Posts tagged ‘Daryll Clark’
I walked from my office to the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center a little after 1 p.m. Tuesday, thinking I might be early enough to beat the crowds. I wasn’t close.
Heading toward the tail end of a line that snaked back and forth through the Pasquerilla courtyard, Disneyland-style, stretched east on the sidewalk along Curtin Road, and at times extended north onto Shortlidge Road almost to Park Avenue, I got a sense of the crowd that already had turned out for Joe Paterno. This was in the first hour of a 10-hour viewing window on Tuesday, with four more hours scheduled Wednesday morning. This was no surprise.
I joined the crowd and spent two hours in line, all but the last 10 minutes of it outside, before the final stretch. We entered the spiritual center through a side door, shuffled down a hallway and entered the main lobby, where a few more turns of the line finally led us into the main auditorium. The clumps of people thinned into a slow but steadily moving single file, which continued down the aisle on the left side of the large, high-ceilinged room. At the front lay a casket, adorned with flowers.
We turned right, the casket on our left, the already indelible black-and-white image of Paterno, arms crossed and smiling, the only other adornment. On each side of the casket stood a large young man—former Nittany Lion quarterback Daryll Clark ’08 and a current player I didn’t recognize—part of the “honor guard” of lettermen who took turns aside their coach on the stage. The line had moved much more slowly in the early going, as some of those who’d come to pay their respects paused 15 or 20 seconds for prayer and reflection, a practice that must’ve been discouraged by funeral officials mindful of the tens of thousands still to come. By the time I got there, it seemed instinctive for each of us to stop for just a beat before moving on.
Jay Paterno ’91 stood for a time not far from the exit, shaking every hand presented him. I’m told his brother Scott ’97 did the same at other times during the 10-hour public viewing. I don’t know if their other siblings or Joe’s widow, Sue ’62, met the crowd, but it seems safe to assume they did. The Paterno family has made no secret of their appreciation for the public support they’ve received over the past few months.
A friend who was an hour or so behind me in line texted me later to tell me that Tom Bradley ’78, Paterno’s former player, longtime assistant, and interim replacement, had made his way down the line on Curtin Road. As far as my friend could tell, Bradley shook the hand of every person in the line and offered the same words to each of them: “Thanks for coming out for Coach.”
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Now here’s a conversation I wish I had heard: two of the most engaging quotes in Penn State football history, LaVar Arrington ’00 and Daryll Clark ’08, ’09, on the radio together.
Arrington, a former Redskin, hosts a sports talk-radio show in D.C., and he invited Clark, who just signed with the Redskins as a free-agent, to be on the show Monday. Clark was disappointed to not be drafted—he told Arrington, “I intend on coming down there with a chip on my shoulder as big as a boulder to show people I’m able to compete with the best.” If, like me, you don’t have time to listen at the above link, you can get the gist of it from this blog post from The Washington Post.
Arrington would be at the top of any “all-time quotable” list; he is, in fact, the reason I bought a tape recorder when I covered the Nittany Lions in the late 1990s. With most people—athletes or otherwise—you’re lucky if they speak in sentences. Arrington spoke in paragraphs, often full of interesting tangents, and I just couldn’t get it all down well enough in my notebook.
And while Clark doesn’t rise to that level, I admired that he never ducked the media, not even after last season’s tough loss to Iowa. Not an easy thing to do, I’m sure, but he did it with class.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
Today’s Chicago Tribune has an interesting profile of Daryll and Sheryl Clark—parents of Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark.
The occasion for the piece is the fact that Clark is one of three finalists for the Big Ten MVP award, also called the “Chicago Tribune Silver Football.” The other two finalists are Wisconsin running back John Clay and Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham. The winner will be announced on the Big Ten Network Tuesday night (Dec. 8) at 10.
It turns out that Clark’s parents have played a very strong role in shaping—and supporting—him. A couple of things I didn’t know until I read the article: One, Clark’s parents have been divorced for about 10 years but still sat together in Beaver Stadium, cheering their son on. And two, if you wanted to find Daryll Clark on Saturday night after a home football game, a good place to look would have been the State College Olive Garden, where he and his parents typically went to dissect the game.
