DALLAS -- Even with his Penn State future unclear, interim football coach Tom Bradley has mapped out plans to keep the Nittany Lions recruiting at full steam and prepare his team for its TicketCity Bowl game against Houston and its high-powered offense.
Bradley and acting athletic director Dave Joyner were on hand for a news conference Thursday trumpeting the Jan. 2 game at the Cotton Bowl.
"We are happy and proud to have the opportunity to play against such a great team in the University of Houston," Bradley said. "It is an honor for our team, and we look forward to it with great anticipation."
Bradley's plans call for the Nittany Lions to practice Friday and Saturday before taking a week off for finals. Workouts will resume next weekend.
- Game: No. 20 Houston vs. No. 24 Penn State.
- When: Noon, Jan. 2.
- Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas
- TV: ESPNU.
The team will take a few days off for Christmas, then travel Dec. 26 to Dallas, where it will intensify efforts to figure out ways of at least slowing down the Case Keenum-led Cougars offense.
Meanwhile, the search continues for the permanent replacement for former coach Joe Paterno, who was fired Nov. 9 in the early wake of the child sexual abuse case involving former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
"I fully intend on coaching in the bowl game and that is how I have been approaching it," Bradley said.
"This is a busy time with recruiting, finals and bowl preparation going on. I am interested in the position on a permanent basis and have voiced that [to Joyner and the university]. I anticipate being part of the official interview process in the not so distant future."
Bradley sidestepped the issue that some bowls might have bypassed Penn State because of the ongoing scandal.
"I do not know what the other bowls processes are for their selections," he said. "We are excited to play in the TicketCity Bowl. Our fans are excited, and we anticipate a strong showing here in Dallas. Penn State has the largest active alumni groups in the nation, and one of the strongest is here."
Joyner said the process of filling the coaching position was ongoing.
"Our goal is to find a coach that has integrity, a focus on academics and knows how to coach football," Joyner explained without identifying any candidates to replace Paterno or a timetable for hiring a new coach except to say that "we hope to have the process completed within the next 30 days."
Bradley conceded his bowl coaching chores will be difficult primarily because of Houston's offense.
"This is a time when I am glad I am not the defensive coordinator," Bradley said, grinning.
"They are more than just Keenum, too. They possess a lot of weapons on offense."
The game will pit teams with a combined record of 21-4. Only two bowls will feature teams with better combined records -- the BCS title game Jan. 9 in New Orleans between SEC powers LSU (13-0) and Alabama (11-1) and the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl that will pit Stanford (11-1) against Oklahoma State (11-1).
First Published December 9, 2011 5:00 AM