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Penn State Outback Bowl Media Day

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Dec. 10, 2010

Joe Paterno Press Conference Outback Bowl Media Day

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Q. What were your thoughts when you heard that Urban Meyer was going to resign after the Outback Bowl?
COACH PATERNO: You know, I hate to get into the Urban Meyer thing, to be frank with you. I have tremendous respect for him. If he wants to do what he's doing, then I think he's entitled to do it. I got asked that question a hundred times yesterday down in Tampa. What I told them was, when I was Urban's age, I had a couple opportunities to leave, do some other things. But when I was his age, I was just a short little Italian with a long nose. I didn't have a lot of opportunities. He's a big, good looking guy. He's a really good family man. He's got a lot of things he can do. He's making some decisions which I'm sure are not easy for him, but he's making them. I admire him and respect him for what he's doing. I think that will about cover it all. I know that doesn't answer your question completely, but...

Q. Do you think (punter) Anthony Fera will be back for the bowl game?
COACH PATERNO: I think Anthony will. We went down to Tampa yesterday. They had a press day, a promotion day. Dr. Sebastianelli went with us. There's a lot of people we take with us. We wanted to make sure that he did not step on anybody's toes, if he takes care of some people. At that time he indicated that Fera would be okay. He said it's not a certainty, but he hopes that he will be okay.

Q. Coach, a couple of your assistants' names have come up with other job possibilities. Is there an update if will you be able to keep your staff reasonably together going forward?
COACH PATERNO: I don't know what's going to happen with the staff. I think some opportunities have come about. Some of them will look into them, into the opportunities. Whether there's anything good enough for them or not, they'll have to make that decision. I hate to lose any of them. I think we have a good staff. I think they proved that this year when we had to go through a lot of adversity. They hung in there tough. I think we did get better. I would hope we can keep them all. But, you know, people have to make decisions and do what's best for them and their families. We may find ourselves in a position where some of the guys may have opportunities to go other places. Hopefully I wouldn't lose anybody as an assistant coach. But I guess getting a chance to be an assistant coach at someplace, I would hope the situation here was good enough that he wouldn't leave. People have to live their lives. I just don't know, to be frank with you. I think some of them probably will get contacted. Whether they'll be invited to take another job or not I have no way of knowing. I would hope that if it's another assistant's job, that the job they have is good enough to stay here. You don't know. It's a pretty nice place to work. It's a good place to live. I would hope that we would be able to keep all our people. But I can't guarantee that. Whatever's best for them is best for all of us.

Q. You've been very successful against the Southeastern Conference. What do you think has allowed you to enjoy that success, especially in bowl games?
COACH PATERNO: Well, we've played well. No question, we have played some of our better football games against Southeastern Conference teams. A lot of it's the way we've played. We've also had good luck with the weather. Regardless of weather, what we think, if you take last year, the thing I was scared to death of with LSU was their speed. Yet when we went down there, we had one of the wettest fields that we've ever played on, and it was more of a handicap to them than it was to us. That's the second time we played down there that we had that kind of weather. Played Auburn a couple years ago (1996 Outback Bowl) when we had the same kind of weather when young (Terry) Bowden was coaching down there. I think the challenge of playing a Southeastern Conference team is, it's tough. It's tough. Our kids have looked forward to playing against clubs of that caliber. On the other hand, we've had some good luck as far as the weather. We've been in a situation where the weather has been more on our side than it's been on their side.

Q. Has Kevin Newsome met with you since the end of the regular season and has he said anything about possibly transferring?
COACH PATERNO: Kevin and I talked on Friday. I told Kevin that he ought to just work at it Friday and Saturday of this week and see what's going to happen. He's very anxious to play. Nobody can guarantee anything, particularly in that position. And I'm planning to make sure he gets it; an honest shot at being the quarterback. I think Jay (Paterno), who works with the quarterbacks, likes the kid. We think he's a fine prospect. But having said, at this stage he's not quite as far along as the other two kids (Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden). So, that's a tough call for us. Obviously, it's a tough call for him because he does want to play. He doesn't particularly want to wait forever to play. My advice to him was suck it up for now and for the spring, see what happens then, and at the end of spring practice let's sit down and decide what kind of future you may have at Penn State as a football player. Right now, don't worry about the playing, just worry about getting as good as you can get, work hard at the little things that you've got to do better in order to be a little bit more competitive. I said, we'll talk this week, meaning this upcoming week. That's what we're going to do. After his final exams, we're going to meet again. I don't know what he's going to do.

Q. Do you feel like your quarterback situation, that with all the depth you have, is it a good problem to have, that somebody may feel like he can't jump over someone else?
COACH PATERNO: Who else we going to gamble with? You can't get them all ready. You can't go out there and practice for seven hours a day. You can't. You've got to get a couple guys ready. We're trying to do that. I think that we've done a really good job with the young kids we've had. I think the young kids, the coaching they've gotten, we've gotten as much as we can out of them. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to get three kids ready. Now, we have another kid, Paul Jones, who is also a kid with a lot of ability. It's not an easy decision, to be very frank with you. The thing about Newsome is, Newsome can play a lot of positions, but he wants to be a quarterback.

