CHICAGO, Ill. - Follow all the action from Big Ten Media Days here on the running blog from Hyatt McCormick Place in Chicago.
Legendary head coach Joe Paterno, receiver Derek Moye, running back Joe Suhey and linebacker Michael Mauti departed State College early on Thursday morning en route to Chicago for the day one festivities. Coach Paterno addressed the organized media at 12:30 p.m. ET. The three players participated in various media activities, including time with national television outlets, radio stations and print media throughout the day.
Stay tuned for updates as things unfold in Chicago.
9:00 a.m. - Mauti Named Preseason Player to Watch
Junior linebacker Michael Mauti was named to the inaugural football Players
to Watch List on Thursday morning. Voted
on by the conference's coaches, the list features 12 members, including five
players from the Legends Division and seven from the Leaders Division (seven
due to ties). Mauti joins Illinois
quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase,
Indiana wide receiver Damarlo
Belcher, Ohio State center Mike
Brewster and defensive tackle John Simon, and Wisconsin running backs Montee Ball and James White from the Leaders Division.
11:00 a.m. - Leaders Division Coaches Kick Things Off
Illinois head coach Ron Zook opened the formal press
conferences shortly after 11 a.m. Coach
Zook and the five other Leaders Division head coaches will all address the
media in the assembled ballroom over the next 90 minutes. A record number of credentialed media are in
attendance this year. The ballroom is
packed with more than 500 members of the media.
11:30 a.m. - Nittany Lions Arrive in Town
Coach Paterno, Moye, Suhey and Mauti traveled to Chicago together on a charter flight on Thursday morning. The group arrived at the Hyatt on the south side of Chicago just after 11:30 a.m. The first stop on the media circus was a three-stage process with the Big Ten Network. Each player participated in two TV segments and a photo shoot.
I followed Moye through the process. His first segment was a bit of a glamor photo session. What the BTN wanted Moye to do was strike several different poses as he was photographed. At one point, the BTN personnel asked Moye to pose like he would while celebrating after scoring a touchdown. Moye smiled and responded with the quote of the day:
"I play for Penn State. We don't celebrate after touchdowns.
12:30 p.m. - Coach Paterno at the Microphone
Coach Paterno was the sixth coach from the Leaders Division to meet the large assembly of media for the formal press conference. Coach Paterno stepped to the microphone and said that it was good to see everyone in the room and that he is excited for the season.
Coach Paterno said that he feels like the team has a lot of
work in front of it and that "everyone needs to do better job this season." He said that he feels great and is
excited. Coach Paterno shared a superb
story, as he often does, about when he first started at Penn State as the head
coach 46 years ago. He said that he
never signed a formal contract when he started coaching at Penn State. It was a mere verbal agreement that he would
be paid $20,000 during his first season.
Following his press conference, Coach Paterno met reporters outside the interview room. Look close:
2 p.m. - TV Rotation
The longest session of the day for the Coach Paterno and the players was their 75 rotation with local TV stations from around the Big Ten. The group moved to five different stations in a room with rapid-fire questions for 75 consecutive minutes. It is an interesting opportunity for members of the media who aren't normally around Penn State to ask questions.
Moye was asked by a TV station from Nebraska about what the Husker players can expect when they visit Happy Valley.
"They can expect a great atmosphere...Expect to see some of the best fans in the nation, if not the best."
Coach Paterno wrapped up his final interview in the TV rotation with a one-liner:
"I'm tired of hearing myself talk (laughter)"
One of the big changes coming to the Big Ten in 2011 is the inception of two divisions - Legends and Leaders. Many of the coaches were asked about the new divisions during their press conferences. Illinois head coach Ron Zook said that he thinks it is great for the fans and that it will create more excitement. Coach Paterno commented on the exposure advantages of the Big Ten playing one week later than it has in recent seasons.
Day Two Schedule
Coach Paterno and the three Penn State players will meet with the media from 9-11 a.m. at roundtables on Friday before attending the 40th annual Kickoff Luncheon. Stay tuned for much more from Chicago.
Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony