MARK BRENNAN'S RECAP
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was in a good mood when he met the media in a rare after-practice session Thursday, joking that when he heard the press would be on hand he was tempted to move the meeting from Holuba Hall to the windy outdoor practice fields.
There was no reason to be tense, of course. His 9-1 Nittany Lions have a bye this week before their regular-season finale at Michigan State the following Saturday. With that in mind, practice has been light this week.
We try to keep things in perspective that we're a week away from a ball game, I don't want to kill 'em, the coach said. But we need a big week next week.
To prepare for it, he is giving the players off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The coaches will use the time to hit the road recruiting. In the meantime, there have been a couple of news items that surfaced for Penn State this week, and with no Tuesday press conference and Paterno skipping his Thursday call-in show, this was a chance to tie up some loose ends.
Paterno acknowledged that Temple has approached Penn State, requesting permission to interview defensive coordinator Tom Bradley for its soon-to-be vacant head-coaching position. Paterno said he thinks Bradley will be a heck of a coach, and that he is free to talk to the Owls.
Whether Temple is the job for him , Paterno said before pausing. That's a tough job. He added that he advised former Lion assistant Ron Dickerson against taking the job when it opened in the early 1990s, but Dickerson took the job anyway and struggled.
If Tommy comes to me and asks, I'll say, 'Go talk to them. It won't hurt you. The exposure might be good.'
Also breaking this week was the fact that Louisiana Tech has opted out of a scheduled game at Beaver Stadium next season. Paterno said since most major college schedules are set, PSU will probably have to dip into the Division I-AA ranks to fill the void.
On the injury front, Paterno said freshman wideout Justin King has been limited in practice this week by a mild concussion sustained against Wisconsin last weekend. He is expected back for the MSU game.
He'll be all right, the coach said.
Thursday was not Paterno's first exposure to the media this week. Earlier in the week, he spent time doing one-on-one interviews with Bob Costas (HBO) and John Saunders (ABC). The former will air Friday night and the latter during halftime of all ABC national games Saturday.
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