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Paterno just tries to do best he can

Coach says he thinks Alamo Bowl essentially is an away game for Nittany Lions.

SAN ANTONIO — Joe Paterno doesn’t have much use for numbers.

Sure, the legendary head coach has been at it for 42 years, his 500th game is set for Saturday, and he turned 81 last weekend.

But JoePa isn’t worried about all those figures.

“I don’t even think about it to be frank with you. Whether it’s 499 or 501, I don’t really know,” Paterno said Sunday before Penn State’s first practice for Saturday’s Alamo Bowl against Texas A&M.

“The profession we’re in ... is one where you’ve got to understand, they love you one day and two days later — ‘How dumb can you be?’” Paterno said. “So to be able to have survived this long, I think that’s a credit to the institution more than it is to me.”

The veteran is about to enter the last year of a four-year contract that expires after the 2008 season and speculation is building over whether he will retire. Paterno said he’s just glad to keep doing what he does.

“You try to, just try to do the best you can and make sure that what you’ve got can help the whole university,” Paterno said. “You don’t know whether you’re 80 or you’re 81. You get up in the morning, you get a little stiffer.”

The sometimes grouchy Paterno, who shooed cameras away on Sunday, then later apologized that he “blew my stack,” said the game between his Nittany Lions and the Aggies is essentially an away game for Penn State.

“It’s loud and they’re (A&M fans) enthusiastic and I think it’ll be a good football game,” Paterno said.

Paterno will be coaching against Gary Darnell, A&M’s defensive coordinator, who was named interim coach last month after Dennis Franchione resigned. Darnell has experience, but has been with A&M only since 2006.

up next

ALAMO BOWL

Penn State

vs. Texas A&M

8 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN

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