The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

November 20, 2012

Mauti helps prepare Nittany Lions

STATE COLLEGE — The large digital timer with the bright red numbers counted down the final minutes of one of the final practices of Penn State’s season.

Linebacker Michael Mauti hobbled around nearby in sweats and a letterman jacket while his teammates stretched in front of him.

Mauti may not be able to play Saturday because of a left knee injury, but the star senior is still assuming an important role this week as the Nittany Lions get ready for an emotional season finale against Wisconsin.

“For guys that live and breathe the game like that, it’s a  very difficult thing to deal with,” first-year coach Bill O’Brien said before practice Tuesday.

Mauti doesn’t want his injury to be front-and-center this week, not with the team playing its 12th and final “bowl game” of the year against the Badgers.

Penn State would have been a lock for the postseason if not for the NCAA’s four-year ban as part of the penalties for the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.

Every game is precious, then, for O’Brien’s Lions.

Not surprisingly, Mauti will be helping his replacement, promising sophomore Mike Hull, get ready for Wisconsin’s tough running game and star tailback Montee Ball.

“The thing about Mike (Mauti) is he’s a winner in his heart. He’s always going to be a winner,” center and fellow senior Matt Stankiewitch said. “Even if he can’t play, he’s still going to lead.”

Two previous seasons for Mauti have been cut short because of injuries – one to each knee – though the linebacker’s college career may not necessarily be over.

Mauti hurt his right knee in the 2009 preseason; two years later he hurt his left knee four games into the season.

O’Brien was asked if a potential sixth year for Mauti, a redshirt senior, was under discussion.

“Yeah, fair question,” O’Brien said, “but just way too early for that right now.”

Staying true to form, O’Brien isn’t focusing on anything past Saturday.

The Nittany Lions may have four losses, but the team has displayed grit and determination through nearly every second of this challenging season. Few prognosticators thought Penn State could even finish this year with a winning record.

A senior class including Mauti and Stankiewitch helped O’Brien keep most of the team together after the sanctions were announced in July.

After keeping mostly an even-keel attitude this year, the emotions are more evident this week for the seniors.

“I just walked out that tunnel right now,” senior cornerback Stephon Morris said before speaking to reporters inside Beaver Stadium. “I was just thinking to myself that I have one more time walking out of that tunnel with my team, in front of the great student section, the crowd, the alumni.”

Morris, one of the most improved players on the team this season, is out of eligibility after Saturday, so the native of the Washington, D.C., suburb of Greenbelt, Md., will miss Big Ten newcomer Maryland’s conference debut in a couple of years.

“The Maryland program, if you go to the state of Maryland, you don’t know it’s there,” Morris said. “They pretty much needed a change, as far as I can say. They needed that ... that’s good for the Terrapins.”

O’Brien, who was an assistant at Maryland, also welcomed the additions of Maryland and Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights officially made the jump on Tuesday.

Penn State heavily recruits in New Jersey and the Washington-Baltimore corridor.

“It’s going to be competitive, but that’s what college football is about, and I think you have to talk about your own program and the way you see that individual fitting into your program,” O’Brien said. “Hopefully it’s the right fit and to me that’s what recruiting is all about.”

But O’Brien can start devoting more attention to recruiting and future opponents in a week. For the next few days, it’s all about sending Mauti and the rest of the seniors off with a win against Wisconsin.

Notes: Starting safety Malcolm Willis (knee) and backup DT James Terry (foot) were not in uniform and watched from the sideline during a 25-minute portion of practice open to media Tuesday. Both players also sat out last week’s 45-22 win over Indiana ... Sophomore Allen Robinson is 106 yards shy of tying Bobby Engram’s school record for most yards receiving in a season set in 1995 (1,084). Robinson is also two touchdowns short of tying Engram’s single-season touchdown reception record of 13 set in 1993.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014

  • Blairsville pegged as team to beat

    As Heritage Conference football coaches assembled at United High School during Wednesday’s media day event at Thomas J. Madill Field, the near-consensus opinion is that Blairsville – under second-year coach Rick Artley – is going to be the team to beat once the season begins on Aug. 29.
    After the Bobcats, the forecasted picture gets a little foggier.

    July 30, 2014

  • tim Baserunning blunder helps Giants end six-game losing streak

    Clint Hurdle says he and a pal often marvel over how there’s always something new to see at a baseball game.
    Too bad for Hurdle. What he watched Wednesday wrecked the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 7-5 loss.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • shazier Rookie linebacker making impression at Steelers camp

    Ryan Shazier grew up the football equivalent of a Rorschach test.
    Some coaches looked at Shazier’s 6-foot-1 frame with plenty of room to grow and saw a defensive end.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greene’s No. 75 will be retired at Ravens game

    Joe Greene’s No. 75 now belongs to the ages.
    The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Wednesday the team will retire the Hall of Fame defensive end’s number during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 2.

    July 30, 2014

  • levon Bell planning to do better

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boilers advance in Pony series

    July 29, 2014

  • Martella’s Pharmacy, LAG name AAABA pickup players

    July 28, 2014

AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide