This afternoon Joe Paterno held his first weekly press conference of the season. Go here for the entire transcript. This is your Cliff Notes version.
- Your captains are Ollie Ogbu and Brett Brackett as elected by the team. Ogbu makes sense as the only returning senior starter on defense. Brackett is kind of an odd choice as a role player who doesn't see the field much. He obviously has the respect of the team the way he organizes the Lift for Life. I would just feel better if I knew my team captain was going to be in the huddle late in the fourth quarter when you are down by five and need a long drive. Fortunately Wisniewski and Royster will be there in that huddle, and I think most people assumed one of them would be captain.
- Three of the first four questions centered on the quarterbacks. Paterno repeatedly said that no decision has been made other than all three guys will probably play against Youngstown State. When the same question was rephrased and asked a fourth time, we got our first reporter pwnage of the season.
I've tried to... I don't know what we're going to do with the quarterbacks, period. And I think that ought to end the discussion. I'm getting tired of talking about it.
- Chaz Powell has been moved back to offense. Paterno said this was due to Curtis Drake's broken leg and Stephfon Green dealing with a neck injury. You can either believe that, or you can believe Powell's move to cornerback wasn't working. But just this weekend Powell was listed as the first team cornerback which justifiably led to a lot of confusion in the press room today. Paterno seemed confused by all of the fuss saying, "I thought everybody knew we had moved him. Doesn't everybody know we moved him? I thought everybody knew." Regardless, I think this is a good sign for the secondary as it signals Joe must have confidence in Derrick Thomas, but now I don't know who is playing the nickelback.
- As stated earlier, Green has a neck injury. Paterno says this is something he has dealt with since high school. Other program observers don't think this will be a big issue.
- Joe seems really pleased with the linebackers saying there are five or six guys they feel really good about. He was asked specifically about Mike Mauti and indicated he has fully participated in camp and should be good to go.
- The offensive line has made "big strides" according to Paterno. He noted that they have developed some depth, and at the end of the presser said he was "encouraged" by the progress of the offensive line. All good news.
- Joe mentioned that Paul Jones has had some academic issues. Nothing serious, but enough to make him nervous and played a role in the decision to redshirt him. Joe has been an opponent of kids enrolling early in January. This is the second kid in this class forced to redshirt for academic reasons, so it doesn't look like Joe is going to be a big proponent of early enrollees anytime soon.
- Special teams was a point of emphasis in camp. Joe feels good with Wagner and Fera handling the kicking duties. He expects special teams to improve this year.
- The team needs leadership right now. Joe feels good that eventually they will be fine, but they need some guys to get experience to gain the confidence to speak out some. Joe compared it to young officers on D-Day telling their squads to stand up and charge into the oncoming enemy fire. They need to identify who those guys are going to be.
- Drew Astorino is healthy. He sits out once in a while due to soreness in the shoulder, but he will play.
- Joe did not seem happy with Evan Royster's weight (220 lbs.) saying it is going to negatively affect his endurance.
- Andrew Szczerba is out with a bad back that has bothered him ever since high school. It doesn't sound like this is a problem that is going to go away any time soon. The tight end duties will fall on freshmen Kevin Haplea and Gary Gilliam. Joe didn't seem thrilled about this.