Penn State, which has a bye this week, scheduled three players for conference calls before the NCAA made its announcement. They obviously took the lead of their head coach, Bill O'Brien.
"His message this whole season has been, 'Win the day,' " said Ficken, a junior who is seven of eight on field goals this season. "So that was great news. But we still have to focus on winning games this year. That's what's important now, and that's what's important for this week, the opening Big Ten game against Indiana" on Oct. 5.
Redshirt freshman running back Akeel Lynch held a restrained view of recent events.
"Obviously it's positive news for Penn State as a whole and also for the football team," he said. "But we're just focused on this bye week, making sure we get healthy and prepare for Indiana."
Defensive tackle Austin Johnson, a redshirt freshman from St. Augustine Prep in South Jersey, also stayed the course.
"We were really happy," he said. "It's a good thing for Penn State, obviously. But we're just really focused on this year, finishing the rest of our season strong, and focusing on Indiana."
Among the sanctions handed down 14 months ago was one where the NCAA said players could transfer to another FBS school and not have to sit out a season. Lynch, who would eventually redshirt last year, thought long and hard about leaving.
"I kind of didn't know what to do," he said. "I took a couple of weeks to gather my thoughts, and I thought about the bigger picture in the long run. I know college is only for four years, but the next 40 years counts a lot. Penn State alumni said after football was done, the connections after football were amazing. So that was the reason I stayed."
Ficken said the players who stayed after an initial rash of transfers was "a testament to the courage of this team and how we all fought through it."
"We're coming out as better players and better people so it was definitely important," he said.
As for whether Penn State's postseason ban through 2015 could be dropped, Ficken said it's not something that will preoccupy the players.
"You're always hoping for that, but you're not really keying on that too much," he said. "You're just going through your daily routine. No matter if the sanctions get lifted or whatnot, we're not going to practice any different or play any different. So for us, there's no real change for the players."