FOS Audio: Paterno Press Conference

Hear what the Nittany Lion coach had to say as he prepares his team to face No. 1 Ohio State in Columbus this weekend. Also included is Scott Cole's written recap of the press conference.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno met the media Tuesday to talk about his team's upcoming showdown with No. 1 Ohio State. Hear what he had to say in our audio file below.

Hear Joe Paterno Here.


1. Have you patterned your use of Derrick Williams after another player? Are you satisfied with Derrick Williams' production in his current role?

Joe is not trying to pattern his use after anyone. They're trying to get him the ball in situations to best use his talent. They ask Derrick to do a lot of things and he's done well. He's a good football player.

2. What benefits do you expect to get from the Notre Dame experience going into another big road game?

Joe doesn't look at it that way. How much benefit do you get from getting your ears kicked in? They played hard at Notre Dame, only punted the ball twice, had 25 first downs. You learn every time you play, every down, if you're a football player. Joe doesn't know what specific things were learned with the Notre Dame game.

3. Have the new rules changed the game's tempo?

It can change certain situations, but doesn't affect the entire game's tempo. It affects how you use timeouts and when you use them. The kicking game is affected since the clock starts when the ball is kicked off.

4. Assess AQ Shipley's development so far.

He's getting better. He didn't play much last year and when he did play, it was mostly on defense. He's getting more confident in what he's doing. The responsibilities for the center have changed now that you see so much zone blocking. Shipley not only has to be a good athlete, he has to be a very aware athlete. He's becoming that.

5. How tough a decision was it to play Jim Shaw on the injured ankle. How is Gerald Cadogan?

Cadogan is fine. He practiced yesterday and should be 100% for Saturday.

Shaw practiced all week and was fine. If they could have controlled situations a little better, they would have played Shaw more. He should be fine this week and will play. There's a difference between being injured and being hurt. Some kids can't play hurt, but Jimmy Shaw can. He's a tough kid.

6. Does the media dwell too much on the affect a crowd can have on a game?

Joe doesn't dwell on it much. Once the game starts, you forget where you're playing and just concentrate on the things you worked on all week. The crowd can have an affect though. If you're not playing well and the crowd encourages you, it can raise your level of play. The crowd will help Ohio State for certain. Columbus is one of the loudest places to play in the country, louder than some other stadiums with bigger reputations for crowd noise. His team will have to be able to deal with the noise.

7. Ohio State lost 9 starters on defense from last year. Comment on their play and on James Laurinaitis specifically.

Laurinaitis played really well, but he played last year as well. Joe saw him on film in the Notre Dame game and didn't realize who he was until he asked his assistants. Give some credit to the Ohio State coaches. They make their kids believe in what they're doing. They're always lined up correctly. They take the ball away and they recruit great athletes.

They have a lot of kids that can run and some down linemen who have played a lot. Pen State recruited Pitcock when he was a high school senior and now he's one of the best football players in the country.

8. What are your thoughts on the possibility of playing Minnesota on Thanksgiving weekend and were you consulted?

Joe was consulted and appreciates Graham Spanier and Tim Curley going to bat for him. He explained that the players would miss classes on Wednesday and Thursday if they play on a Thursday night and then would get home about 5 AM on Friday and it would be tough for them to go to class under those circumstances. He definitely doesn't want to play on Thursday night. It would be unfair to his team going on the road in that situation.

He hopes the game is played as scheduled on October 7. Joe thinks it is an unfair advantage for Penn State if they get a bye week out of this situation since no one else in the league gets one.

9. What is your plan for stopping Ted Ginn?

Joe's going to have someone put something in his food the morning of the game. (laughs) They also have Gonzalez, Robiskie, who was a kid that PSU tried very hard to get, a tight end who's a big time player and a running back who's a big time player. You just have to pray that your kids can do well enough to be in the game late.

10. What things are you happier about and still concerned about heading into Ohio State?

At Notre Dame, they turned the ball over too many times and Notre Dame didn't turn it over once. They had a couple of chances to make plays and get turnovers and didn't. There are still some issues with the field goal situation obviously after the missed kicks against Youngstown State.

