Penn State coach Joe Paterno held his weekly teleconference today and, as usual, it was an eventful one (wish you could see my tongue planted firmly in cheek). Here are the highlights along with comments from yours truly:
1. Paterno confirmed that the suspended Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma returned to practice yesterday. He said he wasn't sure if they would practice the rest of the week. He also said later that the players could have practiced last week and that his decision this week wasn't based on how Judicial Affairs has handled the investigation. (Folks, don't worry. Joe is just playing his normal game with players in his doghouse. He's going to make Evans and Koroma sweat it out. Here's my prediction on how things will play out: They will dress Saturday, but not play. They won't start against Purdue, but will play late in the first half or sometime in the second half. They won't start the following week against Wisconsin, but will be part of the regular defensive line rotation. This is how it will play out for the rest of the season.)
2. Thinks Illinois quarterback Juice Williams is much better than he was last year. (No surprise there. He should have heard what Illini coach Ron Zook had to say about Penn State's quarterback position this year as opposed to last. Hint: It was a not-too-subtle shot at Anthony Morelli).
3. Wasn't pleased with his team's kick coverage against Temple. Gave credit to the Owls. (Illinois' Arrelious Benn is licking his chops).
4. Said defensive tackle Mike Lucian and tight end Mickey Shuler -- both with ankle sprains -- should be healthy enough to play Saturday. Also said he thinks Shuler is a better blocker than backup Andrew Quarless, but that Quarless is a step faster. (He has to have some nice things to same about Quarless. The junior does date Larry Johnson Sr.'s daughter, after all).
5. Said his knee feels better. Plans on being on the sidelines for Saturday's game. (Sweet, sweet painkillers).
6. Backup center Doug Klopacz tore his ACL last week during practice and is out for the season.
7. Fumbling has been a problem. Joe not happy about it. (Fumbling bad. Fire good).
8. Joe said that backup cornerback A.J. Wallace still has a bum hamstring, but he doesn't think it will keep him from playing Saturday. Defensive tackle Devon Still has told reporters that he plans on returning sometime this season after breaking his foot during the preseason. Paterno said he would welcome back the freshman, who has already burned his redshirt, but don't expect miracles. (Plus, now that Evans and Koroma are back, who cares??).