What has the reaction been by players to Joe Paterno saying he will coach through 2011?
"I don't think the guys really expected anything different," observer said. "It would probably be a surprise to hear he was not coming back."
The consensus is that it "wasn't news" to the players, since Paterno's contract goes through the 2011 season, so most expected him to be around next season.
What is the general mood of the team heading into Senior Day?
There is a lot of excitement for this game. "It's a big game; a top 10 opponent -- they have the Rose Bowl and Big Ten title on the line. We've had a lot of success against Sparty here (at home), but no one is taking that for granted."
In terms of Senior Day, "There's always an added dose of emotion with the guys leaving. They can't believe it's over. You can tell guys are trying to savor it, you see them in the locker room early or leaving later. Reality is setting in."
As another observer explained, "There's always a boost of energy and emotion in this (Senior Day) game."
What is the focus of the squad this week?
"On defense, there's been a lot of tackling drills. It seems late for that, but they have to plug up the run and pressure the pocket," said one observer.
On offense the team is getting in extra situational reps with third-downs, red-zone and goal-line. "They are running read-react drills and check-downs, but there's not a lot of change-ups at this point.
What is the status of Michael Mauti?
Mauti sustained a separated shoulder against Ohio State and did not see action against Indiana last Saturday. He has gotten back on the practice field this week, though. "Mike's been in the green cross (jersey), so he's not seeing contact, but [the coaches] are getting an idea if he's healthy enough to play. He definitely wants to, since he's been on Coach (Ron) Vanderlinden."
If Mauti is not cleared Nate Stupar will likely step in for him as he did last week.
What is the week's practice schedule like during Thanksgiving week?
The squad is adhering to a standard practice schedule, with sessions on Monday through Thursday and Friday off. "There's really nothing too different with the schedule this week," according to one observer.
Where is Rob Bolden's head in all of this?
"He's taken it all in stride," explained one observer. "He knows it was a huge deal even to come in and make the immediate impact he did. I am not going to tell you he's not upset -- he wants to play no doubt -- but he's got a long, bright future ahead of him."
Who's been impressive this week in practice?
Most observers point squarely to Silas Redd. As one observer said, "He's found his rhythm and he's confident now. But takes the smallest crease then somehow gets through it, we're just like, 'Damn, did he just do that?' He's so much fun to watch."