Q. Tampa Bay, they've been having trouble with the fields down there. When you were down there yesterday, did the field look okay?
COACH PATERNO: The field is a good field. I wasn't sure where you were coming from. They do a good job with their fields. We would have preferred to do what we've done, what we did in other years. I would have preferred to take the team to a place like Clearwater or St. Petersburg (the first week) because it's a change of pace. They're on the beach. You're not in one place for 10 days. I would have preferred that, went to Clearwater or went to St. Pete, then maybe the day before Christmas went up into Tampa, and start there. "Here we are at another different place." You know, just try to break it up a little bit. To be in a place as long as we're going to be, the Tampa Bay facility, I'm not so sure I want to be there that long. But we can't get into St. Petersburg. There's a (bowl) game going to be played there on the 21st. They've got a game on the 21st at 8:00 at night, so we don't want to go up there on the 20th. We've gone to St. Pete previously where we had the whole week to ourselves. Then we went up to Tampa. We can't do that with the way things are now. And we tried Clearwater. We went down there, Tommy Venturino went over to Clearwater to take a look at the Phillies setup. They have a great setup. But the Phillies, they're a little bit reluctant to guarantee that they would not be there. So we're going to go to Tampa Bay and stay at Tampa Bay.

Q. Before the last game you said you wanted to return 2011. Have you had a chance to talk that over with the administration at Penn State?
COACH PATERNO: I didn't say I was going to talk to the administration.

Q. I didn't say you did.
COACH PATERNO: You kind of threw me off there. I haven't talked to anybody. I've talked to my football team, trying to talk about getting ready to play a good football game. But I haven't even thought about that. You guys are the guys talking about that, thinking about that. You're ready to bury me (laughter). We've got to play a tough football team. Florida reminds me so much of us this particular year in that they at times look as good as anybody you can find, and then other times they get a little bit inconsistent and they make some mistakes, as you guys have observed us do. We've got a tough job on our hands. And I think with Urban leaving, I think that's going to lead to the whole business of those kids are going to want to win the football game not only for the reasons you would expect them to want to win it, but because I think they want to send Urban off on the right foot. So to me right now, our job is to get as ready as we can to play as well as we can, and realize we've got a tough game ahead of us.

Q. What about this time of the year, with the extra practice time, almost like a second spring practice? You have to get excited for that type of thing.
COACH PATERNO: What I've tried to do in all the bowl games we've played, and we've had decent success in the bowl games, is I'd like the kids to work hard, and the bowl game becomes a reward. I don't want that to be something we're going down there for any other reason except we're going to play a good team. You're a good football team, and it's fun to play against good teams, particular when they're intersectional games, people you ordinarily wouldn't play, and yet I want to make sure they have a good time. So I don't make them come in to bed, I don't have a curfew (until closer to the game). My only rules are, "hey, let's behave. If you don't, get ready to go home, we'll send you home. I haven't got time to be a monitor. But, let's go have some fun. When we practice, let's practice hard, let's practice as well as we can. Let's go play as well as we can play. Let's see how good we are." To play a team with the tradition and the background that Florida has should be fun for any kid. You only get to do some of those things once in your lifetime. I want them to enjoy it. I want them to have a lot of fun. But, yet, I want to play well. I think the best way to do it is to do what I just said: give them some freedom, let them have a little fun, but when we practice, we practice hard. We don't go out on the practice field, you know, with fans and make sure everybody's comfortable. The guys don't get a fan, I get one for me. I think that's the attitude we've taken. In most cases it's worked out pretty well. We've gone to games and we've played hard. We've practiced hard. Hopefully we can do that for this one.

Q. Coach, is it just something that you have come to expect at this time of year that people are always going to be asking about your future?
COACH PATERNO: Get off that thing, will you, for God's sake?

Q. Does it bother you to be asked these questions (about the future)?
COACH PATERNO: You bother me (laughter). I mean, how many times can I answer the same question? I must have answered that question 50 times down there (in Tampa). I've told you I have not given it any thought. It doesn't bother me. It bothers you guys, all right? I want to go down there and have a good football team, period. Can't you get that through your head? Right now that's the only thing I'm thinking about. I'm looking at tapes. I told you that one of the great coaches of the last 25 years has just resigned, and that when I've looked at tapes of Florida, he is so innovative that almost every football game I've seen them play, they have started the game in a way that they are going to try to control the tempo, the way the game's going to be played. We have no way of knowing what we're going to get, all right? For me to go back home and say, "Hey, I want to do this." I'm up in the middle of the night looking at tapes. I'm trying to put myself into his head, that this is what they're going to try to do to us. I mean, "this is what I would do to us if I were playing us," that kind of thing. I haven't got time for the other nonsense.

Q. Finals are next week. Any kids you're going to be watching, worried about academically, might have some trouble next week?
COACH PATERNO: Who might not make it academically? Right now we're going into finals. It looks to me like they're all going to make it. (Bandi) Gbadyu was shaky. Did a good job in one course. Looks like he's going to be okay. So I don't think we're going to lose anybody academically. Now, physically, there will be seven or eight kids that will not play because of injuries. As I said, we have finals coming up. We have a couple of kids that are a little shaky. Not all Phi Beta Kappas like you guys. Some of them have to work at it. So right now I'm optimistic. I could get fooled.

Q. How far back will you look at film of Florida and Urban Meyer's team? Do you go back five, six, seven years?
COACH PATERNO: Well, you've got to remember now, I've watched Florida for more than five seasons. I've watched them and I've watched a lot of the Southeastern Conference teams they play. I couldn't tell you how many years. Whether it's five, six, eight, I don't know. But I've watched them play for a lot of years. Southeastern Conference plays a very aggressive, fast game of football. So I've tried to learn from them. I've really watched a lot of them. Now, how much would I look at Florida, look at a tape. I don't know. I don't know how much I could tell you because I may be looking at Florida, but they might be playing an LSU or an Alabama, and you can't help looking at the other guy. All of a sudden you say, "That's a very good thing that Alabama is doing against Florida." It's something you're aware of the whole football game. I've seen Florida. I've seen Urban's teams play. I've looked at tapes of them off and on about hundred games.

