Joe Paterno News Conference

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Joe Paterno.


Joe Paterno.

Aug. 8, 2008

Have you made a decision on the three suspended players: Bowman, Timmons, and Quarless?

You mean the kids I didn't take to the Bowl game? They're all with us. Who was the third one? Timmons, Bowman and who else?

Quarless, the three suspended players.

No, they're still with us. I'm still waiting for grades on Quarless. Timmons and Bowman right now have been practicing with us, as is Quarless, but he knows he has to get a certain grade, and I won't get into that.

There wasn't an official reason given for Baker and Taylor's dismissal. Could you tell us why you...

Well, you know, you guys kept me in a tough spot, because I don't want to embarrass anybody anymore than I have to. I understand where you're coming from. You've got to have some information.

But, I had not taken some kids down to Texas with us because obviously there were reasons. I didn't get into a lot of it at that time, and I don't really want to get into it now. The reasons that I dismissed both Taylor and Baker are reasons that the squad knows, and I feel comfortable it was the right decision.

Now, whether that's right or wrong, I don't know. You know, it's a very difficult trying to be fair is not exactly easy when you're playing God with somebody's life, particularly at that age.

But I think we'd be better off if we just let it go as it is.

Any injuries so far?

Well, A.J. Wallace, he got a little bit of a hamstring pull yesterday or the day before and he didn't do as much work yesterday as he would like to have, but we got him on the bike and so forth. We haven't put pads on. Today is the first day we're going to have pads on. I was hopeful we could get through the first four days without anybody getting hurt or discouraged and we would have an opportunity to get some stuff across to the young players so we could get a better evaluation of them as to where they could help.


 

 

So even one injury bothers me a little bit, but that's the only one. A.J. is going to be all right in a day or two according to the doc, but he did miss practice yesterday.

Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood, and Derrick Williams have probably been the most productive group of receivers you've had at Penn State. Since they're all seniors this year, who are you looking to bring along and get a lot of reps that's going to have a chance to come in and replace them for next season?

Actually, I think we've got to work with some kids. We've got some good young people that I think have a chance to do it. It's a little too early for me to kind of highlight them. There's about five or six kids who I think will have an opportunity to at least be adequate.

One, of course, is (Brett) Brackett, who played last year. I think Brackett's got a lot of ability. A red shirt freshman, (Derek) Moye, big, tall kid, has got a lot of ability. (Graham) Zug had a great spring.

So, I think we've got some kids. Zug was a walk on and he's earned a scholarship. We have some grants now. So I think we're going to have some backup guys. Whether they can be as good as the kids ahead of them, maybe Brackett can. I don't know about the rest of them. Because those three kids have played a lot of football and the quarterbacks are comfortable with them.

I worry more about the quarterbacks being comfortable than I do maybe about the wideouts.

You're obviously only four days into practice, but how have the quarterbacks looked, and is there any thought at all about naming a starter?

No, no, not yet. We haven't run a scrimmage yet. I think they've all done well. Everybody keeps pushing and I don't and we have a walk on that's really impressed me. A true freshman kid, and I won't get into names because if I open it up for one freshman I've got to open it up for a lot of kids.

I think the quarterbacks have done well. I think they're comfortable with the three kids that were just mentioned that have been around. The nice thing about it is, the wideouts have helped the quarterbacks. They helped in coaching them. "Hey, you were a little late on that throw. I'm going to break another yard and you threw it a little bit before I was ready," and that kind of thing.

So I think we've made some progress, but we've got a long way to go.

Are Josh Marks and Nerraw McCormack practicing with the team right now?

McCormack, I think, will be practicing in a day or two. He's just not in the physical condition I think he ought to be in order to be able to be able to go out there and participate without our worrying about him getting hurt.

Marks is giving it up. Marks never showed up when he was supposed to show up. Josh is a good kid, and I don't want get into anything negative about him. It's just sometimes people have to make decisions in their lives, and it's a very difficult one to make when you're in the limelight as he is. I mean, not only in the limelight, people back home want to know how he's doing and so forth. But, Josh will not be on the team.

There's a lot of stuff on this Stephon Green kid because of the speed. Not the biggest kid in the world. Do you see him as a situational type back, or do you think he could handle 20 or 25 carries?

Oh, I think he can handle 20, 25. He's a little bigger kind than you think. He's not tall, but I think he came into camp about 190, '92 pounds. He's a good, solid kid. He's in great shape.

