September 14, 2010

Joe Paterno Press Conference Recap:
Kent State Week

Joe Paterno pregame [3] Here's the long and short of what happened today at Joe Paterno's Alabama game week press conference. Joe was a bit testy this week, but nothing worth getting all riled up about. I'd be pretty pissed off too if my team, particularly the supposed bell cow defense, played the way it did down in Tuscaloosa...
  • This team needs to grow up a little bit. The whole Alabama thing kind of maybe went to their heads a bit, as the first half was played just how Joe was dreading it would be played--poorly, tentatively, with no playmakers stepping up in the clutch.
  • Rob Bolden is the No. 1 quarterback from here on out. No question whatsoever in Joe's mind. 
  • Gerald Hodges broke his lower left fibula, but the return date isn't yet known. He's going to be out for a while.
  • The tackling situation has been due to guys second-guessing themselves during plays. They will be in good position, but not act aggressively, which will doom any defender's chance for making a good play. The defense needs more experience. Joe is very well aware of both the tackling issues, and the lack of any turnovers in two games this season. He sounded actually very concerned with it. His defenses have always been able to force turnovers and make tackles. Neither has happened this year.
  • Evan Royster hasn't had much help in the running game. Nothing has been established that fits his "pick'em and spot'em, give me a crack and I'll go" style, as Joe described it. 
  • When evaluating the offensive line's performance so far, Joe again used the phrase "got to grow up." He pointed to Garry Gilliam being a redshirt freshman, and Quinn Barham only in his first year starting.
  • Some of these questions are best left to Joe himself, so here's one:

    Did you notice, were the holes there that the offensive line was making for Royster, did he maybe miss a few opportunities?
    COACH PATERNO: I don't think there were any big holes no, I think he did all right. I think we've got to start... let me put it this way: We have too many people that are analyzing everything and sometimes they don't know what they're talking about. And in your particular case right now, I don't want to be rude, but I don't think you're being fair.
  • Graham Zug's dropped pass "would have been a big play for us." 
  • Penn State better not overlook Kent State, because they gave Boston College fits last week. Their special teams are very good, and the defense can hold its own against good teams like BC. Plus, against Penn State's defense, any quarterback is guaranteed to complete 60 percent (commentary there was my own). 
  • Stephon Morris was nicked up in the toe during the Alabama game, but he's fine. Nothing serious.
  • Joe recognizes that Silas Redd is a good running back, but still has some experience to gain in order to pass (which he won't) Royster or Stephfon Green.
  • Nick Sukay did alright, but he shouldn't have been forced to make as many tackles (the linebacker should have, with the defensive line). But no one is forcing turnovers, so that hurts any defense.
  • Not having Andrew Szczerba available (nagging back injury since the summer) at all this year has really hurt the plans for using tight ends. Gilliam and Kevin Haplea are there, but they don't have the experience Szczerba does. It's a big loss.
  • Here's another from Joe:  

    You said you'd have a better idea who your leaders were once you lost a game or went through. Who has stepped up as the a leader, as a vocal leader? COACH PATERNO: I don't know if we've got anybody who has grabbed a couple of guys I think (Brett) Brackett is - (Stefen) Wisniewski is starting to come around a little more and I think (Ollie) Ogbu is really trying hard to be a leader. But when you get a lot of guys that are just not quite sure about some things and they like that little, that all out attitude it takes a while to get some. [snip] So I think overall we weren't as bad as I thought we were, as many I'm sure after the ball game weren't a happy warrior, and I wasn't until we practiced yesterday. I thought yesterday we came out there with a bunch of kids that want to get better. And we've got to get better. It's as simple as that.
  • The humidity really got to the team, particularly the defense and the line. Devon Still probably played the most plays (50) of all the down linemen. The linebackers didn't do a very good job, which hurt. But the conditions were tough.
  • Johnnie Troutman is ahead of DeOn'tae Pannell at left guard. Joe got testy about a reporter hounding him for info, but I won't get into that. It's kind of sensationalizing a thing like that. We know Joe doesn't like jackass beat reporters, not since they screwed him over back in the 80s. (That story is for another post)
  • The opponents' completion percentage (76) in two games doesn't concern anyone more than the lack of turnovers. You could have 99 percent completions, but one big turnover is all it takes to win a game.
  • Trent Richardson probably got hot quicker than Penn State's defense expected, which panicked some guys. 
  • The spread punt formation is something Penn State used back in the old days. They switched back to the traditional punt formation after Floyd Little ran back three touchdowns on the Nittany Lions up at Syracuse. Yeah, JoePa moment. Anthony Fera can be a great punter, once he gets things under control.
  • Again, this is a young team. It can be a good team. But isn't yet.

Here's the full transcript, courtesy of

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