1. When you watch film of Notre Dame, do you see Charlie Weis' imprint on this team?
Joe doesn't look at it that way. He looks at Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija along with McKnight. He's sure that Coach Weis has some kind of input with reads and so forth, but you look at the kids that are playing the game. Brady Quinn is obviously one of the best QBs in the country. With the wideouts they have, they're one of the most balanced teams in the country.
The defense looked better against Georgia Tech than they did last year. Obviously, you have to give some credit for that to Coach Weis.
2. Have you changed your opinion on the OL's performance and are you considering any changes to the starting lineup?
No, Joe hasn't changed his opinion and is not planning any changes to the lineup. Joe is disappointed that they got a little flustered and became tentative coming off the football. They're going to be a good offensive line eventually, but they're not there now and Joe expects them to have trouble at Notre Dame this week with the road crowd and hearing audibles and such.
3. How did Paul's knee hold up and how do you feel he played?
Paul played well. He's a good team leader in there and kept the defense going. Joe doesn't look at stats. He looks at how well a kid plays. Joe gave credit to Luke Getsy for playing a smart football game and felt the defense played a good, solid football game.
4. What's the reasoning behind limiting access to your players this week?
Penn State starts school today. Normally, they don't practice the first day of classes. Guys are running around trying to figure out where to go. To add another burden where they have to talk to newspaper people is something Joe didn't want to do. They're going to have a regular Tuesday practice today and go 2,-2.5 hours. If it were the old schedule, they would only practice for 50 minutes or so.
5. Did you ever consider letting the captains talk this week? Does any particular Penn State-Notre Dame game stand out to you?
The first part he already answered. The captains are 5th year seniors and have a lot to do. They have to be able to concentrate on their roles. It's their job to keep the young guys focused during the week despite the fact that they are running around this week getting used to their class schedule.
Joe doesn't have time to look back. Penn State has played so many good games against Notre Dame. He has been looking at a lot of film of Notre Dame's games against Georgia Tech, Ohio State and USC.
6. Updates on Jim Shaw and Austin Scott?
Scott is fine and they have to make a decision about whether they'll play him this year. If he's not going to make a big impact, they shouldn't play him.
Jim Shaw should be ok.
7. Comment on Tim Shaw's performance at DE.
Shaw can really run and you want to have him in there instead of putting a young DE in there who doesn't quite know what he's doing yet.
Shaw played well Saturday and will continue to play in that role.
8. When you were growing up in Brooklyn, were you a Notre Dame fan or was that just for the Irish kids?
Every Catholic kid knew Notre Dame was something special growing up. Joe tried to get his son Dave to go to Notre Dame when he was coming out of State College HS. It didn't work out but he would have liked for one of his kids to attend Notre Dame. It's a great school and playing out there is a lot of fun.
9. How many bugs and kinks get worked out between the first and second games?
A good football team improves more from the first to the second game than in any other game. No matter how well you prepare in the preseason, there will be mistakes made in the first game. There's a significant value in the first game that you can build on. If you're going to be a good football team, you've got to be significantly better in your second game.
10. How does the hype for this game compare to other years?
Joe hasn't got the slightest idea. That's for the media to decide. The Lions have a tough football game ahead of them and they're going to play it. Notre Dame is one of the better football teams in the country, and Penn State has to get ready to play them.
11. Comment on playing in the environment at South Bend.
It's a football game. When you play in the Big Ten, the environments on the road are something you have to deal with. It will be the same kind of enthusiasm that Penn State sees when they play on the road in the Big Ten. If playing this kind of game doesn't excite you, then you're in the wrong business.
It's a big game in a stadium that has a fantastic tradition.
12. What goes into the decision to play or redshirt Austin Scott?
He got hurt, which changed some of the things they wanted to do on offense. Joe wants Austin to keep practicing so heâ€™ll be ready if someone gets hurt. Rodney Kinlaw didn't practice for 8 days as well and suddenly they had two freshman tailbacks in there who will eventually be pretty good football players.
They have to play it out and see what happens. There are still 11 games left in the season.
13. Is the decision to move Tim Shaw to defensive end a permanent move?
Tim Shaw did a good job and Joe wants to keep him in there. He's really a down guy that they're playing up. Joe thinks they have the right people in the right spots and they'll get better as they go along.
It's a cat and mouse game. People will start to get an idea of what Tim can and can't do from that spot and they'll make adjustments.
14. Why didn't Patrick Hall play and what did you think of the other TEs?
Patrick Hall and Joe have a couple of problems. The other tight ends were all right, not great. Anthony Morelli did a good job of getting rid of the ball to the right people. The tight ends need to get better.
15. Expand on your earlier comment about the mystique of playing at Notre Dame.
There's nothing to expand on. They've played there before. Penn State is playing a really football team that has a lot of tradition and a lot of pride. They have to go out and play.
16. Explain the decision to move Elijah Robinson from DT to OG.
They have enough depth on the defensive side of the ball and needed people on the offensive line.
17. Talk about the difference in the wide receiver corps now versus a few years ago when you didn't have the playmakers.
The coaches knew they needed to get some people who could make plays. Derrick Williams has made a big difference. Deon Butler is one of the most underrated players on the team. Joe knew Jordan Norwood was a good athlete from watching him on tv.
Penn State has good wideouts and Morelli can get the ball to them. Joe thinks they're going to be fine there.
18. Do you have any information on when the Minnesota game will be played?
Joe doesn't have any idea, but he doesn't want to play on Thursday night if they can help it. He thinks the Big Ten should tell Fox to play both games on the same day.
19. Talk about Brady Quinn.
He's got a big arm, he's smart. Coach Weis has refined his game some, but Quinn was a good quarterback before Weis got there.
20. Were you pleased with Williams, Wallace and the young guys on special teams?
Derrick Williams is a heck of a football player. They put Wallace back there because he could run and they'll go from there with him.
21. Notre Dame hasn't been invincible at home in recent years. Can you comment on that?
Joe has no idea what the reporter is talking about.
22. Does the rotation on the OL mean you haven't set on 5 guys yet?
Joe doesn't know how much they rotated. The game was on the verge of getting out of hand at 17-0 and then they flubbed a couple of plays in the kicking game. Auletta and a couple of the other kids practiced well during the preseason and earned a chance to play. Joe wanted to get a couple of the backup kids in the game to see if they were better than the kids ahead of them. The coaches know they have work to do on the offensive line.
23. How did the secondary play against Akron?
Joe thinks they played well against a very good quarterback. The only pass that hurt them was the trick play where the halfback pitched back to Getsy. Akron's a good, solid football team that is well coached.
But, they don't have the athletes at the wideout and tight end spots that Penn State is going to face this week. They'll have to see whether the secondary is ready for that.
24. What can you take away from the ND-GT game?
It was an interesting game from the standpoint that there were no turnovers, both teams had the long field most of the time which kept the score down. Notre Dame could have put the game away earlier, but they had a couple of penalties which hurt them. Joe was impressed with how precisely both teams executed, which is a credit to the coaching staffs.
25. Were you involved with the scheduling of this series with Notre Dame? Why is it important to play Notre Dame?
Joe was probably asked 10 years ago what he wanted to do about 2006 and said he wanted to fish. Joe thinks they should play teams Notre Dame, Nebraska, Alabama, Boston College, Syracuse and other teams like that. They're playing one of the top teams in the country and Joe thinks that's great. He's excited about going out there.