Joe Paterno Press Conference Transcript October 4

Here are some of Joe Paterno’s comments from his weekly press conference today:

Q. What is the status of D’Anton Lynn and Stephfon Green for this week?
COACH PATERNO: Well, Green is back with us. Green, I’m trying to get him in a little pattern of lifestyle as far as going to class, being attentive to some of the responsibilities he has. He’s responded most of the time. Once in a while he slips a little bit. But he’s back with us. He’s worked with the second and third offensive teams. Today we’ll work with him and the rest of the week. So he’s okay.

Lynn, they gave him another test yesterday and they’re not sure yet whether he’s going to be okay. He really wants to play this weekend. But I think the doctors are a little bit leery about pushing him too soon. They’re going to give him another test tomorrow, Wednesday, and see. But, I think he’d be doubtful.

Q. Will Stephon Morris be available this week?
COACH PATERNO: I think he’s okay. He came out of it with the foot. He was out there yesterday. We didn’t do much yesterday. We played a lot of plays Saturday. We played over 80 plays (86) on offense, over 70 (76) on defense. It was a fast paced game. I was a little bit nervous about practice yesterday about working them too hard. We didn’t do much. I think Morris will be okay.

Q. Joe, my question is about Matt McGloin. After the Indiana game he expressed some frustration with still coming off the bench. Are you aware he’s frustrated and does it concern you at all? 
COACH PATERNO: Well, I’m not concerned about the frustration, no. He’s not said anything to me. You’d have to give me a little bit more specifics about that.

I think anybody, when you’re a competitor, you’d like to be the whole show, if you can. I think there are times when obviously we all get caught off balance, maybe in a mood that we’re not receptive to the situation. I think that may be the case.

But I’ve not seen that in practice. I’ve not seen it with his attitude towards his teammates or the competition he has. So that surprises me to be frank with you because that’s the first I heard of that. I think most of the time I’m trying to watch I know it’s not an easy situation and I’m trying to make sure I look and spend more time probably watching that situation than I have maybe in a long time any particular situation.

I’m surprised to hear that. But I don’t think it’s had any impact, at least it didn’t yesterday. We had a decent practice yesterday.

This has been a good team. I get a little bit disappointed some people haven’t taken into consideration some things. But then yesterday they came out and they all seemed like, “Hey, let’s get on with it.”

Q. Joe, how well do you think Anthony Fera has done handling all the kicking duties?
COACH PATERNO: I thought he did well. Got the three field goals. I think he just needs to get a little bit more confidence in his ability ’cause he’s got a lot of ability. He’s got a good leg. Once in a while he gets a little careless in his drop when he’s punting. I think overall he had a good day, under obviously a lot of pressure because we were concerned about our kicking game from the week prior to that. He had to come out. We didn’t do a very good job in the red zone, ended up kicking field goals. He did a good job. He should feel good about himself. We didn’t kick yesterday because we don’t want to tire his leg because he’s doing both right now, punting and field goals, so you have to be careful you don’t overdo it in practice.

But I think that was a positive thing Saturday.

Q. About your offensive line, do you feel good about the personnel you have right now or are any of the younger kids getting close to seeing some more playing time?
COACH PATERNO: I think some of the younger kids are getting closer, but they’re not as good as the guys we’re playing. There again, maybe a little bit more confidence in himself, just get a little bit more success. Sometimes we’ve had a couple of really big league drives in tough situations, and the offensive line has done well, and then we fumble on the three-yard line, we throw an interception going in, something happens here, we get a holding penalty.

It’s been kind of tough on those kids. Nobody even knows who blocks who, except if somebody comes free. “The offensive line can do this, do that.” There again, I think we’re making progress. Came out yesterday, a lot of enthusiasm, felt good about the football game we played last Saturday, and I felt good about it because I thought we did some things we had to do even though we obviously have got to get better. I think we’ve got to get better. But, we’re doing a lot of good things. The offensive line, some parts of the game, played very well (last week).

Q. Joe, a couple of your guys mentioned this morning about how the heckling last year at Iowa, they seemed fired up to come out this weekend and break the losing streak against Iowa. Do you worry about kids getting too excited using that as incentive for a game against a big time opponent?
COACH PATERNO: Well, as a football coach you have to worry about everything. I try to watch and see, try to make sure we stay focused as to what we have to do. I’m aware of the fact that Iowa has given us a couple good lickings. Close ballgames. Beat us on a pass interference call, field goal on the last play of the game (2008), blocked a (punt), they weren’t even trying to block it, we fell asleep, blocked it and run it in for a score and beat us (2009).

