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Joe Paterno Press Conference - 10/10/06

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Yesterday was JoePa's weekly press conference. At first glance it's the usual canned answers not shedding any new light on anything we didn't already know. But if you know how to read Paternese, it makes a lot more sense. Fortunately for all of you, I speak fluent Paternese and can translate it for you.

Why do you think your defense struggled so much against the pass against Minnesota, especially against the tight end? Was it an alignment problem or an execution problem?

One was an execution problem. It was just a question of one kid getting a little bit careless about where he was supposed to be. To be frank with you, I really don't know. We have been better on pass defense than we were against Minnesota. There again, I think a lot of that stuff happened when we were trying to play a little too soft.

Translation - Mentally we were not prepared for that game. We were playing a 2-3 Minnesota team that we spanked last year. We were expecting a bye, but when we learned we had to play we were like, "Ok. So we play Minnesota." The kids thought they were playing a speed bump the week before the Michigan game.

Does it get frustrating when you have one team you keep playing and can't seem to get over the hump with them?

I never think of it that way. I don't even know what you are talking about, really. I don't mean to be flippant about that, but I don't. As I said, Michigan is a fine football team and when you play them, you are going to be in a tough football game.

Translation - Hell yes it bothers me. I don't like being 3-8 against any opponent. And I sure as Hell don't like losing seven in a row to anyone. As God as my witness, I will not retire or die until I beat Lloyd Carr again.

What is the status of Levi Brown and Robert Price? How did you feel about the offensive line's performance at Minnesota?

Levi and Price both will be fine this week. Both of them could have played last week. I didn't want to take a chance with either one of them.

Translation - Ok, maybe the coaches looked past Minnesota a little bit too.

We are not an inexperienced, immature, young football team. Our football team has played six tough games. They have not all been tough, but we have played some pretty good football teams and been in some pretty tough situations. I think now we have to grow up. We have to play better.

Translation - No more excuses. No more babying these kids and calling them inexperienced. They have played in Notre Dame and got their butts kicked. They have played the #1 team, Ohio State, on the road and got our butts kicked. Now with Minnesota they have proven they can win a tough Big Ten game on the road. We're not going to get any more battle tested than we are now. It's time to stop coddling this team. No more. Go out and do your job, or sit on the bench and we'll find someone else who will.

What sort of things have you done this week to work on the problems you have had in the Red Zone?

There are a lot of things that have happened in the Red Zone. Some you can control and some you can't. Some of the players have to do some things. They are jumping offsides and there were a couple of mis-assignments when we had an opportunity to do a couple of things. Maybe a better play called here or there, although even there I think our guys have done a pretty darn good job with the play-calling. You look at it, analyze it and try to stress how important it is that we don't make mistakes in the Red Zone. We will start to do that today.

Translation - We're running the same plays we have run for 30 years. This year they are not working because the kids are not executing. I've got an offense that stalls in the redzone and a field goal team I can't depend on. I think I need a potty break.

Can you talk about how important it was to get your first road win of the season?

I didn't say that. I did not say how important it was to get the first road win of the season. Give me a question.

How important was it for you though to get that first win on the road?

No, not important. We have lost three games in 20. This team has lost in the last 20 games they have played, they have lost three. They lost to a Notre Dame team that was ranked, the Ohio State team might be No. 1, they lost to Michigan a year ago in a very great game away. They have won away games. Why is everybody getting all this business about that. They have lost three games in 20 games. Since we were down and we ended up with the goal line stand in Indiana and beat Michigan State, we have lost three games in 20 games. I don't know where this business about we had to win on the road to prove something. We don't have to prove a darn thing. We have won big games on the road before. That is one thing that has annoyed me.

Translation - Are you a new guy? I don't remember seeing you in here before. I've been winning games on the road since your daddy was eating the paste in art class. Write that down, Sonny. Write that down and put that in your newspaper and go home and tell your mommy how you had one question for a legend and you asked him how important it is to win games on the road. I know I say I don't read the newspapers, but I do and it annoys me that you guys seem to think we can't win on the road.









What was your perception of Michigan? Did you try to play them much in the early days of the 60's or 70's?

We never played them and for one reason or another I don't think they were very interested in playing us.

Translation - They ducked us for decades. We had to join the Big Ten to get them to play us. At the time I thought that was a good idea...now?

In fact, I was offered the job before Bo Schemblecher got it in 1968. Don Canham talked to me and I said, "Don, the only place I would think about leaving Penn State for on the college level might be Michigan."

No translation needed there. Just wanted to say suck on that Michigan fans. Bo Schembeckler was their second choice.