Paterno PC Fast Wrap

With PSU enjoying a bye, Joe Paterno did not have his weekly press conference this Tuesday. But he was on the Big Ten media teleconference, and talked about the heat coaches take from web sites, the conference and the BCS, how much longer he will coach, and much more. See our Fast Wrap for details.

1. How do you feel about the way Charles Rush has played this year?

Charles has played well. Very consistent, very hard worker. He's a good student as well. He's great to have around. He's not a great football player, but he's solid.

Joe never thought Rush would be a great defensive player. He's got great bulk and shock. When Penn State recruited him, they wanted him on offense, although he may not have understood that. Charles has had a solid career.

2. It is disappointing to see a coach like yourself or Joe Tiller create a legacy of success and then have people on web sites calling for you to be fired when your team struggles?

No, you just have to be realistic. That's the way things are today. Joe doesn't have an email address or a cell phone, so he doesn't see the negativity. A lot of people out there don't know what they're talking about. You just have to ignore what people say about you.

3. Ohio State is the only Big Ten team to play for a national title in the BCS era? Does the Big Ten have too much depth?

The Big Ten is in a little bit of a disadvantage because there are so many good teams. Joe disagrees with commissioner Jim Delany about this, but he wishes there was a playoff. Joe thinks three or four Big Ten teams would be in a playoff most years.

All Joe can do is get his team ready for the next game and if Penn State wins, they'll have the opportunity to play for something. Joe isn't sure what, but that's not anything he can control.

4. Why do you think the team has played so much better this season?

The team has made some plays this year. Last year, they were close, but the team wasn't settled in a couple of spots and needed a couple of kids that could catch the ball downfield. He said they also had a kicker who let them down in key spots.

They have played great defense last year and this year. Penn State was in every game last year. After last season, the coaches went out and recruited some kids that could make plays downfield and that has made a difference.

5. What is Barry Alvarez's legacy at Wisconsin?

It's hard for Joe to enumerate all the things Barry has done for Wisconsin. He's done a tremendous coaching job there. They've won three Rose Bowls. He has kept his coaching staff together. His teams have been consistent. He's just been a great coach and a good friend.

6. Did you have a chance to visit with him after Saturday's game?

Joe spoke with Barry before the game. Alvarez said he might come back when the Wisconsin basketball team plays Penn State this winter and Joe wants to take him out for dinner and get some advice.

7. Jay Paterno said he thought you could coach another 20 years. Do you feel the same way?

Joe never felt his age would determine how long he would coach. He feels good. He goes to practice, can run around and scream at people. He still does the things he did when he was a younger coach.

Joe will continue to coach until he feels like he's had enough.

8. How much time is spent on recruiting during the bye week?

He is giving the team most of the weekend off and some coaches will hit the road. The team is close to 6-7 more kids that they want. They've been careful to only recruit kids that would improve the team. “We're very close to doing some things we need to do to make ourselves better.”

They'll spend some time, particularly at the end of the week, on recruiting. Joe will let the assistants go out on Friday and Saturday to high school games if they want to see a kid.

Rip Engle always used to say forget about the recruits. Take care of the guys they've got. That has always been Joe's philosophy with his coaching staff as well. They know pretty much who they want and the kids being recruited know that Penn State wants them.

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