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Nov. 9, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; -
Q. Joe, Matt McGloin is listed as the first quarterback on this week's depth chart. Does that mean you plan to start him?
COACH PATERNO: Well, I don't know how to answer that, to be frank with you. I think both kids (Rob Bolden, Matt McGloin) are doing a good job, practicing and working hard. They've both been effective up to a point. And, in all fairness to Bolden, he was in there when we were having more troubles holding on to the ball, running the football and all those kinds of things.
We were working with an inexperienced offensive line. So, I don't want to take anything away from him. But obviously the other kid's come in there in a couple of football games and made some big plays. But I'm hoping that Bolden will be ready to play. In fact, I had Bolden all set to play just before the end of the first half. Told him to get ready and (then) we made that drive. Obviously, McGloin had a hot hand and I wasn't about to change at that stage.
I don't know if that answered your question or not.
Q. Just a follow up to that. You actually have four young quarterbacks. And I was wondering how challenging is it to keep all of them happy and do you worry about losing Kevin Newsome or Paul Jones like you lost Pat Devlin?
COACH PATERNO: I think Kevin is a little bit behind them and Kevin's biggest problem is a mental one. He's got a lot of physical ability. But, he hasn't quite kept up with the other two kids in some of the decisions that have to be made and things of that sort.
But, they're still taking turns. They're still working at it. I think eventually that this is going to turn out to be a very good problem for us in the sense that I think we'll be in pretty good shape at quarterback.
Q. Has the team maybe developed some more leadership in these past few weeks? Is there a big difference that you've seen from the beginning of the year?
COACH PATERNO: Well, I think there has been a difference. Whether I would qualify it by saying a big difference...I think we've got to get into a couple of tough games on the road, this weekend obviously being a challenge for us.
We're playing a team (Ohio State), I think, last year was the best team in the country, and I think is as good as....I haven't seen them all this year, but as good as anybody around this year and, we're on the road.
So, I think whether some kids come to the front or not, it will be interesting. I thought last week it was a good experience for them. They realize that you can get behind and you can stick together and everybody tends to their knittin' and a lot of good things can happen.
And hopefully that will be a carry over and we can keep building on that. As you've heard me say a thousand times, our job is to get better each week, to just keep working on the little things and understand we've got a young bunch of kids that haven't played a lot, haven't been in a lot of you know, haven't been in situations as they were at halftime against Northwestern.
So I think the leadership is slowly developing. Whether there's been a big difference as you started out saying, I think we'll find out in the next three ball games.
Q. You said that Rob Bolder had things like drops and experience on the offensive line, why did those things seem to get better the last couple of weeks when Matt McGloin came in?
COACH PATERNO: I don't know how to answer ....I've answered that question a dozen times. You get a bunch of young kids. McGloin has benefited from the fact that the offensive line is a little bit more consistent, has a little bit more confidence in the timing, the backs have a little bit more confidence in what they're doing. We're catching the ball a little better.
You go back and look at the Iowa game. If we make a couple of the catches we made against Northwestern - make the kind of catch that (Joe) Suhey made and just before the half, make the kind of catch (Derek) Moye made - against Iowa, we would have been in a pretty good football game with Iowa.
I'm not saying we would have beaten them, but we would have been a good, tough football game with them. So it's just a question of playing, a question of confidence. A question of understanding what it takes to win.
And you can talk, talk, talk out your ears, but they've got to go through it. And I know I'm repeating myself. But you guys ask the same question, I gotta tell you how I feel. I feel like we're... I've said it.
Q. I wanted to ask you about linebacker Khairi Fortt. Has he been injured, battling injuries and could you maybe just give us a little bit of your thoughts on his progress so far this season, where he's at?
COACH PATERNO: Well, he's got a chance to be really good. He's one of the better, if not the best, athletes we have at linebacker for that particular position.
He had been hurt. We didn't play him this past Saturday because he really has not had all our practices because of the injuries he has had. But hopefully this week he'll be able to go 100 percent all week and he'll be able to play a little bit more. He's certainly an outstanding prospect.
Q. Speaking of linebackers, could you talk about the way Michael Mauti has been playing and could you talk about his development since preseason when it looked like there was still a little concern about his knee?
COACH PATERNO: I think Mauti played well Saturday. I still think, obviously, when a quarterback can run for 100 something yards, you're concerned about that. Particularly when you've got to come the next week and play against a kid like (Terrelle) Pryor.
So we're going to have to...our linebackers will have to really have a good day, because the down guys, the down guys can't do some things that you've got to do in order to be able to have any kind of control over a quarterback that can take off like the kid could for Northwestern (Dan Persa), and obviously Pryor can.
So I think we've made progress there, but I think we still have a long way to go. And Mauti is included in that group.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you've seen from Terrelle Pryor on video this year compared to his two previous years at Ohio State?
COACH PATERNO: Well, he's obviously a little bit more mature than when he was a freshman. He was an outstanding freshman. So it's very difficult to say, "hey, he's improved X this much or that much," because he was darn good.
