March 31, 2010

Spring Football: Joe's first press conference

Joe Paterno met with the press today, his first conference of the spring football season. Originally, the meeting was scheduled for last friday, but moved to this afternoon. Here's the long and the short of what college football's all-time winningest coach had to say, as the Nittany Lions head into one of the most unpredictable pre-season in years, if not decades.

• Brent Carter and Tom McEowen will graduate this spring, and not be a part of the team this fall. Too bad, especially for Carter. But it's all part of big-time college football. Those two guys put a lot of time and hard work into this team, and should be commended for it.

• If you think a starting quarterback will be named anytime soon, you're crazy, and quite stupid.

• Chaz Powell could play defense, as we already pointed out.

• D'Anton Lynn could stay at safety, but nothing is definite.

• Joe couldn't say how many guys will switch position, but most likely, about a dozen or so have the chance to move. He doesn't know yet.

• The reporters should have known better than to ask a question about Joe's impression of freshman Paul Jones, but that's what this presser was about. Joe said he's only seen Jones throw the ball about eight times in three days of practice so far, but obviously wouldn't have recruited him if he didn't see something good in the kid.

• Matt McGloin has a good shot to earn some significant playing time this fall. My bet is for the sophomore to grab the second-team spot behind Newsome. But whatever he does, I hope he plays, because I really want to use this awesome photo of McGloin I took last Blue-White Game.

• Drew Astorino will probably miss all of spring practice. Mike Mauti is working out, but no contact.

• We got the same runaround from Joe about the offensive line, but I never hold it against him. The reporters always ask about the line early in the pre-season, knowing Joe will give them a zinger or two: "You got a big pencil? And a big sheet?" was this year's quip.

• The only new name mentioned at linebacker was Mike Zordich. But Joe only said that he "could be a good football player."

• Brandon Ware is too fat, and doesn't do well enough in class. Until he improves in both areas, we won't see him play much.

• The placekicker situation is fine, with Colin Wagner. But the punter spot... eh...

• Evan Royster won't do too much heavy lifting this spring, while Brandon Beachum is running around a bit. No mention yet of other running backs.

• Joe wants the team to focus more on special teams, particularly the punt team. Gee, wonder why.

• Will freshmen play this year?
"Freshmen? I don't even know they exist. I mean, you can't count on them. You want to go down to Tuscaloosa with freshmen?"
• Shaine Thompson and Derek Day were mentioned in the running back competition. Curtis Dukes "has a shot," but has to improve pass protection and stuff.

• We got the "checkers and chess" story... for the ten-thousandth time.

• Stefen Wisniewski is the center right now. Joe said it could come up whether to move him back to guard. But I personally doubt he'll move. He's a great leader in the middle. Why mess with that right now?

• And finally, about his glasses, or lack-of:
"You know what? Unfortunately, I can still see you. But, the glasses, I don't need the glasses. It's amazing. The people down there at the eye institute down at Penn did a fantastic job. I don't really need the glasses. But, they want me to wear them anytime I'm outside to protect them. But I can read and the whole bit. I can read my notes without any glasses, and it says here, keep your patience with these guys."

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