But, you have to give the other guy credit. I think our kids, we’re in the middle of trying to do something special. I think that Iowa is the next step. Even though they may have some thoughts about Iowa “has beaten us that many times, we’ve got to beat them and show them we’re pretty good.” I don’t know. I’ve never approached it that way.

Yesterday we talked about the positive things, talked about being back home. Talked about the fact that we’re still 4 1, let’s just keep getting better. That’s about all we talked about. I did not talk specifically about the fact that Iowa’s beaten us, what, six or seven times in the last seven or eight times? Maybe that will come up later in the week. I don’t know. It did not come up yesterday.

Q. Joe, even if Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin are on equal balance, are there specific things that you can see that one of them does better than the other? 
COACH PATERNO: That’s a good question, but it’s a tough question to answer, because I really can’t. Poor Jay (Paterno), who gets criticized, I make those decisions whether we’ve got to make a switch at quarter, whether we’re going to do things at different times. I try to watch…

Now that I’m back on the sidelines somewhat, hopefully this week I’ll be there the whole game because as you can see I’m walking now and I’m off the pain pills, I’m sleeping at night now and the whole bit. So I kind of try to watch and see.

But I don’t see much of a difference in the way we perform under either kid, I really don’t. That makes me very, very reluctant because they both work so hard, they’re good kids, good students, good citizens and the whole bit. For me to go out there and say, “Hey, you’re better than the other guy,” because right now I honestly can’t tell you one’s better than the other.

Q. What have you seen this season from Matt McGloin that’s different from last season particularly in terms of his decision-making?
COACH PATERNO: Well, I think the year of experience, the experiences he had. We had no intention of playing him a lot last year. Bolden got hurt a little bit. We put him (McGloin) in. He did a good job. I think he came into the season with a whole different attitude. He came into spring practice with a different attitude, that he was good enough to play, he was ready to show how good he was. I think he’s worked hard. He’s got a lot of great qualities about him.

Q. I hate to ask you another quarterback question. Since both guys have played in every game and have been basically splitting time all season, apparently that will continue, both of them have expressed the desire to start or be the first guy out there. It’s always been Rob to this point. Would it disrupt the chemistry if their roles were reversed? 
COACH PATERNO: You know, we’ve only got a half hour press conference (smiling).

Q. Would it change anything if Rob came in as the second (quarterback)? 
COACH PATERNO: You’re still going. You’re getting to sound like a coach. Got more lullabies than I have (laughter).

I think I’ve made that clear. It doesn’t make any difference. I’m not even sure the guys, when we go in there, know who’s starting. I’m talking about the team. Obviously the kids who are playing know, the quarterbacks know whether they’re going to start or not start, yes. They both know they’re going to play.

Last week I said we played 80 something plays. I think each played 40 something plays. I think one played 41, one played 42, I don’t know. I’d have to look at it but I wouldn’t be too far off.

I think in answer to your deposition, is that the word? (smiling), I think we’re doing the best we can, trying to do what’s best for the team, what’s best for the two kids. You have to remember we’re dealing with human beings. They’re college kids.

It’s still not a professional team. There’s some kids out there. Just had a couple in this morning about owning up to some responsibility. We’re trying to get them interested in doing things in the community, whether it’s in Special Olympics, Lift for Life, the Dance Marathon, we’re trying to make them understand that the good Lord has been good to them, the whole bit.

I’ve got reluctance to say, “Hey, we’re going to play one just because everybody says to play one.” You’re talking to a guy that’s always been a one quarterback guy. I always have been fortunate enough that we’ve had one guy that I could feel comfortable was the guy that was the one quarterback. This year we have two.

Q. Will Mike Farrell be at right tackle this week? 
COACH PATERNO: Chima (Okoli) will start. He’s been playing hurt. We put Farrell in there because we want to bring him along. He’s going to be a pretty good football player. There’s a couple other young kids that are going to be good football players eventually.

Chima should be one of the better tackles around, but he’s really playing hurt. That’s to his credit. We put Farrell in there to give him a blow. I think Farrell did a pretty good job when he was in there.

Q. The Red Zone, you have struggled a little bit. Can you talk about how you improve upon that offensively?
COACH PATERNO: Well, I think we’ve just got to execute better, obviously.

