STATE COLLEGE — Jay Paterno feels that some day he could be a head coach, too, just like his famous father.
For now, though, he said his only priority is helping Penn State move to more of a spread-style offense next season and getting his dad and boss, Joe Paterno, more wins.
“Most people tell me there is no lack of confidence in me,” said Jay Paterno, the Nittany Lions’ quarterbacks coach who helps call passing plays. “But I’m just worried about next year.”
Joe Paterno said after the Alamo Bowl late last month that his son has the ability to be a head coach, “but I don’t think Penn State would be a good place for him right now.” Having his son succeed him would make it seem as if “I programmed the whole thing,” JoePa said.
In a recent interview, Jay Paterno said becoming a head coach isn’t at the top of his to-do list, even at Penn State, though “obviously, if that were to happen, I would have to prove myself.”
He could coach or work elsewhere, he said, but he loves Penn State and the State College area. Jay Paterno just completed his 13th season on the coaching staff, his eighth coaching quarterbacks.
His father just finished his record 42nd year as Penn State head coach, though he is about to enter the final year of his contract, which expires after the 2008 season.
Joe Paterno, 81, has said recently he could coach at least a couple more years, and perhaps as many as five. His 372 career wins are one behind Florida State’s Bobby Bowden for most among major college coaches.
Next season might bring a different look to the Penn State offense. Coaches have said the Nittany Lions will go back to more of the spread-style attack used in 2005, when run-pass threat Michael Robinson started at quarterback.
The 2008 squad will be led by a new quarterback because of the departure of two-year starter Anthony Morelli, who was more of a drop-back passer. The major question is whether holdovers Daryll Clark and Pat Devlin can handle the job.
Coaches have said the race is wide open, though Clark may come into spring practice as the first-stringer simply because he was the top backup.
A wild card may be the destination of Terrelle Pryor, the athletic 6-foot-6 quarterback from Jeannette who is considered one of the top recruits in the country. Pryor has said Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State and Oregon are among his options.
Regardless of who calls the signals, next year’s Penn State quarterback should have some help — all five starters return on the offensive line, as well as the receiving trio of Derrick Williams, Deon Butler and Jordan Norwood.
Jay Paterno said the team’s goal is to both run and pass for 200 yards each game out of what has been dubbed the “Spread HD.”
“It’s not a philosophical shift, but more of a personnel shift,” he said.