Big Ten Media Day 1 Roundup


If you were working all day like me, it wasn’t easy to keep up with all the news surrounding Big Ten Media Day number one. Unless you were slacking off, in which case you could follow everything quite comfortably. For those of you who actually do need catching up, we offer you the following stories.

Tony Mancuso of did a great job of recapping the day and keeping tabs on all four members of the PSU entourage that was dispatched to Chicago to act as the face of Penn State football. Fullback Joe Suhey, wide receiver Derek Moye, linebacker Michael Mauti and of course head coach Joe Paterno represented the Nittany Lions with class. Mancuso shared a fun anecdote from Moye’s photo shoot:

"I followed Moye through the process. His first segment was a bit of a glamor photo session. What the BTN wanted Moye to do was strike several different poses as he was photographed. At one point, the BTN personnel asked Moye to pose like he would while celebrating after scoring a touchdown. Moye smiled and responded with the quote of the day:“I play for Penn State. We don’t celebrate after touchdowns.”"

How great is that? Not as great as you might think. Moye later admitted to Mancuso that he dropped that line just to avoid looking silly in front of the cameras. Still, it was a great line, and Moye ended up looking silly anyway as he posed in a running stance while wearing a suit.

There are also interviews with Mauti and Suhey to check out.

From the Mauti interview:

  • Being on such a small plane from State College to Chicago made him claustrophobic.
  • Everyone in the media is asking questions about the new kid on the block, Nebraska.
  • He doesn’t care if student athletes get paid. As long as he has five bucks in his wallet, he’s OK.
  • The linebacking corp this season is a “bunch of athletes.”
  • He’s in the best shape of his life!

From the Suhey interview:

  • It’s good to be back home in the Chicago area.
  • Hanging out with JoePa and the gang is really cool.
  • PSU is pumped to pay Alabama and they “want to play the best and want to beat the best.”
  • He mentions what the best Chicago pizza joint is, but I didn’t even know how to begin to spell it.

Of course, Joe Paterno sat down to talk to the media and relive some of the glory days. The full transcript of his chat is here. I’ll do my best to summarize if you don’t feel like reading the whole thing.

  • JoePa says he is in better shape physically than he’s been in the past two years when he was dealing with knee and hip injuries
  • He’s very excited about Nebraska being in the Big Ten, although he had been lobbying for an eastern school such as Rutgers, Pitt or Syracuse to join instead.
  • He is looking forward to the conference championship game in Indianapolis
  • No comment on the Ohio State scandal
  • PSU will be better at quarterback this season, but Paterno is not allowed to watch his players work out in the pre-season. He already got in trouble for that, if you remember the ESPN special.
  • Paterno is not worried about being in the last year of his contract. When he first got the head job at PSU, he wasn’t even on a contract. They just offered him $20,000 for the year and that was it.

When asked about how Penn State has been able to avoid any major NCAA violations, Paterno responded with this story:

"I go back to what Rip used to tell me when I was an assistant coach. He used to say when I’d come back all upset, maybe I was trying to recruit some hot shot, I lost him, I’d be all upset. He would say, Hey, Joe, don’t worry about the guys we lose, only make sure that the guys you bring in here belong here, and they’re coming here for the right reasons.That’s probably been something that I preach all the time to the staff. If somebody wants to horse around with something, or he suggests that maybe he wants something, walk away, walk away. That doesn’t mean we’ve always walked away. I try to keep track of it. It’s nice to know we haven’t had a major violation. I’m proud of that. I’m not going around gloating about it."

Perhaps the biggest thing to take away from Media Day 1 is that JoePa seems much healthier than he’s been in recent years. In fact, he reckons he can keep on being head coach until he’s nearly 90 years of age. According to The Patriot-News, Paterno is confident that he has four or five good years left, which is good, because there’s no such thing as enough JoePa.

The Big Ten has done away with most of its preseason “awards,” but there is now a Watch List to name players that are expected to have success in the coming season. Michael Mauti was one of twelve players selected. No other Penn Staters made the list and Nebraska’s Levonte David was the only other linebacker. Click here for the full list.

That’s it for Media Day 1. Stay tuned for news from Friday’s festivities.