Every time I think JoePa isn't really the caricature he's made out to be, a profile like this comes out.
Paterno, though, has delegated more responsibilities to his assistants, and may not be as intensely involved as in previous years.Why do I get the feeling he's going to end up pulling a gun on Galen Hall this year, shouting "Take that, Malanga!"
He could delegate a little more to his assistants, but "I don't want to step back too far because then they when I look around, they won't let me in," he joked as he lounged on a hotel couch and took sips from a drink. "So every once in awhile, I'll stick my two cents in, and yell at some of the coaches something terrible because I don't know what's going on."
Paterno taps out a "text message"
on his "Blackberry"
But planning for the 2006 season has begun in earnest.
It's never too early to start scouting opponents, which Paterno does from the comfort of his modest State College home. Players have already been given computer discs with information to study up for the first game, against Akron on Sept. 2.
And Paterno is quick to point out Penn State's early season schedule, which includes visits to national title contenders Notre Dame and Ohio State.
"Every season, you hopefully want to go in with some sense of urgency. Last year, obviously, we were hanging in there," Paterno said.
He often said after the down 2004 campaign that his team was several broken plays or bad calls away from having a winning squad, and how he asked for patience from school administrators.
"It's not a question of 'I told you so,"' Paterno said. "They gave me a chance to keep my coaches and I appreciate that. It's not a finger pointing thing. I just think they had enough confidence that they understood where I was coming from. I kept telling people that we weren't that far off a few years ago."
He could save a little time by typing out e-mails. But Paterno is notorious for his dislike of e-mail, cell phones and other modern gadgets, so he says he'll sit down at a desk and write out messages to potential recruits and their families.
For now though, there's a beach vacation to look forward to.