Joe Paterno Press Conference Transcript
Oct. 18, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; -
Q. Joe, you're one win from tying Eddie Robinson. Can you share your thoughts about him and what he meant to college football?
He was a delightful person. He obviously did a fantastic job at Grambling. When you think about when he started, he was 24 years old when he was a head coach. He was really a great guy.
When there was no place for the black athlete, what he and Jake Gaither did with Grambling and Florida A&M was something special. I think Eddie was a great guy.
Q. My question is about Silas Redd. He's carried the ball a lot the last three games. Are you worried if you continue to use him like that about him wearing down?
When we talked Sunday, I said, "Make sure when you watch your kids. If they look tired, let me know and maybe we got to start taking a little time off practice."
So, I am concerned about that. But not only Silas. There are a couple of kids out there that are playing a lot of football.
Q. Are you surprised that Northwestern has had such a tough start to the season so far? What has stood out to you about them on film?
But they're a very explosive football team. When you look at them, you get the feeling, "Hey, these guys can beat anybody." I think I'm right on that. I think they really are a good looking team.
I think Pat Fitzgerald has done a great job coaching them. They play with intensity, enthusiasm. As I said, they've got some people that can really explode. The quarterback (Dan Persa), who is a Pennsylvania kid, as most of you know, is one of the better quarterbacks in the country. First two games when they didn't do very well, he was hurt. But since then they've put a lot of points on the board.
Q. Your quarterback, Matt McGloin, said after the game that he took a few hits, including one to the head. Has he been practicing, and what is his condition?
Q. I wanted to ask you about tight end Andrew Szczerba. He's had a tough time off the field the past year. He struggled it seems lately a little bit on the field at times. Have you sat him down and talked to him at all about all this? How is he doing?
I think your observation is correct, however. Whether it's timing or what, he's had some penalties that have hurt us at the wrong time. Dropped a pass that hurt us, obviously, against Alabama.
He's got ability. The layoff (injured in 2010) may have something to do with it and maybe he's trying too hard to offset what is supposedly a problem for him of not having played for a while. I don't know.
But I should talk to him. I will, I'll talk to him. But right now I know Bill has talked to him. Bill feels like he's okay. We haven't done a lot, but we worked yesterday. He had a decent practice.
Q. Joe, I wanted to ask you about Curtis Drake. He suited up Saturday but did not play, didn't suit up the week before. What is his status injury wise and academics wise with you?
He's really come around, has done a great job on our scout team. He's still got a problem with that leg. We have to be careful how much we depend on him because he still is not 100 percent. If you watch him run, he's got a slight limp. He's fighting it. Hopefully he'll be okay soon because he's a very gifted athlete and could be a big help to us.
But, we really can't count on him yet. I think he's getting closer. I think right now it's a question of his physical condition, nothing else, because right now he seems to be in a groove.
Q. Joe, Rob Bolden has started all the games. But lately Matt McGloin has finished most of the games. Is that a coincidence or is there some reason for that?
Since we have had Bolden starting with McGloin coming in, we've been able to do a decent job. I just have been reluctant to change that. You change it, you don't know what you're going to get. McGloin does a good job coming in off the bench. He's a guy that observes things.
I think the thing has worked out all right. Obviously, we've all talked several times. I'm sure they'd like me to pick one or the other. I think right now I couldn't do that. So we're going to stay pretty much the same way.
Q. Coach, Drew Astorino seems like he's been getting better and better every week. How important has he been to the defense? What has helped him pick up his play this week?
I watched this kid (Astorino). He made a lot of plays. I said, "What's the matter with that guy?" We brought him up, liked him, made him an offer, and he accepted it.
He started out slow, wasn't real confident. But he slowly has gotten better and better and better. Had a good year last year. Right now he's playing really well.
Again, last year he played hurt a lot. Knock on wood, I hope we can keep him healthy because he makes a lot of tackles. He's in a lot of plays. I think if he stays healthy, he'll end up having a great year.
Q. Coach, you might have seen that Sean Payton, the coach at the New Orleans Saints, suffered a severe leg injury, similar to what happened to you at Wisconsin in 2006. Is there anything that could be done to protect coaches on the sideline from some of these things not happening?
