3-point stance: Practicing the unusual

1. On the day before every game, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien had his starters go through a script of plays, mostly 2-minute possibilities and unusual special-team situations. O’Brien said he had learned that from Bill Belichick, for whom O’Brien worked at New England. I thought of that Sunday night as the Ravens flawlessly took 7 seconds off the clock as their punt team took a safety in their own end zone. I saw Penn State walk through that play on the day before its 2012 season opener. There are a lot of ways that play -- or any play -- can screw up if a team hasn’t practiced it.

2. When Kansas State announced last Thursday that it had agreed with head coach Bill Snyder on a five-year, $14.75 million extension through the 2017 season, the first question I thought of was, he’ll be how old? Snyder is 73, and a young 73. But I find it hard to believe that he will coach through the end of his deal. Given the lack of grace in the exits of Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden, here’s hoping that Snyder figures out how to leave every Wildcat wanting more.

3. When Army defeated Notre Dame, 59-0, in 1944, the score was so lopsided that U.S. soldiers fighting in Italy believed the news to be German propaganda. Cadet quarterback Doug Kenna, a three-sport star, became an All-American. As an Army assistant coach five years later, he showed around the new guy, a fellow assistant hired from Fordham named Vince Lombardi. Kenna, elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1984, died last week at age 88.