Paterno PC Transcript

See what the Nittany Lion coach had to say at Penn State's Spring Media Day in Lasch Building Friday.

Penn State UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE

April 1, 2011

Joe Paterno

Q. (Inaudible)?

COACH PATERNO: We came in here to talk about football and this football team. (Editor’s note: He was asked what he could say about the Jerry Sandusky situation).

Q. What can you tell us about how the quarterbacks are shaping up during the spring thus far?

COACH PATERNO: How are the quarterbacks? Well, I think they're doing well. Our problem is we try to go get the offensive line to do some things, and as a result we have not been very consistent. But I think they've done a good job.

I think there's a lot of potential there. And I think there's a lot of potential on the offensive line. But outside of a couple of kids, not many have played much, so they're really struggling there on the tight end because of injuries. But we'll see what happens.

Q. Can you talk about the weather, and what impact that's had, being indoors, outdoors? Has that affected you a little bit?

COACH PATERNO: It's amazing. I didn't realize we were over here. So I went to the other field and the sun was out. By the time I got over here and I got out of the car, it was raining. It was raining a little bit out there right now.

Well, thank goodness, I mean, really. You know, I haven't been outside yet, but I was hoping to get outside this weekend. Not because of you guys, but because you can focus and show them a few more things. And you have more room, and you don't have to worry about running into people.

It's funny how many high school coaches we'll have here, but we'll have a sizeable number. Yeah, it's not really hurt us in the areas we need to improve in, because the offensive line doesn't need a lot of room. But we're working on stance and taking off and that kind of thing, so I don't think it's bothered us much.

But we're not really where I want us to be, but I don't think we can blame that on the weather.

Q. Are you considering an open competition for the quarterback?

COACH PATERNO: Yeah, I think there is competition. There are three or four kids here, maybe four who can go. The kid Bolden is who most people are interested in because of the fact that he's on the verge of playing, and he's had a really good spring so far as has Mac.

So I think those two are ahead of the other group, and those two make it tough right now. I'm not sure which one's playing better, and then we have a couple of other kids.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COACH PATERNO: Bolden? I don't know. I think Bolden will be here. That's obviously something he'll work out. I'm certain that he's easy to -- I think he's a good classmate. It's possible. Will he stay? I'll try to convince him to give himself a shot in spring practice and see what happens.

And it's eight days now, so he's doing well. He's a good leader out there. He's got some enthusiasm. Looks like he's having some fun. So I've got my fingers crossed.

Q. Have you talked to him, Joe, about the situation since back in January or are you waiting until the end of spring?

COACH PATERNO: I have not talked to him at all about it. I assume he's coming back. If he doesn't, then he doesn't, whatever's best for him. But we'll talk. I hope we'll talk. If he decides to make any kind of decision, it would take it away from our program because I think he could be a real asset. And I think we're a good program for him.

Q. On quarterback do you have a depth chart rate by the end of spring in terms of one, two, three at quarterback?

COACH PATERNO: No, no, no. I'd like to have two. I don't know whether you want three, but I think I'd like to have two in case somebody's out. Nowadays you have so many injuries. You look at that team today, and you'll see five, six, seven kids that haven't done a thing all spring.

Good football players like Latimore, Gilliam, those kids. Drake hasn't done a thing since maybe two days, so we've got a whole mess of kids.

So I think it will be very, very nervous coming into the season even with two quarterbacks. You always need two or three, and I'm sure we're in a situation where we need that. We certainly need two. I'd like to have three.

Q. Do you want to make that decision by the end of the spring or have it made for fall?

COACH PATERNO: I don't know if we can make it by the end of spring. I think we can honestly say, hey, you're going to be competitive to the ones we think are going to be competitive. I think we can honestly make that statement.

But for us to guarantee somebody's going to be number one at the end of spring practice, I think it's too close for us to do that.

Q. (Inaudible)?

COACH PATERNO: No, I don't think it has to be a clear number one going into summer. I think we have to have a couple of kids that feel like as if they have shot at being number one.

Q. How does Kevin Newsome fit into the mix at quarterback?

COACH PATERNO: I'm not sure your point.

Q. He expressed some desire of playing quarterback as well.

COACH PATERNO: Who is this?

Q. Kevin Newsome?

COACH PATERNO: Oh, well, you're talking a whole different role there. I don't know. He may leave, but I think in all fairness to Newsome, Newsome has been a whole different situation. He's been here a couple of years. So I think that's a little different.

