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Joe Paterno Presser Highlights: Michigan State

Well folks, it's been fun, but this is your last weekly press conference wrap up of the year. Coach Paterno is going out with a bang, too, dropping some news about his future plans. Let's get to it. (Transcript).

  • On coaching in 2011: "Yeah, why you got something I don't know? No, I am looking forward to it. I think we've struggled a little bit this year, with the youth and with the injuries and the whole bit.  We're not where I would like us to be yet. But, I think with a good spring and a pre-season practice, we could be a pretty good football team next year, and I'd like to be part of it."
  • Commended the efforts of Penn State's three first team academic All-Americans, Stefen Wisniewski, Pete Massaro and Chris Colasanti.
  • Believes it's doubtful that center Doug Klopacz will play against Michigan State. If he can't go, Wisniewski will move to center and DeOn'tae Pannell and John Urschel will compete for Wisniewski's spot.
  • Left the door open to Michael Mauti's return this week. He's doing some things in practice, but not everything, yet.
  • The team will practice on Thanksgiving Day like a normal Thursday.
  • On Michigan State: "I think Michigan State is one of the 10 best teams in the country. I think they've proven that by some of the wins they've had, the way they've handled a couple of situations where they had tremendous adversity and came back.

    I think they've only lost...I know they've only lost one ball game. So we're playing a really good football team. And I'd like to see our kids go out there and play 60 minutes and walk away from it feeling that, "hey, we can compete."

  • Believes this has been one of the better years for the Big Ten in his memory.
  • On Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio: "I think I indicated that. They're disciplined. He's had to make some tough decisions, eliminated a couple of kids for a period of time from his team in order to establish the values that he believes are important. They're an older team. They've got four or five fifth year kids on defense, and they've got three or four fifth year kids on offense, because of the fact that Mark decided at that time he'd take his lumps; he was going to build a program that went along with the things he believed in, as I said earlier."
  • Praised Michigan State's Kirk Cousins by calling him one of the tougher quarterbacks Penn State has faced this season.
  • A further exchange about his future
  • Q. You mentioned earlier you hope to be back and everything. Do you believe it's -
    COACH PATERNO: I didn't say hope.

    Q. Do you believe it's entirely your decision? Would there be any thought from the university at all, or is it entirely your call?
    COACH PATERNO: I don't think it's entirely my call. I'm not running the university. But I would hope that what I want to do would be taken into consideration and go from there.

    • Is concerned with players having the week off from classes, though he says the team has used the break to get some younger players back on track academically.
    • On senior leadership: "So it's been tough for the seniors to go out there and be the gung-ho kind of guys. We're going to miss them all, because they've been solid kids. But there just hasn't been enough of them for me to tell you that they've dominated the squad or they were the guys that led everybody."
    • Joe isn't sure why he's been so successful against Michigan State at home, but he does know his team lost to Sparty in his 1966 championship season.
    • Says Purdue is "right on the verge" of being good.
    • Andrew Dailey might pursue graduate work after this season.
    • Last week's late arrivals at FedEx Field, Pannell, Ollie Ogbu and Devon Still are still "on trial" but will probably play this week. Called them "inconsiderate," though.