Full Transcript: Coach Rod's Presser

Coach Rod talks about Dave Molk, Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown, Tate Forcier ... and he looks ahead to the PSU game.

QUESTION: Dave Molk is ready to go. You have your best line out there. There's a chemistry issue possibly. Are you worried about that at all?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: No, not really. David, if he hadn't played in a year maybe. But it was just four weeks ago he was playing. We'll find out. He's going to practice today, and all week we hope. How he feels after each and every practice will determine really what role he can take, whether he can be starting, whether he can play the whole time, in and out, just what he can tolerate. Again, medically, I mean, everything has been cleared for him to go to practice. So I think it is a matter of how comfortable he feels with that, getting back in action. He hasn't done much football-wise. He did a little last week. But nothing with full pads. Tomorrow will be the truer test as opposed to today.

QUESTION: He missed four weeks. Any chance he can be up to speed?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Again, I can judge better after practice. If you see there's a little so-called rust there and all that, it still lingers throughout the week, then you hesitate a little bit. But knowing David, as competitive a guy as he is, he's not just been sitting around. I'm sure he's been doing some things, too, with the trainers. He should be fine, we hope. I can tell more after tomorrow's practice.

QUESTION: If he's back, how will the rest of the line shake out?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Moosman at right guard, then right tackle could be either Mark Huyge or Perry Dorrestein, again, depending on how things go this week in practice.

QUESTION: How much did it help to have the runningbacks take some time off this week?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think it was probably invaluable, particularly for the guys that were banging or going through injuries each and every week, like Brandon Minor. Just to sit out, really sat out all week last week in practice, obviously did not play. Same thing with Tate. He did more in practice, but really nothing in the game. So he hadn't practiced all week for I think at least three weeks. Sometimes we forget about that, but he's still a freshman. If he was a fourth-year or fifth-year guy missing a practice or two, maybe it would not be as critical. When we look back at it, missing those first couple days of practice every week probably didn't help his growth. But he's such a smart guy, I'm sure he stayed in it mentally. But I think having him practice every day has got to help immensely. With Carlos and Brandon sitting out the weekend, should help them. I don't know if Brandon Minor will be a hundred percent, but he should be better than he's been the last couple weeks.

QUESTION: David Moosman said you guys are approaching this kind of as a second season starting with Penn State.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I never talked much about second season because they all count as one. Obviously last weekend, get a chance to rest the guys, starting with one of the best teams in the country in Penn State, I think our guys will be juiced up to play because they understand the importance of it, they understand the intensity we have to play with. Not that we didn't have it last weekend, but they know it's got to be a little different level now.

QUESTION: Do you go into this game any different? 2-2 in the Big-10 is different than 1-3.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I don't think it matters what your record is. You would think every Big-10 game, I guess every showcase game, if you want to call this a showcase game, you better have another level of intensity, preparation and focus. You like to think your guys will do that for every ballgame, since they all count as one. But it is a different feel when you're running down the tunnel I think getting ready to play Penn State.

QUESTION: The Rose Bowl, there's a scenario you can still make it. Have you talked about that with the team?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: No, other than the fact there's a lot of football still to be played. We mentioned that after the Iowa loss, that there's a lot of things could happen. We got to stick together. You know, you see it every weekend, crazy things happen not just in the Big-10 but throughout the country. There are a lot of ways we can control our own fate as far as Bowl games, Big-10 championships. Sometimes you need a little help. This thing's going to play out till the end probably. We just hope we're in it.

QUESTION: Talk about Clark and Royster, what makes them such good players?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: They're outstanding athletes first and foremost. They both can run. Clark has been there. He's a fifth-year senior, but he's a sixth-ear guy because of prep school. I remember him coming out of high school. We recruited him a little bit. He's an outstanding athlete. He's achieved an awful lot. I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He can run, throw, is a great leader. Then Royster, they obviously want to get the ball in his hands. Not only can he run, but he's got great ball skills, and he blocks. You're going to see him playing on Sundays as well. Two explosive athletes. They got two seniors as tight ends. They're outstanding players. There are no weaknesses in all three phases. A typical Joe Paterno coached team that play very soundly and play well. They've controlled every game they've played. And even in the Iowa game, you know, they were in control and had a blocked punt that changed momentum with 10 minutes to go in the game. They've really dominated from standpoint of time of possession, ball control, defense, getting three-and-outs. You look at last week's game, I think Minnesota had 44 plays total in the whole game. So even though the score may look closer, Penn State really dominated or controlled the whole game. That's an issue. We talked about that as coaches this morning. They'll take care of the ball and keep it away from you, get some three-and-outs. Next thing you know, they've got control of it. We've got to be careful of that.

