Given another chance to stick up for his buddy, Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno decided to punt.
Paterno was asked during his weekly teleconference today about his reaction to the chairman of the Florida State board of trustees asking Bowden to retire, but he claimed not to know enough about the situation to comment.
“I have no reaction because I don’t know what’s going on,” the coach said.
Paterno said that when he left his office this morning to attend to a few matters before his teleconference, someone told him, “You better be ready to answer some questions about Bobby Bowden.
“I said, ‘What’s going on?,’” Paterno went on. “He said, ‘Well, there’s some pressure on Bobby.’ I said, ‘Well, what I don’t know I can’t talk about.’ So I didn’t ask him any question. I don’t know what to tell you.”
Paterno always has steadfastly supported Bowden during his recent trials at Florida State, including the matter of whether the NCAA will strip the Seminoles’ football program of 14 victories because of violations. Paterno leads Bowden, 387-384, in the race for most career victories in college football.
The Seminoles are 2-3, their worst start since Bowden’s first season (1976) at Florida State. Yesterday, FSU board chairman Jim Smith said Bowden should retire, saying the arrangement between the head coach and his successor, Jimbo Fisher, is not working.