Q. Can you talk about injuries?
COACH PATERNO: You guys know as well as I do how many guys that are hurt. We've got seven guys right now that aren't going to make it, we don't expect to make it. They're guys that are seriously injured. (Garry) Gilliam, (Brandon) Beachum, kids of that kind. They're not going to play.

Q. What about (Eric) Latimore?
COACH PATERNO: We're going to lose some players, that's all I can tell you. Now, we're going to lose some more players, probably. I mean, we have had injuries. You're asking me some things that I really don't know how to answer. I get a telephone call. They call me 6:30 in the morning, said Fera got appendicitis. I don't think I've ever lost a kid to appendicitis. Calls me the other day, we got a guy who had a knee operation that turned up with gout on his knee, all right? How many guys get gout at 20? I don't even want to talk about the damn things. I really don't. Every time I open my mouth, somebody else gets hurt. People go down. That doesn't answer your question, I know that. You guys should have a little conference with the medical people, you really should, ask some questions because I can't answer half those questions. I just can't.

Q. If you were Urban Meyer, how would you attack? Could you offer up an assessment of Florida offensively?
COACH PATERNO: What Florida would do against us? I don't know. I think right now we have a little difficulty playing against, not because we're that good, but because we are so inconsistent. Well, you guys have seen us play. Some days we throw the devil out of the football, other days we can't hit the side of the barn. So I don't know what his plans, what their plans would be. I don't think we can worry about that. I think we have to just make sure we line up properly, that when we get there we can tackle that speed. We just can't give up easy ones. They've got some quarterback problems, probably, too. I don't know. I have not studied their quarterbacks enough for me to tell you that they've got some problems with them. I don't know. I think I know that we're going to get something a little different. We're going to get a couple of things that are going to be tough for us to defense. What they decide to do to us, you know, I really couldn't tell you.

Q. Coach, are you fighting a cold or do you have a case of the gout?
COACH PATERNO: Got gout of the throat (laughter). Got somewhat of a cold. I've had it for a while. Had it for about maybe six weeks. But, hey, it's nothing serious. It just sounds worse than it is.

Q. I know you want to win for the seniors, but do you see this as a springboard game into next year?
COACH PATERNO: I hope so. One of the things I'm hoping is the fact we're going to have 15 days of practice for this game, that we're going to have an opportunity to take some of the young kids. I always encourage them on a positive note, we've had two days of practice, and I told the staff, I said, I want you to spend more time with the young kids right now. Let's not worry too much about the older kids. I was really pleased with the way some of the younger kids reacted. There's more personnel, better personnel, with some of the younger kids than I thought. The skill people are still a little bit... The quarterback situation, we've got to get a guy who gets in there and handles a tough ballgame, takes advantage of situations. But our offensive line people practiced better than I think they've practiced (earlier in the season).

No. 11 - Matt McGloin, Soph., Quarterback

Q: Can you talk about being down in Florida for two weeks instead of one. Is there any advantage to that?
A: Yeah sure, when you get more practices than another team, I think that helps. Obviously, we are going to get used to the environment down there, but I don't think it will take too long for us to get ready.

Q: Can you talk about Urban Meyer leaving at a young age while Paterno is still around?
A: Yeah, it is a bit ironic. Coach Paterno has been here for 46 years but some coaches feel that need to step down at times. Coach Urban Meyer has obviously done a great job there and won a couple of national titles. It's his decision but, I'm just glad Coach Paterno is still around.

Q: What were you doing this time last year during the bowl game?
A: It definitely has changed being the starting quarterback. You need to practice hard each and every day. Last year, I didn't get a lot of reps. Obviously, Daryll (Clark) took the majority of the reps but you have to have a different mentality; you have to be focused at all times. Obviously, you don't have as much free time as you would like to have.

Q: What was your reaction to hearing Coach Meyer was stepping down?
A: I was shocked, actually. I remember him doing it last year. Family is the most important thing on this planet and I think it's great that's the reason [he is stepping down]. But, this is going to be his last game. I'm sure his players are going to be pumped for this one, so we are going to have to come out firing. I feel honored to be playing in his last game and hopefully win against them.

Q: Do you think his players will have added motivation?
A: Yeah, I think they will. If it was Coach Paterno's last game, we would be playing on a different level as well. So, we have to come out prepared and get an early jump on them.

Q: How have things changed for you over the past six or seven weeks?
A: Obviously, your personal life increases a little bit. People know who you are on campus. I try to not pay too much attention to that. I try to keep my head on straight. It has been different over the past year, but I'm grateful for what I have and I'm grateful obviously to be the starter. It is nice to be recognized around town.

Q: How nice is it to be the starter for this game and not have a competition?
A: It is nice. But, these past two weeks we've been throwing the ball around and getting some younger guys reps to see what we have for the spring and for the bowl game as well. These practices are crucial for younger guys as well as us. We need to prepare. I think it's important to see which younger guys step up and buy into what we do here.

Q: What do you think about Florida and the match-up?
A: It's a good football team. Obviously, people are going to say, "how we are going to compete with their speed?" But, I think as long as we control the ball and stay consistent throughout the whole game, it's going to be a good football game. Obviously, Florida has a good defense, so we'll prepare for them and we'll be ready.

Q: How do you think you have done as far as the mental side of the quarterback position and your body language?
A: I think I've done a pretty good job at that. It is more mental than anything. You basically need to know what everyone is doing on the field. I like doing that. I like having control out there and I like having the ball in my hands. And, it's not just a one-day thing, it's a week-long process. You work so hard for that Saturday. All I can say is that, as a quarterback, you need to stay positive and work hard and it pays off on Saturday.

