FOS Audio & RECAP: Paterno Bye Week PC

Hear what the Nittany Lion coach had to say about the big win over Ohio State and the team's off week.

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno met the media at Beaver Stadium Tuesday, even though his team is in the midst of a bye week. Hear what he had to say at the link below.

Listen to Paterno's Bye Week PC

Here is the recap of his comments:

1. Do you think the leaders on this team have done a good job of getting the players to buy into the philosophy on and off the field?

They've done a great job of getting the team to come together. They realized where they were and the kind of talent that is on this football team. The only thing that could prevent the team from being good was themselves. Distractions and off the field stuff could cause all of their hard work to be wasted.

2. What is different about this team to enable Saturday's game to go your way?

Most of the time, Ohio State has played better. A bounce here or there was usually the difference. The one turnover was big. The players knew they had to play smart and poised. The crowd should not be enough of a factor to cause Penn State to lose. Most of the time when you have equal talent, mistakes will determine the outcome. It was a good feeling, It was great to see kids have the poise needed to win in that environment. Joe thinks they proved they're a pretty good football team.

3. What will you do during the bye week?

They'll practice today. They had a squad meeting but no practice yesterday. Joe told the team they had a long way to go yet. Iowa's playing really well at this stage so the Lions will have their hands full.

They'll practice today for about an hour without pads. Wednesday and Thursday they'll practice in pads and try to get some of the younger kids to do some harder things so that they'll be ready if they're needed.

The team will get the weekend off. They need rest both physically and mentally. You have to be careful how much you demand of the players after a three-game stretch like the one they just went through. They're physically and mentally tired. Joe will try to give the players as much time off as they can without going backwards as far as conditioning and preparation.

4. Will you see the doctors this week about your hip?

Joe is going to meet with the doctors tomorrow and do some test. Joe hasn't given them an opportunity to take a professional look at him. Joe thinks he will have to have some kind of procedure done. He hopes to have it done as soon as possible after the season so that he can go out and recruit. Joe is uncomfortable, but he can still get around. It's fixable. Dr. Sebastianelli will have to run some tests, but the doctors don't think it will keep Joe out for a long time.

5. Update on Daryll Clark.

The doctors don't want him to practice for a couple of days. There's no question he will be all right when they play Iowa. They're not going to use him a lot this week. He doesn't need the work. Devlin and Cianciolo do, so those kids will get the reps.

6. Are you talking about having surgery?

Not yet. The doctors may say they want to go in and fix the problem. Joe has been able to get around well enough. The one time he did spend on the sidelines put the players and coaches in a tough spot because everyone wanted to make sure they didn't run into him. That's not fair to them.

The coaches have worked really hard and the team is on the verge of doing some great things, so he doesn't want to be a distraction from that.

7. Can you remember a time where you've done better at not taking penalties?

Joe can't remember a similar situation. With the kind of personnel they have, they should be able to play against anybody. It's important that they've done as well as they have. They're a very coachable football team. They've not turned the ball over very often and they haven't taken a lot of penalties. How important is it? It depends on the game. On Saturday, it was a really good football game. Field position was crucial. The Lions didn't give Ohio State good field position and vice versa.

PSU is playing good football. If they play as well against everyone else as they did against Ohio State, they'll be in pretty good shape.

8. How good does it feel to see Navorro Bowman make the most of his second chance?

That's what it's all about. Some of you might not remember that Joe had a problem with Bobby Engram. He sent Joe a letter a few weeks ago thanking Joe for sticking with him. You don't want to give up on a kid. Joe's glad to see Bowman work it out. He's had some tough luck, lost his dad this year.

It's so hard for the public to understand that when a kid comes out of high school with a lot of exposure and publicity, then they come to college and they're just another guy. Some kids aren't mature enough. Bowman may have been in that category, but he learned his lesson and that's great. He is a good football player and a good person.

9. Do you think people have lost an appreciation for good defense and special teams play?

Joe has said many times that if you play good defense and don't make mistakes in the kicking game, you've got a shot. The defense has played well. The kicking game has not put the defense in a position where they're defending a short field much. As long as the team does those things, they're pretty good.