I think Stephon's got a great career ahead of him. He didn't finish up his high school (senior) year the way he started it because of a knee injury. But, I think Stephon will be fine, and we think he can be an all purpose back.

The 2005 team, especially the upperclassmen, they had this kind of resolve that they were going prove people wrong. They had a pretty good mental attitude. Are you seeing that from these guys now?

Oh, yeah, I really like the squad. Despite all the distractions and things that have gone on, they've kind of gathered together and made up their minds that they're going to have a good football team, and I think they have the potential to do that.

Obviously they're not there yet and a lot of things can happen between now and when you've got to look back and say, "Hey, that was a heck of a year."

Somebody's going to make a play in a big game. People forget we were 4th and 19 when Robinson hits (Isaac) Smolko or we lose that football game (Northwestern) back in the year you're talking about.

I think we've got a bunch of kids who play as well as they can play, and the coaches are excited about them. I am. I'm having a lot of fun with them because I think they're mature, have good leadership, and we've got probably a little more speed than we've had for a while.

With Taylor and Baker both gone, how does that shake up your defensive line? What happens to the tackle spots?

They're both awfully good football players, and I hope they can get squared away someplace and get on, because I think they have the potential to play not only in college but beyond.

But we've got some other kids: (Ollie) Ogbu, good ole Brooklyn boy. Staten Island, actually. (Jared) Odrick is back now ready to go. So I think we'll be all right. I think we'll be okay.

Kickoff coverage was a bit of a problem last year. What can be done to improve that this year?

I think that's legitimate criticism. Obviously, the Illinois game (last year) we go down the field offensively and have a great drive and look like we're going to take control of the game at their place. (Then we) Kick off, and that kid runs the ball right down our throat for a touchdown.

And a couple years ago, in the game that we talked about here back in '05, we kickoff and the kid from Western Pennsylvania runs a kick back to midfield, which gives them a chance to beat us in the last three seconds, so I think that's a legitimate thing. And we've talked that.

I think that's personnel, that's making sure that we don't, the leftover go on the kickoff coverage team. We can't do that. I think we've got to do a little better job on personnel, and that obviously comes from me.

You've had a number of players who were the son or the nephew of players that you had previously. Stefen Wisniewski, is there anything about him that reminds you of his father and his uncle?

Well, they're different type players. You know, when Leo Wisniewski was in high school, Leo was a linebacker. He was a 225 30 pounder when he played at Fox Chapel. When we recruited him, he never played, I don't think, above 245, 250, 55, but he was can quick is as cat.

But they're both of same kind of people: Excellent student, very, very prideful is maybe not the word I want, but they have the kind of pride that they want to do really well, and no matter what challenge you give them they take it on and they go after it.

I think Stefen is going to be an outstanding offensive lineman; whereas Leo was on the other side of the football. Leo never got quite the credit he should have when he was playing, because we had a lot of other good kids who were No. 1 draft picks. But we played Southern Cal out there in the Fiesta Bowl, and they had two or three kids, (Bruce) Matthews and a couple other guys, that ended up being All Pros. They haven't blocked Leo yet, and Leo made more plays that day than...

So this kid's got a little bit of his old man in there, but he's young. He works awfully hard and he's smart as a whip. He's one of the better students we have in the whole university.

Maurice Evans obviously had a heck of a year last year. What are you expecting from him on the field this year. He's a quiet kid, but he's a junior. Do you expect any leadership from him this year?

Another good Brooklyn boy. I was just asking him yesterday how his mom is doing. I told him, "The reason we recruited you is because I like your mom." She's from Brooklyn. Maurice is okay. Maurice has got to just get a little more fire in him tummy consistently, but he's got a lot of ability.

He had a good year last year and he can do better, but I think he'll have a good year. He's been very, very good in pre season practice so far. But I needle him all the time about, "Yeah, every once in a while you need a kick in the rear end" and we go from there.

But I like him. He's a good football player. He doesn't realize how good he can be.

What about (Evans) leadership wise?

It's hard for me sometimes to evaluate leadership, particularly in the younger kids, because I spend a little more time with the upperclassmen saying, "How we doing here? Are we doing that?" Give them a little more responsibility in the dorms when we're in pre season.

So it's hard for me to tell. I would think his leadership is I think the kids like him, and I think he's got a good lifestyle. I think he's probably got some qualities that I...I'm trying to get him...he's here (raises hand). I'd like to get him (raises hand higher) here as an athlete, so I don't really expect him at this level to be the kind of leader he eventually will be.

