UNIVERSITY PARK - Linebacker Michael Mauti and safety Drew Astorino missed the spring practice session with injuries, so the starting defense on the field during Saturday's Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium might not be the same unit when the season starts Sept. 4.
Mauti tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee in August 2009 and rehabilitated the injury during a season in which he was expected to push for playing time.
Instead, he redshirted.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
New Miami Dolphin Jared?Odrick waves to the crowd.
Astorino, meanwhile, had a torn labrum in his left shoulder operated on in the winter, and he said he "absolutely" will be 100 percent by August.
Astorino said he rehabs daily and works two or three times a week with Penn State's speed trainer.
"It's obviously tough not to practice, so that's the toughest part," Astorino said, adding, "rehab, it gets a little monotonous, but you've just got to do it every day."
Mauti was pushing to be Penn State's starting strong side linebacker last season at the time of his injury. He said players like Jerome Hayes and Sean Lee provided aid throughout the rehab process.
Asked if he was down for a week or so after the injury, Mauti laughed and said, "more like six months."
"It's the hardest part of the game," he said. "It's all about just coming back and bouncing back the best I can."
Lynn addresses transfer talk
Defensive back D'Anton Lynn said he considered transferring, but never as seriously as some might have thought based on the speculation.
"It crossed my mind, but it definitely got blown up," he said.
Lynn spent the first week of the winter semester at home with his family and patched things up. He didn't go into detail except to say it was "personal stuff" not related to the homesickness.
"The coaches knew what was going on," Lynn said. "They were fine with it. I guess people blew it out of proportion."
Joe Paterno inferred during his press conference before the game Lynn was dissatisfied at discussion of shuffling him around in the secondary.
Lynn said his natural position is safety and not corner, where he has played the past two years.
"I came in to play safety, but they needed depth at corner, and I'm perfectly fine with that," Lynn said. "Next year if they keep me at corner, I'll be fine. If they want to switch me to safety, I'll be fine. Doesn't matter to me."
Paterno chides Zordich
Though back in the day he often would be called by local police before alcohol-related incidents about his players would be made public, Paterno said Saturday "the world is different," and his team needs to be responsible.
Consequently, fullback Michael Zordich and kicker Anthony Fera were held out of the Blue-White Game.
Zordich has had two alcohol-related offenses - a DUI and most recently a underage drinking charge - and Paterno seemed particularly disappointed in him.
"I'm not happy with him," Paterno said in his press conference before the game. "I would have thought he would have a little more responsibility than that. It's different today, but he was wrong and he's got to understand he has an obligation."
In addition to Zordich and Fera, an unnamed player was held out of Saturday's scrimmage for cutting classes.
Paterno on expansion
Paterno said he expected the Big Ten to expand to at least 12 teams while also predicting the Pac 10 will expand.
"I think it's gonna happen," Paterno said Saturday of the Big Ten expanding. "I'd be surprised if it doesn't."
Paterno said if he had his way, the conference would add two schools from the east and another from the west to bring the conference to 14 teams.
Speculation has swirled the Pac 10 would also expand, and Paterno did little to diffuse that talk by saying "they're gonna take a couple good football teams in there."
"I would think they're talking Colorado, Texas, Texas A&M, maybe even Boise State," Paterno said.
Attendance, despite rain in the forecast, was 55,000.
ESPN has been televising various spring games, and Paterno watched some of Alabama's game that drew 90,000 last week.
"I'm amazed," he said. "To think of the interest in college football today, holy smokes."
So, too, was linebacker Nate Stupar.
"We don't have any big-time, professional sport in State College," he said. "You've got Philly, you've got Pittsburgh, and Penn State football is what State College is."
Paterno used to provide analysis on the radio for the Blue-White Game, but he instead spent some time with the ESPN2 crew Saturday and was encouraged by marketing guru Guido D'Elia of Altoona to be visible on the sidelines.
"It's showmanship," JoePa said. "I'll try not to screw up the assistant coaches."
News and notes
n Linebacker Bani Gbadyu won the Jim O'Hora award as the most improved defensive player, wide receiver/tight end Brett Brackett was recognized with the Red Worrell award as the most improved offensive player and tight end Andrew Sczerba and linebacker Chris Colasanti took home the Frank Patrick "Total Commitment" award, which goes to juniors.
n Former Penn Stater Matt Millen apologized during ESPN's broadcast of the NFL Draft for a remark he made about Ron Jaworksi.
Millen called Jaworski a "Pollack" and explained he made the remark because of his close friendship with Jaworski.
Millen provided color commentary for the broadcast of the Blue-White Game.
n First-round draft pick Jared Odrick, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins on Thursday at No. 28 overall, received a hearty ovation from the crowd when he was announced.
Afterward, Odrick weaved his way through a mob of hundreds who wanted pictures and autographs.
"Pretty crazy," he said.
Among the many alumni on the sidelines were Ki-Jana Carter, Brandon Short, Michael Robinson, Levi Brown and A.Q. Shipley.
n Central Cambria walk-on quarterback Shane McGregor finished 3-for-5 with 34 yards and an interception, while Philipsburg-Osceola tight end J.D. Mason played but did not register any stats.
Mason moved from wide receiver to tight end in the spring.
Penn State received some bad news late in the week when Ben Koyack, the tight end from Oil City High School ranked by some as the best in his position in the nation, said in an interview that he was down to Ohio State and Notre Dame.
Koyack cited problems connecting with the Penn State coaches as the main reason he eliminated the Lions, who, for quite awhile, were considered the co-leader for his services along with Ohio State.
There were a number of other recruiting prospects that made the trip to Beaver Stadium Saturday, though. The biggest names on hand who will be signing in the upcoming season were Maryland offensive lineman Donovan Smith, New Jersey tackle Marquise Wright and Maryland defensive back Brandon Phelps.
The list also included about a dozen Class of 2010 members that will enroll this summer.
(Compiled by Philip Cmor, Josh Langenbacher and Neil Rudel)