After 0-7 start, new hope for Penn

December 28, 2009

Jerome Allen already has altered some dour attitudes at Penn.

Turning the Quakers into winners could take much longer.

The Quakers' interim coach writes an inspirational quote of the day on the practice sheet. He dives on the Palestra court at practice to show how he wants his team to fight for a loose ball. And when the Quakers boarded a plane for North Carolina, they ditched the sweats for suits and ties.

Allen offers no more excuses why Pennsylvania has gone from Ivy League dominance to doormat.

"I wouldn't say the program's off track," Allen said. "I'd just say the past couple of seasons we haven't reflected the results our school is used to seeing."

It's up to the 36-year-old Allen to make more than cosmetic changes.

The two-time Ivy League player of the year is in charge of guiding the team he led to a rare NCAA tournament victory back to respectability.

Once a regular in the tournament, Penn's free fall has been stunning.

The Quakers lost their first seven games and fired their coach, Glen Miller. They named a broadcaster an assistant coach and promoted an assistant coach in his first year with the program to interim head coach.

Oh, and it probably will get worse for the Quakers before they begin their conference schedule. They play at Davidson on Monday and at No. 7 Duke on Thursday.

That's a burdensome trip for any team, much less a foundering one.

- Associated Press

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