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Almost half way through

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2001

A lot of times, I think it's good to get into a routine. In a lot of ways, that's how I feel about the way this season has developed for me.

First things first.

We played well last week, but there aren't any consolation prizes in the NFL. You play to win and, if you lose, it's just not good enough.

Back to the routine.

Maybe the biggest difference from college is being able to sleep. At Penn State, I was up late a lot with writing papers and studying for tests. Now, I control how much game film I watch at home -- and I watch my share, and there aren't as many distractions.

Playing the pro schedule is a bit different. The college season starts to wrap up this time of year and the pro schedule isn't even quite half way through.

I've started to get into the same routine every week with regard to being inactive and everything.

The Kurpeikis File
Justin Kurpeikis, a rookie free-agent linebacker on the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster, will write a diary once a week for PittsburghLIVE.

Kurpeikis, a native of Hampton Township, played high school football for Central Catholic and was a star defensive lineman for Penn State University. As a senior for the Nittany Lions, Kurpeikis earned first team all Big Ten honors.

Although Kurpeikis, 6-3, 248 pounds, was not selected in the NFL draft, he signed a rookie free agent contract with the Steelers. He made the team as a linebacker and for his special teams play.

My nature won't allow me to practice any less intensely. I still prepare every week as though I'm going to play. That's just the mindset that I have to maintain.

For one thing, if I didn't prepare as though I was going to play, I wouldn't be doing my job. Secondly, if something happens Friday and I'm activated for the weekend, I would embarrass myself if I weren't prepared.

It will never be easy to just sit and watch, but I just keep telling myself, 'My time will come.'

Penn State

I was able to listen to a good part of the Penn State game on the radio and it's so incredible to see how they've turned their season around.

A lot of people out there were calling it the death of the Penn State program and that they wouldn't win a game this year. It's a shame that those people don't step forward and admit what they said. Not of them are ever held accountable.

Seeing the way the team is coming around and how well Zach (Mills) is learning to lead gives a lot of reason for optimism.

Hopefully they can keep it going against Illinois this weekend.

Central Catholic

I have been to five practices and a couple of games this year and this team is for real. The coaching staff is like a college staff in how they make adjustments. It really is amazing.

I really feel like they're on a crash-course with Woodland Hills at Heinz Stadium.

There's nothing better than the Friday night lights and Central seems like they thrive on it as much as any team I have seen.

The passion that this they play with is what high school football is all about.

One of the important lessons they seem to have learned is to never get too high or too low. If you keep a pretty level head and have the talent they have, you have a great chance to go all the way.

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