QUESTION: What do they do specifically defensively that gets your attention?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Well, I think in the eight games that we've broke down and looked at, they've had over 80 negative-yardage plays. So that's quite a bit every game that they're putting somebody behind the sticks, trying to get second-and-long, third-and-long. They blitz some. They pick their moments when they blitz. If they feel they're getting pressured, want to change momentum, they blitz. They got an awful lot of pressure with their four-man front. They got a first rounder for sure in Odrick. He may be as good of an inside guy as I've seen in years. We said that last year, too. He dominated us last year. He's even better this year. They've got a lot of great players. Put in long yardage situations, they tackle well, they get to the ball. Defensively, giving up 8.7 points a game. First in the Big-10, maybe one of the best in the country. Probably is.

QUESTION: Last year at the beginning of the game you had some success against Penn State. Is there something to take from that?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I'm sure they studied it. They did a better job in the second half, and we didn't. We didn't execute well. A couple of excellent drives going in. A couple of long drives. We converted a fourth down or two. We felt fairly good at halftime. Second half, didn't execute well. They had something to do with that. They took control of it. We obviously know the challenge in front of us, but we've got to go in there and play with some confidence, know if we execute, hit a few things, get some momentum, things will snowball for us hopefully. It's going to be a game we play all the way down to the end, hope a few breaks go our way. I know their guys will be ready and I think our guys will be ready, too.

QUESTION: On recruiting Daryl Clark…
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I don't remember all the particulars. This is six years ago. I remember him coming out of high school and we thought he would be good for the system we were running. Even though they don't do the same things we do offensively, they've done some similar things with some zone reads, quarterback runs, some shotgun stuff. He's adapted very well to what they wanted to do. He's done a great job himself. You could see his progression just looking from afar his first couple years to the last couple years to where now he's very, very comfortable with what they want to do offensively. I think even more than that, if you talk to anybody in their program, what a great young man he's been as far as being a leader and a captain for them.

QUESTION: You mentioned being concerned about the way they can control the clock. Even Delaware State had 20 seconds on you guys.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I didn't realize that till I just looked at the stats yesterday.

QUESTION: Are you worried about that at all, how your offense runs in that instance?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I worry about us getting a number of possessions. I don't worry about time of possessions or possession time as much as I worry about the number of possessions. I think Minnesota, going back, had 44 plays, eight meaningful possessions. You want to have 12 or 13. That's just opportunities. We didn't have any turnovers Saturday, which is kind of disappointing. You know, you either get -- if you can get extra possessions by turnovers or something like that, that's all fine. But if you're limited in your possessions, you know, obviously you're limited in your opportunities to score and that's a big key for us, getting some three-and-outs on defense, creating some turnovers, getting somehow to where the offense has the ball, not just being able to score offensively but making them play defense, for a larger number of plays than 44.

QUESTION: On Darryl Stonum returning kicks…
COACH RODRIGUEZ: He's done a great job. Darryl is just a second-year player. He played last year as a true freshman, did a nice job. I think he's stronger and more confident now, more comfortable. He's still got things to work on, as all of our guys do. But he's done a nice job on kickoff returns. We haven't hit one in the last few weeks, but he's working hard at that. He's become a big-play guy. What we're trying to do with Darryl and some of the younger guys, what usually happens, is have them play at a consistently high level all the time. Usually younger players, particularly now during the mid-season, is when you really have to fight that. Most high school guys are getting ready for playoffs, they're winding their season down, we're right in the middle of it. But Darryl has done a nice job. He's worked very hard to make himself better. But there's no question for us, you know, we need him, 'cause he's one of the big-play guys we have on the perimeter.

