Joe Paterno cliff notes

Joe Paterno had his weekly teleconference today and the Penn State coach didn't snap at reporters once (well, sort of). Must be nice to be 5-0 and ranked No. 6 in the country. Here's a snippet of what Paterno had to say with Purdue looming (along with my smarty pants comments):

1. Acknowledged his program's woes on the road over the last several-plus years. Doesn't think it's become harder to win on the road in the Big Ten. (And why would he? He's never won in Columbus and he's only won in Ann Arbor and Wisconsin twice.)

2. Said that he thinks injured wide receiver Jordan Norwood (hamstring) is OK, but not to hold him to it. Quarterback Daryll Clark said earlier today that he thought Norwood tweaked his hammy pretty bad. So the jury's still out on Norwood for Saturday. (My two cents: They should rest the senior and bring him back for Wisconsin.)

3. Said that he's a little surprised by running back Evan Royster's play thus far this season. Credited his offensive line. (Surprised? Really? What was he watching last season?)

4. Wasn't about to pile on Purdue and their inability in stopping run this season. Said the Boilermakers were probably defending more against the pass. (I say they were probably trying to stop the run. They just couldn't.)

5. Wasn't about to say that A.J. Wallace has supplanted Lydell Sargeant as the starting cornerback, despite his fine play against Illinois. (OK, I'll say it: You'll see more and more of Wallace as the season progresses.)

6. Paterno was cryptically asked how much further linebackers Josh Hull and Tyrell Sales were ahead of their backups, Chris Colasanti and Nate Stupar. The implication was that Hull and Sales probably don't deserve to start. Paterno said they weren't that far ahead in talent but were considerably ahead in experience. Later, Paterno was flat out told that Hull has become the defensive whipping boy for fan discontent. Paterno, of course, dismissed it. (Still doesn't make up for the fact that Hull doesn't have the instincts to stop the run and doesn't have the speed to defend the pass.)

7. Coach was asked another loaded question about leadership this season as opposed to last. He took the high road, but it's fairly obvious that a guy like Anthony Morelli dragged the team down last year. (Jawing with Michigan fans last season after he choked yet again was Morelli at his finest.)

8. Hates to see Purdue coach and good friend Joe Tiller retire. (Because he's the one Big Ten coach that gets his Sophia Loren jokes.)

9. Joe was asked about his team's national title chances. (The first of many, if the Lions keep winning.)

10. Tight end Mickey Shuler (sprained ankle) is OK to play Saturday. (Too bad. Backup Andrew Quarless is obviously better.)

11. Admitted his leg is hurting, but expects to be back on the sidelines for the Purdue game. (Can his leg make it through the season? What's the over/under, folks?)