INDIANAPOLIS -- There are six former Penn State Nittany Lions attending the NFL Scouting Combine. In the media interview session for each of them, sooner or later the questions turn to the amazing cascade of events of the past four months -- the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Joe Paterno's firing, the news that Paterno had lung cancer, followed quickly by Paterno's death from complications arising from his treatment.
"Things just happened so fast," Penn State linebacker Nate Stupar said today. "You've just got to keep on going. You can't let it get to you, bother you ... We'll probably be remembered for the year Joe Pa got fired, the year he passed away, the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but also the team that fought through adversity and proved to the nation that we still stuck together as a team."
"When I went to Penn State, I never would have thought I'd have (Paterno) for all five years," Stupar said. "I feel blessed to have had him as a coach. He taught me a lot of valuable lessons about becoming a man, being a guy with morals and obligations. I know he's not alive to hear it, but I thank him with all my heart for everything he's given me."
Stupar said what he will remember most are the little lessons, "like being on time, making the right decisions ... The consequences of your actions, and living with those."
Obviously, given the way Paterno's end played out, there is irony in that lesson.
On Saturday, Penn State defensive end Jack Crawford said: "It's definitely strange. I don't think it's going to hit until next season starts (under new coach Bill O'Brien) ... I've heard from my former teammates it's a whole lot different."
Defensive tackle Devon Still said: "We were hit so hard, blindsided by it, but we were able to make it through -- I think that helped us grow as men and helped us get over challenges that we face in life."