Hear what the Nittany Lion coach has to say as his team prepares for the Big Ten opener with Illinois at Beaver Stadium. Paterno tackles his own health, the status of two suspended players and more.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno held his weekly press conference at Beaver Stadium Tuesday. You can hear what he had to say at the link below.

And be sure to stay tuned for Scott Cole's wrap up of the PC.

Note: The the technical issues at the start of the PC were with the telephone setup in the Beaver Stadium media room.

Hear Joe Here.

See the recap below:

1. Is your team playing the way you anticipated?

Joe never knows what to expect. He hopes they play well enough to win. Joe felt they had the potential to be a good team. They've been fortunate because they've played some teams that didn't play that well against Penn State.

2. Are Koroma and Evans practicing and will they play on Saturday?

They practiced yesterday. Joe isn't sure what he'll do the rest of the week.

3. Where do you see your team in relation to the rest of the Big Ten?

They have a tough game this week against a solid Illinois team. Joe hasn't really spent much time looking at other teams in he league. Joe doesn't have to put things into perspective like the media does. All he has to do is focus on that week's opponent. Illinois is very solid. They beat Penn State last year. They have a good quarterback and solid wideouts, a good defense and a quality kicking game. That's all Joe is worrying about.

4. How has Juice Williams developed?

He played well against Penn State last year and he's better this year. They have relied on Williams more on him this year without Mendenhall there. He's a big kid. he runs well. He's made good progress.

5. What happened with the kick coverage against Temple and how are you addressing it this week?

Joe wasn't pleased with the kick coverage but he was saying last week that Temple had a heck of a kick returner. They didn't do a good job, but that is taking something away from Temple. They have to do a better job this week because Illinois has a great return game. They returned a kick for a touchdown against PSU last year. The coaches are aware of the problems and are addressing them.

6. Why is the conference such a grind week in and week out and have you acclimated yourself to the grind?

They play a good football team every week. Whether you look at it as a grind or a challenge is up for debate. Any team in a good conference faces the same issues. This year, at least Penn State has an open date. Illinois had their open week last week. Wisconsin gets their open week before playing Penn State as well. Whether the program is used to it or not, it's hard to say. In 1994, they won all their conference games in only their second season in the conference. It's a combination of a lot of little things. If you're good, you handle it. If you're not good enough, you're not good enough.

7. Is there an advantage coming off the bye week?

Sure, it can be an advantage. If Joe had his preference, he would have a bye week in the schedule, but they've had teams get licked after the bye week. If a team had people hurt that couldn't have played last week that can play this week, then the bye is a good thing.

8. Status of Mike Lucian and Mickey Shuler?

Both should be ok. Neither did much yesterday, but Joe is hopeful they'll; be ready to play on Saturday.

9. When you look a the film, are Navorro Bowman and Aaron Maybin coming on as fast as it looks to the general public?

They've both played well and they're getting better each week. They make mistakes that don't always show up on tv. They have to get more experience, but both played well on Saturday and both are good athletes.

10. Do you agree that having Quarless in the lineup adds a dimensioon to the offense?

Joe doesn't want to take anythng away from Mickey Shuler. Shuler is a better blocker, but Quarless is a step faster. They're both good tight ends. Joe keeps talking to Galen and Jay to tell them to get the ball to the tight end more, but if you throw to them, you're not throwing it to the wideouts. It depends on what people let you do and whether you're having a good game or not. Both Quarless and Shuler are good tight ends.

11. Do you plan to be on the sidelines Saturday?

Joe hopes to be. He could have been on the sideline in the second half Saturday but he wanted to rest his leg since there's a lot of football to be played yet.

12. What's the best way to contain Juice WIlliams?

There's no best way. You have to be balanced and change things up. You hope to take things away that they may want to use. He's good. He can run, but if you take that away, he can beat you passing. They're going to move the football. You're not going to completely contain them. They're going to score points.

13. How serious is Doug Klopacz's injury?

Klopacz is gone for the year with an ACL injury. It's created a problem for them because Klopacz was expected to be the #2 center. Wisniewski has been practicing some at center all year, so if something happens to Shipley, they would move Wisniewski to center and play Mike Lucian at guard. They have given reps at center to Wisniewski, Ohrnberger, Lucian and Quinn Barham, but none of those kids would be as good as Shipley.