I think he's got leadership qualities. I think basically he does.

Without Sean Lee, have any of the linebackers taken charge?

(Losing) Lee's going to be tough (due to knee injury). You're only allowed 105 kids back that you can invite (during pre-season). We've included Lee even though he can't work because I wanted him around the team.

We've got a lot of good young linebackers. The kid who really has come to the front who's got a lot of ability, but I don't know whether he realizes it, is (Tyrell) Sales. Sales is the only senior I think we have in that linebacker group. He's got a...I don't know, Tyrell, everybody's got a personality of their own, and sometimes people just wait for an opportunity to step to the front. Maybe that's what Sales has to do.

But I think it's a good solid group. Some of those young kids are going to be awfully good. Some of the kids we recruited last year at linebacker are awfully good athletes. Young (Michael) Mauti is going to be an outstanding athlete. (Nate) Stupar, a local kid who didn't play last year, he's got tremendous ability. Kid by the name of (Michael) Yancich has got a lot of ability.

I hate to even mention names because I'm going to forget somebody. Just speaking as a group, I think they're okay. Whether we've got the kind of a guy like a Paul (Posluszny) or a (Dan) Connor, or a Lee that can get in that huddle when the going gets tough and say, "Look, you do this," I don't have a feel for that yet.

Over the last few weeks you said you were going to withhold the judgment about the Outside the Lines report. Now that you've seen it, what was your opinion?

I have not seen it. I didn't want to look at it. I don't know what to say about that. Obviously, we made some mistakes. You know, maybe I've I overreacted in the sense that I think they exploited a couple things. But, yeah, we made mistakes. I tried to do the best I could to make sure that the team learned from it. We went out and we built houses as a team, the guys that were involved in that incident, which happened 16 months ago. We went out, built houses. I made them go out and clean up the stadium.

I always got a kick out of it. I never got a lot of letters saying, "Hey, that's a great way to handle the thing. Give them some responsibility and some loyalty to each other." I had some of my coaches out there helping build the houses and the whole bit, and help clean up the stadium.

But the minute I cut one day off, I got letters saying, "How come you cut off so soon?" And I made, I thought I had made the point. I guess maybe the situation with the - what is it...Outside the Lines? - would be the fact that I think they didn't really try to get both sides.

The President put together a committee to investigate the whole thing with Judicial Affairs. Never came out, and they came back with some things. They (OTL) made it sound as if we tried to influence some things that were made, which was absolutely untrue.

The guy asked me a question, he said, "Well, there were two football players, so did you tell them they shouldn't go talk to the people at Judicial Affairs?" I said, "Who are the two football players?" "Well, there's no names." I get sick and tired of (media) saying, "anonymous, no names, a source."

I said, "Well, I never did it." "You sent a text massage." I don't even know how to send a text massage. I've never had a text message come to me. I don't have a computer.

That kind of stuff bothered me a little bit. But I can't walk away from the fact that we had some kids that were wrong and that maybe I didn't do the best job I could have in the thing.

I tried it. I kept kids home. There were three, four, five kids I didn't take to Texas with us. I did other as I said, I tried to do some things that would make them realize they had some responsibility to the community, responsibility to each other.

The thing that bothered me the most about the incident, that was the most prominent, was the fact that nobody said, "Hey, this is ridiculous. Let's get out of here." That's the only thing I feel bad about.

And I think, hey, ESPN's got a job to do. Whether I like it or not, what am I going to do about it?

You said you didn't see it, but I'm sure you were told it wasn't very flattering.

I don't know. I didn't even talk to (anyone) about it. Really, what can I do? I always try to address things in a way that I've got "X" amount of time, and what can I do to do it?

Everything that was said, as I understand it, on the thing was, "these guys did this, these guys did this, this happened." I can only react to when I was interviewed. I told them how I felt. I wasn't quite pleased with the attitude that they had in the interview, and let it go that.

That's the way I'm going to do it. I'm interested in getting this football team to be a good football team. That's what I'm getting paid for, and that's what I think I have an obligation to the kids on this squad and the coaches that have stayed with me, to make sure that I don't get myself sidetracked spending a lot time worrying about other things that I can't do anything about.

What's done is done. What is done is done, what happened with ESPN and that particular show, whether I handled a couple kids right or wrong, it's done. I can't do anything about it.

Hopefully I learned from what I had something to do with, but we'll see. Hopefully we'll be better.

