But at Big Ten Media Days in early August, Paterno said he would be starting fall practice with a clean slate for all players, and Fera, who police cited for an alcohol-related offense during spring practice, took full advantage of the opportunity. His name was atop the depth chart Sunday, one day after the preseason's final scrimmage.
"We've been just trying to get better -- working our drop, swing, our legs straight," Fera said at Penn State football Media Day on August 12. "We've been progressing every single day."
It's a shame no one appears to have taken the bull by the horns in the quarterback race like Fera did in the punting competition. There was every reason to believe the red shirt freshman would be sitting this season behind Russell Nye, but it looks like Fera has impressed enough to make himself the clear winner of the job.
Dantonio <3 Land Grant Rivalry
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio would miss the Land Grant Rivarly with Penn State if it were to be broken up as an annual event in the new Big Ten.
Asked if the Penn State contest had attained the feel of a traditional rivalry, Mark Dantonio, Michigan State's fourth-year coach, said, "It does feel like a rivalry game to us because it's the last game of the season, and so much rides on that last game, bowl implications and what have you.
"I think it would have a different feel if it wasn't played every year, or as the last game of the season. We point toward the Penn State game every year. It's always a high point of our schedule."
As I said the other day, I'd like to see the Land Grant rivalry continue myself, although now that it appears Penn State isn't going to be the ugly duckling of a western Big Ten division, the game loses a little big of it's regional luster. If Penn State ends up in a division with Ohio State and/or Nebraska, the Land Grant rivalry will naturally take a back seat. That said, it'd still be nice to see it retained in some capacity, whether it's the final game of the season or not.
Pryor For Heisman
Put Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the Terrelle Pryor bandwagon. In his column today, he discusses local candidates for the trophy (Pittsburgh's Dion Lewis), not including Evan Royster or West Virginia's Noel Devine.
Pryor struggled at times in his first two seasons at Ohio State. He had a hard time living up to the extraordinary hype that followed him from his playing days at Jeannette High School, where he was, arguably, the most-coveted recruit from Western Pennsylvania. He also was constricted by coach Jim Tressel's conservative offense. It's tough for any quarterback to put up big numbers when he's throwing 13 times a game.
But everyone at Ohio State says Pryor has matured. The Buckeyes are his team. As for Tressel, well, it's nice to think Pryor earned his confidence with that 23-of-37, 266-yard, two-touchdown game in the 26-17 win against Oregon. Look for a more wide-open Ohio State offense.
The Heisman is Pryor's for the taking.
Lewis is a bit more of a long shot.