PSU's Paterno regrets not using Clark earlier
By Ed Barkowitz
Published: Tuesday, July 28, 2009
CHICAGO — Perhaps the biggest hurdle in the development of Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark was convincing his stubborn coach.
As a sophomore in 2007, Clark was the backup to senior Anthony Morelli. As the Nittany Lions trudged through an 8-4 regular season, quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno wanted to get Clark some snaps in live action, but head coach Joe Paterno refused.
"I thought it would discourage the kid that we were using," Paterno said of Morelli, a Penn Hills graduate. "I thought the kid we were using had the potential to be a good quarterback. I blew that one."
Clark attempted just nine passes that year, but he was electrifying when called on in the bowl victory over Texas A&M. He ran for 50 yards, including an acrobatic touchdown from 11 yards.
"It means a lot and lets me know that (the coaches) were thinking of putting me in the mix," Clark said. "Then (Joe Paterno) ended up doing that toward the end of the year and in the Alamo Bowl. It boosted my confidence and made me realize that next year, in the '08 season, I had a shot to be the quarterback here."
Clark, now a senior, beat out Pat Devlin last year and was the best quarterback in the Big Ten. His legs are still a weapon, but with Devlin's departure to Delaware, Clark will have to pick his spots when to run the ball. Behind him on the depth chart are two players who never have thrown a pass for the Nittany Lions: true freshman Kevin Newsome and redshirt freshman Matt McGloin.
"I have to learn to live to fight another down," said Clark, a team captain. "I've had three concussions already in my career, and I have to watch that. You have to be tough out there, but you have to be smart."
Clark is one of the few known commodities on a Penn State squad that will need to rebuild its offensive line, wide-receiving group and defensive secondary. The line is a particular worry.
"It's a big concern of mine, and I think until we go through a good, tough preseason practice with some of them, there's a little pressure on them," Paterno said of a unit that must replace all-Big Ten selections A.Q. Shipley, Gerald Cadogan and Rich Ohrnberger.
Stefen Wisniewski, a second-team all-conference guard last year, has been moved to center. Right tackle Dennis Landlot is the only other returning starter.
"A lot of them we've seen practice, and they've played some, but they haven't been anywhere where the success of a game rests on their shoulders, and they can't make dumb mistakes, can't jump offsides, can't lose hold of a guy, all those kinds of things," Paterno said. "I'm not quite sure where we are up front, but I think it is a question mark for us."
Even if he was a little confounding, Paterno defended the Nittany Lions' soft nonconference schedule that features home games against Akron, Syracuse, Temple and I-AA Eastern Illinois. None of those teams had a winning record last year.
"I don't know how good we are right now. We haven't played a game," he said. "I haven't seen these guys play a game yet. So for me to get up here and worry about what people think about our non-conference schedule (is pointless)."
"Hey, you guys have got to talk about something. The fans have got to put something on those — what do you guys call those things — Twittle-do, Twittle-dee• I haven't got the slightest idea what you're looking at," said the 82-year-old coach.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.