QUESTION: How has Mike Williams progressed this year?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Mike has done well. He's gotten better. We've moved him. He was at free safety and strong safety. He was a little banged up earlier in the year. But I think he's healthier now. I think he's getting more comfortable with what we're doing. Again, Mike is a first-year starter. We try not to expect too much too soon. At the same time we've challenged Mike. Jordan Kovacs has come in and given a lift. When moved Woolfolk back out to corner, we challenged Mike, We're going to give you an opportunity to see what you can do. He played okay Saturday. Again, we weren't challenged that much, he wasn't challenged that much. This will be a big test for him here in the next few weeks.

QUESTION: How much was he hampered?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think we pretty much identified what his strengths and weaknesses were back in camp, try to get him settled in at one position so he can get comfortable. That's where we're at now, just having him at one position, let him get comfortable, see if he could do the job. He loves to play football. He loves to compete. We have to be a little bit more patient because he's playing for the first time. I think as a coach, a veteran guy that's been in the same system or the same defense or offense for several years, you expect more out of him. We expect a lot out of all of our guys. A first-year player, first time in the system, we got to be a little more patient. As long as they're playing or giving effort, we can work on the rest.

QUESTION: Any of the young guys impress you after watching the film?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, we had some guys play pretty well. After watching it, I don't know if we had anybody that we said, Okay, we need to play him above a starter or switch position or anything like that. We looked at it quite a bit. I think some guys are getting more confidence. There wasn't really a situation like, Geez, this guy really deserves to be the starter and that guy deserves to be his backup. We didn't have that jump out at us.

QUESTION: Were you disappointed by that?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: No. You can look at it two ways. You can be disappointed, or you can say, Geez, the starters are proving themselves and showing that they should be out there. That's the part I was pleased about. Our guys would go out there. It was good to play a lot of people. It was great to be in the locker room, see the smiles on all the faces. Those guys really enjoy the experience. The starters took it seriously, too. They didn't just go out there and wallow around a little bit. I don't know if our intensity was at all fever pitch. They went out there, played hard, did what they had to do.

QUESTION: Opponents get in the red zone, scoring 38% of the time. Talk about what you're doing well when people get close.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: They have a shorter field to throw it. It's obviously easier to rally to the ball when you're in the red zone. But I think it goes back to our guys have not panicked. When teams have moved the ball, even though you like to get three-and-outs, not get them down there, at least when we've gotten down there, they're still playing, they're still playing hard. They're still trying to make plays, trying to minimize the damage, so to speak.

QUESTION: What do you attribute that to? Is that Greg's personality?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think it's the team's personality really. Again, it's just, whatever, six, seven games we've played, they have the personality where they like playing. They enjoy going out there. They're not going to have things affect them adversely. We've had a little adversity. They've battled through it at times in games. I think that's the makeup of this team. Not that we're always going to play great, but they're always going to play. Our guys will always play.

QUESTION: On the play of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb at TE.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Coach Magee has challenged them to block better. They've gotten bigger and stronger. They did a nice job in the weight room. They have the physical ability to do it. We've challenged them. Sometimes for them it's harder when we ask them to block in space. The two hardest things to do in football is to tackle in space and block in space. Our tight ends, sometimes they're attached and they have to block on the line of scrimmage. Sometimes they're out wide. That's a difficult assignment. They've done a really good job of getting better at that. They've still got a ways to go. Particularly they've done a lot better job. Out in space, out in the field is where we got to get better at it.

QUESTION: Your offense, do you want a pass-catching tight end or a blocking tight end?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Both (smiling). Yeah, that's the challenge, you want athletic guys that can catch the ball in space and also block in space. When you attach them next to a tackle, they can work on the double-teams or handle those defensive ends a little bit. We have the guys athletically that can do it. Now it's just, you know, a matter, again, they're both sophomores, getting those guys to do that on a consistent basis. They work really hard. It's a good group.

QUESTION: Is that rare for a tight end to be able to do both very well?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think you're seeing it more and more. If you go looking not only in college football, certainly NFL, you're getting these athletic guys. You don't see those 265-, 275-pound just blocking tight ends a whole lot anymore. You're seeing more athletic guys that are 250 that are going in and out and using the same personnel groups, but different formations. That gives you a whole lot of variety. We're playing tight ends more the last couple years, and certainly this year, than we ever have in this offense. It's because of the guys we have. As we go forward, we'll continue to do that.

