AS A FRESHMAN, Terrell Golden was part of a team that made Penn State history.
Now every day he tries to make sure history doesn't repeat itself.
While Golden redshirted in 2003, the Nittany Lions limped to a 3-9 record, their worst finish under Joe Paterno. Understandably, Golden would like to erase that season as well as the bad memories. But since revisionist history isn't a major in University Park, Golden, now a team captain, is trying at least find some value in that mess.
"We were just talking about this the other day in the locker room, me and [tailback] Rodney Kinlaw," Golden said. "Whenever we see something that we feel is one of the ways we got to be one of the worst teams, we try to correct in a hurry. We're using the experiences we had being the worst team to try to become one of the best."
Golden knows about learning from experience. Tomorrow he takes the field as a team captain for the season opener against Florida International but when the game kicks off, he won't be a starter.
His career has been good but not great, steady but not spectacular.
Last year three Penn State wide receivers caught at least 40 passes, a PSU first. Golden has just 18 receptions for his career.
He grabbed his first touchdown in the sixth game of his career.
And only has one more since.
But he is exactly the kind of player Paterno loves. In a world where athletes want everything now, Golden has waited his turn. He hasn't whined or complained. He's just played.
To old-school Joe, that's big.
"You can come here with patience and give up and that becomes frustration," Paterno said. "Or you can come here with patience and goals that it's just going to be your day if you work at it. That patience turns out to be a plus. Golden did the latter of those two.
"The players on the team, when they see somebody that's paid the kind of price he's paid to be where he is, they admire that, and want to identify with it, and that's one of the reasons that I think they elected him one of the captains."
Not in your viewing area
There are more than 75,000 Penn State alumni living in the greater Philadelphia area.
Only the ones who take the ride up 322 West or have DirecTV will see the game this weekend.
The Big Ten Network's big launch will poof away like a cloud around here since the conference's new television entity and Comcast haven't been able to agree on a deal, leaving Penn State fans in the dark.
The issue is money and both sides are busy lobbing accusations about greed at one another. Caught in the crossfire are Big Ten football fans across the country who, like Penn State fans, won't be able to see every game on local television.
Unless a deal is hammered out during the season, viewers here will be closed out again in 2 weeks when Penn State hosts Buffalo.
Florida International's football tradition is 6 years short.
Last season the Golden Panthers went winless in 12 games.
They averaged 9.6 points per game.
Sports Illustrated this season ranked FIU 119th in the country ... out of 119 teams.
Naturally all of this has Joe Paterno quaking in his boots. No, really, it does.
"I'm as nervous as I've probably been for a first game," Paterno said with a straight face.
His point was that the Golden Panthers, coach Mario Cristobal and Penn State really doesn't know what kind of stuff this team will run.
The reality is, unless Cristobal puts Tom Brady behind center, Reggie Bush in the backfield and Terrell Owens split out wide, it isn't going to matter.
"I took [Andrew] Quarless, who we just talked about earlier, when we had a little substitution practice the other day, and I said to him, 'You're not going to be in the ballgame, but I want you to walk right by me and take all the hits.' " - Joe Paterno, talking about the sophomore tight end who ran into Paterno and broke his leg last season. Quarless will not play because of an underage drinking citation.
-- Florida International: Wayne Younger or Paul McCall. One of them will be the starting quarterback.
-- Penn State: Austin Scott. After a brilliant high school career at Parkland High in Allentown, people expected the tailback to be in the end zone early and often. He's been everywhere but - the doghouse? Been there. The doldrums? Yup. The sidelines? Got it. Now after stewing, chomping at the bit and biding his time, it is finally Scott's turn. He swears he is still the back who set a state single-season rushing record. Now he can prove it.
Who: Florida International at No. 17 Penn State
When: Tomorrow, Noon.
Where: Beaver Stadium, State College
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WNTP (990-AM); WNPV (1440-AM)
Records: Season opener for both
History: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
Coaches: Florida International, Mario Cristobal (1st season, 0-0); Penn State, Joe Paterno (42nd season 363-121-3)
About Florida International: The 6-year-old program has a 15-game losing streak ... Cristobal, spent three seasons at the University of Miami as an assistant coach and prior to that, 3 years at Rutgers under Greg Schiano ... The Golden Panthers averaged just 9.6 points per game last year ... A'Mod Ned is FIU's best offensive threat. The running back ran for 445 yards on 94 attempts last year ... Defensively, Lionell Singleton nabbed five interceptions last season, earning All-Sun Belt honors ... The Golden Panthers gained headlines last year for all the wrong reasons, involved in the on-field brawl with the University of Miami.
About Penn State: The Nittany Lions are looking for their 100th season-opening win, their 34th under Joe Paterno ... Only 12 seniors are on the Penn State roster, with as little as few likely to earn starting spots ... The Lions defense last year allowed just 14.4 points per game ... TE Andrew Quarless and DB Willie Harriott will not play. Both were suspended for underage drinking citations ... Embattled defensive back Anthony Scirrotto and defensive tackle Chris Baker are expected to play. The pair were involved in a much-talked about April fight ... Joe Paterno, recovered from the broken leg he suffered during a game last year, will be on the sidelines and will run in with his team. "I've got a new plan. I'm going to drop from a parachute,"' Paterno joked. "How do you think I'm going to get on the field?"
Penn State 42, Florida International 0.