Whether his players are good enough to handle a team as good as Ohio State remains to be seen. Joe just wants his players to show some poise, play hard every play and see what happens. They're going to be playing a superior football team, one of the best teams Penn State has faced in the past 5 or 6 years. They're extremely well coached. They adjust very well. You don't fool them. It's a game. Go out and play. Have some fun and who knows what can happen?

11. Is there more of an emphasis on the road of getting off to a good start and taking the crowd out of it?

You'd like to be able to do that but sometimes the other team won't let you do it. Joe comes back to the coaching. Give credit to Ohio State for making adjustments and not allowing you to do the things you want to do. Just getting off to a good start won't be enough. Ohio State is too good for that. Even if Penn State jumps out to a two touchdown lead and the crowd is out of it, all it would take is Smith throwing one ball to Ginn and they're back in it.

12. How important is it to outplay Ohio State on special teams?

Penn State won't outplay them on special teams. They have to fight like the dickens not to allow the kicking game to lose the game for them.

13. Did you talk to Kevin Kelly after the YSU game and how is his confidence?

Kevin's been good for the team. Joe didn't talk to him much. He just has to go out and practice. He's been a good competitor. Joe doesn't see why he should change.

14. As the season has progressed, have you thrown more at Anthony Morelli in pracrtice?

Anthony's only problem is he's so confident in his arm that once he hits a coyple of big passes, he wants to throw deep and forgets to look at his checkdowns. Joe is pleased with Anthony's progress and thinks he's on his way to becoming a really good quarterback.

15. How can you contain Troy Smith?

Everyone says put pressure on him. Sure. Then you have to catch him. Plus, you have to worry about Ginn and Gonzalez. They're just going to go to work in practice this week and see what happens. The defensive line is working at it. They're going to have to play a lot of people against Ohio State because they're going to get tired.

16. Talk about Tony Hunt's development.

Tony's a fine, solid back. He can do it all, catch the ball, run hard and block. He came here with Scott who got a lot more publicity but he kept his mouth shut, worked hard and now he's one of the best backs in the country. He's not flashy. They don't throw the ball to him enough and before Saturday, they didn't give him the ball enough in the running game. They need to get more production out of Hunt going forward.

17. How has the offensive line progressed?

Joe thinks they have gotten a lot better. The Akron game was somewhat distorted because of the defensive scheme that the Zips run. At Notre Dame, they had 25 first downs and outrushed the Irish. They have done very well in pass protection. They're getting better. Whether they can handle what Ohio State is going to throw at them remains to be seen. They're going to be challenged. After all, Levi Brown is the only one of them who has played much.

18. Do any games you've coached against #1 teams stick out?

Obviously, the ones you win stick out. The games against Miami and Georgia to win national championships stand out. The game against Alabama when Penn State was #1 and they got stopped at the goal line stands out. They should have won that game.

Joe doesn't have time to worry about that. He has to worry about Troy Smith and the cast of characters he has with him.

19. Put this rivalry into perspective.

Joe thinks it's always been a big rivalry for Ohio State. In 1978, they went out to Columbus after losing a recruiting battle with the Buckeyes for Art Schleister. The coaches had a bet going that Schleister would get the start but Joe thought Woody Hayes would start a true freshman over his dead body. The first play, the Buckeyes' veteran quarterback went in there and Joe called up to the booth to tell his assistants that he knew a little more than they did about this stuff. The next play, Schleister came in and played the rest of the way. Joe never heard the end of it, but he had a good team and the Lions beat Ohio State pretty good that day.

20. How has Jim Tressel looked in making the transition from Divisoon I-AA to Division I?

Joe was friends with Jim's dad. They were both the Coach of the Year one season in their respective divisions and went to a couple of coaching clinics together. When Jim was at Youngstown, he and Joe talked a lot. Joe thought about trying to get Tressel to come to PSU as an assistant coach. He's a good coach, well-organized, disciplined. He has bright people around him. His brother is a defensive line coach at Youngstown State now. Joe has always admired Jim Tressel. He did a tremendous job at Youngstown State and is doing a tremendous job at Ohio State.

It's going to be a heck of a game. Joe hopes his team can stay with the Buckeyes. It's going to be a challenge to stay with them.


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