10. How do you balance having a bye week and keeping their focus on what's ahead?

What you don't want to do is go in there and tell them they have to do such and such things. They need a break. They should relax a little bit. They should work on their studies, go downtown without doing anything stupid. They need a week off. Joe isn't going to badger them, but they can't get too far away from it. They talked about that at the squad meeting yesterday.

When the players come back together next Monday for Iowa, he hopes they will be close to where they need to be to beat a good football team. You tell the leaders to keep an eye on things and let Joe know if there's a problem. The assistant coaches spend more time with the kids, so Joe talks with them all the time to make sure there aren't problems within a positional group.

11. What does it say about your approach to recruiting that you're getting contributions from kids who were not highly regarded by the recruiting gurus?

Joe wouldn't call the recruiting gurus knowledgeable. Joe has never paid any attention to that and never will. His assistants have been recruiting for a long time. If Joe ever needs some guy in Florida to tell him that a kid is good and should be recruited, then he should be fired.

Now, the problem is the all-star games that pressure kids to hold off on announcing a decision in order to get into their game. That's not right. If a kid knows where he wants to go, he should be able to say that.

Joe never tells kids what they want to hear. It's like getting married. You better not tell your wife too many lies because you have to live with her. They recruit people they think can be coached and win some games with. Whether they take kids that the gurus think are great, who cares.

12. Are there certain responsibilities that the assistants have taken on since you have been injured?

No, it's mostly the same thing except for game day. Joe comes out to practice every day. Some days he doesn't come into the office, so they have a staff meeting on the phone. Joe doesn't think they've really changed much. On game day, Joe would prefer to be on the field, but he's not sure that it hasn't worked out to the team's advantage.

The assistants know Joe. They know how he would respond to situations. They've been around a long time. They're fine. They give their opinions on what they should do scheme-wise each week and argue it out over the phone as well as they could in person.

Joe recruited Galen Hall, Tom Bradley, Mike McQueary in high school. They've been around him for a long time. They're comfortable with what they have to do. Joe isn't as comfortable because he can't do some things physically on the field.

13. What happened to Drew Astorino's hand?

Astorino will be ok. The only player Joe is concerned about health-wise is Daryll, but he's going to be fine. The rest of the team is in good shape. Joe was worried about Scirrotto playing on Saturday since he had only returned to practice on Thursday, but he did a great job in there.

14. Do you have any reaction to what happened downtown after the game?

It's disappointing that destruction went on. Obviously, you want the fans to be excited. Nobody has a better fan base than Penn State, but destroying property should never be a part of a celebration. Maybe someday Joe will have to say something prior to a big game to make sure the students understand that having a good time is fine as long as it doesn't result in destruction.

Have a little fun, but you just hate to see them do that.

15. Talk about Sean Lee's rehabilitation and his contributions on the sideline.

He isn't going to play this year, but his rehabilitation is going well. He coaches the linebackers every day. He's been a real plus. The team is looking forward to having him back next year.

16. What can you take from the 1999 team's experience of being 9-0?

There was a different cast of characters then. There were a couple of players that let the team down. They lost sight of the fact that what happened to the team was supposed to be more important than what their personal futures held in the pros. The coaches lost the key players on the football team. Hopefully, this is a different situation.

17. What impact did Jerry Sandusky have on this program?

Jerry was a great asset to this program for a long time. He always had two loves. One was helping young people with the Second Mile. The other was coaching. He could have been

18. Does practice differ in a bye week?

Sure. If this was Tuesday of a game week, they would have a tough practice today. That won't happen today. And they'll spend a lot of time with the younger kids this week. They won't change a lot of things. Some of the kids are just starting to get the feel of things, so you go to work with those guys and make sure they're ready. You never know who will need to play. Look at Devlin. Did anyone think he would play last Saturday?

Every morning, Joe wakes up and determines how much time to spend doing certain things. He doesn't want to make mistakes and work the team too hard this week, but he does want to make sure that the young kids get enough work.

19. Given that you talked about going out to recruit, do you plan on coming back next year?

Has Joe ever said he wasn't coming back? No? Ok.

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