Saturday, August 8, 2009

Four Weeks From Today

Four weeks from today our 2009 season—the 123rd Season of Penn State Football will kick off when we take on Akron at noon. Remarkably, for the 60th time, Joe Paterno will be on the Penn State coaching staff for a season opener.

In 1950, Joe’s first season on the staff, Penn State opened at home with a 34-14 win over Georgetown in front of 16,617 fans. In four weeks over 107,000 fans will be in the nation’s largest stadium to be a part of the Greatest Show in College Football—how times have changed.

Joe once said “Contrasting what we had then to what we have now is like comparing the horse and buggy with going to the moon.”

Everyone has a part to play in the Great Show that is Penn State Football and I want to share with you what goes the morning of a game. There is a regimented schedule, a routine to keep the players focused on that day’s game—with a minimum of distractions.

That is one of the reasons we take the team to Toftrees the night before the game—to give them some peace and quiet the night before the game. As you can imagine, campus is a pretty lively, and loud, place the night before a game—not exactly the ideal setting for getting some sleep.

When they wake up on Saturday they are locked into a routine that takes them right up to kickoff.

Here is a typical schedule for a noon kickoff--one we'll likely follow four weeks from today.

7:00 Taping
8:00 Church Services
8:30 Pre-Game Meal
9:20 Depart Toftrees for Lasch Building
9:30 Arrive Lasch Building
10:30 Depart Lasch Building
10:35 Arrive Beaver Stadium

While all that is going on—our fans will be busy tailgating and having a great time anticipating a Penn State win.

The highlight of the pre-game experience is without a doubt the bus ride to the Stadium. Any player will tell you that—it is an unforgettable moment. That moment is even more special for the starting quarterback who rides in the front left seat of Bus 1 on the way to the stadium.

When we pull up to the stadium, the starting quarterback gets the nod from Joe Paterno—who sits in the front right seat—and the starting QB is the first one off the bus. Each week thousands of fans show up for the arrival of the buses. If you’ve never seen it, get there. It is an electric moment.

With practice starting Monday, we have a lot of work to do. It has been a productive off season—one fueled by Joe Paterno and his drive to make sure we have a great year. He has been on top of all the things we do defensively, offensively and on special teams.

He has challenged himself, and all of us to be even better than we were last year. In four weeks we get to see what we’re all about as a team in 2009.