Joe Paterno entered his first weekly press conference of the year on Tuesday supported by a crutch attached to his left arm. He's still recovering from injuries sustained earlier this month when receiver Devon Smith ran him over in practice. He managed to make it two and from the microphones under his own power, however, and thinks he has a chance to coach Penn State from the sideline on Saturday when the Nittany Lions open their season with Indiana State at Beaver Stadium.
"I've got some medical people who want me upstairs, and I want to be downstairs. That being upstairs is for the birds," Paterno said. "As of now it's a 50/50 thing, I think. Doctors tell me a little differently. But sometimes, you know, you have to do what you think you can do and not what somebody else thinks you can do."
Paterno coached from the press box during Penn State's Big Ten championship season in 2008 and said at the time he liked being up high and having a head set on to correspond with his assistants. He clearly wishes to be back down on the field, though, so that will be a story line to keep an eye on during an otherwise unremarkable matchup with FCS also-ran Indiana State.
Regardless of where Paterno ends up, however, his players doubt it will have much of an effect on the game.
"I don't think it makes really a difference at all," safety Nick Sukay said. "When you're down on the field focusing on the game, you're not really looking to see where all your coaches are at and stuff like that. You're kind of talking with your positions and defense."
Offensive lineman Chima Okoli sang a similar refrain.
"There's not too much of a difference," Okoli said. "Mike McQuerey is always going to be yelling, coach [Bill] Kenney is always going to be yelling...I feel like everyone picks up the slack."
For more on Joe Paterno's injury and his status for Saturday, be sure to check out this piece filed by Fight On State's Mark Brennan.