NITTANY NOTES: Pressing Questions

Penn State is back from its big road win over Ohio State. Get the latest on the team — the post-game locker room, Daryll Clark, the play-calling, a key injury and more in our exclusive Nittany Notes report.

With the Nittany Lions coming off their biggest win of the 2008 season so far, there are several questions about the team. Here's are latest answers.

What does this win do for the team?

"We've have some big wins since I've been here, but I am not sure any have been as emotional as this one," one observer said of Penn State's 13-6 victory over Ohio State in Columbus. "All week [the players] were talking about 'kicking The Shoe' — getting over the hump of winning at Ohio State. I think everyone was getting sick of the 'haven't won in 30 years' line. This is a big shot in the arm. But they have felt they could get here since the off-season."

As another observer put it, "This team have never really been short on confidence, but I think it helps their comfort level. It shows them what they can accomplish. It's just another example that proves it to them. Sure, everyone wants a blowout, but these are the type of games you have to survive to show your mettle."

What was the post-game locker room scene like?

The scene was crazy for a bit. When Joe Paterno attempted to address his team, no one could hear him through all the commotion. Eventually, we were told, he said, "The heck with it. I'll talk to you on Tuesday!"

"The locker room was all backslaps and hugs after the game. But after a bit they huddled up and were talking about how this [Ohio State] win is just a step," an observer said. "They were calling out 'three more.' So they were right back to business. But everyone was enjoying it on the flight home."

"The coaches told the guys they like how they answered in this game," another observer said. "The defense really came to play and got a lot of credit for carrying the squad in this one."

How is Daryll Clark doing?"

"Physically, he got smacked and the medical staff pulled him. So they'll let him rest a couple of days," an observer said. "He was [ticked] that he got sidelined. He's a fighter and wants to be in the huddle. He was fired up and talking up a storm trying to get back in," an observer explained. "He finally got settled down a bit. I think he understands that this is about his own health. It goes beyond just the game."

As the observer continued, "Mentally, I think he's upset — feels he didn't finish what he started. This was in front of his home state against the team most of his friends and family root for — he wanted this win bad. He gets that he helped win it, though. Clearly, he wanted to be the one to score that touchdown. But he's got more work ahead of him, so he'll have to shake this off."

In terms of his current condition, the consensus among observers we spoke with is that Clark appears fine, but will be evaluated over the next few days to determine if he is cleared for contact drills.

Any other injuries of note?

Redshirt freshman safety Drew Astorino started at Ohio State in place of Anthony Scirrotto (who was limited in practice last week by a concussion). Against the Buckeyes, Astorino injured the thumb on his left hand, according to several observers.

Upon close examination of's Feel of the Game Video, Astorino can be seen leaving the field after the game, slapping high-fives with fans using his right hand but with team trainer George Salvaterra beside him keeping a close eye on the left hand.

You can see at about the 2:15 mark of this video.

Preliminary indications were a broken thumb, observers said, but we have not heard about the results of the X-rays.

What was with the conservative play-calling?

"[Laughing] Come on, you've been watching this team for a long time," one observer said. "The [offensive] coaches were excited when that Zug pass went for like 50 yards, but then got nervous that it might result in a turnover. They are just concerned with giving up the big play and giving the other side big momentum."

As another observer said, "Right or wrong, I think Joe felt comfortable putting the game in the defense's hands. Scrap [Tom Bradley] had Pryor pretty much figured out with a pretty basic secondary scheme."

PSU had not turnovers in the game. Ohio State had two huge mistakes.

Is there a quarterback controversy now?

Observers we spoke with say no, there is not a quarterback controversy despite Pat Devlin's impressive performance after Clark was sidelined.

"Look, great teams have great backups. Looks at USC — they have three or four solid QBs who could start on a lot of different teams backing up the starter. Pat is a great guy — talented, humble, cool under fire — he played incredibly well and that touchdown will be on PSU's highlight reel for decades to come. But Daryll did nothing to lose the job except get hurt. He's done the job so far and has earned the right to finish out as far as he can," according to one observer.

As another observer explained, "This was a big experience for Pat. He was pretty cool out there, huh? He was anxious to toss some more balls, but really enjoyed the opportunity. He's shown he's got what it takes, but so has Daryll. It's tough when you have two capable guys, but once Daryll is cleared to play, I'd be shocked if he's not the guy. Shocked."

What is on tap this bye week?

With a bye coming up this week, the squad will get a day of rest on Monday and is expected to get back to work on Tuesday. They are expected to take it "easy" this week, allowing guys to rest up and see limited contact in the early part of the week.

"This bye is perfectly situated. It allows the guys to rest and recover and get back on track after three incredibly emotional wins. You can be sure Iowa, Indiana and Michigan State are licking their chops to knock us off now." is THE source for exclusive, inside coverage of Penn State football.


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