FOS Audio: Paterno PC

The Nittany Lion coach talks about the Michigan game and looks ahead to the Fighting Illini.

Listen to Coach Paterno's comments and read a recap of his press conference below:

FOS Audio: Paterno's Press Conference

1. Are you concerned about what the last few weeks may have taken out of your team?

Joe is always concerned. The team has worked hard and played hard in some emotional games. The coaching staff has to be careful not to work the team too hard in practice this week.

In fact, they cancelled practice yesterday because the team didn't get back from Michigan until early Sunday due to some computer problems with their plane.

2. How will the loss of Derrick Williams affect the spread offense and will Jordan Norwood play this weekend?

Jordan Norwood will go full speed tomorrow after taking today off. Of course the loss of Derrick Williams will hurt because he can do so many things and make so many plays. But, they have other talented young people and they'll plug some guys in and go from there.

3. Will Justin King play on offense more with Williams' injury?

Justin has been ready to play more on offense, but they also need him on defense. You have to be careful not to practice him too much during the week to get him ready to play on both sides of the ball.

4. Can you re-evaluate the special teams play on Saturday and the decision to kick to Breaston at the end of the game?

Since Breaston ran it back to the 45-yard line, it is a decision that Joe would like to have back. In hindsight, he probably should have kicked to their other returner, although he's good as well. What Joe didn't want to do was kick a line drive and give them the ball at the 40 yard line.

5. Talk about Michael Robinson's effort on the last drive.

It was a great effort by Michael. He played a very good game overall, not just on that drive. It was a very good football game between two teams determined to win it and two quarterbacks playing well.

6. Because your older players have been through some losing, do you think they have a better understanding of what Illinois is going through?

Joe's not sure where that question is coming from. Joe thinks that Illinois will be ready to play this weekend and his team has to be focused as they have been all season in order to win. If the players are not focused and turn the ball over, Illinois will beat them.

7. Evaluate the special teams play this season.

Overall, they've been pretty good. The only part of the game that has not been where Joe would like it to be is kickoff coverage. Kapinos has been good overall.

Kelly missed a couple of kicks in the first half at Michigan, but you have to expect that with a freshman occasionally.

Joe would like to see a long punt or kickoff return, but that's an area where you have to give the other guy credit. They are playing teams that kick the ball well and hustle downfield in coverage. The special teams unit is doing as well as they probably can do.

8. Is this a trap game?

Yes, Joe is concerned about Illinois. Illinois is a good football team as is every team in the Big Ten. They had a week off, just as Ohio State did before they played Penn State.

The Illini won't be tired this week because of the bye and they'll be at home, so Penn State will have to be careful.

9. Is there anything that your offense can't run with Williams out?

Joe already said that they have some young kids that are good and can step in. They will make some adjustments based on what Illinois is doing defensively, but they are not going to change the offense.

10. Talk about Michael Robinson's progression this year.

Joe thinks Mike has had an outstanding season outside of the turnovers early on. He has run and thrown the ball well in the clutch. Michael Robinson has been really good.

11. On the last play at Michigan, can you talk about what coverage you were in?

The coverage scheme was fine. Michigan just made a good play.

12. What's the extent of Norwood's injury?

He has a bruised foot. The doctors felt he could practice today, but Joe wants to give him a day off and get him back into practice on Wednesday.

13. How much do you rely on your captains to make sure the morale doesn't fall?

They will have to come to the front along with the seniors. Joe is sure that the captains will get everyone looking forward rather than dwelling on the loss.

Everyone seems more concerned about what the coaches and players are going to do after this loss. Joe is more concerned about what the team has to do this week to get ready to play Illinois.

14. Elaborate on some of the kids who will play with Williams out.

Butler, Norwood, Perretta, Kilmer, Golden, Sargeant, all of those kids will play. They have 4-5 wideouts that are pretty good. It's not like Derrick Williams was the only good wideout.

15. Would you like to see a mechanism in replay to allow a coach's challenge?

Joe won't touch that question with a ten-foot pole.

16. Are James McDonald and Kevin Cousins possibly going to get playing time with Williams out?

James McDonald has been hurt, but he'll start practicing this week. He is good enough to play, but Joe would like to redshirt him as well as Cousins. Cousins is going to be a good player, but McDonald is a little bit ahead of him at this point.

17. What will you do to restore Kevin Kelly's confidence?

Kevin will be fine.

18. What was your reaction to his two-point conversion?

Joe didn't know that Kelly was that quick. He kept yelling for Kelly to throw it. After the play, he told Kevin "nice play kid."

19. Talk about the atmosphere of the home games so far.

It's been a lot of fun so far. The fans have done a great job, especially the student body. Everything about this season has been fun so far except for the loss this past weekend.

20. Talk about what the freshmen receivers have brought to the table.

As a group, they have played very well. As a group, the coaching staff is very pleased with them. Joe doesn't like questions like this because once he starts naming specific players, he's afraid he'll forget to mention someone who has played well.

21. What do you expect to see from Illinois?

They spread you out all over the place and run a lot of formations. Ron Zook has done a good job there just as he did at Florida. Joe expects Illinois to play a good tough football game. They'll spread the defense out and will be aggressive defensively.

Joe expects them to play like Florida did when Zook was there.

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