Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Paterno’s Teleconference Notes

Paterno spoke during the Big Ten Coaches Teleconferences and it was pretty much standard Paterno-speak but there's a few interesting comments.

At the start of spring practice, you had talked about developing a secondary that could stand on it's own feet because you had lost four starters, how have they progressed since the start of spring practice and do you like what you have seen from some of the new guys?
Not yet I haven't. I've very concerned about it. A.J. Wallace pulled a hamstring the other day. I had hoped he'd been one of the outstanding kids there. Drew Astorino has had a good spring. We have a long, long way to go to be a good secondary. We're not even close. But, they are working hard at it. Before we get to a first game in the fall I think we'll be adequate. Whether we'll be really good or not is up for grabs.

In my mind the "OMG WE'RE DOOMED!!!" positions of concern are secondary and offensive line (in that order). Secondary is first and foremost considering the shellacking last year's group took in the Rose Bowl and all those guys are gone. Wallace's injury isn't making me any less nervous, he has yet to live up to his lofty potential (at least in the secondary) and any setback is bad news. The fact that no one else has stepped up enough for Joe to even mention means it's time to raise the Nittany Lion Panic level.

We're firmly entrenched at "ELEVATED" people!

Unfortunately, none of the "journalists" asked a single question about the offensive line so we'll take this approach as far as that's concerned.

Everything's great!

Joe was asked about the "weak" non-conference schedule and he had this to say:

I haven't got the slightest idea how good or bad some of the people are going to play yet. I haven't had time to worry about anybody but our squad. To be honest, I probably couldn't tell you who the second game is who we're playing. I've tried to discipline myself to take of what you have to take care of day by day and worry about things when it's time. I know Akron is on the schedule and the reason I know why Akron is there is because they brought Walt Harris in there has been some publicity.

At least Walt Harris' tenure explains (sort of) Akron's inclusion on the schedule but the rest is really weak. I emphasized* the sentence because I would like to point out that I believe this to be somewhat misleading. And saying "somewhat misleading" is the equivalent of saying Megan Fox is "somewhat attractive."

Yeah, she' kinda cute in a wholesome schoolgirl way

I make it a point to read Paterno's transcripts through the years because you get an unfiltered look at his press conferences without the bias of a reporter and I've become pretty astute at telling when JoePa is sandbagging and this is exhibit A. Paterno watches game film constantly in the off season you know damn well he's watched Syracuse film, Hell he probably watched film of the New Orleans Saints offense because that's the unit new Cuse head coach Doug Marrone was responsible for last season.

Speaking of non-conference schedule:

What role do you have in helping to choose the non-conference schedule?
They'll say, "how about this or how about that?" Our problem is we have to play a lot of home games. We get over 100,000 people and we're committed to eight Big Ten games. The people who do the scheduling, they don't put anything on my desk and say, "hey, this is what you've got to do," they'll ask, "what do you think about this club?" We thought Texas Christian was going to come here. They backed out. They decided that wasn't in their best interest. I said, "do you want me to call Gary Patterson?" because I like him and he's a good friend and I thought it would be a good game for us. Little things like that come up, but overall in the big picture, no.

So at least I can take some solace in knowing that the Athletic Department tried to schedule someone with a pulse but I'll bet that doesn't make all the season ticket holders who shelled out a grand for two tickets feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Lastly, I give you the "I'm a stupid reporter and will proudly proclaim my ignorance at the top of the highest mountain" retarded question of the day:

Navorro Bowman had a pretty up and down season last year with some emotional issues off the field. Can you talk about how he's played this spring?
I think Navorro had a really good year last year. He ended up at the end of last year a really fine linebacker. He had family losses and things like that. He's done well. He'll be a fine linebacker for us. He's tending to his knitting in the classroom. I think he's solid right now.

Ok, I'll give the reporter a modicum of doubt here and hope when he's talking about "down" he means only off the field stuff because there was very little down in Bowman's play on the field. Additionally the second part of the question would lead one to believe the "up and down" commentary was directed toward his play which is ridiculous because Bowman was a beast last season. Bonus points for Paterno's "knitting in the classroom" analogy. JoePa's always good for one of those.

*I make it a point to never say "emphasis mine" after a quote because A) I go through life writing on this blog under the delusion that all my readers (all 5 of them) are intelligent and well informed and B) why else would there be bold face type in the middle of a freakin' quote?!?! Now let's go under these assumptions from this point forward and never speak of it again. K? Spanx!

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