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Paterno: Nittany Lions 'Probably Not as Bad as Most People Think'

on September 20, 2011 1:48 PM

The Penn State football team needs to perform better, "but we're probably not as bad as most people think," head Coach Joe Paterno said Tuesday afternoon.

"I'm not trying to get up here and tell you I'm completely pleased with the way (it's) going," he told reporters in a weekly press conference at Beaver Stadium. "But we're certainly better than some of you think."

The team's strengths may have been overshadowed in the past two games by the talents of its opponents, including a powerful Alabama defense and a talented-overall Temple team, Paterno suggested.

Penn State lost to Alabama, 27-11, on Sept. 10. On Saturday, the Nittany Lions topped Temple, 14-10, but only after trailing the Owls for much of the game.

"I think we played a couple good football teams (and) that we have to do a little better," Paterno said Tuesday. " ... We played good people, and we hurt ourselves" with some careless errors and penalties.

The coach also noted he's "very concerned" about Penn State's kicking game. He emphasized the need for consistency and said that, in some instances, he may need to be a tougher disciplinarian.

"We've got to do better," Paterno said. "No question about it."

Among his other remarks Tuesday:

  • At the end of Saturday's Temple game, Paterno was initially thinking: "Oh, boy: We've got a long way to go," he said. But after he conferred with some players and others on the sidelines, he said, he realized that "there was not a defeatist attitude on it. The thing that I liked the most ... is the fact that, defensively, we made some things happen. And then the offense took advantage of it."
  • Coaching from the press box -- where he has spent the past three games -- puts him at something of a disadvantage, Paterno said. He hopes to be physically well enough to return to the sidelines soon, he has said. A couple pre-season injuries in practice prompted his temporary relocation from the field.
  • Paterno said he hopes to play a single starting quarterback at some point. But he continues to think that both Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden -- who have been sharing the role -- "are so close, and both of those kids deserve to play," he said. Paterno underscored that he wants to be fair to McGloin, Bolden and the team overall. "If I felt that the team was more comfortable with one than the other, then (that) would obviously be a factor. But that's not the way it is," Paterno said. "Half the time, I don't think they even know who's at quarterback."

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