Elimination round

With the rise in helmet hits in the NFL, 83-year-old Penn State coach Joe Paterno thinks he might have the answer: lose the face mask.

Said Joe Pa: "I have been saying (it) for 15 years. Then, you would get back to shoulder blocking and shoulder tackling and you wouldn't have all those heroes out there. Guys (would) have to worry about broken noses, knocked-out teeth, which we would like to prevent, but you don't get anything for nothing.

"We used to have one single bar; now we have a weapon."

Rock On figures while they're at it, they should also eliminate shoulder pads, teeth guards, protective cups, Al Davis and Jerry Jones.

That, too, would cool things down on the field of competition.

Standard Shaq

True to his promise, Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal went to Harvard Square last week and posed like a statue, barely moving for more than an hour.

In other words, same thing he does on game nights.

Priority One

Weber State running back Vai Tafuna rushed for a career-best 153 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's win over Portland State.

The reason for his success?

"Honestly, I went to the (LDS) temple this morning, worshiped in the temple, got my spiritual power going," he said.

Or as former BYU receiver Austin Collie once said, "Obviously, if you do what's right on and off the field, I think the Lord steps in and plays a part in it. Magic happens."

Rock On sources say both teams are now considering taking Monday nights off for Family Home Evening, plus one Wednesday a month to wrap up their home teaching.

Match set

Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova are engaged.

The first clue something was up came last spring in the playoffs when Vujacic hit a 3-pointer and called out "Fifteen-love!" as he ran past the Jazz bench.

Rise up

Buffalo News writer Budd Bailey on rescued Chilean miner Edison Pena being invited to run in the New York Marathon: "If the course went through the Lincoln Tunnel, he'd be tough to beat."

e-mail: rock@desnews.com