SCOTT COLE'S QUICKCAP
1. How are you addressing the problems on offense, especially the red zone?
The obvious parts are that they haven't caught the ball sometimes. They've put the ball on the ground. You practice. Couple of penalties. Dropped passes. Couple of fumbles. That's what they have to eliminate. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that. As for how you handle it, you get people to understand that games are won and lost on a few crucial plays. They have to make those plays. They'll do the same things they've done since Day 1.
2. What is your opinion of Anthony Morelli's play and are you considering a QB change?
No, Joe is not considering a change. Overall, Anthony has played well. A couple people need to make plays for him. He needs to shake things off when they don't go well.
3. If Morelli does struggle, would you put Clark in?
Joe doesn't know. He hasn't given it any thought. Anthony will be fine.
4. Where is Morelli emotionally?
It was Joe's decision to keep him away from the press again this week. It's a waste of time. Someone from the Collegian called him up at home last week and told him that Joe said there was a quarterback problem. He called Jay wondering what happened and Jay told him to calm down. That wasn't true. There is no quarterback problem, but you guys will keep asking until you get something to write about. That's a shame. He's just a kid.
5. Do you take full blame for the Illinois loss?
Any time PSU loses a football game, it's Joe's fault up to a point. They had an opportunity to win this last game. The game prior to that, they didn't do a couple of things that could have made a difference. The team wasn't exposed enough to certain situations in practice and that's Joe's fault.
6. What stands out to you about the Iowa defense?
They're solid. Well coached by Norm Parker. Penn State has played against a lot of his teams. They're sound. They hustle. They're very very strong. The Indiana game was very misleading. Indiana's quarterback picked up a fumble and ran for a touchdown. The Iowa defense plays hard. They've gone through a period where nothing has gone right for them.
7. Where is your tailback situation? Is Royster any closer to seeing playing time?
Joe doesn't think they'll change much about the tailbacks. Both Kinlaw and Scott were solid, not great against Illinois. Right now, Royster is the future guy. He's not better than Kinlaw and Scott now. Joe wanted to play Scott last week. He didn't want Scott to feel like persona non grata after the fumble at Michigan. Joe doesn't think much will change. The coaches will watch them in practice this week and go from there.
8. Are Clark or Devlin ready to play in case of injury?
All three of them can play.
9. Should Morelli be able to shake off mistakes as a senior already?
Joe's not saying shake off his own mistakes. He means mistakes that others make.
10. Has confidence become an issue?
Anytime you lose two in a row that you had a chance to win, you start to wonder about yourself. That's where leadership and maturity come in. The coaches have to get the players over that hump. They need a win. Simple as that.
11. Injury situation?
Neither Dontey Brown or Navorro Bowman will play. The backup linebackers will be looked at in practice this week. They have to look at the freshmen they had planned to redshirt. Josh Hull will definitely play at one of the spots.
12. Are you starting to worry about the number of third down conversions you have given up recently. Is this becoming a trend?
No, it's not becoming a trend.
13. When you play a spread opffense like you did last week, can you apporximate that kind of scheme in practice?
Penn State runs the spread. They use 5 wideouts sometimes. They use four wideouts often. They don't run the spread exclusively because that's not how Joe feels the team can get good. It's something you have to adjust to but it's not the answer to everybody's problems.
14. How has the team performed under pressure situations compared to your expectations?
They haven't done a good job when it comes time to win the game. They have young people in key spots and have not made plays in key situations. They need to have some success. They've made a lot of big plays. Last week, they must have had 6-7 plays of 20+ yards. Don't underestimate Illinois. They're going to surprise a lot of people.
The team has not done what Joe hoped they would be able to do. Joe worried before the season that they might struggle in the clutch because they have so many young people in key spots and those worries were justified.
15. Assess the performance of your defense.
They've been solid. They haven't dominated anyone yet. Connor is the only senior there. Sales has played a lot as well, but there are a lot of young guys on defense.
16. Is there a scenario where Clark could give you an extra dimension on offense with his legs?
No. Morelli's the quarterback. He might get banged up and force a backup to play, but right now, Joe isn't thinking about that.
17. Do you have confidence in the red zone plays? Do you tinker with those?
Joe is absolutely confident in the plays called. They just aren't making plays. Somebody fumbles. Somebody doesn't make a catch. The job is to execute the plays that are called better.
18. On the fumbles, were the balls secured?
You can be critical of Morelli, but he was making a great effort to get a first down. With Scott, Joe still isn't sure his knee wasn't down. Maybe it's carelessness. It's certainly not a lack of effort or concentration. They work on ball security drills every day. If you watch the team practice for two hours, you won't see one fumble. In the game, you get a little emotional. You get caught up in trying to make an extra half yard and you forget the little things.
19. How are the receivers playing overall?
Overall, they've played well. Joe doesn't have a problem with the football team in any area except for the fact that they haven't made a couple of plays in the clutch. The games against Michigan and Illinois were great football games. Michigan had the ball for 86 plays. Illinois had the kick return where they weren't good enough. All of the games will be like this. The players have to understand that. Every game, it's going to be one play here, one play there. If PSU makes the play, they win. If they don't the other guy does.
The wideouts have been good. Maybe they don't have a dominant tailback, but both guys have run hard.
20. Describe Derrick Williams' leadership role.
He's a real competitor and a fiery kid. He has been good. He and Golden are two of the hardest workers on the team and they've played well.
21. What are your memories of the 6-4 game against Iowa and was that the low point on offense for that team?
Joe doesn't remember much except the score. The team wasn't very good obviously, but he doesn't remember that very much. Iowa and Penn State are both different teams now. Joe hasn't even thought about it.
22. When is the last time you spoke with Lavon Chisley?
23. Have you had to weigh in on the Michigan eligibility issue?
Joe has no idea what the question is about. That's up to the Big Ten. Joe knows they got licked.
24. Would you want a win like that?
Joe has no interest in the situation. Penn State lost. That's up to somebody else to decide. Joe thought both teams played a heck of a football game and Michigan ended up with more points.
25. What has Josh Hull done to become a significant contributor?
He's a good athlete. He's a bright kid, an engineering student. He has a chance to be a pretty good football player. He has to be exposed to some situations so he can execute his assignments without worrying about the crowd and other distractions.
26. Where are the team's expectations for the rest of the season?
Joe isn't going to talk about that. They're going to go out there and try to beat Iowa. They're going to work their butts off in practice. Hpefuly, they've learned from the last two weeks and will go out and get a win this week. This team isn't in a position to look any further ahead than Iowa.
27. What has impressed you about Iowa's offense?
Joe has great respect for Kirk Ferentz. Joe played high school football with Kirk's father-in-law. Their offense has had a lot of problems because of injuries. They've lost a couple of wide receivers. The same thing defensively. They lost a linebacker. The quarterback is a good football player. They have two tough tailbacks. The offensive line is good when they're healthy. They've had a lot of bad luck. Penn State hasn't beaten Iowa since 1999. The team will have its hands full. Iowa will show up with a good football team and Penn State had better be ready to play.
28. How concerned are you about special teams after the kickoff return?
It concerns Joe a lot. Anytime you give up a long return, it means you're not doing something right and everyone will see that on film and try to exploit the weakness. It was probably Joe's fault for deciding to kick into the wind in the first quarter. Joe thought they would be ok in that situation, but that was a mistake.