Paterno more concerned about team unity than officials

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Joe Paterno isn’t about to lobby for instant replay in college football, even though he was upset enough with some calls Saturday to chase down the officials after the game.
Instead, Paterno said Tuesday that he’s more interested in making sure his team doesn’t replay its slow start against Iowa when No. 19 Penn State travels to Wisconsin this Saturday.
During Monday’s practice, Paterno told the Nittany Lions (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) they would need a more consistent effort if they’re going to win at 20th-ranked Wisconsin on Saturday.
“He said you can’t win a football game if you only play one quarter of the game,” punter David Royer said.
Not that the Nittany Lions didn’t try. After falling behind 23-0 in the second quarter, Penn State trailed 35-13 midway through the fourth quarter before scoring three touchdowns to force overtime.
It was the second time this year that Penn State has gotten off to a slow start. The Nittany Lions looked stunned in their season-opener against Central Florida when they led just 13-9 at halftime.
Paterno blamed the slow start Saturday on mistakes early in the game.
“I think early we were sloppy,” Paterno said. “We fumbled on our own 18, which gave them a chance to go ahead 17-nothing. I thought we were sloppy, but I thought we played hard.”
Paterno would like to see the sloppy play cleared up. What he doesn’t want to see is a lot of blaming and finger pointing among his players.
That’s a legitimate concern at Penn State, which struggled to gel during the last two seasons — the only back-to-back losing seasons in the Paterno era. Those worries appeared long gone after Penn State’s 3-0 start, including a 40-7 rout of then-No. 8 Nebraska, but Paterno reminded his players Monday that they needed to stick together in order to win again.
“Joe said just stay together. We don’t want any finger-pointing,” tight end Casey Williams said. “You’ve got to learn how to win and learn how to lose. You can’t just dig a hole and hide just because you lost one game.”
As for Paterno, he’s not going to point fingers either, despite how upset he was about a couple of calls that went against the Nittany Lions in overtime against Iowa. After the game, Paterno — who’ll turn 76 in December — raced down the field and caught up with referee Dick Honig, grabbing Honig’s jersey to complain about the calls.
“I think most of you who’ve known me through the years know I’ve very rarely griped about officials, if ever,” Paterno said. “I’ve never blamed officials for losing a game or whatever, so I’m not going to get into that now.”
Asked if he would support instant replay on controversial calls, Paterno said he did not think that would solve anything.
“When I do watch a pro game and I see that official stick his head in that — whatever they call that thing — the games are long enough, and sometimes I’m not sure they can make a decision when they look at the replay,” Paterno said. “I don’t know what it’s going to do for us. Unless someone can prove to me it’s really going to change the game for the better, I’d rather not do it.