September 21, 2010

Joe Paterno Press Conference Recap:
Temple Week

Joe Paterno pregame [3] Here's the long and short of what happened today at Joe Paterno's Temple game week press conference. With Mark Dantonio's recent heart attack, things took a much more perspectived tone this week from the start.

  •  This first answer was from later in the presser, but I thought it was the most important for this week... Joe said he and the coaches ran the guys harder in practice this week, really pushing them to hit harder and play with more intensity, even threatening "If you don't start hitting some people a little tougher than what you're doing I'm going to drop you..." (now for my own take) After a pathetic performance on defense like the one down against Alabama, it's not surprising that Joe wanted the team to start playing with some life. It was like the team, particularly the defense, was sleepwalking through the Alabama game. This week against Kent State, you could see the difference in how the PSU defense was hitting and tackling.
  • Joe sent Dantonio a note this week, wishing him well. When asked about the stress of coaching today, Joe said it's not any different than other high-profile jobs, like politicians. He pointed to the media's migration towards entertainment, rather than just reporting news. 
  • The next answer, about Temple RB Bernard Pierce, was really odd. Joe was all over the place with factual errors, including calling Pierce a linebacker, and that UConn lost by four to Michigan (the Huskies were crushed 30-10). Other than that, Joe gave the expected answer that Temple is a good team with great coaches (all three top coaches played at PSU) who know Penn State in and out.
  • Before Al Golden took the head coaching job at Temple, Joe advised  him not to jump into any job too quickly. Joe said he doesn't remember talking to Golden specifically about the Temple opportunity. 
  • No real answer on whether or not Stephfon Green will purposely get more carries this week.
  • S Drew Astorino is still banged up (shoulder), and hasn't practiced as hard as usual the past few weeks. It's probably not affecting his play on Saturdays, but (my own take) he hasn't been in on many, if any, significant plays.
  • Penn State didn't play any more backup guys than usual this past week against Kent State. Joe pointed to the defensive line and linebackers as the only spots where second-stringers played significant time, but didn't mention S Andrew Dailey seeing much more time than usual. 
  • Joe has run his team the same way (as far as he knows) since he got the head coaching job. There's more time invested, due to media demands and stuff. But Joe's assistants probably wouldn't tell you they're over-worked. 
  • The tight ends--Garry Gilliam and Kevin Haplea--are good players, but not "there" yet, according to Joe's standards. They've been using Brett Brackett more as an H-back, in place of a traditional tight end. It's worked some, but you need a tight end.
  • Golden is doing his own thing at Temple, not copying Penn State's styles on offense or defense. In fact, Joe thinks they may be doing some things better than Penn State, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. 
  • Joe said he regretted using the word "threatened" when describing his dealings with Evan Royster last week. The reporter asked the question using "challenged" instead of "threatened," and Joe felt that was more accurate to how Royster has been pushed by the coaches. Joe said it's tough to manage so many great young players, like Silas Redd and others, who really need more touches on offense, while still having a guy like Royster. 
  • This isn't the same Temple team that Penn State has faced the last few years. This is probably the best Temple team Penn State has played since the 10-win team in 1979. 
  • Royster has only gained 110 yards on 31 carries this season. Joe's not worried. The offensive line hasn't been much of a help. In the next question, Joe answered by saying "We've got to get more consistent with the offensive line so that a kid like you can stick a kid like Royster in there and give him the ball 11, 12, 13 times and he can have significant yardage... Right now he's fighting for his life to get five."
  • Andrew Szczerba probably won't play this year (back problems). 
  • Temple will come into Beaver Stadium unimpressed with the venue, or the team they face. Plus, Temple knows Penn State's tendencies and style very well, which causes problems for the Nittany Lions, or any team in that kind of situation.
  • Curtis Drake probably won't come back for a while (broken leg). 
Here's the full transcript, courtesy of

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