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."
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.