QUESTION: On his feelings about Stevie Brown talking about scenarios by which Michigan could make it to the Rose Bowl…
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I don't care, as long as they're focused on getting better every day. I don't think our guys are sitting around looking five weeks ahead or three weeks ahead, hopefully not even four days ahead. I want 'em looking at what's ahead for today. Again, if I sensed they were focusing or their concentration was not in the moment, was further ahead, I'd rein them in, say, ‘listen, what are you guys thinking about?' I don't think they wake up thinking about the Rose Bowl or anything further than today, at least I hope not.

QUESTION: How has Stevie Brown been able to adjust so easily at that position?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think he's comfortable there. He's one of our better football players. He's one of our own two seniors on defense. He's been one of the most consistent players we've had every week, not only on defense but on special teams. He understands his role and he's done a good job with that. You know, I wish he had more years, I wish we had more of him.

QUESTION: Since Boubacar was suspended, how many times have you met with him personally?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Just about every day. I've caught him in the office several times. I'll do so again today. His is a day-to-day thing. It's up to him when he comes back. All I do is enforce the decisions he makes.

QUESTION: Talk about James Rogers' performance Saturday.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: He was okay for one weekend there. Again, we didn't do a whole lot scheme-wise to try to confuse any of those guys. He just went out there and played a base defense. I thought he competed pretty well. We're going to keep him over there, see how he progresses, because he played 30 some plays on defense and he played some on special teams. Hopefully he can give us a lift there.

QUESTION: Do you expect Martavious Odoms back at punt return again?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yes. But we're still going to rep Greg Mathews and Junior Hemingway as well.

QUESTION: Can you talk about Ohene Opong-Owusu?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: They got a big lift out of the Big O running down there. It was almost like the movie Rudy, we were yelling for his name, he was in the back there, ran on the kickoff team. The first one, I didn't know if he got a tackle or he got a JOP, I call it a JOP, jump on the pile. But then the second one, he got a nice hit on a guy that was trying to block him, then he got a piece of the tackle. I think everybody on the sidelines was focusing in on him. They were excited for him. He was a game captain as well.

QUESTION: Why do you like about him so much?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think our guys have an appreciation for the guys that have been in the program for four or five years and they've been on scout team and they've worked just as hard as everybody else, but they just don't have an opportunity to play much. And when they get an opportunity to play, I think they cheer for them. We had several guys in his case that were third- or fourth- or fifth-year guys that had a chance to go in for the first time. They can say not only did I play for Michigan, I played at Michigan, you know, which is a little different. I got a chance to play in the Big House. To me, it goes back to as coach, I want our guys -- you know, you have a lot of goals for our players: obviously, graduating with a degree, winning game, winning championships, all that. But I think the number one thing as a coach I want to look at is that they truly enjoyed their experience of being a student-athlete here. If they call 10 or 15 years down the road, call back, say, Coach, I'd do it all over again at the same place with the same people, then I know truly what we're doing in the program is right. So that experience, that student-athlete experience, I can't emphasize enough how important that is to me personally, and I think to our entire coaching staff and to our players. So you can say what you want about the game, all that, but in that locker room, after that game, to be around those guys, you know, you could see that the Ohene, even ] Brandon Graham, those guys, they really, truly enjoyed that experience, and they'll be talking about that for quite a bit.

QUESTION: Jasper Howard in Connecticut, did you talk to your players about that?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Haven't met yet, but I'll mention it. It's just a terrible tragedy. I didn't know him. But I know Randy Edsall very well. He's a good friend. I'm sure what he's going through and his team is going through is very tough. It's a coach's nightmare from the standpoint that I think you all realize how important these kids are to coaches and to their teammates. I mean, they truly are like members of your family. And every coach, I know Randy does a great job of that at UConn, of fostering that atmosphere. So when you lose a member of your family, it's devastating. I know Randy in his experience at the University of Connecticut, they'll do all they can to help those young men get through it. But it's a young man's life is taken away. We'll talk to our team just briefly about it, then move forward. I'm sure everybody, every coach in college, professional, high school, whatever, understands what that does to your program and how you have to come together to go through it.

