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Larry Johnson Leading Program Forward During Transition Phase

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Larry Johnson Media Transcript - Jan. 3 | VIDEO: Larry Johnson Addresses Media

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Longtime Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson is embracing the opportunity to lead the football program through its transition phase until the next head coach is named.

9581406.jpegJohnson, who has worked in Happy Valley for 19 years (15 as defensive line coach), has one mission during the current period of time as interim head coach - keep things moving forward.

The current players on the roster return to campus on Jan. 13 for the start of the spring semester.  Johnson said they are looking forward to being back on campus to kick off preparations for 2014.

"They are excited to get going again and to get in the weight room and start moving forward to the 2014 season," Johnson said.

Offseason conditioning in the weight room began in December before final exams.  It will continue when the players return to campus.  National Signing Day for 2014 is Feb. 5.  Communication with the current players and prospects are the two areas Johnson is focused on in the immediate future.

"It is really about communication right now and really communicating to our players and our future players and just continuing to move the ship...We are going business as usual.  We are not going to slow down," Johnson said.

Regardless of the situation, Johnson said the message remains the same.

"We always tell kids in recruiting, you like to come for the coach, but you want to come for the place," Johnson said.  "You want to come to Penn State University to get a great degree.  I think that is still there.  Kids are going to come and continue to come because Penn State University.  It's a great place.  It's a great institution and you get a chance to play football at the highest level.  Those things are still there."

While the veteran coach is working long hours to man everything that needs to be moving forward and going to great lengths to talk with current and prospective student-athletes, Johnson is excited about what is ahead for Penn State Football.

"I think this is a great time for Penn State Football to begin another chapter, and I'm looking forward to being a part of that in any way that I can.  I am very blessed and very fortunate to have the opportunity to do this for the University, a place that I love and care a lot about, and I care a lot about our players."

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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To Larry,
I wish you the very best in this new role! You have prepared for it for a long time. There are no doubts in my mind that you are where God wants you to be! Blessings to you and your family.
Roberta (Bert) Brown Nickelson

What a class act, he has been a very important part of PSU's football program for a long time and he is greatly appreciated by the fans.

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