McGloin to play role in honoring Paterno

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
4:19
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- When the body of Joe Paterno lies for public viewing Tuesday and Wednesday at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus, one current and one former player will be there during every minute of the 14 hours to serve as honorary guards.

Quarterback Matt McGloin drew a 45-minute-shift beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"I thought playing under him would be enough to be a lifetime memory," McGloin said Monday. "Now, to be there at his funeral and to be standing outside along with a former letterman is truly an honor I'll never forget. It's definitely going to be an emotional night."

In the 12 weeks since Penn State fired Paterno, his players have unbuttoned their thoughts. McGloin understands why the board of trustees fired Paterno in his 46th season as head coach. But he said neither he nor many of his teammates liked it.

"What happened with Jerry Sandusky, the way I see it, they had to have somebody take the fall for it," McGloin said. "It's got to be the head coach in that situation. But ... I think it was wrong to do it the way they did it, sending over a piece of paper and have him call a number, having him get fired, not bringing him in, sitting him down and giving him the reasons why he was let go, I think was, unfair for a man who has given more than one-half his life to a university and given millions of dollars and has made State College, Pa., such a special place.

"To do that in that way was wrong," McGloin said. "... I think it was unforgivable to most people. A lot of players feel that way."

The period since McGloin started at quarterback for Paterno's 409th and final victory has been tumultuous for the redshirt junior from Scranton, Pa., as well. He suffered a concussion in a fight in December with teammate Curtis Drake that rendered McGloin unable to play in the TicketCity Bowl on Jan. 2. After that, he contracted a sinus infection. Between the two -- "the sickest I've ever been" -- the 6-foot-1 McGloin lost 17 pounds. He said he hasn't weighed 193 pounds since he arrived on campus in August 2008.

There's one other thing about McGloin that looks different -- he has a beard, a neatly trimmed red one. That breaks one of Paterno's cardinal rules, which may explain why nearly every player in the locker room has one now, too.

Because they can.

"Guys are just excited that they don't have to be clean-cut, clean-shaved every day, so they're just letting things go," McGloin said. "Coach Paterno's rule was make sure you have a nice shave, hair not too long. Obviously I respect that and I liked that when I first got here. But ... college kids tend to let themselves go."

No word yet on whether new head coach Bill O'Brien has a rule regarding facial hair.

Ivan Maisel | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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