That's part of the game. When the kid from Wisconsin hit me, he wasn't looking around a little bit. I think we're all right. Now, they have a new rule in. It's not really a new rule, but it's one they're enforcing. That is you have to be at least three yards back of the line on the sideline. That's to protect the officials as well as the players and the coaches. Those officials have to be careful, too, because they get run over once in a while.
It's a physical game. It's a game of speed. It's getting faster all the time. It's kind of hard to control some of the things that may happen.
But I don't have an answer for it. I certainly don't want to start changing things unless they're not going to have an impact on the outcome of the game.
Q. Joe, when (Michael) Mauti went out for the season, everybody talked about what a big loss it was. How well has (Nate) Stupar played?
Q. How much did you look at Dan Persa, the Northwestern quarterback, when he was down in Allentown?
But our loss was Northwestern's gain because he sure is a good football player. He makes things happen.
Q. Coach, do you feel you are getting closer to ironing out some of the issues that have kept the other guy in the game more than you'd probably like?
We're not playing people that are dying, coming in and dying, giving it to us. Iowa is a pretty good football team. Purdue is a very much under-rated football team. So I don't know. I think we're playing pretty well.
Sure, you'd like to be able to get maybe a couple more scores in some areas that we may have hurt ourselves. You know, you run a kickoff back to the three-yard line, how many times have you seen that call? But, I think we're doing all right, I really do.
We're playing with poise when we have to. We're doing some things well. The other guys are playing hard against us.
Q. Are you concerned with the number of times you have fumbled?
Q. 15 fumbles in the last six games.
I mean, we have fumbled at tough spots. No, I'm not concerned about it. I think we're doing all right there.
Q. Joe, do you have any update on Derek Moye? Is he progressing the way you hoped he would be? Do you expect to have him next week still?
But the kind of injury he had, they were talking three, four weeks. Now, if we get him in three weeks, we got two weeks to go.
Q. Any update on your health? How you doing physically?
Q. Joe, in the past few weeks, your defense has done a good job against quarterbacks that pass from the pocket primarily. In the next couple weeks you're going to face a lot of quarterbacks that use running as an element of their game. Any change in the defensive mindset or the reps taken in practice, things like that?
Iowa was a much under-rated offensive football team. Their offensive line was much better than people realized. I thought our defense did a heck of a job.
You just don't change. You`ve got to know what you're doing. You've got to know what your buddy's doing. You`ve got to make adjustments today. It isn't you go out there, like the old days, quarterback lined up, back here, back there. They know all their plays now.
You have a tough time trying to get cute with your defenses because you're liable to be out of position because you haven't spent enough time in that. So we won't change much. May put a stunt in there that may have bothered them or something like that.
But we're just going to have to play hard and do a little better maybe in taking the ball away, that kind of thing, make sure our kicking game stays good. Those kinds of things will be important as we come down the stretch.
Q. Joe, you said earlier you were worried about six or seven guys might have been playing too much these last few games. How do you balance getting them rest in practice and also making sure your quarterbacks get plenty of work in practice?
What you do is you try to get the seconds in there. Let's say you're going to run a period where you may end up running 15, 18 plays. Ordinarily you might give your first offensive guard 10 or 11 of those, and the second offensive guard maybe six or seven of them. You change that around. Maybe you give the second guy 10, 11, 12, and the first guy six or seven. You try to pace them. You try to pick the plays that you feel that maybe they need a little bit more work on.
We won the ballgame Saturday, had trouble with a linebacker on a particular stunt last Saturday against Purdue. When we start working against that, you put your first kids in there to handle that.
So you can make adjustments. That's not tough.
Q. Coach, last week you talked about tightening up your red zone package. Still not much has changed coming out of last week. Can you talk about your concerns there still?
I think one of these days we'll settle down and we'll be better. Now, whether we'll be really good or not, the other guys are playing pretty good football against us, and we may not get to where we all think we're doing a good job.
We're working on it, let me put it that way. I'm concerned about it. Anytime you get inside the 20, first down, and you have to walk away with a field goal, you'd prefer a touchdown.
We've made it. That goodness our kicking game has improved which has made up a little bit for our lack of putting the ball in the end zone for a touchdown when we get in the red zone.