Q: Is it weird for you to hear talk about a quarterback competition in the spring? What kind of quarterback are you now as compared to August?
A: If the coaches decide to open up a competition there's nothing I can really do about it. All I can do is progress as a quarterback and play the way I have been playing. If they decide to stick with me, then that's fine. If they don't, then I'll be ready to accept my role whatever it is. In regards to the quarterback that I am now and what I was in August, I think I'm in more control now than I was back then. I feel that this is my team now and I'm more vocal at practice and the guys are responding. Hopefully, we can put a whole football game together come January 1st.

Q: Is it ironic that people are talking about a competition after winning the job?
A: Yeah, definitely. People are talking about if there is going to be a competition in the spring and what we are going to be doing. I don't think people realize we have one more football game left to play and that's what we are focused on. We are not focused on what type of team we are going to be next year. We are focused on Florida and what they are going to be doing against us. People don't realize that we aren't really thinking about the future as much as we are thinking about the present.

Q: What is the difference in knowing you are the starter going into the game compared to having a competition?
A: It's a lot better, because obviously you are a lot more relaxed and you don't have to keep looking over your shoulder. But, it does feel good that Coach Paterno said that because now I can focus on watching film, practicing, getting better and helping my team prepare for Florida. I'm fortunate that he decided to go with me.

Q: How do you stay focused during a long layoff?
A: It's hard, but the past two weeks we have gotten some free time. Next week is more of an optional week (finals week). It gives us some time to get our minds off of football but, once we land in Tampa, it is going to be all football all of the time. So, next week it's a good thing that we will be able to rest up and not think too much about what's going on, but I think I will be a little bit.

Q: How would you grade your performance on the field?
A: I don't know. I can't grade myself because I wouldn't be able to play as well as I am without the players around me. Obviously, Evan (Royster) and all the running backs are playing real well. I can't give myself a grade without grading our team. If I had to grade our team, I would give us a B. At times, we've played phenomenal and at times we've played bad. I'm really hopeful we can pick it up next week and play four quarters of football.

Q: They only sell a few jerseys in Happy Valley, and they are usually superstars. Have you seen your jersey?
A: I'd be lying if I said I didn't check it out when I was downtown. But, yeah, I hope they are (wearing it). Who wouldn't want to see someone wearing your jersey? A lot of people wouldn't admit it but, yeah, I've looked.

Ollie Ogbu

No. 85 - Ollie Ogbu, Senior, Defensive Tackle

Q: What do you think about playing in a game with a 46-year old coach leaving because of burnout and an 84-year old coach who's not?
A: It's kind of funny and ironic, but that's the way it goes. Some guys can stay in it longer and some guys can't. So, that's just pretty funny in my eyes.

Q: What's it like going into your last game at Penn State?
A: It's bittersweet. I'm looking forward to the future and what life has prepared for me. But I'm always going to miss this place. This is Penn State. This is where I've been for the last five years and I have great memories from here. So I would say bittersweet.

Q: What do you think about Florida's offense and their ability to run the spread offense?
A: Whenever you face an SEC team, you have to worry about their speed. Urban Meyer is a great coach with great athletes so, whatever his scheme, we will have to go out there and play against it. I'm sure he'll have a lot of tricks up his sleeve for us.

Q: Florida has smaller, shiftier running backs than you're used to in the Big Ten, how do you prepare for that?
A: I would say just getting into position to tackle them. Like you said, they are shiftier and they can make plays. I would say just being in position to tackle them and don't go for the big knock out punch. Just wrap them up and live to see another day.

Q: With two weeks to evaluate this season, how do you evaluate how the defense played this year?
A: I would just say guys were out of position. I went back and watched a lot of film and watched our team defense as a whole. We were just out of position a lot of times. We had a lot of young guys and inexperienced guys in certain positions and we just didn't capitalize every single game. That's something we have to work on and next year I'm sure we'll be a lot better.

Q: Do you think you got a better bowl game than you expected and do you have to win it for it to be a successful season?
A: Yes and no. I would say yes, we have to win it, to go on and have a better season. But I don't feel that we were given this bowl because we are Penn State. We are a great team that just fell short a couple times and that's going to happen. Same with Florida. They are a team that fell short a couple times, so I think it's going to be a really good match-up.

Q: Does Jeff Demps remind you at all of Devon Smith, and how does practicing against Devon prepare you for Demps?
A: One thing I've learned is that you really can't match speed until you actually play them. We can simulate some things in a game but it's just how fast you can play. If you have seen it a thousand times in practice, and you can't react to it the way you react then, it really doesn't matter. I would just say they are very similar in how fast they are and how they get out of their breaks but we have to realize they are two different athletes. Yes, given they are both fast but you just have to play them both with aggression because you can't sit back. That's when big plays happen.

Q: How does the extra time between games prepare you and help your defense be in better position?
A: Whenever you have a lot of time to scheme against another opponent or practice, you kind of get the feedback and work on all the things you've done before. And you learn off of what you've done wrong and you do it better.

Q: What does Paterno do for you guys to ensure you are prepared to win these bowl games?
A: We treat it as (pre-season) camp. Yeah, we are at a nice beautiful site and having fun and we go out at times, but when we are at practice you'll see us going after it pretty well. That's what Joe Paterno does. He's a fierce competitor and he wants to bring his "A" game no matter what. So we have two-a-days and then one-a-days and we really get after it. We have really good scrimmages, so we get back into that feeling of hitting people and going all out. We don't go out there and practice a little bit and then play a game. We are down there for two weeks and really go after it. I think that's what separates him from other coaches that maybe go down for a couple days and smile and say hi. He's down there to win a game and that's what he has done.