He's got to do a little better job in the classroom. He's a bright kid, but he has a tendency once in a while to not pay attention to the academic part of it. Until he does, I'm not going to count on him.

Q. Because of all the injuries at defensive end, who have you moved there for the spring?

COACH PATERNO: We moved the big kid Jones out at defensive end, and then we have -- I can't pronounce his name, Olaniyan, he and Stanley are playing at one end. A kid by the name of (Indiscernible) is playing out there. But the biggest move we've made is put Jones out there.

But we don't want to make that permanent. We're trying to do that so we have some balance in the spring, and we can get the offensive line some real competition so that they can move, and hopefully we'll have Latimore back. The same way at tight end. I'm hoping we get Jones there.

But, if he isn't back, there is only one kid that's played any tight end, and he's a true freshman. He did a heck of a job.

Q. Can you tell us what your expectations are for Derek Moye coming into his senior year? What kind of year do you think he he's going to have?

COACH PATERNO: I don't know. You know, I think he can be really good, but he's got to stay healthy and a lot of things. He's gets a little sloppy with his studies. But he's certainly got a lot of ability.

Our wideouts are in good shape. I think that part's fine. We know Drake is a big deal, okay. Drake can be a running back, or he can be a quarterback. Drake is just a heck of an athlete. And the other kid is not only does he have the kids and the opportunities, but I think we'll have another quarterback from what we're seeing. But, again, that doesn't do much for the tight end.

Q. How is the running back situation shaping up thus far?

COACH PATERNO: Well, we have Beachum back. He's a good football player and a good all-around football player. (Indiscernible) has a chance to be really good. He's hanging on to the football, and he's got to do a better job blocking and pass protecting.

Green could be really good, but Green, again sometimes it's a little hidden problem with him with going to class once in a while.

So that they understand they have to go to class to play, that's how they get an opportunity to do the things that they can do. I'd like him, but he's a kid that's not played a lot of big-time football, but he's a big, strong kid that's got to learn some things.

Well, we don't have a super guy in there with. But I think we have a couple guys that could end up being really good if they can learn to do some little things particularly in the area of the pass play.

Q. You mentioned the tight end position, and the lack of depth. What is the status with Garry Gilliam? Is he not recovered from the injury?

COACH PATERNO: Oh, Garry will not be ready for next year. He's had an infection. They couldn't do some operations that they wanted to do, and that raises some medical questions that I may not be accurate on. The medical people could tell you better. But that's part of it. They're telling me don't count on him.

Q. Zach Zwinak is he a young fullback that you have next year. He was red shirted last year. Did he get hurt?

COACH PATERNO: Who is that?

Q. Zach Zwinak, the young fullback.

COACH PATERNO: He's been hurt all year. I haven't seen him do a thing. He's again, another one of those kids that won't play. We've not had him. He's a tough kid though.

Q. How's cornerback Derrick Thomas doing?

COACH PATERNO: I missed that.

Q. How has your quarterback Derrick Thomas moved forward after helping out last year?

COACH PATERNO: He's got to go to school first. His lifestyle's not what we'd hoped it would be. He certainly is getting better. He's getting better. But, again, our secondary's pretty solid. He's got a long way to go to beat the other kids.

But Powell coming back to the corner, and Morris and we've got a young kid by the name of Wallace in there. We put Kenney over there. Kenney's a long way off, but eventually he will be. So he's got some work ahead of him.

There are some good kids in the secondary. So we're all right. Defensively if we can get some of those other people back it will help. We're way ahead of where we'd be offensively.

Linebackers, we've got some depth there and a couple of kids out there. A couple of freshmen kids (Indiscernible).

Q. How about Brandon Ware? Has he gotten the weight off of him?

COACH PATERNO: You know, Ware's -- I mean, I'm sorry you brought it up (laughing). He's doing really well. Had a good semester academically, and the player's got ability. He's 320 pounds now, and he was 340, 350. We got him down by 20 pounds. He moves well, and he's got everything. He's going to be a really good football player.

His problem again is academic. We've had to tie him down a little bit to go to class, and he's really trying. He's trying for his own good as well. He's going to be a really good player the next eight, nine years. He's really got a lot.

Q. Could you talk in depth about your offensive line?

COACH PATERNO: I don't know what to tell you. I mean we don't have the first thing on the offensive line right now. We've got a couple good tackles. Stankiewitch hasn't played much at center.

We don't have any depth there. We don't have a good solid first string defensive line yet. That's our fist job. To get us (Indiscernible) Kenney and do what they did last year. Took a bunch of kids early in the year, and they end the year with a pretty good offensive line.

