Paterno PC Quick Recap

Saturday was Media Day for the Penn State football program, after after an early-monring practice session, then players interviews and photos, Nittany Lion coach Joe Paterno met the media. Audio files are included, too.




1. What do you think of Patrick Humes and where is he in the place-kicking mix?

Patrick Humes was not invited back to the team because the coaches felt they had a couple of kids that were better. If they don't work out, then perhaps Pat will be asked back. So far, the young kids have done well enough.

2. Assess the tailback situation.

It's difficult to evaluate where everyone is right now because we've only practiced for four days. Scott looks like he's come back well, with an all business attitude. Joe thinks Scott came back ready to make a move.

3.Can you talk about E.Z. Smith's situation?

E.Z. Smith is not allowed to be on campus until school starts. What's going to happen there is unknown. Joe is unhappy with the way the university has handled this. Joe had thought EZ would be allowed back after the end of the second summer semester, but they didn't see it that way.

4. What do you think of Jim Shaw?

Joe likes both the Shaw kids. They have good size, good strength and they work hard all the time. They're the kind of kids you can win with. Joe thinks both of them are going to be good football players.

5. Overall view of the wide receivers, especially Jim Kanuch.

Joe thinks the wideouts will be better. It's difficult to tell for sure until they have some scrimmages and hit those kids. Jim Kanuch has a chance to be a really good wideout but he has to get some more confidence. Joe is optimistic about the wideouts in general because they have more speed.

6. Talk about the offense matching up against the defense.

The defense is going to have a real challenge this year. Last year, teams weren't ready for some of the things Penn State did. They are certainly in position to have a good defense though. Offensively, they have to be better and make more big plays.

7. Talk about Anthony Morelli's progress.

Joe thinks he has a chance to be really good. Anthony has to come to the front. Joe has to make him realize that he will be a prominent player this season. He will be behind Robinson but he can't be satisfied with that. He's had a good four days, and Joe is encouraged by what he's seen with Morelli.

8. Did Joel Holler's decision to transfer surprise you?

The coaches sat Joel down and told him he had to get it in gear in order to make an impact here. They compared his work ethic with that of some of the great OLs that Penn State has had and told him to think about things. He came back and said he wanted to transfer. Joe thinks Joel is selling himself short.

9. Talk about Michael Robinson's progress as a quarterback.

Robinson is going to be a good quarterback. He's had a chance to practice at the position through the winter and spring and he's going to be fine. He really wants to be a leader and he'll do a good job.

10. Would you consider your wide receiver corps to be inexperienced?

That's a fair evaluation. The coaches will have to wait and see how well the young kids handle some difficult situations.

11. Is it more taxing for you physically at this stage being out in this heat?

No, it's all mental. Joe feels good and likes the squad. He's enjoying coaching this team. The coaching staff has stayed together. Joe thinks the program is in great shape. The only problem is building up the experience of the younger guys.

12. Is it possible that you would put Anthony Morelli in a game in a competitive situation?

Anything's possible. Joe thinks Anthony has a great arm and has a bright future at Penn State. Beyond that, he doesn't have a clue how it's going to play out.

13. Any reaction to yesterday's court ruling?

Whatever the university wants to do is fine. They called Joe and asked what he wanted to do. He told them to do whatever they felt is best. Joe knows what other people are making and he knows what he is making. As far as Joe is concerned, he's going to leave it at that.

14. Is there a specific game or situation that will tell you whether you have a special squad or not?

Joe doesn't know. This is not going to be a special team right away. It takes a while to get that good. Joe thinks the ingredients are there to have a good football team, but they are not there right now. It's all conjecture right now. Maybe some game along the way, the coaches will walk off the field thinking they have a pretty good football team.

15. This team seems to be less tolerant of losing. Did you have to challenge the players to take that attitude?

Joe didn't challenge them about that specifically. He thinks that most people aren't as good as they can be. Joe is trying to make them understand that where they end up this season is up to them. He is going to bust their butts. Is that a challenge? Yeah, but it's up to them to accept that challenge.

16. How much improvement do you need from the OL?

They have to be stronger and more consistent this year, but none of it matters until the offense can get defenses out of 8 in the box. The offensive line was not good enough last year and will be better this year, but how good they are depends on whether the offense can stretch teams out.

17. Are you happy with Austin Scott's attitude?

Yes, he's been good. He's still battling that ankle injury and is not 100% yet, but he looks good so far.

18. How much of a factor is the tight end going to be in the offense?

You'd like the tight end to be a big part of the passing game because it contributes to a balanced offense. Smolko should be the guy because he's got the most experience, but he has disappointed Joe a little bit. Perhaps now that he's married he will change. It's got to come from Smolko, Pat Hall and maybe Jordan Lyons. The team isn't home free with the tight end right now.

19. Where are Tyler Reed and Andrew Richardson on the depth chart?

They're both at the bottom of the list right now. They have to prove to Joe that they belong on this football team. They have to step to the front, take their punishment, and bust their butts to get back on the field. So far, so good.

