October 20, 2010

Joe Paterno Press Conference Recap:
Minnesota Week

Malcolm Willis & Chaz Powell
Malcolm Willis (10) will probably
start at safety this week, while Chaz Powell (2)
moves back to defense at cornerback.
(Photo: Mike/LBU)
Gophers, Injuries and Weed, oh my!

Joe Paterno hasn't had such a range of questions to answer in quite some time. Minnesota's Tim Brewster was fired this week. Sean Stanley had been charged with pot possession. And half the defense is heading to the M*A*S*H*

With all that, let's round it up.
  • [ed. - bumped this to the top b/c of interest] Paterno doesn't think he did a good job this year getting hist coaching staff or the team ready to play the games. That, combined with the big injuries to players that were supposed to be big parts of the team this year (Curtis Drake, Andrew Sczcerba, Brandon Beachum), have made this season "probably as tough as any time [Paterno's] been in coaching." Paterno said there was no one else to blame but him, as he's "the boss." But it's important to give the team time to rest up, so there was only three days of practice and a weekend off last week. There is still no answer as to why a great week in practice pre-Illinois translated into such a poor performance.
  • Already covered yesterday, Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford are probably out this week, with Latimore out indefinitely. Crawford may be ready by Michigan. 
  • Gerald Hodges, Mike Mauti, and Bani Gbadyu should be ready to go this week. Mauti and Gbadyu were kind of expected back this week, but the big news is on Hodges. [ed. - Hodges could have taken a redshirt this season, but it looks like the need for more playmakers on defense is so great, the staff will pass on it]
  • Malcolm Willis will have a chance to start this week, in place of the injured Nick Sukay and Andrew Dailey. Not sure if Dailey is actually out, but Paterno only mentioned (according to PSU) Willis. Chaz Powell is confirmed at cornerback.
  • When discussing the offensive line and personnel changes, Paterno sort of dodged, but only a bit. There won't be any big lineup changes this week, as he's still convinced it's an experience, youth, and injury problem on this team/offensive line.  
  • Minnesota is still dangerous, despite its record on the field (1-6). The Gophers have lost to some good football teams (mostly), and it will be up to Penn State to win the game, not wait for Minnesota to lose it. Again, Paterno went back to forcing turnovers on defense and holding onto the ball on offense. 
  • "Has there been much in-fighting at all?" Wow, you knew this would come up, even after David Jones debunked it last week at PennLive.com. But the question was asked, and Joe shot it down right away. "Don't imagine things, alright?"
  • Tim Brewster was a likable guy, but in a bad situation where his enthusiasm set the bar too high at Minnesota. It takes time to build a team, and with the Big Ten so good this year, it was essentially a perfect storm. [ed. - not sure how the Big Ten strength factors into Minnesota's losses to South Dakota and Northern Illinois, but whatever...] But Brewster may have been sucked in by the desire for immediate returns on investments, such as Minnesota building TCF Bank Stadium and the like.
  •  With a fired head coach, there's never anything definite going into the game. Paterno brought up that Penn State's played against a few teams with interim head coaches (Michigan State 2002), but remained concerned with only the Nittany Lions' ability to get ready. Penn State has made so many correctable mistakes this season, there's no time to worry about the other team, other than normal scouting, etc.
  • Of course someone brought up the "must win" comments from two weeks ago, when Paterno said it wasn't really a "must win" game against Illinois. Paterno reiterated this week that it's all about playing better, period. Winning comes with that.
  • Rob Bolden is still a kid, but is at the point where he needs to start stepping up. Though, he hasn't gotten much help, from his receivers (Joe pointed to two dropped passes at Iowa), the line, and the defense. Paterno directly blamed the defense for Illinois, but not solely. 
  • No comment on Sean Stanley.
  • Greg Schiano called Joe this weekend about Eric LeGrand. They spoke with Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli (PSU team surgeon) and Joe talked with Greg about Adam Taliaferro. It's a tough situation for anyone. 
  • Regarding a Sports Illustrated cover story this week about agents in college football, Joe said Penn State's kept its team a clean as possible. But one must be a realist about the world today. It's going to happen. You just have to keep your team in line about it all.

    Full transcript, via GoPSUsports.com

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