QUESTION: Do you talk to your kids just about going out?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Quite a bit. You know, I don't know the circumstances. What's important is how you react to it. If there are any lessons to learn, that can be later on. But I'll talk to our team about, you know, how much everybody should appreciate the opportunities we have, being around each other. You know, anything could happen at any moment. It's just like the tragedy at the marathon. To have three people lose their lives doing something that they love, you never know. That's why you choose to try to be as positive as you can. I mean, there's so much negativity out there anyway. I think if you can enjoy the experience and have some positivity in your life and all, that because who knows when it's going to be taken away from you, like those three gentlemen in the race. Jasper Howard, there's a lot of people hurting. From what I understand, from talking to some people that knew him, he was kind of a joy of life to be around, uplifted everybody, all that. I'm sure that's what they're thinking about now.

QUESTION: You said you're close with Randy. Have you reached out to him yet?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: No. I've tried to call him. But I'm sure that everything has been kind of crazy. But I will get ahold him. His wife Eileen and Rita were pretty close as well. We got to know each other in the Big East. Spent a little time together at various functions. Of course, we scheduled a game, I don't like scheduling with friends, scheduled a game with them next year. Randy is an outstanding football coach. He and his staff and the people at UConn will do all they can to deal with this tragedy.

QUESTION: Being a former walk-on, I believe it took you a couple years.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: It was my second year. I got lucky.

QUESTION: A lot of walk-ons, it takes them five years. Jordan Kovacs, he's starting for Michigan in his first year.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: His rise up the depth chart was amazing. To go from where he went from a student body tryout, to not only being on special teams, being a starter, happened really, really quick. I got lucky because it took a couple guys leaving, a couple guys getting hurt, moving to another position, and a guy getting hurt in a game for me to get in. It was like a whole circumstance after thing to get in. Got an opportunity. Jordan has truly earned his way up. Didn't necessarily take injuries. It was performance and all that. But he's made the most of it. He's proven to us that he can play. But there's a lot of walk-ons that are doing that. And I hope we have a Jordan Kovacs story every year. We're going to try to do that with our walk-on program.

QUESTION: There's some coaches that maybe don't appreciate walk-ons. Do you feel you have more of a soft spot than some coaches?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think so. Again, I think a lot of coaches will say it, maybe more lip service. I think not just me, but several members of my staff were walk-ons, as I was. Some at smaller schools, some at big schools. I think you do have an appreciation for what they're going through. I can sit down and talk to a potential walk-on and his family and say, I've been there, know what you want. All you want is an opportunity and a chance. You want to be treated like everyone else. If you're good enough, you'll play, and if you're not, you'll keep working until you get there. I think having that experience myself, particularly at this level, I wanted to go to the biggest school I could afford to and handle and get to, see if I can make it. I didn't want to have any regrets and wonder what if, what if. There's a lot of great football players at small colleges. I coached at small colleges. I wanted to see if I could do it on the big stage and go from there. I can go from a lot of personal experience to help us in that regard.

QUESTION: What members of your staff were walk-ons?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Tony Gibson was a walk-on. Rod Smith, even though he had other scholarships, got him to walk-on, which was quite a coup. He was a pretty good quarterback. Trying to think who else. I think Tony Dews got a scholarship to Liberty. He was one of the fortunate ones. Bruce Tall, that was a small college. Bryan Wright, quality control guy, was a walk-on. Let's see. Who else? Might have been a couple other guys. Brad might have been one. I'll have to ask Brad. He might have been a walk-on, too.

QUESTION: You have a lot of walk-ons that are playing big roles. Is that something that's happening because you're the coach?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think I've always had a good walk-on program here. Over the years, there's been quite a few. We just try to continue that and maybe try to enhance it a little bit. We've been very active as coaches, my position coaches and I, of trying to identify guys and then giving them opportunities. But the young men are the ones that made it. It wasn't anything that I did or anything the coaches did. We just provided an opportunity. But the Will Heiningers, Kevin Leaches, Jordan Kovacs, Mark Moundros, they've taken that opportunity and made themselves better players. Will Heininger is a great example. He's a local guy. We said, Listen, you got to be a little bit bigger, a little bit tougher, we're going to put you at this position. He got in the weight room. He loves football. He started studying. First it was on special teams. Now he's a second team defensive player. He did all the work and made it all happen.