Q: Do you guys put more emphasis on winning a bowl game than some other programs?
A: Yeah, I think going down two weeks early really helps us prepare and get used to practicing and by the end of the week we are going. We're all full speed. We're clicking and practicing pretty hard.

Q: Do you think you would like to have a little more fun and have the trip be somewhat of a reward traveling down to Florida?
A: My freshman year, I didn't understand it yet, but we've been pretty good in bowl games and now I understand why we practice that way and I'm all for it.

Q: Do you expect the field to be a problem?
A: I think the field worked to our advantage last year (in Capital One Bowl). We really got to slow them (LSU) down, play our kind of football and run the ball and play good defense. The field was muddy but it wasn't that bad. I feel like we had a lot of fun.

Q: How do you prepare for Florida's running backs?
A: Just by watching film. They are both physical and they are both really fast. They have a lot of athletes that can get to the perimeter and score really fast.

Q: How disappointing was the Indiana game for you?
A: Whenever you are representing your team and you make a mistake or you miss a meeting or you're late for something or you're penalized, that doesn't look good on you or your team. You've got to be a team leader and for me to not be in a position to lead 24-7, that hurt me a lot. It wasn't on anybody but me and I take full responsibility. I promised it wouldn't happen again and it hasn't since.

No. 83 - Brett Brackett, Senior, Wide Receiver

Q: This is your final game. Taking that into perspective, are you cherishing every day leading up to this thing?
A: Absolutely. Not only is this my final game but these are my last few days here on campus as an undergrad as well. I'm really just trying to soak it up. We started in Tampa my freshman year with the first bowl game (win over Tennessee), so it's kind of funny going full circle and coming back there to finish things up. We are trying to really cherish it and when it comes to game time, there will be just four quarters left.

Q: Can you talk about McGloin? He kind of came in as a self-made guy. What gave the team so much more bounce with him as a quarterback?
A: I really couldn't put a finger to exactly what it was, but something clicked. I felt like all season we were on the verge of clicking offensively and, when he came in, he did a great job of making things happen for us. He is a great playmaker and he really helped lead us this year.

Q: Did you even see this coming? We saw it in Minnesota, but did you see any of this stuff in practice that gave you the confidence that you were going to be okay?
A: We knew when the quarterback battle was going on all summer and that we had three good quarterbacks that could play at anytime. One of the things that happened was Joe pulled them aside and had a talk with all three guys and said 'Listen, college football is a crazy thing and any of you guys can play at any time, so you have to stick around and be ready.'

Q: How about this challenge with Florida? They're a big name team and they kind of had a similar year as you guys did, up and down.
A: Florida is a tremendous football team. They have a lot of talent and a lot of speed. Hopefully, we can play sound defense and put some points up on the board and we'll be okay.

Q: How about Coach Paterno being in his 46th year while Coach Meyer is leaving at 46 years old?
A: Coach is a very strong coach and we're happy to have him. He's had a great career here so he's been able to stick around.

Q: You've played for Joe Paterno your whole career. Can you put that into perspective?
A: It's not something that I thought would happen. Coming in as a recruit, I thought that he may be around another two or three more years. To be able to learn a lot under him over the last five years has been an amazing experience. I wish I could be here five more years and soak up everything he has to offer. I couldn't do enough to soak up all the information and knowledge he has.

Evan Royster

No. 22 - Evan Royster, Senior, Tailback

Q: Talk about Florida as your opponent in the Outback Bowl.
A: I am excited. Once the bowl games were coming out and I saw that they were a potential team that we could play, I got excited. That was a team that I had kind of circled and wanted to play against. It's going to be exciting to get down there and to play them in their home atmosphere. Anytime you get to play an SEC team, they are going to have a good fan base. It's going to be a tough game but it is also exciting for us.

Q: Talk about taking on the SEC. Do you guys have a chip on your shoulder that you are taking on a team from the SEC again this year?
A: No, I think it's fun to get a team that you wouldn't usually get to play. No matter what conference I think it's fun you get to do that and it's a great time. It creates an inter-conference rivalry and it's pretty cool.

Q: With Coach Meyer retiring at 46, Coach Paterno is 84. Can you believe that?
A: It's unbelievable. Joe has stuck around for so long and he's still got it, so good for him. He makes all of us love the game a little more.

Q: You met Curt Warner the other day. What was that like and what did you guys talk about?
A: It was exciting. I've wanted to meet him. He's a really down to earth guy and he's a good supporter. He said, 'if you ever need anything, give me a call.' I will take him up on that if I ever need to.

No. 28 - Drew Astorino, Junior, Safety

Q: Do you find it kind of ironic that you guys have a coach that is 84 years old coming back and they've got a guy whose half his age that is leaving?
A: Just watching ESPN and hearing Coach Myer and why he's retiring, I respect that a lot for a guy like him who wants to spend more time with his family. You have to respect that because that's his personal decision. I don't really worry about that stuff too much because it doesn't affect me.

Q: I would be great to win the bowl game, but you're going to be one of the leaders coming back next year. Is this about next year, too, and about the momentum coming back in 2011 and looking to the future?
A: Absolutely. A win going into the off-season is huge for the morale of your team, for the winter workouts, and getting everyone excited for the next year. If you go out with a loss, then everything is worse until the next season because all you can remember is your last game. We're definitely looking for a win to boost us in the winter workouts and spring practice.

