Paterno says lack of aggression sank Penn State
Penn State coach Joe Paterno on his team's play against Alabama: "We didn't make many plays Saturday."
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno doesn't think his team is down and out after getting trounced by three touchdowns by No. 1 Alabama.
"We played the first half down in Alabama just about the way I was afraid we'd play it," Paterno said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "Very tentative. We weren't aggressive.
"I think we'll find out more about the football team this week and from here on in. ... I think we have potential. I felt that from day one. But we've got to start putting some things together and some kids have got to come up and make some plays.
"And then I'll have a little bit of a feel. We didn't make many plays Saturday."
No. 22 Penn State (1-1), which will play Kent State (1-1) Saturday at Beaver Stadium, has been plagued by a number of issues early in the season.
Tailback Evan Royster, whom Paterno criticized earlier this year for being too heavy, has just 72 yards rushing on 20 carries as the revamped offensive line has struggled to open holes.
However, Paterno came to Royster's defense Tuesday.
"Well, I think the effort's fine," Paterno said. "I don't know whether we've really established the kind of running game that Royster would do well in.
"Royster is a kind of a 'pick 'em and spot 'em, give me a crack and I'll go' guy. He's not a guy that's going to run over you.
"Doesn't have great speed. Has good speed. But he's got good instincts."
Paterno was asked if freshman Silas Redd, the No. 3 tailback and second-leading rusher (eight carries, 46 yards), is pushing Royster and backup Stephfon Green (11 carries, 45 yards, one touchdown) for more playing time.
"I think Silas will be a good back," Paterno said. "I think he's done well when we've played him. We've not asked him to do too much. But the minute we can get a little bit more running room for Royster and the kid behind him, Green, they're both good backs. ... I think [Redd's] got potential. But he certainly is not as ready to play as those first two kids."
Paterno plans to make a lineup change on his offensive line for the game against Kent State, starting Johnnie Troutman at left guard instead of DeOn'tae Pannell. Pannell started the first two games but alternated with Troutman.
Paterno also named freshman Rob Bolden his starting quarterback Tuesday on a permanent basis.
"I think for a kid who wasn't even here for spring practice, to go in there and do what he's done, he's done well," Paterno said.
Poor tackling against Alabama hampered Penn State. Paterno said his team must improve dramatically in that area. He acknowledged the defense also has to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks, who are completing 76 percent of their passes (37 of 49 for 418 yards and four touchdowns) against a veteran Penn State secondary.
"That's terrible," cornerback Stephon Morris said.
"We haven't had an interception and we haven't had a turnover," Paterno said. "I don't think we're aggressive enough in the secondary and reacting to the ball because we're nervous about getting licked. Maybe that's because there may not be enough pressure up front, I don't know."
Sophomore backup linebacker Gerald Hodges, who was injured on the opening kickoff at Alabama, has a "slight break" in his left leg and could miss 4-8 weeks.
NOTES -- Freshman Khairi Fortt (6-2, 233) has replaced Hodges on the depth chart as the No. 2 outside linebacker behind Bani Gbadyu. ... Morris injured his foot in the second quarter against the Crimson Tide but didn't tell the coaching staff and played the rest of the game. He did not practice Monday and was replaced by redshirt freshman Derrick Thomas. Morris said his status is day to day. "There's no break," Paterno said. "They've X-rayed it and the whole bit. He's got some pain there. We're hopeful that he'll practice [Tuesday.]" ... Asked if it were a coincidence that wide receiver Graham Zug had yet to make a catch, Paterno said: "Right now we're struggling, obviously. Zug is struggling with us." ... Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis, a Central Catholic graduate, will not play against Penn State because of a groin pull.
First Published September 15, 2010 12:00 am