Back-to-back losses have Happy Valley in sad state

October 21, 1992|By Assoicated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Locker room sniping has started at Penn State, where two losses have dropped the Nittany Lions from seventh to 14th in the Associated Press football poll.

Coach Joe Paterno says it will be over by the time the Lions visit West Virginia this weekend.

Two Saturdays ago, No. 1 Miami traveled to Penn State and beat the Lions, 17-14. Last Saturday, Boston College took a 35-10 lead and held on to win, 35-32.

"The team seemed flat. People made mental mistakes. They've got something on their minds," flanker O.J. McDuffie said. "We talked about it. We're going to try to sit down again."

The reasons for the flatness probably vary, McDuffie said.

"That's what we have to figure out. It's probably an individual thing for a lot of people," he said.

Paterno makes little of the locker room discussions or the differences that may pop up between his players.

"In a weak moment, somebody might say 'I wish somebody would have done this, I wish somebody would have done that,' " Paterno said yesterday. "It's always going to be easy for someone to say, 'It's not me. It's him. Them.'

"But I think they're mature and decent kids. They'll come together."

The losses came after the Lions beat five marginal opponents who have won just seven games between them. Rutgers has four of those victories.

"In the Miami game, we were not able to come up with the big play. We didn't make a couple of plays that the Miami kids did," Paterno said. "In the BC game, I don't know why we were not doing certain things."

He said he hadn't decided on any personnel changes for the West Virginia game, except that quarterback John Sacca has an aggravating shoulder injury that limits his ability to throw the ball.

Original starter Kerry Collins, who broke a finger before the season started, played two series against Boston College but still must watch for swelling.

"I don't think we had a good effort by everybody [against Boston College]. We just all didn't have a good day," Paterno said.

"I'm a little bit annoyed with myself that maybe there was something I could have done to help them."

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