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Penn State's Astorino describes 'emotional' team meeting

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State’s players were saddened to hear the news of Joe Paterno’s decision to resign as head football coach but are keeping their focus on what they can control, a senior co-captain said Wednesday morning.

“It’s been a pretty tough time for everyone here at Penn State, a tough situation to deal with,” safety Drew Astorino told reporters on a conference call. “But myself and the team are handling it well. First of all, we feel horrible for the victims and their families. At the same time, the 125 guys on this team didn’t have anything to do with what happened 10 years ago. We’ve been dealing with it by just leaning on each other, and moving on from there.”

Paterno called for an 11 a.m. squad meeting and told his players of his intention to step down at the end of the season. Most of them had already heard or read the news before the meeting started.

“Joe’s been there for a long time,” Astorino said. “To have something like this happen is tough, tough to hear and everybody was obviously very emotional and upset.”

Asked if he thought any of Paterno’s assistant coaches would be retained on the next staff or if he thought Paterno would be on the sideline for certain on Saturday, Astorino said he didn’t want to speculate.

“I think this team does a good job of just dealing with what we know is a fact,” he said. “We’re handling what we know right now.”

They’re also keeping their focus on Saturday’s game against Nebraska.

“Once we put the pads on for practice, it’s kind of a relief,” Astorino said. “That hour or two hours we can be out there is a relief. ... The character tht this team has, I think we can get through it and try to get a win.”

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