With Baker and Taylor being let go, was that direct reaction to that piece? It almost seemed like it.

Absolutely not.

Do you have a better sense of what you can do on offense this fall, and is that predicated on who you play at quarterback?

I think we have got to be very careful that, "one quarterback can do this and the other quarterback can't do something." We have three kids that are big kids, good arms, and they can all run.

So, we can be very comfortable with whatever we decide to do, that the quarterbacks can handle it, because we won't do anything that none of them can't handle.

And we will not be confined because we're afraid that somebody will get hurt and the other two can't do it. Because I think all three quarterbacks are very, very similar in their physical ability, certainly in their arm strength and certainly in their ability to lead.

So we go from there. What we do will depend on you know, I worry more about some offensive lineman, backup kids and things like that that might have to be in the game. A question came up about the three wideouts. Yeah, that's great, and I think the question was a good one. Are we getting backup guys ready?

You know, two plays and guys are down. Derrick Williams came into our program as a freshman, broke his arm in an early game. He was having to start it out.

So that part worries me, but the quarterback situation doesn't worry me.

Where does Drew Astorino fit into the defensive backfield this year, and do you think he can make an impact this year?

Drew Astorino is really a good football player. We're trying to put together what we think would be the best combination of kids in the secondary, always (keeping) back in mind that you're going to play against some people who are going to give you four, five wideouts and you've got to have another guy that that's good enough to be what we call a nickel player, and also a good enough guy that he can go up to him and he's around the football so you can't let quarterbacks run the ball down your throat when they spread you out.

Astorino is a good player. Smart, tough kid. Good feet. Great jump on the ball. He's a good player.

For a long time, you had a kind of a cycle where every four years the team plays for a national championship or was on the verge of it. Do you still shoot for that, or have you had to temper those goals?

Absolutely. When I talk to the kids I say, "Hey, we don't want to be good, we want to be the best." Hey, we were three seconds away from having a national championship three years ago. Everybody's got short memories. We have been in three bowls we've beaten Florida State, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, a team which had beaten Texas, in three straight bowl games.

So we haven't exactly we had that little slump in there -- and one of these days when I've got time to look back I'll look back and see what happened when we had that little bit. But I knew when some people were talking to me about, "Hey, are you getting too old?" I said, "Hey, look, if I keep my staff together we'll be okay," and then we almost won it all.

In '05 we almost won it all. So, yeah, I think that's the kind of thing I like. I think we ought to be shooting for national championships. That's easier said than done. There's a lot of people doing the same thing.

We've got a good, young squad. If we don't make it this year, I think we'll be better than people think.

How does this defense compare to the great defenses of the '80s?

A lot young guys haven't played yet. A couple of linebackers haven't played yet a lot. That's a tough question for me to answer. I'm hopeful.

Again, I've always figured that if you're going to start to think about what Neil asked me about thinking about every four years or so, I think you've got to start with the fact that you're a solid defensive football team and your kicking game is good, and after that you start to horse around with the offense.

I mean, except in '94 when we had one of the best offensive football teams ever put together, we averaged over 500 yards a ballgame and had done some things in the Big Ten offensively that hadn't been done before. Most of the time we've been good, we've been solid defensively, kicked the ball pretty good. Had a good field goal kicker, and we knew how to protect the ball offensively and take advantage of turnovers and thing likes that.

You know, I'm at the stage and I probably lost track of what your question was thinking about what I've got to do -- is that I'm a little concerned just about the fact that there are a lot young guys in there. If Sean Lee was on this football team, we'd have guy on that field that could kind of rally the guys around. A couple of young guys are going to have to do that. We'll see what happens.

When you think about playing one quarterback or playing multiple quarterbacks and the advantages or disadvantages of each situation, what do you think about?

I think I've made it clear that I would prefer to play one quarterback, but the way the game is played today where the quarterback is really physically so much more involved in it, I think you've got to be careful that you're ready with two.

I've said this before, and many of you heard me say it last year when we were in the middle of the year, Jay Paterno, the quarterback coach, wanted me to play (Daryll) Clark more.

I could see where he was coming from, that Clark had some things he could do. But, (Anthony) Morelli was getting so much flak, I didn't feel it was fair to Morelli or that it would be in the long run an advantage for us to all of a sudden stick Clark in there. It would almost be a sign, yeah, we agree with people, when I didn't think it was fair, so I backed away from that.

