Penn State coach Joe Paterno doesn’t want any of his assistant coaches to leave the program, but he understands why they would.
“People have to make decisions and do what's best for them and their families,” Paterno said. “We may find ourselves in a position where some of the guys may have opportunities to go other places. Hopefully I wouldn't lose anybody as an assistant coach.”
The names of two assistants — defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden — have been mentioned in other head coaching positions.
After Pittsburgh forced Dave Wannstedt to resign, many have speculated Bradley might get the position. Bradley’s name also popped up for the Pittsburgh job in 2004 before the Panthers decided on Wannstedt.
Vanderlinden has been associated with the Ball State head coaching position. He coached the offensive line at Ball State from 1981-82.
“People have to live their lives,” Paterno said. “I just don't know, to be frank with you. I think some of them probably will get contacted. Whether they'll be invited to take another job or not I have no way of knowing.”
Staying or going?
Sophomore quarterback Kevin Newsome met with Paterno on Friday morning about the possibility of transferring. The coach urged the former four-star recruit to take his time with the decision and asked him to "suck it up" through the spring.
“We think he’s a fine prospect,” Paterno said. “At this stage he’s not quite as far along as the other two kids. So that’s a tough call for us. Obviously, it’s a tough call for him because he does want to play. He doesn’t particularly want to wait forever to play.”
Paterno said he plans to meet with Newsome again after he takes his last final next week to try and figure out where he stands. The players will have optional workouts next week because of finals, so Paterno hopes Newsome takes his time with his decision.
Newsome was not made available for comment.
While the coach told Newsome to wait and see where he stands even up until the spring — after Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones all compete for playing time — Newsome has a desire to play.
Newsome has been working with the scout team this season, and while he threw passes to the defensive backs during the open portion of Friday’s practice, he didn’t look too sharp. He threw some inaccurate balls, as he didn’t look comfortable going through his motions.
Paterno said reporters asked about his future approximately 50 times during his time in Tampa on Thursday in preparation for the Outback Bowl.
He deflected the first question about the subject before reporters asked if those questions bothered him. His answer was decisive.
“You bother me,” Paterno cracked back at the reporter. “I mean, how many times can I answer the same question?”
Paterno said he hasn’t met with the administration about his future or put any thought into doing so.
He said he plans to worry about his future after the bowl game. In late November, Paterno said he plans to return for the 2011 season.
“I want to go down there and have a good football team, period,” Paterno said. “Can't you get that through your head? Right now that's the only thing I'm thinking about.”
NOTES: Punter Anthony Fera, who missed the final two games of the season with an emergency appendectomy, should be available for the game, Paterno said … Linebacker Mike Mauti, who is probable on the depth chart, said he is 100 percent … The Lions will travel to Tampa two weeks before the game, while Florida will make the trip just one week prior to the contest … Paterno said he felt the team was OK academically, but he would have to re-evaluate the Lions after finals week. The only player he mentioned academically was linebacker Bani Gbadyu, who he said should be fine.
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Football reporters Audrey Snyder and Andrew J. Cassavell contributed to this report.