Here are some news and notes from Joe Paterno's weekly press conference leading up to the game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Wisconsin Badgers this weekend.
- Playing a team like Wisconsin creates different challenges than playing a team like Purdue. This is like saying tackling a wild boar is slightly more challenging than stepping on a bug.
- Jordan Norwood should be good to go this weekend. Quarless and Shuler are questionable.
- Joe lists himself as day-to-day. Some days he feels good and some days he doesn't. Whether he will coach from the sideline or the press box will be determined on game day. But Joe doesn't think this makes a difference to the team or the coaches.
- Joe had thought about playing A.J. Wallace on offense as a backup to Derrick Williams before the season started. But his hamstring injury nixed that and gave Chaz Powell an opportunity to switch sides of the ball.
- Joe is pleased with our situation in the defensive backfield. Joe says we are "fortunate" to have Wallace, Sargeant, and Davis at the corners and with the emergence of Drew Astorino we have three good guys on the inside too.
- Joe hopes we see more Chaz Powell as the season goes on. He says Powell has struggled with confidence because they switched him to offense just before the season started.
- There was an amusing moment where Joe was asked about coaching in the booth and he took the time to explain how a headset works as if we didn't already know.
Actually, as far as making a significant contribution to the strategy side and on the tactical side, you're better off upstairs. You can see more. You can get, as long as we have the kind of communications we have now, I can talk to everybody on the sideline with the one microphone and the one set of ear phones, and they can all talk to me.
Thanks for explaining that, Joe. This is why I love the man.
- Joe refused to say the turf was to blame for all the running backs slipping. Then he told a story about some guy who used to coach at Penn State 450 years ago that would preach against cutting on the inside foot. It's actually good advice when you think about it.
- Joe repeatedly said things like he's going to have to live with the pain in his leg for a few weeks. Then he said what he has "can be fixed" which leads me to believe we're talking hip replacement surgery or something like that. My guess is Joe wants to tough it out until the season is over. Say what you will about Joe Paterno, but he's a tough dude.
- Joe mentioned that Evan Royster was good enough to play lacrosse on the Div. I level. He said he would consider letting Royster play lacrosse for Penn State if he came to him and asked.
- Not surprisingly, Joe says his most recent injury will have no effect on his coaching future. Some poor reporter actually wasted their one question in asking this. Probably some guy that flew all the way from Wisconsin too.
- Joe refused to compare this team to the '05 team saying this team hasn't been in as many tough spots yet. But he finished it up saying this is a good squad that he likes very much. This is a mantra he has repeated several times this year which is very unlike Joe Paterno.
- To compensate for his absence on the practice field and the sideline on game day Joe is spending more time hanging around the locker room to build camaraderie with the team.
- Joe has been very pleased with the performance of the defense. He pointed out that Purdue didn't commit a single penalty and only turned the ball over once. They played a sound game against us and we held them to six points.
- When asked about Wisconsin's defensive line he said, "they'll knock your jock off." I love that line. But then he followed it up with "They're not flopping aroudn out there. They're not big strong fat guys."
- This quote was kind of disturbing.
Q. Will this be your offensive line's toughest test (so far)?
Yeah, I think so. They're going to play eight guys in a box. They're going to stop your run. They've got good corners. That number 17 (Allen Langford) is a heck of a football player. Number 25 (Shane Carter), their safety is really a big time safety. As I said, they've got three good linebackers. So I think it will be a test for us to be able to move the ball. (ed. - emphasis added)
Sounds like Joe is already convinced we won't be able to run on this team. Could he have tipped his hand that he plans to open the playbook and throw down field in this game?