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He's good for a laugh

PENN STATE FYI

December 31, 2008|Mark Wogenrich

If Penn State offensive guard Rich Ohrnberger doesn't make the NFL, he might have a future in standup comedy. Even Budd Friedman thinks so.

"Yeah, I'd book him," the owner of the Improv said. "Absolutely."

Penn State had a team-only function this week at the Improv in Hollywood, where comedians Joe Rogan and Pablo Francisco entertained. As did Ohrnberger, the Lions' in-house comic.

Teammates chose the senior to present Friedman, the club's owner and founder, with a signed football. He took that opportunity to do an act of his own, which teammates called hilarious but unprintable.

One of his best jokes came at Friedman's expense. Riffing on Friedman's reputation as the father of modern standup comedy, Ohrnberger arched his eyebrows, unimpressed, and said, "I'm sure Socrates or Jesus told a joke at some point."

Said Friedman: "It took a little something for him to make fun of me like that."

Ohrnberger, who was first-team All-Big Ten Conference and a third-team All-American choice, is known for asking referees about their golf games, and this season pretended to be center A.Q. Shipley (his roommate) on a conference call with reporters.

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Paterno '50-50'

Joe Paterno said Tuesday he's "50-50" for coaching the Rose Bowl from the sideline. "If I'm not on the sideline, hopefully I can be of some help upstairs," he said.

Penn State's coach also talked about the three-year contract extension he signed before arriving in Los Angeles.

"We prolonged the thing until it became a recruiting" hindrance, Paterno said. "Kids wanted to know. We needed a contract. . . . It has helped in the sense that some kids know when I tell them that I'll be around three, four or five more years, that is probably a reality."

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Passing thought

Fifth-year senior quarterback Paul Cianciolo plans to play baseball, finish his MBA and start looking for a job next semester.

He's fully aware the Rose Bowl could be his last football game.

And then a teammate will remind him about New England quarterback Matt Cassel.

"I heard that Cassel threw [33] passes in college [at USC], and [New England Coach] Bill Belichick said he saw all of them before drafting him in the late rounds," Cianciolo said. "So anything's possible."

With 16 fewer career attempts -- he's 10 for 17 for 145 yards -- Cianciolo is a longshot to make that leap. Which is why Penn State's recently elevated backup quarterback has thrown himself completely into the Rose Bowl.

Bumped from No. 3 to No. 2 after Pat Devlin announced he would transfer, Cianciolo said his last month has been a whirlwind. But Paterno has reiterated his confidence in the quarterback should he have to replace starter Daryll Clark.

"In a lot of ways, Joe and I are similar guys," Cianciolo said. "People made fun of his quarterback career at Brown, but he went out there and got the job done, and that's what I like to think my game's about."

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Lion tracks

The Rose Bowl allows each team five sideline passes for former players. Though not finalized, Penn State's list includes John Cappelletti, Ki-Jana Carter and Michael Robinson. . . . Offensive linemen Shipley and Ohrnberger confessed to being late for a team breakfast, which got them a brief demotion to second team. Ohrnberger's excuse: "I'm addicted to infomercials."

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mark.wogenrich@mcall.com

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