Penn St. blocks out distractions, focuses on No. 19 Wisconsin Print
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007 13:52
NCAAF Headline News

 STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -Joe Paterno has a rule for his players when they show up at practice: Focus only on football after crossing the white lines onto the field.
It's an edict receiver Derrick Williams is following very closely this week.
``You can't take anything else with you on the field. None of your problems, schoolwork, girlfriends,'' Williams said Wednesday. ``You have to be focused on what you need to do, what you need to accomplish.''
With off-the-field troubles surrounding the Nittany Lions, Penn State's goal this weekend is to beat No. 19 Wisconsin (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) at Beaver Stadium.
A victory is critical for the Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-2) to climb up the conference standings after starting the Big Ten season with two losses.
``We can show everybody ... we still have a lot of talent,'' said Williams, who had a touchdown catch in each of the last two games. ``I believe we have a great football team, and now we just got to go out and show it.''
In Happy Valley, much of the talk this week hasn't been about football.
Tailback Austin Scott, a fifth-year senior, remains suspended for violating an undisclosed team rule and won't play a second straight week, Paterno said.
The coach is also looking into the possibility that a couple players may have been involved in a fight over the weekend.
All this comes as the Nittany Lions continue to clean Beaver Stadium following home games as part of a team-wide punishment after 10 players were disciplined by the university for their roles in an off-campus fight in April. Two of those players - safety Anthony Scirrotto and defensive tackle Chris Baker - are scheduled to stand trial in December on related criminal charges.
``Ask me about Wisconsin,'' Paterno pleaded over and over during a news conference Tuesday. While he did not condone recent events, Paterno defended his team as comprised mostly of upstanding young men.
``I feel good about this team, I really do,'' Paterno said when asked to grade the Nittany Lions at the midpoint of the season. ``I think we've got a good football team.''
The responsibility of keeping players in Paterno's good graces falls partly on the seniors, said linebacker and co-captain Dan Connor.
``Obviously, he's not happy with the whole situation,'' Connor said Tuesday before the coach met with reporters. ``That's understandable, but the mood of the team is we have to overcome things off the field like that. We've got to stay focused.''
After struggling in losses to Michigan and Illinois, the offense looked better in the easy win over Iowa. Getting off to good starts and strong finishes remains an issue, so quarterback Anthony Morelli said Wednesday the team must remain focused for four quarters.
The running game churned out a season-high 256 yards against Iowa behind senior Rodney Kinlaw, fellow tailback and redshirt freshman Evan Royster and a newly confident offensive line. They could be factors against a Badgers defense that has given up an average of 265 rushing yards the last two games.
``Everybody is just ready to move on and focusing on Wisconsin right now,'' Williams said. ``We know we'll have a tough game.''
Royster, who suffered a bruised left thigh against Iowa, should be ready to play Saturday, Paterno said.
 

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