CHICAGO — On more than one occasion Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had the entire room laughing on Thursday at the Big Ten Media Days. Here area few of the topics he addressed:
On his quarterback situation: “I think the quarterback situation will be better. How good? We’ll find out. … It’ll take care of itself, I think. We’ll see. I have no [timetable] — I’m just going to go out there and we’re going to work to get good and see where we are when it comes time to make a decision.”
On Nebraska joining the Big Ten: “I think the conference, one thing I feel extremely good about is the fact that Nebraska is in it. I think most people know I was trying to get another eastern team in the Big Ten. I was hoping we could either get Rutgers or Pitt or Syracuse because it would be more convenient for us as far as the media and things like that. When we got Nebraska, that was a real coup. It's going to make the league tougher.
“The tougher the other guy is, the better you get, if you're a competitor. I think bringing Nebraska in was a real big asset and I think the league's great. And the fact that it gave us an opportunity to play for a conference championship game, I think it's kind of exciting, it really is.”
On Ohio State’s struggles: “You guys have talked, I don't know enough about it. Ohio State to me has been a great, great, great college football program through the years. For all of a sudden, now there's something going on out there, I don't know. I don't know enough about it. I sure as heck don't want to start being critical of situations when I'm not that familiar with them.
“I try not to even read anything about it. I try to make sure we're doing what we're supposed to do, period. If we do what we're supposed to do, I worry more about answering the question about whether we're going to have an opportunity to play for the conference championship. Those are the kinds of things I think about.”
On the key to stability in college football as a coach: “Well, you know, we don't have as many of you guys around as some of these other guys. That helps. We're in that little town up there in State College. No, I don't know. I think the environment in our place may be a little bit different as far as people who have some impact on who is going to coach, who is not going to coach. I think that's had something to do with it.
“We've had enough success that you can fool people that you're maybe a better coach than you really are. But I don't really know. I just get up and do my job. Somebody told me five or six years ago, talking to me about maybe I ought to quit, I didn't think I was ready to quit. I said, ‘If I can't get something done here in the next couple years, I'll quit.’ We got some pretty good teams in the last couple years, up till last year. Last year we weren't very good.”