What was the case that Jay made? Just curious.

Well, he just felt that Clark can do some things.

Different things?

He could just do some things. Clark was obviously a pretty good runner, a stronger guy, so that's why we and a change of pace in the game. Make people worry a little bit more about the option, that we could do some things with Clark.

And I'm not...I think you've got to have a guy in there who's your leader. I mentioned some people, Sean Lee. I can't go on the football field and get on the huddle with them. There's got to be a couple guys out there in that huddle. Some of you guys have never played football and some of you have.

When things get tough, there's always got to be a couple guys that when one guy is hanging in there for dear life somebody kicks him in the pardon me ladies kicks him in the ass and says, "You're not tired, you just think you're tired. Get your rear end moving. We've got a suck it up; big play coming up." You're on the two-yard line, three-yard line.

Somebody's got to get in there and do it. You can't have a bunch of guys looking at each other like, "Who's going to do it?" I think you need that in a quarterback. I think you need a Kerry Collins when you're on the five-yard line like we were against Illinois in '94 when we played a horrible ballgame and we had three and a half, four minutes to go and we had to go to 95 yards down the field.

You need a guy in there that just took over the whole football team. So I think you can't it's hard to develop that if you keep changing kids, so I've never been a guy for two quarterbacks if I can help it.

Having said that, that doesn't mean we haven't done it, because we have done it years and years ago before most of you were born. When I was coaching quarterbacks we did some of that.

Even in '98, is there anything to compare or contrast to that situation?

You know, really, I wish...I couldn't even tell you who played quarterback in '98.

(Kevin) Thompson and (Rashard) Casey.

That's '98. That's 150 years ago. I don't mean to be, to back away from it, it's just 150 years ago in my mind. Okay? There are certain things I want to remember because I think they're important for what I want to do with the particular job I have today.

I've just got to concentrate on this team. I've said it a thousand times, and I don't know whether anybody ever pays any attention to me, but the hardest thing about coaching is getting the right guy, in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time.

I mean everybody's got players today. You know, recruiting gurus are saying, "This guy's got the No. 1 recruiting group, another one the No. 2 recruiting group," and I'm looking at some things that people send to me and I'm saying, "They think that guy is one of the 10 best players in the country?" That guy is one of the hundred...some of those guys we didn't even look at. We turned them down.

And some of the guys they're not paying any attention to, we fought like dogs trying to get. They're not even listed. The right guys at the right time. Okay? Right guys, in the right place, doing the right things at the right time. When that happens, you've got a chance.

You've got a chance to get the most you can out of your squad, and that's not easy. It's not easy. Happens all the time that you know, I wish you nobody's that smart that they don't make a lot of mistakes, and I'd I've made my share.

In the current landscape of college football with teams spreading the ball around scoring 35, 40 points a game, can a conservative offense and a team based upon defense and not turning the ball over contend for a national championship?

Well, (what about) Pitt against West Virginia (last year)? Pitt went out and tackled well. West Virginia got one touchdown from scrimmage. What was the score of that game? West Virginia was going for a national championship.

13 9.

13 9. Pitt also had a losing record. Doesn't make any difference. Probably didn't play as well defensively against some other people. It depends on who executes. People forget the West Virginia quarterback got hurt early. Okay? Stuck him in late.

No, I think all of that stuff is fine. You guys are tired of hearing me. I played in a spread offense in 1944 in high school. I've told you that 100 times. I played on a high school football team. I was the quarterback. We never huddled; never huddled. We lost one game, and lost to a football team coached by Vince Lombardi. Only game we lost.

Never huddled. I played quarterback, all right, in the shotgun. And we spread out all over the place. And the people we played were too dumb to know I couldn't throw the ball.

You talked about one of the things that bothered you is guys not having the sense to walk away from certain situations. Do these guys get it now, and how much do you rely on your captains?

I'm hoping they got it, but you never know. You know, they're kids. They're kids. Sometimes they think, "Well, he means him. He doesn't mean me." But, you know, whether we're forceful enough or not, I don't know. I second-guess myself all the time on some of that stuff.

People have said to me, "What went on in the ESPN thing?" I said, "I don't know. Maybe half of it's right and maybe 90 percent of it is....I don't know." People have got to understand, my concern is not you, my concern is the kids that we recruit and bring into our program.

