Penn State football coach Joe Paterno held his first weekly press conference of the 2008 season at Beaver Stadium Tuesday. Check out what he had to say below.
FOS Audio: Paterno PC (Audio Only)
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1. When do you expect to decide on a starting QB?
Daryll Clark will start and probably play Devlin some for sure. Joe also thinks that Cianciolo needs to get a shot somewhere as well. Clark has a little more experience and has had a good preseason. Joe doesn't want Clark looking over his shoulder. He wants Daryll to just get out there and play.
2. Is there anything different this year than when Robinson and Morelli started for the first time?
There's more competition this year. Robinson and Morelli were by far the clear choice their years. This year, all three quarterbacks can play. All three can run and throw. Joe doesn't want to go into the year with a two or three-quarterback system. Clark should just go in there and play. Devlin needs to get in there and show what he can do.
3. How much did Clark's Alamo Bowl performance help him spring into this year?
Being number two last year helped him. He had to practice and prepare as if he was going to play. He was only one play away from being the starter. Jay asked several times last year to play Clark to give the offense a change of pace, but Joe felt that Anthony Morelli had received more criticism than he deserved and removing him to get Clark some time would have made things worse. It's working out. Clark was the guy that should have developed into number one. It's to Devlin's and Cianciolo's credit that they have really fought him for the job.
4. When did you tell Daryll?
Joe talked to all three quarterbacks yesterday and they took the news fine.
5. Does Clark have the starting job for the foreseeable future?
PSU hasn't played a game yet. Clark will start Saturday and Joe wants him to go out there and enjoy it. It's his club right now, but Joe will also encourage the other two kids to keep fighting because they have to be ready if called upon.
6. Have you had a chance to develop a second team offensive line and specifically at tackle behind Cadogan?
There is a depth problem on the offensive line. Right now, if something happens to Cadogan, Landolt would move to left tackle and Eliades would come in at right tackle. They've been working with some young kids to get another tackle ready. Same thing inside. Wisniewski can play guard or center and Lucian plays both guard positions. They have some good young players backing them up, but you're never quite sure how they'll handle certain things.
They aren't sure what they're going to see from Coastal Carolina because it's the first game, so that's how they're going to handle it for now.
7. Talk about the position changes of Knowledge Timmons and Chaz Powell.
Powell has an awful lot of athletic ability. They are doing a lot of things with Derrick Williams on offense and if he is lost, you need someone close to his athletic ability and Powell is that guy. He is an explosive football player.
Knowledge is playing safety and nickel a little. They have enough cornerbacks with Davis, Wallace, Sargeant and Harriott and felt they could afford to move Timmons to safety.
8. What is there to gain from playing Coastal Carolina?
They have to have 7 home games. They were fortunate to get Oregon State on the schedule because there's pressure to have home and homes with teams in the East. Coastal Carolina's AD played for Penn State and was a team captain. He has been talking to PSU about a game for several years. It's a good opener for Penn State. It's an extremely well-coached team. They've won their conference four of the last six years. They have some good athletes including Wally Richardson's kid brother at quarterback.
9. Talk about the competition between Sargeant and Wallace.
They compete. They have three good corners. Sergeant’s a smart kid and could play inside if need be. One of the guys will probably be the nickelback. It's a luxury to have three good corners.
10. Does William Richardson do anything that reminds you of Wally?
Joe has watched William on tapes. He is very poised, has a good throwing motion. Joe hasn't seen enough of him as a college quarterback to comment. William has beaten out last year's starter.
11. How do you find a way to get Astorino on the field?
He's a freshman. Give him a chance. He's playing inside. They try to be two-deep all the time and if you have the luxury of having 5 guys that can play inside and 4 that can play outside, you're fortunate. There could be an injury at any time. They're trying to get the most out of everything they have. The inside position is tougher to learn than corner because you have to make adjustment calls and come up to support the run more.
12. How important is it to the defense to have a veteran secondary considering the loss of Sean Lee and the defensive tackles?
