SCOTT COLE'S QUICKCAP
1. Comment on the team's off the field problems.
Joe is not condoning the problems. You have to be careful in evaluating what kids do in relation to their obligation to their football team and themselves. There are a couple of kids out there that Joe is trying to figure out what to do about. They're kids that won't contribute this year and their obligation is different.
2. Were players involved in a fight over the weekend and what is Scott's status?
Scott will not be with the team this week. Joe has been alerted to the fact that there might have been soime football players involved in a fight but until he knows what happened, he will not comment. The team is fine. Joe doesn't think it's appropriate to talk about these things until he finds out exactly what happened. Joe was hoping to talk about Wisconsin or the way his team played against Iowa. Joe was pleased with the way the team played against Iowa. Morelli played a heck of a football game. He threw a couple of interceptions, but he still played a heck of a football game. These press conferences are supposed to be about his football team not all of this other stuff.
3. How confident are you in your depth at tailback moving forward?
Kinlaw and Royster played well and Stephfon Green is starting to work in there. Joe thinks they'll be ok at the tailback spot.
4. Wisconsin had a 14-game winning streak snapped at Illinois. Talk about what they've done well.
They've had a lot of good coaching. Bret Bielema is young but he's done a great job. They've been fortunate to have a couple of quarterbacks who have done really well. Stocco had a lot of experience and Donovan is doing really well this year. They don't make a lot of mistakes. They expect to win which good teams do. They've been the most consistent team in terms of playing up to their abilities in the past two seasons. Joe has looked at a lot of Wisconsin tapes in order to learn something from them that he could apply to his team.
5. Grade the team at the halfway point on performance and leadership.
When you talk about leadership, you have to look at Joe first. They've done well. They lost a couple of games on bang bang plays. At Michigan, they had pass interference called against them that wasn't pass interference. They're getting better every week. Joe likes the way the team is going. As for the speculation on the off the field stuff, it is just speculation at this point. Joe likes his football team right now and thinks he has a good team. He expects them to play well the remainder of the season. Whether that's good enough to win remains to be seen.
6. Wisconsin looks a little different this year. They're giving up more points than usual on defense and are throwing more on offense.
Wisconsin is still really good. They lost to a really good Illinois team that Joe thought would win that game. Wisconsin is really solid. They had to throw more last week because they fell behind. They are good. They'll come to State College with a chip on their shoulder. They'll play well and hopefully his team is ready to play.
7. Talk about injuries.
Joe is critical that the conference plays 12 games in 12 weeks. Joe didn't practice the team yesterday because he felt the team was getting tired. They won't have Ollie Ogbu or Navorro Bowman on Saturday. They've had some injuries on the offensive line and defensive line this year. Maybe they've been fortunate to not have many serious injuries. They have some kids who are gutting it out and playing hurt. Joe knows the team is tired because they've played some tough games and don't have a week off.
People always look at graduation rates and don't realize what it takes to get a high graduation rate. Getting up early, going to classes and study hall, lifting, practicing. That's not easy for a kid to do what they ask him to do. When a kid steps out of bounds a little off the field, you may not quite understand that the kids aren't perfect and Joe is very demanding on them.
8. PSU has won 18 of the last 19 at home. Why has the team done so well?
Joe isn't concerned about what the team has done in the past. He's only worried about the next game. Wisconsin isn't going to care how many games PSU has won at home recently. This is a big game for Penn State. for this young team. They have to learn how to win and how to handle a win. They have to understand how good Wisconsin is and how hard they will have to work in practice to be ready for this game.
9. Have you been surprised at how well Mike Lucian has stepped in and played?
Mike has hung in there. He's not the greatest athlete. He knows he has to have great technique. He's not a big guy inside and is blocking guys that are 20-30 pounds bigger than he is and has done well. They've faced some really good defensive tackles this season like Iowa's Mitch King and have held their own.
10. Is Stephfon Green not going to redshirt? Do you agree that Rich Ohrnberger is really coming on?
They need another tailback and Green is available. If they need him, they're going to use him. He knows that and he's anxious to play. He's a very talented kid that's a true freshman. That's a no-brainer.
The reporter is right about Ohrnberger. Joe's only problem with Ohrnberger is that he has made mental mistakes in the clutch. He jumped offsides and held in the past. He's only done something like that once this season. He has gotten better because he's worked hard and stayed healthy. The offensive line as a whole is getting better. Lucian has worked hard and Landolt never gets any credit and is playing well. Dick Anderson and Bill Kenney have done a great job with them.
The only major injury they had is Shaw who still isn't 100%. Once the line got healthy and stayed healthy, they started playing better. You have to rely on your buddy when you play offensive line. You have to know that your buddy can do what you can do. They are getting better but they're still a long way off from where they have to get.
11. Are you as close to the kids as you have always been?
12. Is it frustrating that some of them aren't getting the message?
Obviously when you get some kids that are true freshmen and aren't going to play, the message is a little different to them. They come out to practice, work hard and do what is asked of them. The media is making too big a deal of this.
13. Did the defense make a statement as they wanted to against Iowa?
Yeah, they played well. The offense kept the ball better than they had. That helped the defense by allowing them to rest. The defense has made progress, but they have a ways to go. They jump from where Illinois hurt them late in the game to playing well against Iowa. They have to keep getting better each week.
14. Are you concerned with the public perception of the program?
No, it's not the public perception. It's the perception that the media creates. If someone wants to get on a message board and shoot their mouth off, that's fine. Joe can't worry about that and it doesn't bother him one bit.
15. Are you concerned about the program's image?
No. They're nothing wrong with the program's image. 85-90% of the kids will graduate and are great kids. Joe thinks it's a waste of his time and the media's time to talk about this stuff.
16. Will the flip-flop of Lucian and Ohrnberger be permanent?
It will depend. It doesn't really matter because both kids can play either side. They're smart kids and know both positions. They're more worried about the backup kids.
17. Address the specific rule Austin Scott broke and when will he return.
Joe already commented on Scott Saturday and has nothing further to say on the subject.
18. Talk about the way you handle call-in show callers that ask tough questions. Do you enjoy doing that show?
Joe continues to do the show because he gets paid for it. He enjoys it up to a point. He doesn't enjoy these press conferences, but he has to do it. It comes with the territory.
19. Evaluate Evan Royster's play and his health status.
He has a bruised thigh but he'll play Saturday. Royster's a good football player. He has really practiced well and they were planning on working him into games more. He's a solid kid. He's tough. He's quick. He was the best lacrosse player in the state of Virginia so you know he's a good athlete.
20. Talk about the overall talent you've received from western PA.
PSU has been fortunate to have great players from all over Pennsylvania. Sometimes more players have been available in the west. Sometimes more have been in the east. There are a few kids there this year that Penn State is trying to get. They've gotten kids from all over the place. Joe can't generalize. You go out and look for kids that will fit into nthe program and will help the team get better and buy into the idea of going to class and graduating.
21. Have you expressed the concern over the lack of an open date to the Big Ten?
Joe has griped and complained but the Big Ten doesn't want to start early because of NCAA rules and they don't want to go late because Michigan and Ohio State don't want another game after their game and they have a lot of influence in the conference. A kid needs a week to get caught up on his studies. Joe has tried hard to get that point across but he's just a voice in the wilderness.
22. Will Royster play as much as he did against Iowa?
Joe would love to be able to know what's going to happen each week, but he doesn't. Royster will play, but how much he'll play will be determined on Saturday.