I have an obligation to try to make sure those kids come out...we had a golf outing last Saturday. Had over 120 former football players, and some of them really good. Jimmy Laslavic came in all the way from San Diego. He's a big TV announcer out there in San Diego. And they were all saying, "Hey, you know what? Don't give in. Don't give in. Don't give in." All right?

They'll all proud to be Penn State football players. That's a little bit of a...you can home with a little bit of a monkey on your back.

What do you remember about (recruiting) Daryll Clark? You don't have many kids that go prep school.

We've had some.

How did he get to Kiski (Prep), and can you talk a little bit about that?

Daryll Clark, when he get out of high school was really...we felt that he was bright enough, we just felt that he hadn't been pushed tough enough for one reason or other in the classroom. Again, Jay Paterno was the one that recruited him, and Jay kept pushing him. I said, "I don't want to do it."

We had friends at Kiski, and I called up my friends and said, "Why don't you guys interview this kid" and so forth. He went to Kiski, but he had to pay some money. That was the problem.

But they gave him what they would give...they were looking for minority kids anyway, and so they worked it out. I wasn't sure he was that good of a football player then. I just ...he's a good kid. You know, I thought maybe he's going to be a linebacker or something like that.

So has he surprised you?

Surprised, I don't know. I don't write down, Daryll Clark, you surprised me.

Well, you said you didn't think he was that good.

Well, I didn't. Hey, do you know how many guys I didn't think were that good? You don't know. That's why I say with these guys, all these Mel Kipers and all these other guys, "this guy is the first guy, rah, rah, rah. I like the way he moves his hips and the way he puts his right arm up so fast. He ought to play on the right side of the ball, not the left side, because his left arm is a little slower than his right."

We look at hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tapes, and we sit there and we can't figure out whether we like the guy or not. I'm talking about guys that have coached great players. We can't make up our minds what we want to do with some of those kids.

So if I said, "was I surprised about Clark?" I don't know. You know, we took him because he was a good, solid kid and because a couple people felt strongly about him, including one of my coaches. That's where we are. If he turns out to be a great player...look, Clark hasn't done anything yet. Give the kid a break. He's not the savior yet.

The assumption, while it may not be fair, is, because Clark has waited his turn patiently and he's the older quarterback that he'll get the job.

No. That's not true.

I know you've had examples of younger kids that have supplanted older kids. Does Devlin have to do something a little more to win the job over Clark because he is younger?

I'll say it because I think you guys read a lot of things into a lot of different things because maybe you got to have an angle for a story, I don't know.

We're going to try to put the right guy, in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing. Okay? (Pat) Devlin may be the guy. I have no way of knowing right now. We've had four days of practice.

I was worried about whether I could run around the field for four straight days. I wasn't worried about whether Clark or Devlin, I was just was worried they both got off enough shots. All of a sudden there's a couple of kids out there that are better than I thought they were. I'm not going to mention any names because I'll put the kiss of death on them. They'll both get hurt tomorrow after I shoot my mouth off.

There's a lot experience on the offensive and defensive lines come back this year. How important do you think that's going to be when you're on the road in the conference?

I think experience is important on the road or at home. Doesn't make any difference. My problem is not as much on the defensive side of the foot ball as on the offensive side of the ball. I'm worried a little bit about depth on the offensive line. I think we've got five or six kids on the offensive line who I think can play with anybody. We can have a pretty good football team with them on the offensive line.

But if one or two of those kids get hurt, I think one of the jobs we've got to do in pre season practice is to develop two or three offensive lineman. I think we've got depth at tight end, and we're pretty good in the backfield and wideouts obviously.

But I think that's one problem we have. On defense we have to get a couple linebackers that haven't played a lot and get them comfortable. We do that; I think we'll be okay. But the issue you brought up is the defensive line and the offensive line, the first groups and depth with the first offensive line worries me a little bit. Not with the defensive line.

You mentioned a couple weeks ago when you were in Johnstown that the team would need to know at some point who its starting quarterback is. What kind of time frame do you have in your mind for when you might need to make that decision for the team's sake?

Don't know. I really don't know. I think we're just going to see what happens. It may not happen. May not happen until three, four games. But right now I just stick to we're trying to give each kid a shot, all three. You guys keep talking two. We had a what we call a "thud," end of the practice team period, with the (No.) One offense will go against the (No.) Two defense. No hitting. We only had shoulder pads on.

But they come and we can do things above the waist. All three quarterbacks alternate with the Ones and the Twos, because I really want to give them all a shot at it.

Is Jerome Hayes healthy and, how would you prefer to use him if he is?

