"You torture yourself with these things," says Paterno. "It's the modern way and all that, but I think you get a better feel at practice by what you see first hand. You can sense things. You watch those films and you start having second thoughts. I quit watching 'em."
The business of pursuing No. 1 status is expressed in many ways at College Station. A song, Li-qui-date Ohio State, is playing regularly on local radio. It is a steal from Michigan, however. So are the rolls of toilet paper with Woody Hayes' image on every two-ply sheet. They are stacked in a pyramid at a local grocery and sell for $2 a pop.
On Monday, a columnist for The Daily Collegian, apparently miffed by Paterno's testiness after the Rutgers game, charged the coach with folding under pressure and likened him to Genghis Khan, Napoleon and Idi Amin. Not only that, he called him a "lousy interview." Those among the legions of local Paterno admirers ripped back two days later in the letters-to-the-editor column. Paterno let it all pass, except to say, "I always got along well with those fellows."
At dinner Wednesday night, Fusina and his roommate, Middle Guard Tony Petruccio, speculate how the columnist would get along with Woody Hayes if he thinks the mild-mannered Paterno is rough. Both Fusina and Petruccio were recruited by Ohio State.
"Hayes had me and a Puerto Rican guy in at the same time," says Petruccio. "I thought I was doing O.K., but when I was getting ready to leave he put his arm on my shoulder and said, 'Well, Chico, I'm glad you could make it.' I knew then I wasn't interested in Ohio State."
"Better be careful. Woody hears you say that and he'll hit you."
"He doesn't hit anybody unless he's losing."
"I hope he hits a lot of guys Saturday."
Alone in the training room, Matt Millen and Bruce Clark finish their evening weight-lifting routine and try to catch the tail end of a John Wayne movie on the television set there. They had come to Penn State two years ago as linebackers, high school rivals who "hated each other," Clark says, then had been made tackles together and their weight started to soar. They are now around 260 each and fast friends.
"Salt and pepper," says Millen. He is white, Clark is black.