FOS Audio: Paterno Addresses Media

Kickoff for Penn State's season-opener against South Florida at Beaver Stadium is still days away, but Penn State coach Joe Paterno already had his game face on at his weekly press conference Tuesday. Starting the proceedings by saying, "Let's go. I'm trying to coach a team," Paterno was clearly ready for action.

Part One: Paterno's Press Conference Audio
Part Two: Paterno Press Conference Audio

Below are recap notes of Joe Paterno's press conference.

Joe Paterno's Press Conference Recap

1. Do you expect to start Jim Shaw at DT and Sales at LB? Will Dan Connor be available?

Joe isn't going to get into the Connor situation. The team hasn't done since last Friday when he spoke to the media so he thinks this press conference is going to be a waste of everyone's time. There isn't anything new he can say.

2. Can you explain the reasoning of allowing Connor to practice but not play?

Joe doesn't want to talk about it. Every situation is different. Every kid is different. He has a responsibility to deal with each kid and each situation on an individual basis and will do what he feels is best based on the circumstances of each situation.

3. Talk about Ethan Kilmer.

He transferred from Shippensburg and is a really good athlete. He's worked hard and has a chance to be a good football player.

4. You talked about Penn State being an afterthought at Big Ten Media Days...

Joe says he didn't say that. Sure the team isn't expected to win the conference, but could be good enough to finish from 2nd to 4th.

5. How big a loss is Mark Rubin?

It's a big loss because he was the only experienced wideout returning. The team has some young kids that they think are going to be pretty good, but you don't know for sure if those kids will make plays for you until they get on the field. Rubin's a big loss. No question about it.

6. Talk about the progress of the Shaw brothers.

Both are aggressive, good athletes and can be good football players. Jim has had a toe problem recently and hasn't done a lot lately, but he's going to be fine. John has done very well at offensive tackle.

7. As you enter your 40th year, what are your thoughts on your future?

Joe only wants to discuss his football team, not questions about his future.

8. Talk about South Florida and the problems they present.

It's a disturbing team from Joe's perspective because they return so many players and can do a lot of things. They have 18 kids back who were starters. They run very well. They have some junior college kids the coaches know nothing about. There's a lot of talent there. They can run, they can do a lot of skill things. They're at a different level now in the Big East and they're going to be a difficult opener for PSU.

9. What has Kilmer improved upon specifically that allowed him to become a starting wideout?

He can really run and jump. He got moved to wideout in the spring because the coaches were looking for some athletes there. In the preseason, he has really taken the bull by the horns and done well. He's a big kid with good speed. He has a chance to be a heck of a football player.

10. Talk about Michael Robinson's progress.

He's had a good preseason. Occasionally, he gets a little out of whack, but overall he has really improved. Joe expects him to be a good quarterback for this team.

11. Talk about how you're preparing the defense to face South Florida's spread offense.

It is a problem for PSU. They do a lot of things. Sometimes they run two tight ends, sometimes they run the spread offense. Joe doesn't really know what to expect from South Florida. The defense will have to be very flexible and understand their assignments in order to stop South Florida's offense.

12. What has impressed you about Tyrell Sales?

Sales is a good football player. The coaching staff worked hard to recruit him and he's worked hard. He hustles, he's tough, he can run. He's going to be a good football player.

13. How do you expect the freshmen to handle playing in front of 107,000 people?

That's something you can't know in advance. Joe thinks he has a mature group of freshmen who will be able to handle it, but it's a wait and see thing.

14. How do you handle the 2nd and 3rd team kids leading up to an opening game?

That's a difficult part of coaching. You have to prepare the team to play a game, and that means that some kids have to play the scout team. They had to put some kids on the scout team this week that Joe really likes. You have to talk to those kids and let them know it's not the end of the road for them and that they have to keep working hard because their time will come.

15. Any plans to have Robinson and Morelli on the field at the same time?

Not right now.

16. Injury update?

Rubin is out. Sean Lee looks like he can practice today. Mike Pawlikowski is also going to practice today. Butler is ok.

17. Are you planning to play Anthony Morelli this weekend?

Yes, because he's ready to play.

18. Why did you move Tim Shaw outside instead of promoting one of the outside LBs to take Connor's spot?

The coaches felt he was a better fit outside. The way the game is played today, you need outside linebackers who can run and cover like safeties, so Shaw is a good fit there.

19. Any idea of when you'll decide which kicker will start?

Joe has no idea. They'll kick a little bit each day this week and then Saturday Joe will wake up and make a choice.

20. Have you decided to redshirt anyone yet?

The coaches have made decisions to some degree, but Joe isn't ready to tell anyone they're going to redshirt yet.

21. How is the defensive line coming along?

The team is all right there. They're progressing well.

22. South Florida gave up almost 400 yards per game last season. How do you think they will challenge your offense?

They run really well. They can come after you. They use a lot of formations. They've got good athletes and they're well coached.

23. Have any of the young offensive linemen stepped up?

Shipley and Harrison have and a couple of the young kids are going to have to play. Antolick is a kid who has been around but isn't well known. He's a bright kid, an engineer. Price has come along very well but he's not a new kid. Wilson, Rush, Reed, and Brown will have to play of course.

24. Talk about the atmosphere of an opener.

Joe is always excited to have a group of kids go out there and see what they can do. The team has worked very hard during the offseason. A couple of young kids are going to have to make some plays. Isaac Smolko, who Joe wanted to kick in the backside a year ago, has had a great preseason, become a leader and will be a real asset to the team.


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