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Joe Paterno Presser Highlights: Alabama

No longer able to hide behind Youngstown State, Joe Paterno answered questions on Alabama on Tuesday. Here are the highlights in bullets.

  • Julio Jones will be a tough matchup for Penn State as it prepares for the running game. He is tall and fast and has an experienced, mobile quarterback throwing to him.
  • Complimented Nick Saban's ability to motivate his players, and says he has much better talent at Alabama than when Penn State faced him at Michigan State.
  • On the running game: "I don't think we ran the ball very well against Youngstown, to be honest with you...Just did not run the ball well enough against Youngstown to think that we could have any kind of success against a team that plays as tough and as completely on defense as Alabama does."
  • On the offensive line: "But the whole...we're not a cohesive group yet. And I blame a lot of that on the fact that so many kids have not played much. There's not a lot of real leadership. There is not a dominate player in that group. Hopefully, that will develop as the season goes along. We'll learn from it. It will be a tough team with a line of success because they're so good."
  • Explained that the trip to Alabama is a big opportunity for the team and that he's not sure how the young players will handle the environment on the road.
  • Refused to talk about Bear Bryant and insisted on focusing on the game at hand.
  • Said that Evan Royster's weight is about where it should be now, and that part of his struggles Saturday were on the young offensive line. Joe is hopeful that will turn around as the young line gains experience.
  • Applauded Alabama for being the only SEC team willing to play a home and home with Penn State, and noted that Tennessee refused to play at Beaver Stadium after Penn State played down there in 1971.
  • On Robert Bolden's preparedness to play Alabama: "We can't protect him (vs. Alabama) like we did. He's going to get knocked around. He's going to have trouble finding open people. It's not going to be easy for him. But I don't think he's going to lose his poise. Do I think he's going to have the kind of success he had? No, Alabama's too good for that. Hopefully he comes out of that ballgame feeling that he's learned something. I think we can put him in a position where he has some success"
  • Credited the SEC as probably being further ahead than some other conferences, including the Big Ten, both on and off the field. Pointed to the league's media exposure, as well as its foresight in playing a conference championship game.
  • Said Bobby Bowden has an open invitation to attend a game at Penn State, as he's doing at Alabama this week.