Joe Paterno PC Audio File

Hear what the Nittany Lion coach had to say about this week's key road trip to Wisconsin. Paterno gave the lowdown on the Badgers, talked about his offense and defense, and much more in his weekly meeting with the media. Also included is Scott Cole's recap.

Hear Joe Paterno Here.

Below is a Scott Cole's recap of Paterno's press conference:

1. Has Wisconsin's offensive philosophy changed with the coaching change?

No, Joe doesn't think so. The years he has watched Wisconsin, they have always been a solid, basic, tough football team. They keep coming at you. They're very patient. Joe has not seen it change. He sees them as the kind of Wisconsin team that has been successful through the years. They run hard. That could be Ron Dayne playing tailback. The quarterback is very careful with the football. The offensive line is big and strong. It's a typical Wisconsin team. Their defense isn't real fancy. They're fast, they anticipate things. If you're going to beat them, you've got to beat them. They're not gonna beat themsevles.

2. Evaluate the performance of Norwood, Williams and Butler and how much have dropped passes affected the offense?

Obviously, dropped passes are going to affect you. Joe is reluctant to overemphasize the dropped passes at Purdue because the wind was tricky. The three kids mentioned are normally sure-handed. The receivers haven't made as many big plays as the coaches would have hoped, but he doesn't want to criticize them because they hustle, they block downfield and do the things asked of them. They'll get better. That wind was really tricky. They had to stare down the ball to get a bead on it.

3. Have you ever had an offense that could move the ball so well and then can't score?

There's no doubt about it, they've had trouble scoring. They haven't gotten any easy ones. Teams have made them go the length of the field to score. Joe doesn't know if it's inexperience or if people get too anxious when they get down there. They have simulated red zone situations constantly at practice, so Joe doesn't know what you can do. He won't criticize the play calling because he thinks that it has been good. They've made a series of mistakes. The offense has moved the ball fairly well but they haven't done as good a job in the red zone as they have to do.

4. How much does it help when you're playing a team that has played the same opponent recently, as Wisconsin played Purdue two weeks ago?

Obviously, it helps. It's a two-way street though because Wisconsin will see the way Penn State played Purdue. It's not an advantage. Both squads get exactly the same opportunities.

5. Your offensive line got more surge at Purdue. Is that because they've been playing together for a while now?

Maybe that has something to do with it. They had a great week of practice last week after having been overworked the week before Illinois. They practiced a little bit better and maybe Joe was smarter and didn't work them as hard. They did get more surge. You have to be careful though because Illinois is a better defensive football team up front than Purdue is. Illinois held Wisconsin to less than 100 yards rushing last week.

6. What can your defense take away from the shutout?

Joe doesn't look at it as a shutout. He looks at the way people played to see if the players did what was asked of them. Joe does think they played well. They haven't given up a touchdown in two games now. They are not giving anything up easily and now they're creating some turnovers. Overall, it was a good game.

7. The team fumbled 4 times and had 9 penalties for 80 yards at Purdue. Is that a problem or more of a one-day occurrance?

Sometimes, you fumble. The one they lost, BranDon Snow hasn't carried the ball much. The penalties? They had one penalty against Illinois for 5 yards. Then they go out and have 9 against Purdue. Why? Joe doesn't know. The coaches are on the team's back about not taking penalties in practice all the time.

8. Wisconsin is very experienced. In a game where the talent is relatively equal, how much of an edge is experience?

Experience provides poise. You've been in situations before, so you don't panic. You can play faster because you anticipate things. Wisconsin is a very poised, aggressive football team that plays fast. It's tough to play fast and get that poise if you don't have the experience. That comes with experience. Experience will give you 2-3 plays you wouldn't have had if you didn't have experience.

9. Talk about Dan Connor.

Dan's a fine linebacker. Actually, Paul and Dan are outstanding linebackers. He does everything well. He was a heck of a high school linebacker and comes from a football family. Danny's a big time player.

10. What makes Wisconsin;'s defense so tough and how does it compare to your defense?

They're similar in that the linebackers are good and the down guys are persistent. The secondary guys are always in position. They know what they're doing and you have to beat them. Joe goes back to the same story. They're a coach's team. They're well-coached. They do things well on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game. They don't make bad adjustments to things. They keep everything in front of them. They're a good defrense.

11. How has Bret Bielema changed the Wisconsin team during the transition from Barry Alvarez?

You don't see much difference in the football team. Joe wouldn't know whether Barry was on the sideline or Bret is there. Bret has a lot of poise and self-assurance and his team is playing that way. Barry knew what he was doing when he named Bielema as his successor.

12. Was there a chance that this game would be played at night? Did you deny Wisconsin the chance to move this game to a night game?

The home team has to make those decisions prior to the season if they want a night game like Penn State did against Michigan. When Joe was asked about playing at Wisconsin at night recently, he decided to deny Wisconsin that chance because he didn't want his players to get back home the next day.

13. Will Bell and Wallace get more reps on offense and are you throwing the ball into the end zone as much as you want to?

The weather has had something to do with that. Joe doesn't see any problem in the offense that would prevent them from throwing the ball into the end zone. They tried a couple of times last week and the wind pushed the ball well off course.

Bell and Wallace will play more when they're ready. They haven't done much with Wallace on offense lately. He's been strictly on defense.

14. Tony Hunt is getting closer to the Penn State career rushing mark. Did you ever envision him being this good?

The coaches had to fight like dogs to get him. He was a heck of a high school running back. He's a tough runner, he can block. He doesn't have great speed, but he has enough. He's a heck of a back.

15. What are the advantages of a coach being in a system before taking over as head coach?

For Joe, he hadn't even graduated college when he came to Penn State. He had to go bck to Brown to finish his senior paper. He didn't intend to coach for long. Joe didn't know the first thing about coaching when he got here. The coaches on Rip Engle's staff taught him how to coach. Joe was with class people. Rip was one of the most underrated coaches that ever coached. Great patience, very innovative. Many times, Joe would get into an argument with another assistant and Rip would tell him to slow down. He didn't have all the answers yet. Joe lived with Jim O'Hora for 11 years and spent so much time talking football with him. Most of what he learned about coaching came from those people.

16. How has Austin Scott adjusted to the redshirt?

He's done great. He's on the scout team and is trying to make the first team defense better. He's been great.

17. Bobby Bowden has come under a lot of criticism lately. Have you talked to him?

Joe has thought about calling him to tell him to hang in there. Youn can't pay any attention to the criticism. Bobby kbows how to coach. He has a very young football team. They played without their starting quarterback last week and had to play a freshman. He doesn't need Joe's advice. He'll come out of it. He's a great coach at a great program.

18. Talk about the Penn State-Wisconsin series.

Joe can't think about past games in the series. He has to worry about this Wisconsin team. He couldn't tell you who has won more games or even what the score of last year's game was. He has to get ready for a football game on Saturday. Wisconsin is a good football team and his team will have their hands full.


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