Q: Can you talk about McGloin and your work against him in practice? What is it about this guy? What makes this guy click?
A: He's just got that swagger. He's obviously a former walk-on and he plays with a chip on his shoulder like he deserves it and he does. He's not scared. He just wants to go out there and play football and make plays. He's not too worried about anything else. He is just trying to make plays.

Q: Given the way the season played out, to be in the Outback Bowl was the best possible scenario. Is that how you guys feel?
A: Yes, absolutely. I feel like it's a great situation for us. We didn't have the best season, obviously, but it's a great situation and we're playing a great team in Florida and that's what you want for a bowl game. We lucked out and we're going to try and take advantage of it.

Q: People have talked about it being a disappointing season in some respects. Would winning a bowl game like this leave you with a good taste in your mouth?
A: You can call it what you want. Obviously, we lost a couple close games to some big time teams. I feel like we're just as good as those teams but they played better for a quarter maybe, or a half. I feel like that was our downfall. We played three good quarters of a football game. We're a great half of a football team, so you saw glimpses of how good we were and then we just wouldn't show it in one quarter. But when you play Big Ten teams, that is what happens. We're looking for a win every game, but playing Florida is exciting.

Outback Bowl Media Day
December 10, 2010
Players' Transcript No. 2

No. 61 Stefen Wisniewski, Senior, Guard

Q: How much are you looking forward to the match-up with Florida?

A: I was really excited to hear we were playing Florida. Big-time program, and like us, they kind of had a little bit of a down year, but it gives both of us an opportunity to end the season on a high note, beating a solid team. So, I'm really excited about it.

Q: Would it feel good to send Urban Meyer out with a loss?

A: I don't care about that. I don't know, maybe somebody else does, but I just want to beat the Gators.

Q: At one point did you think the offensive line changed?

A: I think it kind of happened after the Illinois loss. We really got together and weren't happy with the way we were playing and decided we need to change it. Over that bye week and over the next few weeks, I feel like we really kind of started playing at the level that we knew we were capable of.

Q: This is a big game for some of the younger guys on the team.

A: Absolutely. Those guys need to use this opportunity to really get better and it's big-time for them. I think we get 15 practices so, you can get a lot better in 15 practices. Hopefully those guys are looking at this with an attitude not to just get through, but to really get better.

Q: How much do you think having two new quarterbacks to break in affected the rest of the team?

A: It's definitely a huge learning curve at quarterback, maybe bigger than any other position. You could probably point to that as some of the reasons for our struggles, quarterback's learning, but there are other reasons as well - offensive line learning, just not playing to our best. But those guys, (Matt) McGloin and Rob (Bolden), we saw that they got better as they played more and McGloin, his learning curve did seem very big. He stepped in and played very well, but definitely, we're happy with the way they were playing by the end of the year.

Q: When you look back at the last 3 ½ years, how rewarding has this whole Penn State experience been for you?

A: It's been awesome. It really has been. I loved it. I've been busy, but always having a blast and definitely really going to miss this place, really going to miss my teammates. It's sad to be leaving, but excited to be moving on to the next level.

Q: Do you see the humor in Urban Meyer stepping away at 46 and Joe at 83?

A: Yeah, absolutely. I almost laughed when I heard that. I was like, "he's retiring and our coach is 83 and our coach wants to come back." It's funny, it's ironic, but hey, if that's what he's got to do, that's what he's got to do. I don't think it will affect us too much. They're still Florida and he's still coaching them in this game. Maybe it affects their team a little, but I think we're going to look at it the same way.

Q: After playing another SEC team in Alabama on the road, how do you think it's going to be going down to Florida in a game that's like a home game for them?

A: I don't think it will be too much like a home game (for Florida). I'm sure we'll have at least half Penn State fans (in the stadium) so any home field advantage, I think, won't exist.

Q: You are one of the only players that played as a freshman and will graduate in 3 ½ years. How will this game feel for you?

A: This being my last one is weird to think about. I've played in so many, I think this is like 40 starts now, something like that, and it's weird to think that this is my last one. I'm definitely sad, definitely going to miss wearing the blue and white. It's been an awesome experience and sad to be leaving my teammates and all, but I'm definitely excited to move on to the next level.

No. 19 - Justin Brown, Soph., Wide Receiver

Q: At one point during this time off do you prepare for Florida and get in actual game shape?

A: I'm sure we are going to practice some of that stuff today. We will probably do a lot of it when we get down there next week.

Q: What has the schedule been like since the Michigan State game?

A: We have just been focusing on maintaining being in shape. We weren't actually playing until a couple of days ago. We were just conditioning and lifting weights up to that point and trying to keep our bodies in shape.

Q: Do you think you made a lot of strides this year as a receiver?

A: Yeah, I think I did pretty well. There is always room for improvement, but I think I did okay. I'm a lot better than I was last year.

No. 48 - Chris Colasanti, Senior, Linebacker

Q: Coach Vanderlinden has been a good head coach in the past. Just being a player of his, how good of a head coach do you think he would be?

A: Coach Vanderlinden is a great coach. He is very strict on fundamentals. I think that is the foundation of the game. It's good that he is being strict on fundamentals, but he is also allowing us to play and be safe at the same time. He just has a presence with guys. He not only cares about us on the field, but he also cares about us on a personal level.

Q: Are there any examples of how he is he is personally with you off the field?

A: After the season is over, every year, he has us over for barbeque. We will just watch basketball. Anytime we need him, we can just give him a call and we can just go up there and watch film with him. He always has the door open to talk to us.

Q: Have you heard about any all-star games yet?

