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Penn State Football: Like Everyone, Sutherland Hopeful for On-Time Season

by on July 10, 2020 2:00 PM

Living life quarantined is, as we all know, not the most thrilling thing a person can do for a summer. And if you're going to be quarantined with another person, they better be easy to live with.

“The worst part, he doesn’t do his dishes,” Penn State safety Jonathan Sutherland says with a laugh of running back and roommate Journey Brown. “But you know that’s my boy, I’ve been living with him since freshman year, that’s my guy.”

For the likes of Sutherland and Brown, the past few weeks back on campus have been a daily routine of the same things over and over again. There's no real socializing, no real team bonding beyond the occasional workouts or meals. Even the Lasch Football Building is limited access for players who would otherwise call it home.

Eat, workout, watch film, back to your room. It's like going to summer camp, except with the threat of illness on the other side of noncompliance. And then when it's all said and done, you might still get sick anyway.

“Here at Penn State we’re doing a great job, our staff is doing a great job of keeping us safe and all the players are really on the same page,” Sutherland said. “As far as playing football, we can take care of our own but at the end of the day when it comes to competing against other people, we can’t control what other people do.”

That last point was drilled home on Thursday as the Big Ten announced that it will play conference-only games this fall. The move gives the league power to work out schedules, mandate testing practices and limit the number of programs outside of its control coming in contact with the 14 teams in the league. Nothing is perfect, but it's a small step toward seeing sports again this winter.

It's also not the best of omens as conferences across the NCAA look for a way to pull off an all-important football season in exchange for the money to keep athletic departments afloat. However as Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said on Thursday, there is a very real chance that football doesn't happen this fall.

“I can’t reiterate enough, we might not play," Smith said.

It's a fact that's difficult for even the most optimistic to ignore, for Sutherland his career will carry on for one more year, but that lost time and potentially a lost season will weigh heavy on everyone.

"If the season doesn't end up happening, obviously not even for me, the whole team, we put in so much work here, and not being able to play, it would be horrible," he said.

It's not what anyone wants, but with more bad news coming out each day, COVID-19 seems to be winning the battle of wills.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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