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Seniors gearing up for combine

Matt McGloin is in Hollywood. Michael Mauti is back in Louisiana. And several of their senior teammates will remain under the watchful eyes of Craig Fitzgerald and Tim Bream.

Matt McGloin and Matt Stankiewitch are working out on opposite sides of the country this winter, but have the same goal in mind.

The senior class that helped keep the 2012 Penn State squad from falling apart and led the Nittany Lions to eight wins in their final 10 games has turned its attention to the NFL. Several of those players are currently preparing to play in various senior all-star games, but all of them are preparing for the NFL Combine in February and/or Penn State's Pro Day in March.

Exactly where they're preparing varies from man to man.

Mauti returned to his native Mandeville, La., last month and is working out with trainer Kurt Hester, whom Mauti has known since he was in high school and who has trained, among others, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.

Mauti's 2012 season was cut short by two games by yet another serious knee injury, but the all-conference linebacker has been rehabbing and training each day -- as well as maintaining a specialized, all-organic diet -- and hopes to give it a go at the Combine in Indianapolis in late February.

"I plan to give as much as I can," he said. "I'm not quite sure what that's gonna be."

Few players at any level of football are as familiar with the lengthy recovery process he faces as Mauti, who suffered torn ACLs in 2009 and 2011. Knowing exactly what he has to go through helped him decide whether or not he wanted to go through more rehab.

"You just kind of gotta make up your mind that this is what you want, this is what you want to do," he said. "It didn't take too long for me to figure that out. … There's no doubt I can play football. It's a matter of staying healthy and catching a break, really."

McGloin headed to California at the start of the month to work at the Athletic Gaines facility with Travelle Gaines, who has trained the likes of Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer, and quarterback specialist Steve Calhoun, who tutored Cam Newton. He's putting in 14- and 16-hour days, working specifically to prepare for the 40-yard dash, broad jump and other combine tests but also to improve his overall speed and strength.

"It's a tough day," said McGloin, who will play in the Texas vs. The Nation game on Feb. 2. "But once you get used to the routines, it's not bad."

The player who led the Big Ten in passing yards this season is throwing to the likes of Kenny Stills of Oklahoma and Cobi Hamilton of Arkansas each day -- Hester is training a group of about 20 players, said McGloin -- and working on becoming more consistent with his throws.

"Being the same with every throw, the same footwork, using my core and legs," McGloin said. "So far we have had some great progress with that."

McGloin's roommate, center Matt Stankiewitch, is also gearing up for an all-star game. Stankiewitch will represent Penn State as one of the captains for the East squad in the East-West Shrine Game this Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla. Then, he'll return to State College to resume working with the two men who helped shape and maintain his body this past year.

"The biggest reason why I'm staying is Coach Fitzgerald and Tim Bream and the staff they have and how you train there," Stankiewitch said.

Mike Farrell, Mike Yancich, James Terry, and, once they return from their respective all-star games, Jordan Hill, Pete Massaro and Sean Stanley are also working out with Penn State's strength coach and head trainer. The morning workouts, which are separate from those Fitzgerald is conducting with the current Nittany Lions, are also heavily geared toward combine and Pro Day drills.

The seniors' familiarity and comfort level with Fitzgerald and Bream were big factors in their decisions to train on campus, said the players.

"I knew from experience that what we were going to do was something that benefited me personally," said Farrell, who added nearly 30 pounds in his first offseason under Fitzgerald.

The Nittany Lions were disappointed that the NCAA sanctions robbed them of a bowl game, but the seniors took advantage of that extra time to get a head start on their training.

"The one positive of it is for the group of seniors, we were able to take a week or two off after our last game, then start getting to work," Farrell said. "A lot of guys (on other teams) were playing through bowl season, getting beat up a little bit more. We were able to avoid that and start almost a month earlier than a lot of people."

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