A: Not yet, I'm not sure when I am supposed to hear. I would definitely want to play. If I can get that opportunity I would definitely take it. I would just go out there and compete and try my best.

No. 42 - Michael Mauti, Soph., Linebacker

Q: How are you feeling? How's the shoulder?

A: Good, good. I've just been rehabbing the last couple of weeks and practicing normally, so I'm good to go.

Q: Could you talk about how it happened at Ohio State and what the diagnosis was after it happened in the first half? A: Yeah, it was like the first or second series, I think, and I just kind of hit the ground and my shoulder came out of the socket. I played with it until halftime and then it just got to the point where I couldn't really do anything more so they kind of just made that call.

Q: Did you separate your right shoulder?

A: No, I think they said it was a subluxation, so I guess it just came out and went back in. I've been rehabbing ever since and I'm good to go. ... That was the first time I've had any kind shoulder issue. I guess I know what it feels like for a shoulder to pop out of the socket, and it didn't feel good.

Q: When were you officially cleared to play because you made a small cameo in the Michigan State game?

A: I was good to play against Michigan State. I mean it was really just coach's call about when I was going to go in and I guess that was during reserve time or whatever. But yeah, that was the coach's call.

Q: Having missed a few games, are you fresher now?

A: Maybe in my legs a little bit, but it was a long season, I think, for everybody with injuries and stuff like that.

Q: How frustrating was this season for you personally, because when you weren't injured you played really well?

A: Yeah, I mean, injuries are part of the game. I think it doesn't always pan out the way you wanted it to, but you've got to bounce back from injuries. That was really the only thing - the ankle and the shoulder- but there's nothing I can do about it. I've just got to come back and play and take the opportunity still.

Q: Do you ever think back to the Ohio State game and think how things could have been different if you didn't get hurt?

A: I try not to think about that kind of stuff because it will just make me crazy about it. But, I think that in that first half, that was probably the best football we played for most of the year. The game didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, but there's nothing I can do about it.

Q: This is another SEC opponent, a lot of talk about speed again. Does that start to bother you?

A: Anytime you're going to be talking about us, you see that that's the first thing you say, but we've got guys that can move, too. Our bowl record in the last couple of years against SEC teams - we can hold our own against teams like that. But (Florida's) obviously a talented team so we're looking forward to it. It's a challenge for us every year. That's why you come to Penn State so you can play against teams like that in big bowl games, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q: Talk about Urban Meyer's last game and how you think they are going to come out?

A: I mean, if that's our coach, we want to send our coach out with a win so I'm sure they want to do the same. That guy, they obviously respect their coach a lot so that's what I would want to do.

Doug Klopacz

No. 68 - Doug Klopacz, Senior, Center

Q: How excited where you when you found out you would be playing Florida?

A: That was a little bit of a surprise. We knew it was either going to be them or South Carolina, but we were all very excited to hear that Florida was going to be picked as the other team.

Q: Have you taken much of a look at Florida yet?

A: We haven't taken a whole lot of time as of right now. I'm sure next week and obviously the weeks following we will be watching them a lot.

Q: How much more attention will be focused on this game because it will be Urban Meyer's last?

A: I think that's going to bring a lot of extra attention to the whole bowl trip. We're going to try and not let that distract anyone in any way. So, hopefully, we will be able to just look past that and just get done what we want to get done.

Q: How gratifying was this season for you?

A: It was great. It felt great to finally get my shot and everything. I was dealing a lot with injuries and everything. It was nice to finally overcome all of that and get on the field.

Q: What was the best part of being a starter this year?

A: Everything. I'm going to miss everything that goes along with playing. That stadium, the bus rides, the away games, everything.

No. 59 - Pete Massaro, Soph., Defensive End

Q: Talk about this matchup with Florida. Are you excited to get down there?

A: I'm really excited to get down there. They've been having the same type of year that we've had. We both have been getting the same type of criticism from the media. I think it's going to be a great and physical game. It's going to be a great chance for both of us to show how much we have improved.

Q: You are going to be one of the guys coming back. Are you looking to establish momentum from this game for next year?

A: I think this is an important game for us to definitely establish some momentum going into next year. Not only for the guys playing this year, but for the younger guys, it gives them a chance to get better in the bowl practices.

Q: Do you guys as a defense feel like you need to make a statement here?

A: We do need to make a statement. We have not been making enough plays all year. This game we are going to try to go out there and show people that we can make plays and we have the playmakers to do it.

Derek Moye

No. 6 - Derek Moye , Junior, Wide Receiver

Q: How important are these next 30 days as far as practice for the bowl and for next season?

A: I think it's going to be very important for us. We've been out here working and conditioning. We've got a chance to get on the field to practice. We've all been taking advantage of everything. A lot of the younger guys have been trying to get themselves better.

Q: What is it about Matt McGloin that impresses you the most?

A: He's not a typical quarterback size-wise, but he's a good pocket passer. He's a smart quarterback in the sense he goes through his progressions and for the most part takes what the defense gives him and gets the ball out pretty quickly.

Q: What have you seen from Florida's secondary on tape, especially on Janoris Jenkins?

A: I haven't started watching anything yet. I've seen them just a little bit just from being a fan of college football and watching them. He's a good player and I think it's going to be a great opportunity for us receivers to go out there and get experience going against a good corner.

Q: What kind of presence has Matt McGloin had?

A: He's had a great presence. He's really confident. He's not scared at all to get in someone's face and let them know that it's his huddle and he's in control in there. I think that's one of his greatest attributes is his ability to be a leader and to just not be scared and get in someone's face.

Q: Does the offense need a little bit more of that leadership?

