Paterno: Pulling out all tricks for UM

Its no coincidence that before becoming an assistant coach at Penn State 51 years ago (even before my parents were born) Joe Paterno was on his way to a career in law. Joe Pa sure does know how to ramble from both sides of his mouth. And with that give his team a little extra lift.

Just consider the way Paterno has been dishing out compliments towards the University of Miami in anticipation of their arrival Saturday night at Beaver Stadium.

Listening to old Joe, anybody would think the Nittany Lions are getting ready to face the 1927 Yankees, the 1976 Big Red Machine and the early 70's UCLA Bruins basketball team all on the same night- with their hands tied behind their backs.

Example: "Miami might have the greatest team ever to visit us here in the 51 years I've been here," says Paterno. "They are so talented I can't think of a position where we might have an advantage over them."


"That Dorsey kid is just dynamite. He can do things offensively I've never seen."

Forget it. The Nittany Lions have no shot. They might as well go home for Labor Day weekend and not bother with showing up in their home stadium were 106,000 fans will await them with open arms.

Did I mention that it is the season-opener, the time of year when hope is eternal for the 117 Division I programs. If this were held in the middle of the season, maybe home field advantage wouldn't matter too much.

But it's opening night, throw out the fact that Penn State was 5-7 last year. They will be ready to play. Maybe Joe did, but let's not forget that Paterno has had all summer to prepare for the Hurricanes. That really means something.

We all know Joe is getting up there in years, but he couldn't have possibly forgotten that he is approaching a milestone for the ages.

Just in case Paterno has suffered some memory loss, with 322 career coaching victories he is one shy of catching Bear Bryant for the most wins by a Division I coach. I would think that means a little something to Paterno. Not to mention his players.

As if his players needed any more motivation for a game that has been sold out for weeks, will go to most of the nation on national television and will be played under the lights, the Nittany Lions will be walking tall along side fallen teammate Adam Taliaferro. Taliaferro will never play football again as a result of being paralyzed last season while making a tackle in the final meaningless minutes of Penn State's game against Ohio State.

But Taliaferro has been working for over six hours a day for the last year with only one thing in mind- walking. And Taliferro will not only do that this Saturday night. Taliaferro will run out with the rest of the Penn State football team as he leads them on to the football field.

I can't possibly think Paterno doesn't have an emotion-filled bone or two in his body. But if he doesn't, I'm sure the 65 football players that he will be coaching on the sidelines certainly do.

And just a little remainder: Players may change and years go by, but for some reason Penn State always plays well against Miami (not to mention that something weird tends to happen when these two meet). The names of Chafie Fields and Pete Giftopoulos might ring a bell to all Miami fans. Or two or three.

Like any seasoned politician- or good lawyer for that matter- Paterno is just adding fuel to the fire in that low-toned Brooklyn accent of his. There is just no possible way even Paterno himself could believe half of things he is saying.

There is no question Miami quite possibly has the best team in the nation. But that doesn't mean the Hurricanes have to win on Saturday. A good percentage of the game of football is played on pure emotion. Penn State will have loads of it on their side. How will Miami respond?

So save us the trouble Joe. Enough already.

About the only person that might buy into Paterno's stroking off the Hurricanes is one Lou Holtz. But I think Holtz at one time in his life had aspirations of becoming a lawyer.

Canes Time Top Stories