Lions have work to do before Alabama
UNIVERSITY PARK - When the elevator opened to take the media down to the post-game press conference as Penn State was waltzing to a 41-7 win over Indiana State in its 2011 season opener, the attendant apologized for being a little late and told everyone to watch the wet spot on the floor.
"Had to take coach (Joe Paterno) down first guys and as you can see, he was a little 'POed' at the special teams," he clammered, amidst laughter from the rest of us.
Outside of a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Chaz Powell on the opening play of the game (he also ran back one for a TD in last year's opener against Youngstown State), Paterno didn't see much to his liking with the special teams after that.
"I thought the kicking game wasn't good," Paterno said as he addressed the media. "I don't know whether we'll have ( Anthony)Fera this week, but we're going to have him either this week or next week."
Fera was suspended for the Indiana State game so the Nittany Lions had to go with walk-on Evan Lewis, who missed field-goal attempts of 38 and 47 yards and also missed an extra point. He was eventually replaced by freshman Sam Ficken. Sophomore walk-on Alex Butterworth was also given a shot as the punter and averaged just 38.0 yards on three kicks.
Another spot where the Nittany Lions need some work is on the offensive line, where pass protection was a little shaky.
And if you expect Paterno to go with one quarterback this weekend against Alabama (3:30 p.m. start on ABC), forget it.
Sophomore Rob Bolden and redshirt junior Matt McGloin will both see action according to their head coach.
"I think both of them are going to play," said Paterno, when asked if a No. 1 QB came out of their performance against the Sycamores.
Galen Hall, PSU's offensive coordinator thought that there were more mistakes made when Rob was in the game than when Matt was at the controls.
"They might have played better defense when Rob was in there instead of Matt," Hall said. "I don't think you can read anything into it, if this kid's driving the football team and this kid's not.
"So, I just think it doesn't matter which one is in there, we've got to go play."
It was the second year in a row that Bolden started the home opener and played six series. He guided one touchdown drive of 77 yards and completed 6-of-12 passes for 37 yards and was sacked twice.
McGloin played four series and produced touchdown drives in three of them, covering 75, 77 and 21 yards. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 77 yards and was sacked once.
Oddly enough, it was No. 3 quarterback, walk-on Shane McGregor, who was the only quarterback to score a touchdown, racing in from three yards in the fourth quarter.
Both Bolden and McGloin said they would still like to see one of them named the No. 1 guy. They also agreed that whatever Joe (Paterno) wants, that's what they'll have to go with.
"I don't think it's going to be a two-quarterback system too much longer," McGloin said. "But if that's what coach wants, then that's what we're going to have to do. I just don't think it's what the team wants."
"I still want to see a first guy, either me or Matt," Bolden said. "It has an advantage, but whatever Joe does, I have to roll with."
POST-GAME NOTES: Penn State has a 23-game home non-conference winning streak entering this week's Alabama contest. ...Sophomore TB Silas Redd had his second-career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 104 yards on 12 carries (8.7 avg.). ....Senior WR Derek Moye had four catches, giving him 108 on his career.... It was the smallest Beaver Stadium crowd (96,461) since it was expanded back in 2001.