On a play in the second quarter of last Saturday's home game with Iowa, Hawkeye receiver Marvin McNutt came very close to the 84-year-old coach while trying to make a catch near the Nittany Lion sideline. McNutt caught the ball but was out of bounds when he did so.
"One of the kids from Iowa came over and a couple kids on the sideline got a little panicky, grabbed me and threw me back," Paterno said Tuesday. "Well, I fought them, and the darn right leg went, and it's still sore. So I went backwards a couple of days. So I was scared to death to stay down there for the second half because I'd be in the way."
As he had done the previous two weeks, Paterno spent the second half of the 13-3 win over Iowa in the press box. In Penn State's first three games, he spent both halves in the press box.
On the aforementioned play in the Iowa game, Paterno was quickly surrounded by support personnel as the action got close to him. Graduate assistant Gus Felder, a former PSU offensive tackle who checks in at about 400 pounds, alertly pulled Paterno backward and shielded him from any possible contact.
You can see the action unfold in our Frame Game Gallery below. These shot-by-shot breakdowns of plays are usually premium material, but in this instance we are offering it free as a preview of the feature.
Despite last weekend's close call, Paterno said he would like to return to the sideline as soon as it is practical.
"I'm hoping I can, yeah," he said. "I mean, I don't like it upstairs. If I can stay downstairs I'd love to. ... I think as long as I can move around and nobody is worried about me, I can be helpful downstairs. The minute I become somebody where, two or three guys (are) watching, and I get in the way — 'Where is he?' — I become a distraction. ... That becomes a problem for the team."
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