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Sept. 1, 2007
Joe Paterno Postgame Quotes
Q: What are your overall impressions of the game?
A: Well I thought we were very, very sloppy early and I kind of thought that might happen. They do a really good job stunting and they stopped a lot of really basic plays until we, at halftime decided to get away from a couple of things that they were handling well and then I think we were alright. But I think it was a good first game for us. I thought the defense played well pretty much the whole game. Kicking was good. I think Boone, for the first time, really did a great job. Kelly did a good job on kickoffs. We did a great job covering the kickoff because that kid is good. But overall I thought it was a good first game.
Q: What did you think of your running game early, was that what you were talking about when they were taking away some of the things?
A: It was terrible because of the fact they were doing some stunts but they left themselves wide open for a lot of passes and we missed a couple of opportunities on some passes. But overall I thought we finally settled down and we picked out a couple of things we could handle with their blitzes we were able to run the ball.
Q: How did you feel Morelli did moving in and out of the pocket and hitting receivers?
A: Outside of the one sack I thought he did a great job. He took the one sack he didn't have to take. He was at about midfield and took about a nine-yard sack but that was the only one that got him. I thought Anthony played well.
Q: You rotated a lot of guys on the defensive line. What were your overall impressions of their play?
A: Well I think, again, you have to be careful. Florida International is going to be a pretty good football team eventually. But that's a tough assignment. They couldn't throw the ball very well and they have to do some things up front. But I think we did well. We came off some blocks. We were consistent. We didn't do any dumb things up front. In fact that was the best thing even offensively - we were pretty good with discipline and concentration. But I think that some of those young kids on that defensive line did a good job.
Q: Can you talk specifically about the offensive line and the combination you played today and how you thought they did?
A: Well I thought they did a good job with pass protection. I think the stunts early, which I was concerned with because we knew they were going to do a lot of stunting - blitzing up front - once we got some things put together and we had some kind of pattern to their stunts, we could pick out a couple of plays that could handle most of it and I thought they did a good job. I expected them to have problems. I had hoped they we would be able to do a good job with pass protection and throw the football and that was about the way it was early until we got it settled down. So, things went pretty much the way we expected and it was a good experience for them (the offensive line).
Q: Could you assess Mickey Shuler's day today and talk about how far he has come since he got to Penn State.
A: I know he caught some balls today. As far as the blocking goes, I really couldn't tell you. But I thought he handled himself well for a guy who hasn't played any football. Mickey's a good athlete. He comes from a good stock. He's a hard worker and when we recruited him, a lot of people didn't think he'd be big enough to be a tight end but he's worked hard in the weight room and he's 250 pounds. He runs well and has good hands and he'll get better as he gets a little better feel for a couple of things.
Q: Can you evaluate the play of your three tailbacks you used?
A: When they had some running room, I thought they did well. They didn't have much running room early but when they had some room, they did well. In all fairness, FIU got a little tired. They tackled a lot better early than they did late. They were fairly tired. But I think overall they did a good job. Except for that one fumble, they were careful with the football. I thought the pass protection was good when they had to stay in and block. So, overall I'd say it was pretty good.
Q: Did it mean anything special for you to be back on the sideline?
A: I tell you what, they were kidding me. We had a substitution drill yesterday. We didn't want anyone to practice so we went out in street clothes. They were talking to kids and they were kidding me a little bit. I had to stay back of here and back of there because the officials told us they were going to be tough on that so they really gave me a lot of room to move around. We were talking a little bit and a couple of kids were teasing me a little bit about how they don't want me to get hurt and one of the coaches said 'you know, Coach, you didn't know they cared about you.' And I said, 'sure they care about me. I sign their scholarship.'
Q: Coach, starting your 42nd year this year, you got a chance to pass Amos Alonzo Stagg for the record for most years coached at a single school. Tell me a little bit about that and if you've had a chance to think about that and what did it feel like when you were running out of the tunnel?
A: Well, honest to goodness, this spin about whether I've been the head coach were 42 years and Alonzo Stagg or something, I don't think about that at all. I just feel fortunate that I've been able to stay healthy and I've been able to stay at one place that I've enjoyed and have a lot of respect for. Coming out of the tunnel, seven or eight weeks ago I wasn't sure if I'd be able to run and I made up my mind I was going to do it so I've been running a little bit in the last couple of weeks. So I felt pretty good about my ability to run. I'd be less than honest if I didn't tell you I got tired - I got tired. But I'll get stronger as we go along. That felt good to be able to run out of that tunnel.
Q: A lot of Penn State fans really take a lot of pride in rooting against Michigan. It sounds like there was a huge uproar out there whenever that game ended. What does that mean to you, that rivalry against Michigan and your fans reacting like that if Michigan loses?
A: Well I have a tremendous amount of respect for Michigan. Always have. In fact, one of the few jobs I ever really thought about taking when they hired Bo Schembechler - Don Canham offered me the job - and that would have been one of the few college jobs I would have though about taking. So I have a tremendous amount of respect. From the guy who really turned this whole athletic program around, Ernie McCoy, had been the basketball coach, assistant football coach, assistant athletic director at Michigan, he and wife had graduated from Michigan, his son was a Michigan graduate. So, I have tremendous respect for them and their program. I'm not rooting against them. When we play them I root against them, obviously. They've just played better. They played better than we have played. We had a shot at them two years ago and I debated whether to kick off or not and I kicked off and Breaston took the ball back to midfield and I've second-guessed myself on that one. But in all fairness to them, they came down the field and made some plays. I think the fans are - I don't know. You tell me what makes fans tick.
Q: Are you going to be out here tomorrow with the cleaning crew?
A: I don't want to make this a circus. They are going to go out and they'll be here and they'll clean up a section and they'll do it. I think they feel they should do it. But for me to go out there and take a broom - you know - pictures will be all over and you won't even know the kids did it. It'll be Paterno, back to where he should be, sweeping.