Posted by Adam Jacobi
Penn State is in the opening minutes of its first game of the year, taking on Indiana State, but it's doing so without its most familiar face on the sidelines. An on-field collision in August left venerable head coach Joe Paterno with fractures in his shoulder and pelvis, and because of that, something as simple as standing on the sideline for three hours is now an unwelcome task; instead, as Penn State RapidReporter Jim Rodenbush reports, Paterno is coaching from the press box today.
While coaching from the press box is unusual, it's not inherently bad; there's a reason why coordinators usually find themselves up there. It provides a far better angle for watching plays unfold and noticing breakdowns than on the sideline, where views of the far side of the field are easily obscured. With modern communication systems being what they are, Paterno is hardly disadvantaged when it comes to most of his coaching duties.
That all said, what Paterno gives up is the ability to communicate with his players on an effective or efficient basis. Unless all 85 players have headsets to put on -- which can't possibly be legal -- Paterno's going to need someone on the sideline to relay his messages to the players, and in a game where seconds between plays are precious, that's an inefficiency that the Nittany Lions don't need.
Unfortunately, Penn State had better get used to this system, because while Paterno's not going to be incapacitated forever by his injuries, he's also not recovering from a broken pelvis enough to be standing and walking for three hours at a time anytime soon.
The situation isn't affecting Penn State so far, though; the Nittany Lions lead 14-0 late in the first quarter.