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Joe Paterno Press Conference Recap

Joe Paterno stepped to the mic this afternoon to bask in the glory of a Penn State football victory.  Against the worst team in the Big Ten.  But on the road.  And after a humiliating homecoming loss to Illinois.  He talked.  We listened.  You read (or drink) (or both)(or whatever you do best with Joe Paternoisms).  Let's get it on....

Joe started out giving a typical 'I don't have an MD after my name' answer about Robert Bolden's apparent head injury.  He 'guesses' he's not going to make it, but advised that although he failed the memory tests given to him on Sunday, they were going to test him again today.  If Bolden does not go, Matt McGloin ('poor kid, I always kill his name') and Kevin Newsome will compete this week in practice.  He also commended Mike McQueary for his insistence that Bolden take the injury time on the field.  When pressed for comment on Bolden's performance pre-injury, he said:

It's a make shift football team each week. And I think he (Bolden) did a tremendous job and hopefully he's going to be okay this week and we'll have him. I think he's all business. Not very spectacular., doesn't talk that much.  He's not a guy that's bouncing around out there. He does his job. Pays attention to details. Does his homework. And I think everything considered, a darn good year. And I just hope he's going to be okay.

Joe was very diplomatic regarding the running back stable, when asked about Silas Redd.  After noting that Royster was the first stringer, he added that they 'like' both Green and Redd very much.  However, when later asked point blank to talk about Royster's career and what he has meant to the program he succinctly replied: 'he's done a good job.'

Regarding Injuries, Joe confirmed that Andrew Szerba (back) and Curtis Drake (knee) are out for the year (and he thought that had already been made clear), and that Newsome (knee, illness) should be fine and ready to compete in practice this week.

Joe used the question about using Daquan Jones and Jordan Hill at defensive end to comment on the toughness of the Big Ten this year, 'tougher than I ever remember it being.'  And inclusive of better quarterbacks across the board than in years past.  Including this week's opponent, the Michigan Wolverines. He noted he was glad it was a home game ('thank God it's not on the road'), and hopes it 'will be fun.'  About Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, he said:

He's got great instincts running with the football. He throws the ball well when they decide he's going to, they're going to give him the protection he needs. But he's tough to rush. He's tough to get after, because he does move so well.

He also took typical umbrage to a reporters notion that Penn State 'does not start well,' changing the question to 'whether we're ready to play 60 tough minutes, and don't make a lot of mistakes.'

Later, he noted he was indeed concerned that the defense has given up 830 yards the past two games, and cracked wise about Chaz Powell's PR machine when asked about Chazz's playing time this week.  While Lions247 reports that he is 'hearing that' Chaz Powell will start in place of Stephon Morris at CB opposite D'Anton Lynn, JoePa was typically less committal, but did note that Morris had a tough day.

Lastly, Joe was asked about Juniata High School football coach Gary Klingensmith, a former Penn Stater who has been coaching there nearly as long as Joe has been the head coach at PSU.  And Joe was much more effusive than he was with a similar question about Bear Bryant earlier this year.  Quote included because these are my very favorite parts of Joe Paterno press conferences:

COACH PATERNO: How long have you got? Kling is one of the great characters. Great guy. He was deaf. He used to get in the huddle, and I tell a couple of cute stories, two things that still stick out in my mind after all these years because he played in the middle '50s. He never went offsides. He used to watch...of course, in those days they were all around our backs. We didn't take running backs and make wideouts out of them. So he was always there. And he always watched the center. And he got so good at it, he could almost tell when the center was going to because they all have little idiosyncrasies, and he would look at them, probably the first guy off the ball, legally.

We go out to Ohio State, the year we beat them (1964), one of the years we beat them out there. The first play of the ball game, he is offsides from here to the wall.  And had never been offsides before. So after the game, the reporters asked him: "How come you went offsides? You've never been offside?" He said: "This is the biggest crowd I ever played in front of and I wanted to make sure they knew who the deaf kid was." (laughter) That's a true story.

In those days, we mirrored the left halfback and right half back. I think he was playing with Jimmy Kerr. Playing one halfback and he was playing the other. We got somebody banged up. So Rip (Engle) came to me and said: "What will we do for a back up guy if something happens here?" I said: "We can try to get Klingensmith to not only play the left but play the right halfback as well." He said: "Why don't you go talk to him?" So I wanted to make sure he knew that Rip okayed it. I grabbed him before practice.

We had a kid by the name of Ronnie Coates who was from the same area, Western Pennsylvania, from Belle Vernon. Kling was from Brownsville and Coates was from Belle Vernon. I said to him: "Hey, Klingy, Rip wants to know if you can play left halfback and right halfback. And he laughed. "All at the same time?" (laughter) That was after...he had trouble with me because I used to...but he's a great kid. Great competitor. And he turned out to be heck of a coach.