QUESTION: Seems like every week you talk about getting him more carries. Is this what you expected when you said that?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. This past weekend was. Him and Mike Shaw both, did some nice things. Had a few misreads, he and Mike both. That's come to be expected. I think he did a nice job running. Got more and more comfortable as the game went on. Did a really nice job.

QUESTION: Can you imagine coaching as long as Joe Pa?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: No. Not even close. I don't know if any coach would stand up here and say we plan on doing it as long as he did. He and Bobby Bowden, it's amazing. I don't think it ever will be duplicated. You're never supposed to say 'never.' But the number of years at the same institution, as long as he's done it, is quite remarkable. I know times have changed. It's different now. You have different roles and responsibilities as a head coach now as opposed to 20, 30 and even 35 years ago. But the consistency, not only consistency, but a consistent high level that Coach Paterno has done, is just remarkable. There's been bumps in the road here and there. Very few of them. I know a few years ago, they had a couple bumps in the road during the season. Everyone was questioning. Coach Paterno and his staff stayed the course. Pretty soon they're winning Big-10 championships and going to the Rose Bowl again. I think his record and Bobby Bowden's record that they've set will be there for a long, long time. They're going to have to hire somebody when they're 12 and hope the person stays till he's 50. I don't think that could happen. So it's quite remarkable.

QUESTION: You talked about that game when you were a player. When you were a player, did you look at him and say, Man, this guy is old then?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I will tell you a story. It was '84. We hadn't beat 'em in 27 years. We were fortunate to get that one. That was a good game for us. But my wife was a cheerleader. She grew up in Jane Lew, West Virginia. Afterwards, she went up to Coach Paterno during warmups, said, In the spirit of good sportsmanship, would you mind taking a picture with my cheerleaders and myself? He was like the biggest celebrity she had ever met. He was a celebrity. This was 1984. Joe Pa with a group of cheerleaders, he agreed to do that. We still talk about that, still laugh about that, on trips. Whenever we see each other, he still gives Rita a big hug and laughs about that, when Rita tells the story.

QUESTION: You have the picture?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: She kept that picture in her wallet. May still have it. Kept it right there in the wallet. There's the big celebrity, Joe Paterno and me, 1984. Yeah, he was an icon then. That's just a few years ago, what, 25 (laughter).

QUESTION: Who is Rita's favorite Big-10 coach?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: That's a good question (smiling). At the time, of course, weren't in the Big-10. But, yeah, she never asked to take a picture with me at the time, so... Yeah, quite remarkable. He still is sharp. It's funny, because a lot of guys, talking about he or Bobby Bowden, maybe they're not as actively involved as they used to be, but I know they still are. Coach Paterno, I enjoy when we sit around Big-10 meetings, just let him tell stories. You can learn an awful lot from just sitting around and listening to him talk football, a lot of the things he talks about.

QUESTION: Is it better for the conference that he hasn't retired yet?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Well, I mean, if he retired, their program wouldn't be as good, it would be better for us. But I think certainly he brings a level of notoriety, and he should. I think he's built a program to the point that even if he ever does decide to step aside or retire, they're still going to have success, because they have things built in, which Joe Paterno has built. He's built that program to where it sustains itself. But I think he still has a great impact on them. They're doing a great job in recruiting. They're still obviously playing at a high level.

QUESTION: Did you vote Alabama or Florida No. 1?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I'm not going to tell you till the end of the year. I think there's more than two teams that are playing -- there's probably three teams that are playing like the No. 1 team in the country, maybe more. It's going to be interesting this month, that's for sure.

QUESTION: Are you surprised Iowa is so high in the BCS standings?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: No. I just saw it briefly. I know it was the first BCS standings. But, again, I think everybody worries about where everybody else is at. There's still, what, five or six games left, maybe more that counts, championship games. There's going to be a lot that's going to get sorted out by the end.

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