20. Are you concerned with the youth of your kickers?

Yes. It's one thing to make a kick in practice and another in front of 107,000 people.

21. Joe thinks the offense will be a little bit more wide open this year. It's all relative. You can spread people out all over the place, but if you can't beat people one-on-one, it doesn't matter. You will see more of a spread offense from Penn State this year until they determine that it's not going to work.

22. Can a season like last year help this team?

Joe has to remind the players that they were so close to being good last year. Nobody on the coaching staff came out of last year thinking they had a bunch of dogs. They have had a string of bad luck over the past couple of years, but this team has a chance to be pretty good.

23. How tough do you think South Florida will be?

They have 18 starters returning from last year. Joe has looked at a lot of tapes of South Florida. They have a lot of good skill people, they're well coached. Penn State will have its hands full.

24. Are you confident that BranDon Snow can handle the load at fullback?

Joe thinks that BranDon Snow can be a big time college fullback. Has he done it yet? No, he hasn't had a chance yet. Can Joe tell after four days of practice how he will end up? No.

25. Have you changed your outlook on football or has the way the game is being played changed you?

Joe gets a kick out of questions like that because the 1959 team with Richie Lucas.

26. Austin Scott admitted that he took things for granted when he arrived here. Is that common for a freshman to come in and do that?

Every kid is different. Austin Scott didn't have his family with him when he came here. They had moved to Texas. To his credit, Austin sized up the situation and decided to work harder. They have a couple of high profile freshmen this year that are different. They have a strong work ethic.

27. Will Reed and Richardson be able to move up the depth chart to become the starters by South Florida.

Reed and Richardson will have to work hard, but they probably won't have enough time to move up from the bottom of the depth chart to the starting role by South Florida. Joe hopes they will work to move up and contribute, just as he hopes EZ Smith will do when he returns.

28. Will Justin King play both ways this season?

Joe hopes he doesn't have to, but he probably will play both ways this season. He'll probably play a little more offense than defense.

29. With the first three games at home, talk about pushing the team to win.

Joe hopes that the players are pushing themselves. He hopes they understand that they have to be ready to play each week. South Florida and Cincinnati are good football teams. Joe hopes the players understand this is a big season for the program. The people here are part of a tradition, and no one wants to let that go without a fight.

30. Talk about Mark Rubin.

Mark Rubin is the one guy who has some experience at wideout. He has to have a leadership quality. He has to challenge people to get better. Rubin's a good man.

31. What about the leadership factor of the captains? Can the squad feed off of that?

Joe hopes so. He has handled captains differently through the years. This year, they went back to the way it was done in 1968-69 when Reid and Smear were elected. These players were ready to elect captains. Alan, Miochael and Paul were all ready to lead - they were already leading so making them captains was a formality really.

32. How important is it that Derrick Williams and Justin King enrolled in January and can make an impact in game 1?

It's important for all the kids that came in in January including Jordan Norwood and Kevin Suhey.

33. Is Scott Paxson in the same situation as Reed and Richardson?

He's in the same boat. He told those players that he is disappointed in the way they acted because they've been around a long time. They have to show Joe that they have matured and are committed to the team.

34. What is wrong with Lavon Chisley's right leg?

Joe hasn't talked to the doctors much yet, but Dr. Sebastianelli said he thinks there might be a slight tear. Joe is also concerned with Chisley academically. They have to wait and see how his grades were from the summer.

35. Would you say this is a favorable schedule since you have 7 games at home?

Joe thinks it's a fair schedule. Is it a favorable schedule? He doesn't know. Joe Tiller is upset about having to bring Purdue back to Penn State again this year. Joe is upset that he has to go to Michigan again and that Ohio State has a bye week before playing Penn State. You can't gripe about the schedule though. It's a fair schedule.

36. Will Jordan Norwood see a lot of playing time this year?

It depends on what kind of formations Penn State runs. If they run a lot of 4 wide receiver sets, he'll be in there. If they run 2 wideouts, 2 running backs and a tight end, he won't.

37. What kind of season do you expect from Jeremy Kapinos?

Joe thinks he'll be one of the best punters in the country. He has a strong leg, he can place the ball, and he's a good athlete back there. Joe isn't worried about that spot, but he is worried about the placekicking.

38. Any other injuries besides Chisley?

There's a freshman walk-on who they're worried about, but other than that, they've been ok. The team hasn't done much yet though. Injuries are bound to happen once they get into two-a-days in full pads, but right now they're in pretty good shape.

29. Can you give an overall assessment of the team's attitude?

Joe thinks they're all right. Overall, he's upbeat about where the team is right now. Does that mean they will x number of games? No, but he's enjoyed the team through the winter and spring. They had a great winter conditioning period and a great spring practice. They had one of the best summer periods they have ever had. Everything to this point has been positive.


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