A: I definitely think it helped us. With him (McGloin) in the huddle, I think it just kind of gave us a little bit more energy out there. I think it some cases it rubbed off on the defense as well.

Nate Stupar

No. 34 - Nathan Stupar, Junior, Linebacker

Q: What do you look forward to doing down there for fun?

A: The beach maybe, but I doubt it. Just hanging out with the guys. The guys on the team are real fun to hang out with, just having fun and talking.

Q: How do the linebackers view themselves this year compared to past years?

A: From the beginning of the year until now, I think we've grown tremendously at the linebacker position. This year we don't have the two or three-year experienced linebackers like Paul (Posluszny) or Sean Lee or Dan Connor. We have the young guys that started the year now turning into those guys for next year. I think we've grown tremendously as linebackers and that's going to move on towards these next couple practices and to the bowl game and after the bowl game to next season. I have a feeling that you guys are really going to see that next season.

Q: Who has made the most strides at linebacker?

A: I would say all of us. We were all young in the beginning of the season. Chris Colasanti, from last year to now, has really proved himself as a leader out there and has been making plays, making tackles. From the beginning of the season until now, I think he's proven himself to be a real good linebacker.

Q: Given the season, are you happy to be playing in a bowl as good as the Outback Bowl?

A: I'm happy. You always want to play in a New Year's bowl game. Everyone's watching. Everyone's on vacation with nothing to do and watch a football game. You get a lot of people watching you. With our season, I wish we won all of them, obviously, but it didn't happen. We knew it was going to be a tough, tough schedule. We played the cards that we were dealt and this is where we are now. We have Florida ahead of us and that's what we're preparing for.

No. 36 - Collin Wagner, Senior, Placekicker

Q: Does Urban Meyer's announcement change anything?

A: I don't know. I feel like they want to make him a winner going out. As far as our focus, I don't really think that affects us a bunch.

Q: What are you guys doing now to prepare?

A: We're working out four days a week running, lifting, and then practicing on the weekends. So I'm kicking twice a week now. We'll all be getting back into it once we head down to Florida. Next week I'll probably kick three times.

Q: Is there anything that can prepare you for the game-day situations?

A: Yeah, I mean we can, if we put out a defense out there. We do live field goals. That's just like a game-situation. But yeah, it's not the same. They're not coming off the edge as fast. We're not trying to get hurt during practice like that.

No. 9 - Michael Zordich, Soph., Fullback

Q: How do you feel about going into a game with a program like Florida?

A: I'm so excited. It's awesome to be able to go into a bowl game, first of all, and then to play a team like Florida is just something special. I've been fortunate to be here these last three years, playing against USC, then LSU and now Florida. It's a great opportunity, not only for Penn State, but for all college fans just to see these games.

Q: Is it different for you because you have a greater role in the offense?

A: I'm much more excited about this year because I've been playing a lot more this year. I'm excited to get in there and actually play a big team like this in a bowl game. It will be fun.

Q: Can this set a tone for winter, spring and then next season?

A: Absolutely. I was here for USC and we went into winter with a loss and then beating LSU and going into winter last year, you could absolutely tell a difference. A big win like that sets the tone not only for next year, but for winter workout, for all the practices and everything and just the team morale. It kind of just boosts everybody's confidence.

Graham Zug

No. 5 Graham Zug - Senior, Wide Receiver

Q: Given the way your season played out, was getting into The Outback Bowl the best case scenario?

A: Yeah, it's a great opportunity for us. We're playing a great team in Florida and The Outback Bowl a great bowl. This is where I started and now I get to finish my career there. It's a great thing for me.

Q: So you have great memories from Tampa. Talk about that for a bit.

A: It's a great place. There's lots of stuff to do down there. They take care of you really well, they have a lot of activities for us to do so, I'm looking forward to it.

Q: When you heard that Urban Meyer was retiring did you think that added fuel to the fire for the Gators?

A: It's understandable what he's doing. He's a great coach, he's done great things and I think he'll come back someday and coach, but it definitely does make it that much more special for their team to try to win his last game.

Q: How do you guys counter that?

A: We just have to realize that we have to come out - they're going to be playing at their best potential and we have to play at our maximum potential also and just hope that it's a great game.

Q: Do you guys still feel like you have a little something to prove after this season?

A: Absolutely. I still don't think we played as well as we could have, but we are definitely better than what our record shows and this game can kind of show that if we can come out and play to our best potential.

Q: Do you find it ironic that you guys are the team with the 84-year-old coach who's staying and they have a guy half his age who's leaving?

A: I understand exactly what he's thinking, what he's going through. Being a player, being here for five years, you realize how much time it takes to be an athlete here, but for a coach, that's a whole different level. So I understand what he's saying and what he's going through.

Q: Does it make you more amazed that Joe has stayed as long as he has?

A: Absolutely. That's just amazing that he's stayed here for this long and he continues to do a great job.

Q: Matt McGloin was announced as the starter for the bowl game. What is it about Matt McGloin that has made him successful?

A: He's just a fiery guy. He's always excited, he's always pushing to get better. He does a great job getting in there and being a leader and enjoying the moment and taking advantage of it.

Q: As a senior, what can these practices do to help a team in the long run?

A: You can prepare for a long time for one specific team. During the season, you have one week to prepare for a team, but during a bowl game, you have a lot longer to prepare. So it gives us a lot of time to watch film, to practice and just really get every little detail down.

Q: This is going to be like a home game for them and you've played in pretty hostile environments during the season. Does that help going into a situation like this?

A: Absolutely. Playing in big games on the road, that prepares you for a bowl game and basically in their territory, but our fans are great. I'm sure we'll have a big crowd there.




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