Tina Hay, editor
My pick for the best photo to come out of yesterday’s Penn State win over Michigan State is this one, from Al Goldis of the AP. It shows Graham Zug diving into the end zone for a touchdown as two Michigan State defenders (Greg Jones and Danny Fortener) can only watch.
And then you notice that the photographer also got Daryll Clark in the frame—over on the left, celebrating the score.
Tina Hay, editor
Daryll Clark said he’ll sleep. Really. His plan to cope with Saturday’s 24-7 loss to Ohio State involved visiting with his family and getting the latest news from home, then watching a little football and trying to relax. “I’ll think about what coulda, woulda shoulda happened,” he said.
He’ll do the same Sunday. “And then Monday,” he said, “it’s gone.”
Chances are, getting over this won’t be as easy as the senior quarterback made it sound. The loss ruined Penn State’s chance of getting to a BCS game, and it will also probably raise the questions of why Clark struggles in big games, questions that seemed to have been put to rest with two weeks ago when he threw four touchdown passes at Michigan in Penn State’s dominating victory over its longtime nemesis.
Clark knows the questions are out there, and he faces them. Plenty of players duck the media after a tough game, or give short, clipped answers. Not Clark. Just as he did after the tough loss to Iowa, he stayed in the media room and answered every last query with class and grace, even the one about whether his Penn State legacy will be as the guy who stumbled on the biggest stage.
“Every time I take the field, I give my all,” he said. “No matter what happens, who we’re playing, I don’t give up until the last play.”
Over and over, Clark patiently explained the Lions’ biggest problem: They never got an offensive rhythm going. “Just when we would do something good, a play or two later something would happen to knock us back,” he said. Reads the Nittany Lions had expected to be open turned out to be closed; he wasn’t seeing exactly what he had expected on the field, given the scouting report. He did expect Ohio State’s front seven to pressure him, but he was surprised at how quickly the pocket collapsed. “I can’t stress enough,” he said, “our rhythm was totally off.”
Later, he turned more introspective, saying he hadn’t done enough to help the team win: “I could have played 10 times better.”
Clark said he slept after the Iowa game, and he followed up that terrible showing with five good games in a row. He expects nothing less out of himself after this loss.
“We’ve got two football games left to play, and next week will be the last time I ever suit up and play here,” he said. “So we’ve definitely got to have a good showing.”
Lori Shontz, senior editor
There’s a good article at statecollege.com today about what Daryll Clark did after Saturday’s win over Temple. Basically he drove to Bellefonte and … well, maybe I should just let you read the story. It’s a nicely told tale.
The author is the managing editor of the Web site, Terry Casey, who also is a Penn State journalism student. He was editor of the Collegian last year.
Tina Hay, editor
Thursday was Penn State’s annual preseason Football Media Day. The weather was gorgeous (a rarity in Happy Valley this summer), giving the 100 or so attending media a chance to mingle outdoors with a roughly equal number of Nittany Lion players and coaches. Potential All-Americans like Daryll Clark, Evan Royster, and Sean Lee were the obvious draw for most of the reporters, but Media Day is also a great chance to catch up with some of the lesser-known Lions.
I met Andrew Pitz ’09 earlier this summer; he was interning in the College of Communications for Mike Poorman ’82, a good friend who directs the college’s alumni relations. Andrew seemed like a great kid (not to mention a smart one — he was a first-team Academic All-American last year), so when I ran into him yesterday on the immaculate practice fields next to the Lasch Football Building, I said hello. Then I decided he’d be a great candidate on which to try out our Flip Cam, which we’ve been meaning to put to use for the blog.
Andrew laughed when I pulled out the camera, joking that he’d made a bet with himself about how many media members would actually want to talk to the long-snapper — his guess was “no more than three.” When I wasn’t interviewing his teammates, I kept the camera trained on Pitz to find out just how popular he was.
A few things you’ll notice: One, Andrew doesn’t take himself too seriously (if you listen closely, you might be able to hear senior linebacker Josh Hull whistle at Pitz as he walks by, around the :13 mark). And two, I’m still perfecting the art of Flip Cam directing. Hopefully I’ll get better.
Ryan Jones, senior editor