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Penn State Football: The Do’s and Don’ts of Summer Semester

by on July 01, 2010 7:00 AM

All right, guys. Pay attention. Yesterday was the start of the second six-week summer semester here at University Park, and I know many of you are already anxious to get this over with and move on to the football, fall semester.

But, first things first. There are literally dozens of your fellow teammates here this semester – some are taking classes to ease their classload in the fall, others are here to work out with each other and under the supervision of the strength and conditioning coaches.

The next six weeks will go a long way in determining how well you do this fall semester as you play 12 games in 13 weeks.

Here is a list of do's and don'ts for the next six weeks.

Follow them for the remaining summer session, which ends with final exams on Friday, Aug. 13. Right now, it looks like summer drills will begin in Aug. 9 – that's the same week as finals. Tough week, so – like Coach Paterno says – tend to your knitting now.

Then it's on to the start of fall semester classes, just 10 days after finals, on Monday, Aug. 23. And no offense to these quickie summer courses, but that's when the real stuff starts.

If you are not currently taking Stat 200 with my favorite stat prof, Dr. Andrew Wiesner, here is how the numbers stack up: 39 days until the start of practice, 44 days until summer session finals, 53 days 'til the start of fall classes, 65 days before the season opener against Youngstown State, and 72 days – 10 weeks! – until you play the defending national champions in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

So pay attention!

DO get excited about playing Youngstown State.
DON'T look ahead to Alabama. It's just one game, win or lose.

DO remember that Penn State has won its last two away games at Alabama.
DON'T even think about that Joe Paterno is 4-8 against the Crimson Tide.

DO study your playbook.
DON'T play too much EA College Football 2011 when it comes out on July 13.

DO pay attention to EA's "Pistol Offense."
DON'T read too much, one way or the other, into how Penn State's No. 12 performs on EA.

DON'T read any newspapers, websites or those preseason magazines at Sheetz, Giant, Wegmans or Walmart.
DO buy fruits, veggies and bottled water when you shop at those places.

DON'T get caught up in that STEP ticket plan.
DO figure out which family and friends get your tickets now, so it is not a distraction later.

DO do well in your summer session courses.
DON'T add pressure to your fall classes by blowing off your summer classes.

DO have fun and enjoy the summer scenery.
DON'T put yourself in a position where you get a DUI or underage drinking charge.

DON'T take sides as to who the starting quarterback will be. It will only divide the team.
DO figure that the coaches want to win as much as you do, so they'll pick whomever they think will give you the best chance to win – even if the starter has deficiencies, which he will.

DON'T count on the starting quarterback being three-dimensional (run, pass, lead).
DO be happy with settling for two out of three.

DO listen to seniors Stefen Wisniewski, Evan Royster, Ollie Ogbu, Brett Brackett and Graham Zug and junior Drew Astorino.
DON'T think you know it all. You don't.

DON'T pay attention to all the questions about Nebraska.
DO say it's great to have it in the Big Ten.

DO say, "I was (11, 12 or 13) the last time we played Nebraska."
DON'T forget that Mike McCloskey's catch against Nebraska with 13 seconds left on Sept. 25, 1982, in Beaver Stadium was inbounds.

DO know that 83-year-old Coach Paterno has been on injured reserve for part of the summer.
DON'T send him a "get well" card; he might not like that.

DON'T worry at all about who will start at linebacker, wide receiver or running back.
DO wonder a bit about the secondary and defensive line.

DON'T try to figure out who will play where on the offensive line.
DO try to forget the 109- and 76-yard rushing performances against Iowa and Ohio State last year.

DO try to ignore that Penn State has lost its three games at Kinnick Stadium and seven of its last eight games at The Horseshoe.
DON'T forget that Penn State has won 28 of its last 34 games (.823 percent).

DON'T let it bother that Joe is six wins away from winning 400 games.
DO realize that if you win five of your first seven games, his shot at No. 400 will come at home in Beaver Stadium. At 8 p.m. on Oct. 30, on Halloween Eve. Against Michigan. On national TV.

DO win five of your first six games and the stage will be set for No. 400 the previous week on the road against Minnesota.
DON'T ask Joe about setting that milestone – and you DO want to warn any media types about that too.

DO feel great about the "Lift For Life" fundraiser the team is holding at 1:30 p.m., July 9, in Holuba Hall. Penn State football players have raised nearly $400,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association in seven years.
DON'T forget that fans can visit the donation page.

Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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