He was a great, great high school player. And not only as a football player, was a heck of a basketball player. We tried everything we could to try to get him to come to Penn State.
I think he's got a little bit more maturity. He understands his role a little bit more. He's not...he bides his time. He doesn't get caught with the ball as much, maybe. He's a little tougher to get in tough situations.
He's older. He's more mature. He's more polished. And so all those little things that you would expect an athlete as good as he is and as conscientious as he is, you'd expect him to get better and that's what Pryor's done. It's really done ....and he's a good kid. He really handles himself well.
He's all business. He's not out there trying to out-do anybody. He's just out there trying to get his football team to win. He's the kind of guy a coach likes to see have success.
I don't want him to have too much this week, but he's, I think he's been good. He's done well. He's done very well. And he's getting better all the time.
Q. Seems like the offense has been having a lot of success with screen passes over the last few games. Why has it been so effective, have they actually helped open up the running game as much as the passing game?
COACH PATERNO: I think experience. Plus the fact that we've played some tough people. We've played Alabama on the road.
Got to go out and play Iowa, which is a good football team on the road. The game we really didn't play, that we showed how much we lacked in the way of maturity, was the Illinois game.
Illinois, we didn't play well at all against them. Against the other people, we were a play or two away from, as I said with Iowa, making a game of it. I'm not saying beating them. Making a game of it.
And I think the Alabama game, we went down there and the people down there, realize how enthusiastic their crowd was and how they were defending national champs and they were playing like it and that was a tough assignment for a young team, and how we weren't settled on quarterback. We played a quarterback that was a true freshman, hadn't even been with us in the spring.
I thought that we never got discouraged. We thought we were going to get better as long as we stuck to what we thought was important. And as I said, practice well, get better.
And remember the little things and the big things.
Q. Mentioned the last couple of weeks giving up a lot of rushing yardage to the quarterbacks. I guess Prior is a little bit different because he's physically kind of a long legged loper, but to what do you attribute the fact that the quarterback run either designed or pocket breakdowns has been such a problem the last couple of weeks?
COACH PATERNO: I've answered that three times. I mean, I don't mean to be smart alecky, but what more can I tell you? The line's gotten better. We've had more experience. We've made some catches in the clutch.
You know, if Suhey doesn't make that catch coming out of the backfield, who knows what's going to happen? You don't know. Somebody's got make something happen. And it takes a kid that's been through it to make it happen. And that makes the quarterback look good. Because right after that, Moye, we went in...and prior to that the one time the one kid carried the football, ran a little simple draw play, they got a little bit...Northwestern got a little bit complacent, thought the half was over, and we ran it up with a 20 yard gain which gave us momentum. And Suhey makes a catch and next thing you know we're back in the ballgame.
Now, did the quarterback do it all by himself? No. He was smart enough to know the momentum he had and he made some plays himself. But some people made some plays that made it possible for him to have that kind of an impact on the ballgame.
Q. You played against two very good running quarterbacks in the last two games. How does that help prepare you for a guy like Pryor who can hurt you running the ball?
COACH PATERNO: I don't really know. They can run the football. It isn't as if ...and they want to run the football. I think if you play Ohio State and you don't think they can run the football because the quarterback can make some plays, take your eye off that kid playing quarterback. They've got a couple of running backs (Dan Herron, Brandon Saine) that can run it down your throat.
The one kid was the Ohio State sprint champion, 100 meters in high school. Now he's 195, 200 pounds at that time. He's now a 215-20 pounder and the other big kid, the other kid who is a real good blocker. So you've got to have a balanced defense, I guess that's the best way to put it.
They're well coached. They know what they're doing. They're well organized. They have good personnel everywhere. And so their quarterbacks, when we talk, we talk all the time about the quarterback.
To be frank with you, I thought the kid from Northwestern (Persa) ran better than maybe we thought he could. But he took off and first, second play he took off with that long run and that lit up the whole football team.
We had not planned on...we thought we...if we had to stop him throwing the football first, as it turned out we didn't do a job with him running the football.
Q. Your last three wins have been pretty high scoring games. And you've given up a lot of points this season. Is this a team that can go into Columbus win a 13 6 game or will you have to score 28, 35 points to win?
COACH PATERNO: You've got to give the other guys a little credit. I think at times we've played very good defense. Other times our immaturity and our injuries showed up.
You know, we played without (Eric) Latimore. We played without (Jack) Crawford. We had one or two guys, linebackers that are banged up a little bit. Some inexperienced.
So I am not discouraged in that area. I thought against Northwestern we were not very good the first half defensively because we weren't, as I pointed out, we weren't quite ready for him to run as much.
He was a 75 percent completion quarterback, with a really big receiver. And we felt that was where we had to stop them. And they came out and that kid ran that football, ran it like...he's a good player. He really is. He played heck of a game against us.
