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JoePa in usual pre-bowl form

December 30, 2008 - Neil Rudel

Joe Paterno is usually uptight prior to bowl games, which include media and other obligations that he'd rather not have to bother with during preparation.

Tuesday was no exception.

When he arrived at the press conference at the Downtown Marriott, Paterno showed his impatience from the front table as interviews with players were going on in the back of the large ballroom.

"Hey, c'mon," he said. "If you want to shoot the bull, get out. I'm on a tight schedule. We've got to get a practice in."

He then complained about the "logistics," of practice-site coordination. The Lions are practicing about 40 minutes from their hotel.

"We've spent almost two hours a day in a bus," he said.

It wasn't quite as bad as three years ago when he ripped the Orange Bowl committee for having the media hotel 45 minutes away from Penn State's quarters (imagine JoePa driving from State College to Altoona for a presser).

Paterno eventually found his sense of humor Tuesday and told the media, "Happy new year," before adding with a smile. "I don't give a darn about yours, but I hope mine is happy."

It was a stark contrast to USC coach Pete Carroll, who made an opening statement and then was converged upon by reporters. Paterno's forum required a wireless microphone followed by no close-up access.

All the players were required to be at the press conference. That provided a rare opportunity to interview the PSU freshmen.

Players wore their jerseys, which helped us tell them apart, particularly the lesser-known types.

Penn State's players wore no hats inside, a JoePa preference. Many of USC's players had their caps on, twisted every which way. One Trojan was asleep at one of the round tables.


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