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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Paterno faces big decision with Evans, Koroma

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Penn State coach Joe Paterno was in no mood to discuss Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma when I asked him about the suspended defensive linemen Tuesday on the Big Ten coaches' teleconference.

He must have seen this coming.

Not surprisingly, Evans and Koroma have been charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession after police searched their apartment Sept. 2. Police didn't find very much weed in the search, but most of it appears to have come from Evans' room. Team spokesman Jeff Nelson said the players' status has not changed. The school likely won't comment on the situation until after Saturday's game against Temple.

If Paterno holds true to form in recent disciplinary action, Evans and Koroma will face severe punishment. The coach dismissed defensive tackles Chris Baker and Phil Taylor this summer after both players were involved in off-campus fights. Reserve cornerback Willie Harriott was kicked off the team earlier this month after being cited for driving on a suspended license (he had a DUI last year).  

Evans' and Koroma's situations might be a bit different. They're first-time offenders and shouldn't receive more than a fine and community service. They also will have to deal with Penn State's Office of Judicial Affairs.

After all the off-field problems at Penn State, this was an unbelievably dumb thing to do by both Evans and Koroma. They should remain suspended for a while longer. Dismissing them from the team seemingly goes too far, especially when similar transgressions merit one- or two-game suspensions at other schools.

But it's up to Paterno, who has taken his share of heat for the rash of disciplinary problems. He might want to come down hard, as he did with Baker and Taylor. My prediction: They'll be back on the field when Penn State visits Wisconsin on Oct. 11.