Penn State's Paterno talks baseball, boxing and bowl game

Posted: January 01, 2011

TAMPA, Fla. - Joe Paterno appreciated the treatment that Penn State received from the Phillies last week when the Nittany Lions practiced at the team's spring-training complex in Clearwater, Fla., in preparation for the Outback Bowl against Florida.

But after confirming Friday that he had met Phillies ace Roy Halladay while he was there, Paterno gushed over receiving a visit from Angelo Dundee, a Clearwater resident and the longtime trainer for former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.

"Angelo just had a hip replacement, but he came over," the 84-year-old Paterno said. "My dad used to box a little bit. I used to go to the Stillman gym [in Brooklyn] as a kid. I was talking to Angelo that I used to watch Sugar Ray Robinson when I was a kid."

Paterno then changed the topic to Halladay (or, as he called him, "the kid who threw the no-hitter").

"Boy, is he an impressive young man," the coach said of the righthander. "They tell me he works out every day. He lives down there.

"The Phillies did a great job for us while we were there. They have got a marvelous facility."

January heat

Paterno expressed concern over the weather forecast for the game against Florida, which calls for sunshine and temperatures in the mid-to-upper 70s.

"That worries me a little bit, the heat," he said. "I'm not sure whether the forecasters down here are any more honest than the ones up north.

"If it's that hot, obviously we're going to have to play some people, particularly with the pace that Florida may give us on offense. They're not going to be hanging around waiting for us to line up and all those kinds of things. So I would think more kids get to play."

Planning to run

Evan Royster, holder of the Penn State record for career rushing yards, said he and the other Lions running backs will need to hit the holes quickly against the speedy Gators defense.

"The big thing is their speed and their side-to-side movement," said Royster, who enters his final college game with 3,834 yards. "They can run to the ball and we're really going to need to kind of be north and south on them and not running toward the sideline.

"When they stretch out a play, they're going to get to you and you're not going to be able to make any progress. Definitely the most important thing is to do the quick hitters and not let them use their speed against us."

Florida linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who finished second on his team in tackles, acknowledged that Royster is "a tough back."

"We're going to need a lot of hats on him," he said. "A lot of guys have to be swarming to the ball. We're going to have to wrap up because he's able to break a tackle, and he has a lot of vision that if you're not where you're supposed to be, he can make a big play."

Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or

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