Hayes is still coming off that knee. The trainers and the doctors want him to come out of some things, so he's not in there for everything. But he looks in fact, I just walked off the field with him yesterday after practice and I said, "How you feeling?" He said, "The leg's a little bit sore. A little bit."

And then when we were walking off the practice field he says, "When are you going to let me drive your BMW?" I said, "Your leg may not be solid, but your head's okay."

You're obviously a Brooklyn guy. You have two prominent city guys on your team in Stephon Green and Maurice Evans. Does it take something special for a kid from the city to really catch your attention?

You know, I think that's a point that's but you can go back to (John) Brockington. I tried to get Brockington. There's been some really good athletes.

The thing that's happened in the cities that we've got slowly starting, and that a tribute to particularly and I can't speak of other cities -- but to New York City, and Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, because Stephon Green actually is from the Bronx. That's where he's from. And Jimmy Kennedy was from the Bronx, who was a No. 1 draft pick.

The thing that they're doing right now is so many of the kids that are really good athletes are more interested in from the islands particularly, lots of Hispanic backgrounds and island backgrounds they're playing soccer and baseball.

Some of them are just absolutely fantastic athletes, which I think has been shown in baseball. A lot of the high school coaches have put together some groups trying to encourage some those kids to get involved in football.

You see more and more kids now that are turning out to be really good football (players) because there's an awful lot of talent in the city. In fact, when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, you'd go to the park, Marine Park, four or five blocks from where I grew up. Go over there and played basketball on Saturday morning. You go over there today, and there's 10 guys that could make our basketball team just like that. Can't get in school because nobody is taking an interest in them. Sometimes they go to class and sometimes they don't go to school.

But there are some great athletes in the cities, and I think people are becoming more aware of the. And the publicity now, a kid from Florida blows his nose and he's the whole world. And Florida's got great football. Don't get me wrong. And they probably deserve the attention they get.

But there are a lot of kids in the cities that just don't get that kind of attention and publicity, and you really got to work like a dog to find them and find one that can handle the academic work. Some have the potential but don't have the background.

With the team almost under a microscope, do you have any added expectations for the captains to maybe police it in house and stop some of those incidents before they happen?

Well, I don't know whether I can say the captains alone. I think all of us are under the gun. I wouldn't pass the buck to the players. I think I'm under the gun.

We've got to stay on top of things. I just think it's got to be a question of, who you are, what you stand for. If you want to walk out of that tunnel and have people cheer for and you want people to respect you and so forth, there's an obligation that goes with that.

Sometimes that's hard for a kid, particularly a young kid. That's where your problems come from most the time. When he comes in, he comes in as a hot shot, and all of a sudden he's a nobody. Nobody knows who he is. So he goes someplace to a party or something like that. He's got to be, "You know who I am? I was all state." "What do you mean?" "Hey, get out." All right?

You hope there's a couple guys around that say, "Come on, knock it off, for crying out loud." That's part of my responsibility. I think we're making progress. We'll see.

I'm not going to stand up here and point fingers or say, "Hey, we're home free." No, I don't think anybody's home free anymore these days.

I think the focus is so strong and the people that want to be when I take that situation and you take a situation where a kid has immediate success, how many people come out of woodwork that want to be his buddy.

Guys, girls, they all want to be around them, and sometimes they can't handle it. Sometimes they can't handle it. But, that's all part of my responsibility. I mean, for me to get up here and gripe about it, I know what the problem is. Whether I've done a good enough job, you know, I'm trying, and my staff is trying. I think we're making progress.

I would put an addendum on that, in the sense that I think that I think some have not really understood the effort that we've made, and in a lot of cases have over criticized some things that happened.

Not that we were not wrong; we were wrong. You know, somebody says to me there were 50-something criminal incidents, 12, 13 people. 12 or 13, 14, I don't know what the numbers are. Probably getting off on the track. Turned out to be misdemeanors.

I try to remember when I was a kid in 1920 and I had been in the service for a year. You know, I'd love to be able to say, and maybe you guys ought to look at each other and remember when you were 18, 19 in college. Weren't you all angels? Nobody ever had a drink underage? Nobody ever got in a shouting match or a fight or anything?

I mean, I got to be careful because I don't want to be a hypocrite. I sure as heck don't want to condone it, but I think we've all got to be careful. You've got a job. I've got a job. I just put a license in for my own blogger, so be careful. Okay? Thanks guys.

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