It's vital. The first question mark on defense is the linebackers. They have some kids that are going to be really good, but they will have to adjust to the game speed. You'd like to be able to say you're two-deep across the board. Stupar is going to be really good. Mauti is going to be really good. But they haven’t been in a game in front of 110,000 people yet.
13. How has the 85-scholarship limit helped FCS teams compete with BCS teams?
That's better answered by someone who coaches at that level. When Joe first started coaching at Penn State, the SEC allowed 145 kids on the roster. Bear Bryant would take 5 quarterbacks so that he didn't have to play against some of them. He would pick the best one and then send some of the others to small schools so he could take 60 kids again the next year.
Changing to 85 scholarships helped a lot of small schools get better. The level of competition has changed. If you look at the Appalachian State-Michigan game, they have an awfully good football team. There's a dramatic effect.
14. What were Daryll Clark's emotions when you told him he was the starter?
Three kids sitting around a table. Joe told them what was going to happen. Daryll smiled, the other two were ok with the decision and that was it. It was a three or four minute meeting. They could win with any of the three, but Joe feels Clark deserves the first chance.
15. Will you plan to play Devlin each week?
Joe doesn't know. They have a fluid situation. They have a nice situation with three good quarterbacks. Joe has only looked at Coastal Carolina and Oregon State film. He didn't realize how good Oregon State is until he started watching their film. They're able to adjust to anything that might happen.
16. Odrick and Hayes are both ready to go.
17. Talk about the decision to start Koroma over Odrick.
Odrick has been hurt a lot. He hasn't practiced a lot until about a week ago. Koroma and Ogbu have both played very well. You have to keep the defensive line fresh in order to get to the quarterback throughout the game. You've got Odrick, Hayes and Gaines. Latimore is a guy Joe likes very much.
18. Are you involved in talking with backups as to what their role is or is that up to the assistant coaches?
Most of the kids know what's going on. The staff is very up front with the players about what they have to do to beat out the person in front of them. Most of the time, the pecking order is clear. Joe will talk to a player specifically if an assistant is having a problem with him. He also talks to a parent occasionally about where their son is. You try to be flexible.
19. Will you get to spend much time with the 1968-69 teams during their reunion this weekend?
Joe will try to stop over and see them after the Football Eve celebration. Rip Engle left Joe a lot of meat on the bones. Joe inherited a bunch of great football players that contributed to those teams.
20. Is Devon Still out for the year?
He's done for the year. Joe has talked to him to try and keep his spirits up. You try to explain that sometimes things go bad for a long time and then turn around if you keep your focus. He's handling it as well as can be expected. He's a heck of a prospect.
21. What do you remember about Warren Kogel?
Joe remembers recruiting him. He was a heck of a football player and baseball player. Joe took Kogel and Jack Ham with him to the Hula Bowl the only time he ever coached in an all-star game. Moose is a delightful person and has done a good job as the athletic director at Coastal Carolina.
22. Do you enjoy a friendly competition with Bowden about the career wins record?
Bobby is a good friend, but who cares about the wins record? Joe doesn't think about it and he's sure Bobby doesn't either. Joe and Sue have spent a lot of time with Bobby and his wife Ann on Nike trips. Bobby Bowden is a great credit to the game no matter where he's coached.
23. Do you have to do anything different to get the team motivated this week?
Joe worries about that because too many people around them are telling them how easy it will be. The Appalachian State game was an eye-opener for everybody. Joe thinks they will be all right. They have practiced well during the preseason. They finished up with finals last week and were a little behind on practice time as a result, but they have enough veteran players who know what they need to do. However, if the team doesn't play well, they'll get beat. They can't put the ball on the ground and get careless.
24. What did Andrew Quarless do to make the team?
He made the grade over the summer and did everything that has been asked of him. He's behind Shuler and ahead of Szczerba.
25. Has there been an emphasis placed on the secondary forcing more turnovers this year?
Joe thinks they have always emphasized that. They have talked with the defensive backs about playing faster and forcing more turnovers.