But when we had to, I thought the kids turned it up a notch and it kept us in the game and then... didn't (just) keep us in the game, but at least didn't let them run away with it in the third quarter and we kept getting the ball back so we had a chance to make some points.
Q. When we talked to Matt McGloin he seems to be enjoying all this, enjoying the experience and playing. He said last week he was gunning for Kirk Herbstreit and now ESPN is doing something on him. When you look at him coming in here as a walk on and getting to enjoy this kind of McGloin, how do you think he's handled everything with getting to play?
COACH PATERNO: Herbie's a big boy....I don't know what you're talking about, to be honest with you. I don't know.
I don't look at that...I like Herbie. I think he's a heck of a guy. And I think he does a good job. I think Matt Millen does a great job.
Q. I'm asking about how McGloin is handling all the playing time, the exposure?
COACH PATERNO: He hasn't played that much. He didn't even start Saturday. It's hard for me to tell. He didn't get in until when Bolden fumbled the ball I wanted to sit him down and relax him a little bit. I intended to put Bolden back in. So I don't know how I don't go to him and say, "hey, how do you feel? The newspaper guys are asking me how you feel?"
Q. You had four sacks on Saturday but only 13 for the year. Has that been an area you've been stressing a lot more?
COACH PATERNO: No question. Probably two years now...we were not very good . That's one thing we're not doing a good job on defensively. We're not getting (to the quarterback) and we've spent an awful lot of time on trying to create some turnovers.
I think part of it is the fact that, number one, you've got to give the other guys credit. They've been very careful with the football. But we still have not...our ball reaction at times hasn't been quite what you would like it to be so you don't come up with an interception.
Sometimes we're right around it. We don't make the play. We've started to make some plays offensively. Now we've got to start to make some defensively in the area you're talking about.
We've made a couple of kicking plays. I think the kicking game has been solid. We've gone step by step. Now I think we've got to do a little better job in creating some things for ourselves with our defense.
Q. What impresses you the most about the Ohio State defense?
COACH PATERNO: They're very well disciplined. They're very well coached. They have four or five kids that can play for anybody, four or five guys, that could go right into pro football. Very good athletes. They have a couple linebackers. Don't ask me their names...But just looking at them, they run well to the ball. They play with a lot of pride. They line up properly.
I mean, they're not running all over the place. They had the one bad game. But after that they got together, and I'll tell you they played really well the last couple of ball games.
Q. In light of reaching another milestone, the 400 wins and in light of the 50th anniversary, can you reflect on what the stadium means to you after this milestone and how you've seen it change so much over the years?
COACH PATERNO: I'm hoping we can get to 401, for crying out loud. I'm not going to change anything. I mean, we've got a job to do. We're not there yet. We're getting to be where we're a pretty good football team. Pretty good. We have a long ways to go before we can go around thinking we're better than pretty good.
I mean, that's where we are. But hopefully a ballgame like this coming up, we're going to play against a team that's as well-organized, as well-disciplined as this club with the kind of talent it has, it will be a good experience for us. Whether we can play with them or not, that's debatable. But I think just getting into a ballgame like that, on the road, the whole bit, will be a good experience.
It will help us in the future. It's going to be tough to stay with these guys. I'm telling you, I've stated if not the best they're one of the three, four best football teams in the country.
Q. Could you get an injury update on some of your defensive linemen. Is Jack Crawford back to 100 percent and how is Jordan Hill doing after coming out of the game the other day?
COACH PATERNO: As I said earlier, both those kids...Crawford played about 20 plays (vs. Northwestern). Latimore didn't play. He's still having some problems tackling. He can't use that one arm, as you probably saw.
He's got...that arm is all sponge and everything else on the one arm. He can't really use it. Losing those two was a big, big loss for us. They're two good football players.
And, as I said, they and the linebackers, a lot of them have played hurt. (Bani) Gbadyu has played hurt. He's gutted it out. And we have a couple of kids that have done that.
But those two are good football players. I hope they're 100 percent.
Q. Do you feel that this is evolved into as much of a rivalry as you have on the schedule? Can you speak to the value of a rival? Big 33 relationship or how important is having a big rival? And is this one it for you guys?
COACH PATERNO: I don't think there's any question it's a big rival for us. They're adjacent states. We recruit, I mean, we work awfully hard to try to recruit some people that they do.
We've had some good football games with them. Lately they've obviously had the upper hand. No, I think whether...I don't know what the top rivalry is. They all seem like the big game at the time. But certainly....you know, I was a little disappointed that the way the schedule was.
We had to play Michigan after an open date and we've got to play these guys after an open date. You would hope that you wouldn't...we had started out that Michigan State was going to be the end of the year game for us, then when we changed, the Big Ten changed, Michigan State's not the game we play at the end of the year.
Now all of a sudden Nebraska is going to be the team we're going to play every year and so forth. So things have changed. But it's certainly a big game. It's a big game for us.
I don't know whether it's as big a game for Ohio State as it is for us, because they're always in the back of their heads it's Michigan there. But it's a big game for us, no question about that.
It will be tough.