Among the topics discussed in the coach's half-hour Q&A were the allegations of indecent assault against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, the quarterback battle between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin, and the team's unfortunate rash of injuries during the past year.
Paterno chose not to address the Sandusky situation, saying, “We came here to talk about football. I don't have any comment on that.” No more questions were asked about Sandusky, but many followed about the quarterback competition between sophomore Rob Bolden and junior Matt McGloin.
Paterno seemed relatively pleased with both players, praising their efforts through the early days of spring practice. Although he did not directly say it, it seemed the 84-year old coach was particular happy with Bolden's play. Paterno also reinforced that he feels and hopes Bolden does not transfer and stays with Penn State.
“Bolden, who was on the verge of leaving, has had a really good spring so far,” Paterno said. “I think Bolden's going to be here. I don't want him to leave. When I convinced him to stay I said, 'Give yourself a shot in spring practice,' and he's done well. He's a good leader out there. He has enthusiasm and looks like he's having some fun so I definitely have my fingers crossed.
“I think he can be a real asset to our program and I think we have a good program for him,” Paterno said. “I'm assuming he's coming back.”
Paterno added that he's in no rush to make a decision, and that no starting quarterback will be named before preseason practice.
Injuries were also a source of discussion for Paterno, as players on both the defensive and offensive lines are banged up. Defensive end Pete Massaro is out for the season. Fellow ends Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore are hurt, too. And any number of players are dealing with less serious issues.
One area that seems healthy? The offensive line. But with All-American Stefen Wisniewski gone, the O-line is a key are of concern for the coach in the spring.
“Our problem is we've been trying to get some consistency from our offensive line because I think our quarterbacks are tired of running for their lives,” Paterno said. “I think there's a lot of potential there, but we're really struggling because not a lot of kids have experience.”
• Tight end Gary Gilliam (knee) and wide receiver Curtis Drake (broken leg) are out for next season with injuries
• The team has experimented with many guys at defensive end because of injuries. Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones has seen a lot of time at DE, but Paterno does not expect it to be a permanent move; he just wants the O-line to get some “real competition.”
• Paterno expressed great confidence in his wide receivers, especially Derek Moye , hom he expects to have a big senior season.
• Paterno had no comment on the situation at Ohio State, and laughed off a question about his contract expiring at the end of the season, stating you must win games to earn a new contract.
• Paterno praised defensive tackle defensive Brandon Ware, saying he has lost 15-20 pounds and had a really good semester academically. He also complimented running back Curtis Dukes, who he says has great potential but needs to play some big-time competition.
• Paterno did not express concern over the recent arrests of a few players because there was no alcohol involved in the incidents. He chalked it up to the players thinking they're macho until “someone knocks them on their can.”
• Paterno said he has some concern over the kicking game, in particular at placekicking because projected starter Sam Ficken does not graduate from high school until June. Paterno said Anthony Fera will be the team's punter and he feels he can be a “really good one” if he becomes more consistent.