FOS Audio: Paterno Press Conference

Joe Paterno took some time on Saturday to field questions about his team, the situation with his contract and more. Hear what he had to say right here.

Listen to Paterno's spring practice press conference at the link below:


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For those who can't listen, below is a recap. All I had today was a notebook, so this will be a little different than our usual recaps. No questions, just answers.

1. Joe has no problem with his current contract situation. He doesn't care if he gets a new contract or not. Why would he need an extension?

2. When asked if he is planning to coach 3-4 more years, Joe said he doesn't know how to answer that. He feels good enough to do that right now, but he could drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow, so there's no way to say for sure if he can coach that long.

3. The contract situation is not just about Joe. He owes his loyal assistant coaches a lot and has to think of their well-being when it comes to getting out of coaching. He would not leave them without plenty of advance warning.

4. The contract situation has no impact whatsoever on recruiting. Last year's class was as good as it could be with so few scholarships available.

5. Recruits ask Joe if he will be their coach, and he tells them that he thinks they will be coaching them, but there are no guarantees.

6. There have been no contract "negotiations", only informal discussions. He would be comfortable going year to year until he retires, meaning working with a one-year contract every year.

7. Joe isn't sure why people are wondering so much about this. The team has won 75% of its games over the past 3 seasons and graduated 75% of its players. Only Boston College can say that aside from PSU.

8. Joe will not do anything that will be detrimental to the program. He's not going to allow the program to fall apart under his watch.

9. This spring is about building quality depth. They have a good first team offense, featuring 3 really good wideouts and 2 good tailbacks. Both Mickey Shuler and Andrew Szczerba are having great springs at tight end.

Depth is needed on the offensive line and at wide receiver in case someone gets hurt.

10. The team is shallow on the defensive line due to injuries and suspensions.

11. Joe wants to let everything settle down and see how the suspended players' grades look before deciding who will return to the team for the fall. He hopes that all of the players will be back but it will depend on who does the things they have to do to get back.

12. Joe doesn't feel the need to have a clear cut #1 quarterback coming out of the spring. All 3 quarterbacks are good kids and can lead this team. The key is to get enough reps this spring for all of them. With only 3 scholarship QBs on the roster, that shouldn't be a problem.

13. Joe did get the flu in Texas during bowl preparations but he did not miss a practice because of it. It took about 2 weeks for him to get back to 100% once he returned home, but those weeks he couldn't go on the road recruiting anyway, so ti wasn't a big deal.

His health is not an issue at all. If it became a problem, then he would have to go to the administration and tell them to come up with a plan to replace him.

14. Joe still hopes to name his own successor, but it is not his decision alone. It has to be made in conjunction with the university president and Tim Curley. The timing of his retirement will determine whether having someone from the current staff take over will be in the cards or not. Joe certainly hopes to have one of his assistants take over eventually.

15. If Joe really wanted a new contract, he would ask for one. The last contract extension came about because the administration came to him with a lot more money. Joe speculated that they might have been embarrassed by the disparity between his salary and that of other Big Ten head coaches.

He said at one point, "I'f I've got to have a contract to keep my job here, then there's something wrong."

16. Joe did talk to Joe Tiller during this year's Nike trip, but he was not getting information on how Tiller had set up his succession plan. Joe tried to convince Tiller to keep coaching. He has great respect for Joe Tiller and hates to see good coaches get out of it.

17. Joe is disappointed in the off-the-field incidents, but they are working through them. He has spoken to the kids involved and their families and told them that once everything settles down, they'll evaluate what will happen next.

18. Captains will be named at the end of spring practice. Joe emphasized that the leadership on this year's team is very good.

19. Joe is very pleased with the team overall. They come to practice on time and work hard every day. They're being responsible for their equipment and working like dogs in the weight room. Joe said if he brought the entire team into the media room, there would only be 1 or 2 guys that he'd like to hit over the head with a baseball bat(said laughing).

20. There are some young linebackers that are on their way to becoming really good players. He singled out legacy recruits Michael Mauti, Michael Zordich, and Nate Stupar specifically. He also said that Mark Wedderburn is one of the best tight end prospects in the country.

21. Sean Lee has not surprised the coaching staff with his play. He was a good football player when he arrived at Penn State. He's coachable, smart and tough. Ron Vanderlinden knows what to do with guys like that.

22. Joe likes Stephfon Green. He said Green is tough and can really run, but he hasn't been asked to perform in clutch situations yet of course.

23. They have changed the format of spring practice a little this year because they have so many people either hurt or not with the team this spring. On Mondays, they gear practice toward the offense. Wednesdays are geared toward the defense. Fridays and Saturdays are team drill days.

24. Joe works from home a lot because people can't bother him there for things like autographs and chats there like they do at the Lasch Building. His players know he has an open door policy at home and they can come and talk to him there. He also said he's around the team a lot eventhough he does work from home a lot.

He has all of his game tapes, a phone and a fax at home, so there's nothing job-related he can't do at home.

25. On the defensive line, Ollie Ogbu, Abe Koroma, Josh Gaines and Maurice Evans are all having good springs. Eric Lattimore is having a really good spring so far. Tom McEowen likes to talk too much and needs to become more consistent in his play. Chima Okoli is another good prospect. He's on the way to becoming a 300-pounder and a good player. They're having a tough time keeping weight on Aaron Maybin, but he has a lot of speed and potential.

26. Jay Paterno wanted to play Daryll Clark a lot more last season, but Joe tied his hands. He takes the blame for not allowing Clark to get more experience.

27. Despite the perception that Clark is the better runner and Devlin is the better passer, Joe said that both quarterbacks are good runners. Clark is the stronger runner, but Devlin is effective as well.


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