Oct. 29, 2011
PENN STATE HEAD COACH Joe Paterno POSTGAME QUOTES
Penn State vs. Illinois
October 29, 2011
Tim Curley: Well, first of all, we would like to express our appreciation to this great Penn State crowd. They're joining us live out in the stadium now. What a great atmosphere here today for another Penn State win. That was one heck of a football game and we salute the University of Illinois on one tough football game. It was a great football game; a great Big Ten game. We salute them for a job well done. Coach Paterno, this was another outstanding game. On behalf of the university, President Spanier, the team, and all of your former letterwinners, we want to express our appreciation and congratulations to you on another great accomplishment and a wonderful milestone. We know how much you admired and appreciated Coach (Eddie) Robinson. We know how special of a day it is to break his record. We want to just congratulate you. Please join me in this room to congratulate Coach Paterno. (Clapping).
Joe Paterno: Thank you Tim and President Spanier. It really is something I'm really proud of to be associated with Eddie Robinson. Some of you may not have heard; I've told people many, many times two of the greatest people we've ever had in college football are Jake Gaither and Eddie Robinson. Jake was a head coach at Florida A&M. At 24 years of age, Eddie became the head coach at Grambling. Those two men opened up the doors for the African-American kid. They had no place to go. The Southeastern Conference didn't take any black kids. There were very few playing up North. Jake Gaither and Eddie Robinson went out and showed people what kind of athlete these kids could be. So for me; a kid from Brooklyn, whose Grandfather was an immigrant, to be something like this really means a lot to me. An awful lot. There's a lot of people I have to thank. As I walked in here, Jay Paterno said, 'Hey, don't forget to thank the groundskeepers, they've been here for 25 years doing things.' Also, the coaching staff and a really good bunch of kids that I think proved today that they got; they're good kids. I don't know. For crying out loud, you've got me making a speech. To all the fans out there, thanks for sitting through that today, you've got to be nuts (laughter).
Q: Joe, with the way you're offense was playing, did you have any doubt about that last drive?
A: Did I have any doubts? Sure I had doubts. I was second-guessing myself on the field goal. I was saying to myself, 'You knuckle-head.' Anyway, it worked out. One thing about this football team, at times we struggle, but there's a lot of character and caring for each other and they're really good competitors. You know, you've seen us a couple times make those kinds of drives. Against Temple, when we were getting licked, we had to make a drive in the last couple of minutes to win that one. So we've been fortunate. I didn't know what to expect.
Q: Joe, can you go into the decision to play Derek Moye, especially in the 4th quarter?
A: The doctors had said Moye can play if you really need him, but be careful with him. You know, we were dropping the ball. I said to Jay Paterno, 'You tell Mike McQueary, I want our best receivers in the game for that drive. We can't afford to drop a pass.' We decided to go with Moye, among some other kids.
Q: Joe, what did Matt McGloin show you on that last drive?
A: Well, obviously poise. I thought, I don't know whether he really showed me anything on that drive. He showed me he's just a part of what the whole team has done all year. We've done some things that have been tough. We're not killing people, we're not running over them or anything like that. We've had to struggle. They stick together and they keep their poise and don't panic. I think Mac would epitomize that.
Q: Joe, what were your thoughts on how Silas Redd played today?
A: I thought he played well. He had that one fumble. We've been after him. Earlier in his career, he fumbled quite a bit. I thought he had a lick. Silas is a good, tough back. We didn't give him a lot of running room early and we didn't get our pass protection. You have to give Illinois credit, when they came, they came. That's a good defensive football team. And then when they decided to mix up that little counter play with the quarterback option, we had our hands full.
Q: Coach, can a team grow into the kind of team you desire through these struggles more than lopsided victories?
A: I think you have to be careful that you don't overreact to any win. I don't care who you beat or what happens. I think we've proven to ourselves, which is the important part not proving anything to you guys, we've proven to ourselves that we'll stick together and make some things happen. Whether that's going to be good enough with other teams, we'll see. It certainly wasn't good enough against Alabama. We didn't play that kind of game against Alabama. We dropped the ball, we had penalties, and the whole bit. We're going to play an outstanding football team our next game. We have a week off and then we have to play Nebraska at home. Then we have to play Ohio State and then go to Wisconsin. We'll find out how good we are.
Q: With all of the games you've been involved with, what's it like for you when it comes down to the last play?
A: You know, you must think I sit up there and say, 'How do I feel?' You know I'm hoping we can get this win. I'm giving advice up there and most of the time, all I'm doing is confusing people. You guys write stories about how I sit around and don't do anything. I just hope we can help the team do the things that they want to do. I really don't have any strong feelings.
Q: You are the last unbeaten team in the Big Ten. How does that feel?
A: Well, you know, I think that's a tribute to the coaching staff and a tribute to the squad. I think as I've said here; I think there are a bunch of guys that have stuck together. The coaching staff has stayed with some kids that have had some troubles and the kids themselves have reacted to the coaches. I think we have a nice setup in the sense that we're a team. The coaches and players and if we had played as hard as we played and hadn't got the bounce here or bounce there, I still would have felt good about this football team.
Q: Is there any part of you that is enjoying the style of games that have been all over this season? It's kind of like the 1970s, isn't it?
A: You know we've had some teams score a lot of points on different occasions through the years. I've been involved in over 700 college football games. As a coach, people also forget I was involved when I went to Brown freshman were eligible, so I was in another 36 there. Some years you play great defense and great kicking and some years you have to offset that with more offense. I think this club obviously is a very fine defensive football team, as it was in Illinois. I thought that was a tough football game to play.