Yesterday afternoon, Joe Paterno was featured in a press conference to get all the little loose ends tied up before Saturday’s season opening game versus Indiana State. Among the topics covered were Anthony Fera’s status, Stephfon Green being let back on the team, where Paterno will coach from on Saturday and of course the quarterback situation. I’ll do my best to recap.
- Anthony Fera is going to be benched to start the season. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a way out of the proverbial doghouse, though. Paterno says he will play it by ear. “We’ll watch how he does things, make sure he’s behaving and the whole bit and then make my mind up.”
- Both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin have played well in practice and both will get playing time on Saturday. Paterno said, “I’m not a guy that likes to play two quarterbacks. But I think we’ll play both of them.” There’s no word on which QB will actually start the game. At this point, you’d be better off trying to guess which uniform combination Maryland will be wearing on Monday.
- Paterno confirmed that DE Pete Massaro (torn ACL) and TE Garry Gilliam (also with ACL injury) will miss the season. DT Evan Hailes (blood clot) is not 100%, but he’s in playing shape. On WR Curtis Drake (broken leg): “Drake has not done anything yet, except he’s out there out running around. He’s not really had any kind of real football contact or anything like that. And we won’t know about him until, I think they’re going to give him final tests on Friday and maybe he can start doing some things on Monday.”
- Stephfon Green had “gotten in a couple of situations” that made Paterno question the senior’s commitment to his responsibilities. However, Green has since proved to Paterno that he deserves another chance and that’s why he is back on the team.
- Paterno is concerned but optimistic about the inexperienced Alex Butterworth and Evan Lewis handling the punting and kicking duties.
- Overlooking Indiana State because of the big Alabama game next week is not a concern for Paterno. He said that Penn State is in much better shape now than they were one year ago.
- Doctors are advising Paterno to coach from upstairs on Saturday because of the hip injury he suffered when WR Devon Smith collided with him during practice. However, Paterno feels strongly about coaching from the sideline. Right now it’s a 50/50 proposition.
- Paterno still doesn’t know whether he will start Johnnie Troutman or John Urschel at guard on Saturday. Even if Troutman doesn’t start, he will still play a lot of snaps. There’s concern about the depth on the offensive line, because there is a lack of experience amongst the reserve lineman. Hopefully as the season wears on, the back-ups become more comfortable with their assignments. If an injury were to occur early on, “we might have some problems.”
- Both quarterbacks will be better than last season because of the increase in talent surrounding them; not just because of their own improvement with experience.
- Andrew Szczerba and Kevin Haplea are the top two players at tight ends. After that, there’s a big drop off.
- WR Shawney Kersey has great potential. He’s probably the fastest receiver Penn State has, except for Devon Smith.
It was also told that not too long ago, Paterno had Chima Okoli, Nick Sukay and 13 other seniors over to his house for dinner. At the dinner, team captains were voted on and the results will be revealed later this week. “We sat down and talked football and hashed a few things out,” said Okoli.
Alright, that’s it for now. Only three more days until kickoff in State College.