Sunday, August 30, 2015

What happens tomorrow for the Penn State football team?

Here's what the upcoming week looks like for Penn State coaches and players:

What happens tomorrow for the Penn State football team?

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Penn State head coach Bill O´Brien, center, celebrates with his team after a 24-21 overtime win against Wisconsin. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, center, celebrates with his team after a 24-21 overtime win against Wisconsin. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

The past three months have looked like this for the Penn State football team: Early morning (5:30 a.m.) runs, early morning lifts, practice in the rain, practice in the cold, practice in the sun, media obligations, travel to the Midwest, travel home from the Midwest, emotional wins, emotional losses. Oh, and school work.

At about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, the last group of Nittany Lions trickled out of the interview at Beaver Stadium and walked out into the chilly State College night. The 2012 season is over. So what happens now? 

Here's what the upcoming week looks like for Penn State coaches and players: 

Sophomore kicker Sam Ficken: "Not wake up at 5:30 a.m.," the Indiana native said, with a laugh. "I'll get a lift and run in here and there. But not on schedule. I'll just go to class, focus on grades a bit."

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Senior cornerback Stephon Morris: "First off, I'm going to get my degree," he said. The senior is a telecommunications major and is scheduled to gradauate this May. But in the meantime, he'll be training with Penn State strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald for the 2012 NFL Draft. "Hopefully my future is bright and the NFL will give me a chance," Morris said. "But if not, I'm going to keep moving on."

Senior safety Jake Fagnano: He plans on hanging out with his brother, lay low and relax. "I also want to kick back and do a lot of thinking," the former walk-on said. "I want to think about the last five years and soak it all in."

Senior right guard John Urschel (who has one of year of eligibiliy left): Urschel plans on taking Monday off. "You will not see me in the football building on Monday," he said. "I'm relaxing." What does relaxing mean to the graduate student who graduated with a 4.0 GPA in math? Let's just say it's not the same relaxing as most of us. "I'm going to do some research," he said. Urschel recently found out one of his papers will be published in the journal, "Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy."

Linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden: "Tomorrow I'm going to grade my tape and go to church," he said. "I haven't gone to church in a while so I'm looking forward to that." Vanderlinen has a few meetings on Monday and Tuesday, then will hit the road recuiting on Wednesday.

Senior fullback Mike Zordich: "Just enjoy my friends," he said. "Last couple weeks together, we're all going to be headed off in different directions. So we're just going to have a good time with eachother." Zordich also has his eyes on the long term. "Obviously I'd like to take a shot at the [NFL]," Zordich said. "We'll go from there."

Head coach Bill O'Brien: He'll be recruiting again, starting Wednesday.

-Emily Kaplan

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About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 20 years, covering college sports, golf and the Penn Relays.

Joining Joe this season will be Erin McCarthy, an intern for The Inquirer and a junior at Penn State majoring in print and digital journalism. This is Erin's first season on the Penn State football beat. She previously spent two summers as an Inquirer summer intern on the Pennsylvania and South Jersey desks. She is also an editor for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A Delaware County native, Erin graduated from Episcopal Academy.

For Joe, this will be his fifth season on the paper's Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976 to 1984.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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