STATE COLLEGE — Joe Paterno tried not to let the discomfort show on his face, but his body language gave him away.
Penn State’s 81-year-old coach had to gingerly lower himself into his chair for his postgame interview as he favored his sore left leg.
“My leg’s OK,” Paterno said. “I just stand on it too long and it aches. I’m probably babying myself.”
The pain was enough to force him off his customary spot on the sidelines and up to the coaches’ booth after the first half.
Paterno looked to be laboring a week earlier while walking the concrete-like artifical turf at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome. There was even speculation before Saturday’s 45-3 win over Temple that Paterno would spend the entire game up in the booth, but Paterno came out to the field for pregame warm-ups and walked out of the tunnel with the team for the start of the game, remaining on the field until halftime.
Paterno wouldn’t reveal what initially caused the injury, which is not to the same leg that he seriously hurt in 2006 when he was involved in a sideline collision at Wisconsin. He broke his right leg and tore ligaments in his right knee that required surgery that kept him off the field for the final two regular season games that year.
He first sarcastically suggested that he hurt his leg this time by kicking a wall with a reporter’s picture on it before getting agitated that the postgame focus was on him and not his team.
“I’ve got a buncha kids out there fighting all kinds of adversity with different lineups and hanging in there together,” he said. “All right? And you’re worried about my leg.
“Now, if you were a bunch of good-looking girls, I’d feel better about it.”
While up in the booth for the second half, Paterno donned a headset as he sat with assistant coaches Galen Hall, Jay Paterno, Dick Anderson and Ron Vanderlinden.
Players said they missed their coach yellling at them coming on and off the field, but that the operation didn’t run any differently than normal.
His son said the situation wasn’t a concern.
“He’s fine, guys,” Jay Paterno said. “He’s getting around better than some other people who are a lot younger than him. No one needs to get panicked or anything. Trust me, if you were sitting next to him in the second half like I was, you would know he was OK.”
Defensive linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma did not dress for the third straight game. Both were charged with one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession on Wednesday, relating to a police search of their apartment on Sept. 2.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for both on Oct. 22.
“We’ll see what happens,” Joe Paterno said. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen. The ball’s not in my court right now. OK? It’s with (Penn State’s Office of) Judicial Affairs and the downtown people. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”
Junior tight end Andrew Quarless, who lives in the same apartment as Evans and Koroma but is not facing any charges, saw his first significant playing time of the season after starting tight end Mickey Shuler was taken out of the game with a sprained left ankle.
Quarless caught four passes for 50 yards on the day. Shuler’s sprain was described as “slight” by Joe Paterno.
True freshman defensive back D’Anton Lynn became the fifth member of his class to see the field this season, burning his redshirt. Wearing No. 8, Lynn lined up at cornerback for a few drives in the second half.
Brandon Beachum, Jack Crawford, Michael Mauti and DeOn’tae Pannell have also played this season.