Maybe you don’t think I do, or we don’t, but we try to examine why we have not done well in anything, whether it’s third and one, whether it’s the red zone, goal line, defensively. We try to look at every single thing over and over again. I’m very critical.

Thank God I’ve got the staff we got. We’ve got a great staff. With my physical condition, getting banged around a little bit, I had a great spring, great summer, until the 157 pounder put me on the bench.

The red zone, we’ve done some things – somebody fumbles the ball, somebody else gets a penalty, dumb things, maybe careless things. I don’t know. I think the play calling has been good. There’s one or two plays we talked about that we shouldn’t have done that, maybe this and that. I think overall we just have to understand that sometimes that’s the way things go. If we just keep pecking away, we pay attention to details, we don’t stop ourselves, we’ll be fine. Try to approach it that way. Hope it will work.

But I really don’t have any, “Hey, the reason we’re unsuccessful in the red zone is one, two, three, four.” No, I really couldn’t tell you that. I think you guys see the same thing I see. We’re coming down against Alabama. We throw the ball over the middle. The kid catches the ball, who has good hands, puts the ball on the ground, we lose it. You guys see it. Holding penalties, all that kind of stuff.

But we’re working on it.

Q. How much personal involvement have you had in the offensive play calling this year compared to past years? Does that change when you’re on the sideline? 
COACH PATERNO: Galen (Hall) and Jay call most of the offensive plays. Sometimes I’ll call Mike McQueary and tell him we like this. But I don’t do a lot of play calling anymore. I’m a cheerleader. Somebody called up and said I’m shrugging my shoulders or something, that I should be back swaggering. Pretty tough to swagger on a cane (smiling). But I’m good now. I’m going to be swaggering all over the place. Don’t get in my way (laughter).

Q. You put an emphasis on conditioning in the pre season. How much of an impact do you think that’s had on the defense, especially getting ready for a second (straight) no huddle team with Iowa?
COACH PATERNO: I think everything we’ve done has paid off. I would not second guess myself or staff, the squad, in anything we’ve done up to now. Obviously you guys have brought up the thing that has concerned us as much as it concerns you. Concerns us as much, maybe more than you guys, and that’s the red zone; we’ve hurt ourselves.

Even against a team as good as Alabama, we could have been in that football game, could have been one heck of a football game if we had not, as I said, turned the ball over, had some penalties. Fourth down and one, didn’t make it. You guys know they didn’t make it. Changed the game. We’ve had that kind of (season).

I think we’re fine. I really do. We’re getting a little better each week. We’ve got a tough road to go right now. We got to go.

Q. You have started slow a few times. I’m just wondering if you’re concerned about Bolden’s psyche to bring him in second to see what McGloin could do first?
COACH PATERNO: Sometimes I feel that way. Bolden went in there, made a drive (first possession at Indiana). First time we had the football, drove twice, one time we had to kick the football. Yeah, I think that’s a good point, but I don’t think that I’m worried about that right now, whether I start Bolden or McGloin. I don’t even know who is going to start this week. You guys are going to say, “He’s a big phony.” Honest to goodness, I don’t know.

Q. You know McGloin hasn’t started yet, right?
COACH PATERNO: I didn’t even know that. McGloin hasn’t started? I know we haven’t started Rudel. When that happens, I know I’ve got troubles.

No, I don’t think that makes much difference. I do think, though, the initial point you made, I do think that once you get something established and you have a chance on the sideline to watch, when you go in, you may have an advantage. But it isn’t as if when we’ve taken the second kid, taking a guy who has not started I’d rather say that that the guy that started is through for the day. That’s not the way it happens.

We’ve alternated them. The advantage of the one who goes in there the second time, he may have. In some cases, the guy that started, he has the same advantage because he’s on the sideline.

Q. Are there things that Iowa does specifically that makes them a consistent matchup problem year after year, with them beating you eight out of nine times?
COACH PATERNO: They’ve been good. They’ve had some good football teams. One year didn’t they go to the Rose Bowl or something (Orange Bowl)? I think Kirk (Ferentz) does a good job. They know a lot about our personnel. Kirk is a western Pennsylvania kid. He’s married to a girl who is a daughter of a teammate of mine in high school (Brooklyn Prep), Gerry Hart.

Kirk, they do a really good job. As I said, we’ve been in some tough football games, haven’t made a couple of plays that we should have. We’ll see.

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