Joe Paterno held his weekly teleconference today and, as much as he didn't want to, discussed the after-affects of Saturday's debilitating loss to Iowa. Here's a synopsis of the interview along with ... you know the drill.
1. Paterno said that defensive end Josh Gaines (sprained ankle) would be fine for Saturday's game with Indiana. He also said that safety Drew Astorino should be good to go. Astorino broke his hand in the Ohio State game, but when he was asked two weeks ago about the redshirt freshman's injury, Paterno said he would be OK. (I guess not.) Astorino couldn't play as the nickel, so cornerback Lydell Sargeant replaced him and A.J. Wallace filled in for Sargeant. (It would have been nice to know since the secondary ended up having a disastrous second half against Iowa.)
2. Joe thought that quarterback Daryll Clark was being too hard on himself about his Iowa performance. Asked if he thought backup Pat Devlin could have been given a series or two as Clark struggled, Paterno said it was considered but that he didn't think Clark was playing all the bad. (And he says he can see the game better from up in the coaches' box.)
3. Asked how he would bounce back, Paterno said, "I've always had rubber legs." (Insert leg injury joke here). Later in the interview Paterno admitted that Saturday night was a tough one. He said he didn't sleep much. (Neither did I, but that's because afterward I went out and ate about 15 slices of pizza.)
4. The years 2005 and 1999 keep coming up after the Iowa loss. In 2005, Penn State rebounded from a tough, last-second loss to Michigan to win its final five games. In 1999, however, the Lions lost on a last-second field goal to Minnesota and went on to lose their next two games. Joe said he thinks this team has character similar to the 2005 squad. As for '99, he threw LaVar Arrington and Courtney Brown under the bus again. The defensive players ended up being the No. 1 and 2 overall drafts picks that following April. Paterno said, "I'm not sure if they got distracted by agents calling." (Arrington just wished a pox on Joe's head.)
5. Paterno said that he thought the controversial Anthony Scirrotto pass interference call was a bang-bang play and could have gone either way. He thought the officials missed a couple of other calls, but ... (He can't run after officials anymore.)
6. Joe said the "Wildcat" formation that utilized Derrick Williams was installed to keep a running Clark from getting too many shots. Clark hasn't run as much as the season has progressed and Paterno said it has something to do with keeping Clark healthy. Joe was then asked if a non-running Clark was much better than Devlin. Joe answered, "He's not that much better than Devlin." (He's pretty much said this from the beginning of the season, though.)
7. Paterno was asked how he would the team has moved on. He said, obviously, he'll know on Saturday, but that he should be able to tell sometime during this week. He and most of the players interviewed today have said Monday's practice was a good one. "It's like when you date a girl and you go home. You got a pretty good idea." (The feminists are going to love that line.)