14. What changed to allow Koroma and Evans return to practice?

They could have practiced last week if Joe had let them.

15. What do you remember about the 1994 win over Illinois and how did that team overcome adversity?

That team had great leadership as well as great players. The kids had a lot of poise. The big thing about that football game was that they were still down with 5 or 6 minutes to go and had to score a touchdown starting a drive at the 5-yard line. Engram and Brady both made great catches on that drive. That drive is the kind of thing you have to have in order to be a great team.

16. 11 fumbles in the last 3 games. How do you address that?

They address that in practice every day with ball-carrying drills and takeaway drills. You can't be really good putting the ball on the ground that many times. Joe doesn't know what else to do besides having ball security drills in practice and talking about the importance of securing the ball.

17. Talk about getting ready for 8 PM games.

Joe isn't worried about keeping the players alert. He's worried about keeping himself awake until midnight. (laughs) Kids are resilient. They'll watch football games during the day., They are out at Toftrees where the coaches can keep people away from the players. When they're at home, playing at 8 PM is a good thing because the crowd is more into it.

18. What kind of playing shape are Koroma and Evans in since they haven't practiced in 3 weeks?

Next question.

19. Is AJ Wallace's hamstring still bothering him?

There was a little misunderstanding there. Joe called down to Tom Bradley to get Wallace in there in the second half, but was told that AJ was saying his hamstring was bothering him. He was in there on the kicking teams. He was sick one day last week and that may have contributed to it. Joe talked with AJ yesterday and AJ said the hamstring was bothering him in the first half and he felt it would be best to sit out the second half to avoid aggravating it further.

20. Have you ruled out the possibility of Still returning?

No. If he can make it back, that would be great. It's a guess. Not even the doctors know whether he can make it back or not yet.

21. What do you remember about New Beaver Field?

It was right across the street from Rec Hall. The whole athletic layout was there. They used to have a pregame meal at the Nittany Lion Inn and then go over to the field. It was kind of nice. It was more of a small college stadium and feeling. Rip Engle came in one day and said they were going to move the stadium because that land was needed for graduate school. After the meeting, Joe told Rip that the move was a big mistake. He felt it would destroy Penn State football. That was 75,000 seats ago. Shows what Joe knows.

It was a fun place. It was good for Penn State at that time. President Walker had more foresight than anyone.

22. Can you pinpoint why the team is 1-7 in the last Big Ten openers?

No idea.

23. Does the routine change whether you're coming off a bye or playing a late game?

It is a week to week thing. If things go well and the routine works out during the day, you don't change anything the next time that situation arises. If things don't work out well and you realize that something in the routine or schedule affected things, you try to analyze it. There's nothing Joe can do about the fact that Illinois had an off week last week. Joe can only worry about his team. He just wants to make sure the coaches don't overwork the players and tire them out before Saturday.

24. Key to offense's success converting 3rd downs?

The people. The quarterbacks have done a good job. The playcalling has been good. They have some playmakers who can make big time catches.

25. Does that success make you think the team will be able to overcome adversity when they face it?

Joe hopes so, but he can't be wishfully thinking that they will. They have to prepare the kids to handle what defenses will throw at them. Can they adjust when defenses take something away from Penn State? That is the kind of thing they have to prepare for.

26. Is there more emphasis placed on throwing the ball over the middle this year given that Norwood leads the team in receptions, many of which have come over the middle?

You take what the defense gives you or at least you try to do that. You've got three good wideouts and most people focus on Butler and WIlliams, so it makes sense that the quarterbacks can find Norwood open over the middle.

27. Who determines which players go where on the kick coverage and have you been able to determine what went wrong on Saturday?

Yes they looked at the tapes. One time, a guy got collapsed. Another time, a couple of kids got out of their lanes. Then the returner did a good job of finding a hole and hitting it. There are a lot of young guys on that unit. You want to give them experience and also want to avoid tiring out your older guys by playing them on kick coverage. They'll get better. They had better get better because Benn can really return kicks.


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