They were solid, didn't make a lot of mistakes. So I think that's what we've got to do step by step with this group. But right now I could not tell you who is going to play and who is not going to play.

Q. What is the status of your kicking game? You lost Wagner. Fera was hurt. He had that appendectomy last year.

COACH PATERNO: Well, there is concern. We recruited a kid that's coming in who is a placekicker. And we've been working Fera at punter, and he could be a really good punter. But he's a little erratic. Some days he goes out there and shanks the ball a couple of times.

But we have the potential to have a pretty good kicking team. I think we have the potential of a good return game as part of the kicking game. But right now we're not very solid.

One of the kids is a placekicker. He's pretty good. He'll be out there if he graduates from high school.

Q. You mentioned earlier today several issues about some kids in the classroom, and there have been issues with kids and police. As a coaching staff and as a school, what's been done about those situations?

COACH PATERNO: Well, the kids -- are you talking about the kids that got in the fight?

Q. Overall the last season.

COACH PATERNO: This is a tough place for kids because they publicize everything. There are a lot of places they don't publicize it. They just let it go. Not only are we talking about the athletes, I'm talking about non-athletes.

We're a small town and it's big news. Whereas opposed to say Columbus or another city like Seattle, Washington I guess, or some of those big places. Los Angeles, I mean, it's not as big a deal.

But we had an incident where a couple of kids got in a fight. Drew Grant tried to run that thing down to find out if there was some underage drinking going on. And somebody hurt somebody. They're machos.

I do the maximum I can, but I don't think -- that doesn't mean that we're not (Indiscernible). We mentioned two kids that are really they want to cut classes and that kind of thing. They don't quite have the understanding that going to class is more important than they think it is.

All you have to do is look at our graduation rate and that part here, but there is a tendency to look at the kids that get a little publicity and overlook the fact that there are a lot of good kids.

Q. Going into the last year of your contract, I'm wondering if that's an issue you feel you need to get into in the off-season or resolve for the end of the year?

COACH PATERNO: Well, what was that?

Q. You're going into the last year of your contract from your extension from '08. How do you feel going into the last year of your contract?

COACH PATERNO: I still don't understand.

Q. You're going into the last year of your three-year extension you signed.

COACH PATERNO: Oh, whoa.

Q. I'm just wondering if there's anything you need to address before the end of the year?

COACH PATERNO: No. I have a three-year extension?

Q. I think so.

COACH PATERNO: I don't know. Hey, when I see what some of these kids are getting and I don't -- you've got to be a lawyer to figure out what's going on. You stay two years you get this. If you stay four years, you get this.

I'm glad to hear I got a three-year extension (laughing). If you don't have it, you're kidding yourself.

Q. Do you have any thoughts or comments on what's going on at Ohio State? Have you had a chance to talk to Jim Tressel?

COACH PATERNO: I really don't want to comment on that. So much stuff going on that I don't -- I don't even know. I don't read the sports pages, particularly during the off-season.

The guys will come in in the morning and somebody will say, hey, so and so was on television last night. One of the kids said so and so knew what was going on, and Jimmy Tressel knew what was going on.

You know, there are things that I always try to talk to my staff all the time about this. We used to say all the time that's not what we do. Don't waste your time thinking about it. Let's take care of us.

We used to say that about recruiting. Don't worry about the kid you're losing, worry about the one you bring in. And we're bringing the right kids in. I tried to live like that. Obviously that had a great influence on coaching at that time.

Q. I know there is still a lot of work to do, and it's six months away. But that being said, do you like this team so far?

COACH PATERNO: Yeah, I like the team. I think we've got a chance to be decent. I think, you know, it depends on a couple of kids getting into school first, and whether we can get some of those kids back. If we don't have (Indiscernible) and Latimore, that's a big two down. Hopefully they'll both be okay.

I think if we can get everybody back to where they're healthy, I think we've got some kids out there that are working hard; they've got some enthusiasm. They seem to be having more fun. There are some older kids in there now. They're not all young kids who need to be told what to do.

So I'm looking forward to it. The potential is there on the offensive line. It's a big offensive line with some pretty good athletes, but they're not ready yet.

Q. Going back to Curtis Drake. How bad is his injury?

COACH PATERNO: Curtis Drake's, I don't -- he lost a year, and he lost another year, so I don't know. He's not going to make it this year. He's not going to help us this year. He's not going to play.

So I guess it depends on his recovery. There again, I think the doctors and medical people can give you a better answer than I can give you. But I'm speculating on something I don't know very much about.

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