Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Paterno Starting to Show His Age

Joe Paterno was making the rounds Tuesday night in Pittsburgh and the 80-year-old Penn State coach has one goal for the upcoming season: He wants to run out of the Beaver Stadium tunnel with his team in the Sept. 1 opener against dreaded Florida International.

Paterno hasn't been the same since he suffered torn ligaments in his left knee and fractured a bone in his left leg in a November sideline collision at Wisconsin. He used to walk 25-30 miles a week around the Penn State campus. Now a 50-yard sprint from the tunnel to the sideline seems insurmountable.

"Right now, I wouldn't bet on it," Paterno was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Paterno also said he has no plans to renew the 96-game series with Pittsburgh, suggesting he is still upset with the Panthers for bolting in 1982 to the Big East in basketball after Paterno tried to form an all-sports eastern conference.

Paterno reiterated that Pittsburgh would have to play the series on Penn State's terms.

"Financially, we have to have seven home games," he said. "Now, if Pitt would say tomorrow that we'll play twice up at your place and once down here ... The last time we came to Pitt, they charged more money for our game than any other game."

Paterno has other minor problems. Penn State defensive back Anthony Scirrotto was among four players kicked out of school until August by the university's Office of Judicial Affairs. One player, Lydell Sargeant, plans to fight the punishment. Each were involved in the April 1 incident in a State College apartment.

The Centre Daily Times reports the players won't be allowed to return to campus until Aug. 6, just in time for preseason workouts. Normally, expelled students would not be allowed on campus until the expulsion ends, in this case on Aug. 17.

Thanks to Kevin of We Are Penn State.

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