Is Joe Paterno capable of coaching Penn State through end of season? According to Mike Gross of the Lancaster Sunday News, the answer is no. After seeing the legendary coach Thursday at the team's media day, Gross even wonders if Paterno, 83, should be driving a car.
Gross writes: "[Paterno] is shockingly thin. Gaunt isn't the right word only because of his burnished golden sun tan, no doubt the result of recent beach strolls at his vacation home in Avalon, N.J.
"He moved and walked slowly, laboriously.
"Team, position-group and coaching-staff photos are always taken at media day. That entailed Joe climbing stadium steps, and the concern on the faces of his staff as he neared the steps was obvious. He shooed away offers to help.
"He started his press conference with a stark request:
" 'Please don't ask me if I'm going to die.'
"He was going for a laugh but not really kidding; he really didn't want to talk about it."
There's more: "Words took a long, labored time getting out. There was elaborate, juicy slurring.
"His head occasionally seemed overtaken by gravity, his chin dropping to his chest and his lower lip gaping open.
Gross closes with this: "I have no idea what's wrong with him and neither do you. The man has amazed with his resilience more than once, and perhaps he will again.
"Just telling you what I saw. In the shape he's in right now, he can't coach the football team, with all that entails, from now through a January bowl game.
"And that will be the storyline of this Penn State season, much more than the lack of a quarterback and an offensive line, as real as those issues are."
Thanks to Penn State Clips.