Paterno on the Gators

Joe Paterno and Urban Meyer will face off on the football field for the first time on January 1. Preparing for the Outback Bowl isn't their first time crossing paths, though. They have become good friends off the field, and their families have spent time getting to know each other in the past.

Q: "Can you talk about your relationship with Coach Meyer?"

A: "We spent some time together with him and his wife on a couple trips," Paterno said. "He's honest and not one of those showoffs or anything. He's modest. He's got a great feel for the game. I looked at a lot of the tapes of his games because he seems to be one step ahead of people he's playing against. I just like being around him. We've spent some time talking on different occasions on coaching philosophy and problems we have."

Q: "You played in the Gator Bowl against Florida in 1962. What do you remember about that game?"

A: "I have a lot of memories of those. It was a ball game that Florida played really well. They did all the things well and stopped us on the goal line one time. They dominated the line of scrimmage. We felt fortunate we came out of that thing as close as we did, because Florida played well that day and was a good football team."

Q: "What is your injury situation, mostly on linebacker Mike Mauti?"

A: "Mauti will be back. We're going to play without four or five guys, though. We've really been playing without them for the season."

Q: "How did you feel about the end to your season in this bowl game?"

A: "This is an opportunity to take a bunch of kids away from home without their girlfriends around. It's for us to go and work hard with particularly our younger kids to see if we can make them better. We've gotten better. We're not a great football team, but we're getting better all the time. At times, we look like we can play with people. This will be a real good situation for us and hopefully we'll play well enough to make it exciting for the fans. We're playing against Florida, who is one of the best programs in the country."

Q: "How comfortable are you with the quarterback position?"

A: "We're alright at quarterback. We've had problems with the offensive line that's getting better. But I think Matt (McGloin) has done a good job for us."

Q: "What do you see from Florida on film?"

A: "The one thing is the speed. I don't think we can match their speed. We have to be in good position and can't miss tackles. The kicking game has to be solid and we can't turn it over. We've got to play a good, solid football game. But always in the back of our head is the speed they have. We played LSU last year and the same thing scared us."

Q: "What team resembles Florida that you've seen?"

A: "Alabama. We played them our second game. They're very similar in the way they run on offense and defense. At that time, Alabama was very comfortable with their quarterback position. I haven't seen a lot of tape of Florida this year, but I would think maybe that's a problem. I know it was for us early. Alabama was solid and had the same kind of speed and personnel."

Q: "How do you prepare for the three different quarterbacks from Florida?"

A: "You see if there are any tendencies. Is one running a certain offense compared to another? We're going to spend a lot of time on lining up properly and reading things. Their speed makes us need to be in position to make a tackle and then make it. If we miss one, they're in the open and gone. I don't know exactly what to tell you, and I don't know if there is a tendency or if they all don't do the same thing."

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