Joe Paterno Presser Highlights: Kent State

When last we saw our hero-coach, he was storming out of a press room in Tuscaloosa following Penn State's 24-3 loss to Alabama Saturday night.  Here's a recap of today's press conference (transcript):

NEED TO KNOW:

  • Eliminated any doubt that Robert Bolden is Penn State's man at the moment. Suggested they might have asked him to do too much against Alabama and that he's done well so far considering the circumstances. He's looked good in practice so far this week, and Joe sees no need to change quarterbacks at this time.
  • On Gerald Hodges' injury: "How long he'll be out, I don't know. But he's got a broken (bone)... I imagine, I don't know, I'm not a medical guy, but it's going to be a while. It will be a while. Whether it's four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, I couldn't tell you. But he's got a slight break there (lower left fibula). And he's going to be out for a while."
  • Reaffirmed Evan Royster and Stephfon Green's status as Penn State's top two backs. Silas Redd is a "good back" but isn't as ready as the other two to carry the load.
  • Believes the offensive line has made progress.
  • Said Penn State needs to sure up not only it's tackling, but it's ability to force turnovers, pointing to the big zero the Nittany Lions have posted in that column through the first two games. Also said Penn State needs to be more aggressive.

SHOULD KNOW

  • On Punt Coverage: "Well, I think we've got a chance to get a little better coverage. We've used that spread punt years ago. And then we got out of it when Floyd Little ran three back for touchdowns up at Syracuse, before you guys were born. I can still see him running by Joe Bellas right in front of us. So we're back to the three deep guys and the spread and the lineup up front."
  • Pointed out that the frequent defensive rotations on Saturday had as much to do with the heat/fatigue as anything else.
  • Told that Garry Gilliams hasn't been expected to carry the load at tight end because of his age, thus, he hasn't been doing a whole lot in the offense.
  • Said Nick Sukay played well Saturday.
  • On Evan Royster's performance so far: "Well, I think the effort's fine. I don't know whether we've really established the kind of running game that Royster would do well in. Royster is a kind of a "pick 'em and spot 'em, give me a crack and I'll go" guy. He's not a guy that's going to run over you.

    He doesn't have great speed; has good speed. But he's got good instincts. He obviously catches the ball well when we use him as a receiver. We haven't used him yet as a receiver. But I think he's doing all right.

  • Complimented Kent State's special teams. Also said the Kent quarterback has a lot of, you guessed it, poise and that the Flashes have a talented linebacker as well.  He expects Kent to come in and be tough.

Sparring With The Press

A couple of interesting exchanges with the press today:

  • First talking about Evan Royster

Did you notice, were the holes there that the offensive line was making for Royster, did he maybe miss a few opportunities?
COACH PATERNO: I don't think there were any big holes no, I think he did all right. I think we've got to start... let me put it this way: We have too many people that are analyzing everything and sometimes they don't know what they're talking about. And in your particular case right now, I don't want to be rude, but I don't think you're being fair.

  • Later talking about the mess at left guard.

Both left guards we saw (in the game) on Saturday. What have you seen from both of them so far? And is that still a spot that you're undecided with?
COACH PATERNO: They're fighting it out. But right now (Johnnie) Troutman is a little bit ahead.

And why do you say that he's ahead of (DeOn'tae) Pannell? What has he shown more of to you? What has he done to separate himself?
COACH PATERNO: He's playing better.

Nothing specifically?
COACH PATERNO: He's playing better. You want me to give you a clinic? Got a blackboard here? I'll show you, for crying out loud. No, it's as simple as that.

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