAA for something they had no part in

    2. Penn state alumni need to defend themselves because of a few entitled individuals

    3. Graham Spanier STILL being paid over $600,000 a year

    4. Tim Curley STILL being paid close to $400,000 a year.

    5. The board of trustees except for one all retain their positions with no ramifications

    6. Rodney Erickson (spaniers VP) was promoted

    7. The Tom Corbett completely untouchable.

    That is why it’s not possible to let go. The only ones punished players fans alum and paterno.

  21. mancave001 says: Aug 6, 2012 4:19 PM

    It will only get better when PSU decides to quit defending the shamed JoePa and recognize the wrong done by the people who knew better. ”
    ===============•===

    I’m so sick of this idiocy and hypocrisy. Who is defending JoePA and not recognizing wrongs? Why must you lump every Penn Stater in with the four people involved in it not coming out?

    Likewise, I’m sick and tired of fans of other teams pretending their “culture” is any different…as if their fans know how to put football in perspective and PSU fans do not.

  22. chiefagc5675 says: Aug 6, 2012 7:15 PM

    The doofi (plural for doofus) still trying to get their nails into Joe Paterno are like the racists after President Obama. Ugly Americans. Freeh being from the FBI is given too much credit for nothing. Americans are really dumb people. The FBI sucks as an organization- they were racist under Hoover and anti-gay even though Edgar and his sidekick got their drag on every week-end.
    Hoover was gay but hated gays and blacks and Americans try to make that ugly jackass an American hero. Freeh is no better- he sold out old dead Joe to save Second Mile Republicans
    and the corrupt Gov. of Pa. who passed on prosecuting Sandusky.

  23. ohioirishfan says: Aug 6, 2012 7:21 PM

    @Mancave001, before you blast back at me see my above comment.

    I think people get upset when they constantly hear reports of the Paterno family being upset, saying their father is being portrayed incorrectly. Seeing people like Franco Harris making an ass of himself defending JoePa. I don’t personally care I just want to see your new coach, O’Brien turn things around and make PSU relevant again soon. Not that PSU is bad it’s just “irrelevant” in the big picture of football until the sanctions end.

    My team has struggled for awhile now and it’s just nice when big time programs like ND and PSU are relevant in the national championship picture.

    Good luck PSU!

  24. ohioirishfan says: Aug 6, 2012 7:35 PM

    @chiefag5675, your argument makes no since. He was hired by the university and slammed the entire school not just JoePa. Did you watch OTL today? They had a story about an ex-employee asked to leave the school in 2008 after she called out Paterno for not disciplining his players after they assaulted a student. The interview was in 2008 and she said there was cover-ups back then for players. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it would not have gone further.
    The only reason I am even replying to your post is because of your nutty conspiracy theory as it relates to law enforcement…

    Again, good luck PSU fans, players and Coach O’Brien…

  25. hopalongcrc1 says: Aug 6, 2012 10:58 PM

    Great post.

    Go Penn St. hire new trusted Board and reestablish greatness on entire campus.

    It is not proven law enforcement, proven law adjudicators, Penn State employees within and outside the program, proven NCAA leaders, and entire college football community that is to blame because Joe PA got old and BOT was egregiously irresponsible for children on campus.

    Playing blame game when the entire program should have been shut down is horrible reasoning and shows lack of faith in university, O’Brien, the players and upcoming players, students, and entire community built on the solutions and accountability, with the victims properly somewhat provided limited justice.

    Please get on board @chiefag5675 for closing down pedophile u for a new properly placed football program.

  26. hopalongcrc1 says: Aug 6, 2012 11:33 PM

    Danny

    I agree.

    1) Unfortunate additional adversity with less benefits (no bowls) for players, but players still get Pa. St. degree not an on-line no time on campus Auburn alleged degree. My undergrad is SEC, so I call it from experience. Check SAT’s sometime for Pa. St. v. SEC sometime.

    2) Penn St. degree will grow based on merit not football. How many recent national football titles does Ivy league have?

    3/4) I totally agree. We have law enforcement officers in prison and jail in Calif. still being convicted of additional crimes while getting full pensions. Perhaps, PA can lead way and have state employees convicted of high level crimes (murder, rape) lose pensions?

    5) Please Pennsylvania hold the BOT legally and financially responsible? 32 unreliable, untrusted BOT bums that can not provide safety for children on campus. Really, and NCAA and Freeh are to blame?????

    6 & 7) I think Freeh report hit in on the nail, the high level untrusted BOT are the most culpable. When Penn State employees had no where to go to report the rapes, there was a serious problem and it was not the isolated attacks on football program and JoePa that caused a decades long cover up.

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