Seniors Remember

Several Penn State seniors took some time after Monday's Senior Bowl practice to reflect on a man they will always affectionately call "Coach."

It was a day many Penn Staters and college football fans won't soon forget.

Sunday, Jan. 22, was the day that former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno lost his battle with lung cancer -- and left the college football world in shock.

"It's been real tough," PSU senior DB D'Anton Lynn said. "Especially being down here in Mobile."

Lynn arrived Sunday in Alabama to participate in the Senior Bowl, a solemn day for the entire Penn State family.

"It's hard not being at Penn State with my teammates and classmates," Lynn said. "I wish I was up there so I could be with them. But at least I have some teammates down here that I am with."

Along with Lynn, DL Jack Crawford and OL Johnnie Troutman are proudly representing the Nittany Lions in Mobile -- and just as proudly remembering Joe Paterno.

"I would say just keep your head up," Troutman said of his thoughts on how to honor his late coach. "And don't look down on Joe. Look at all the great things he did and remember him by that."

Instructions that many of the players that Paterno coached during his 46 seasons at Penn State will no doubt follow.

"I will remember him as a man that dedicated his life to not just the football program but the entire school," Lynn said. "He impacted so many people."

He added thoughtfully, "I don't think there ever will be another football coach that will have the impact of Coach Paterno."

As Lynn thought back on all the memories he collected with Paterno and his staff from his time in State College, one stands alone.

"My favorite memory of Coach Paterno was probably my true freshman year," Lynn said. "I red-shirted the first three games."

During the first game, against Coastal Carolina, the Nittany Lions were comfortably ahead.

"The starters were on the bench and our second team CB pulled his hamstring," Lynn reminisced. "Our starter didn't want to go back in the game."

That's when Lynn got a bright idea, he went in the game.

"And Coach sees me in the game and calls a timeout," Lynn said. "Then he pulls me to the sideline and chews me out worse than anyone has ever chewed me out."

And just like Paterno was known for taking life's hard lessons and turning them into fond memories, he taught Lynn one he will never forget.

"I was scared to death and he was like, I have never wasted a timeout on a true freshman before," Lynn said with a hint of a smile. "I was scared to death because it was Joe screaming at me."

He added with a big smile, "And that is probably a memory that is going to stick in my head the rest of my life."

too has fond memories of Paterno, but it seems to be the Hall of Fame coach's subtle life lessons that left the most impact.

"We had a morning practice and he wanted to pick on me a little bit," Troutman said. "And he thought I was laughing at him, but I wasn't, so he walked up to me and gave me a little kick."

He continued, "Then he said, 'Troutman shut up, and just get it going.' And I was like okay coach. That was probably one of my fondest memories of him."

All three Nittany Lions at the Senior Bowl took Paterno's advice, and ran with it -- and will always remember their time spent with "their Legend," Coach Joe Paterno.

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