Paterno has decreed that Penn State will return to the fundamental, no-nonsense, black-shoe football that has won the Lions two national championships and 247 games during his tenure. He says that the team has responded well to his demands, but he also says that he doesn't expect the Lions to contend for the Big Ten title until 1994. "I'm a little bit tense about what's going to happen to us," he says. "It's a whole new situation, with us going against eight new teams that I've not coached against for a long time. I've had one of the best springs ever, but one of the reasons I'm so charged up is that I'm scared."
The Nittany Lions' defense is solid, but it will have to be. Gone from last year's team are such offensive stalwarts as All-America wide receiver O.J. McDuffie, whom the Miami Dolphins selected in the first round of Sunday's NFL draft, and leading rusher Richie Anderson, who came out early to enter the draft. The New York Jets picked him in the sixth round.
As spring practice ended last Saturday with the annual Blue-White game, the starting quarterback and tailback jobs were up for grabs. Junior-to-be Kerry Collins, expected to be the first-string signal-caller, missed spring practice after undergoing surgery on the index finger of his throwing hand in January. As far as tailback is concerned, Mike Archie, Ki-Jana Carter and Stephen Pitts were all impressive, but none would have started ahead of Anderson this fall.
Paterno is revered in State College, and if any coach can afford to have a season like the one he had in '92, he can. But he keeps talking about going to the Rose Bowl—"If I can't get it done in five years, I won't ever get it done," he says—and if lie doesn't make it to Pasadena soon, some people in Happy Valley are going to be very unhappy.