Paterno taking hands-off approach to bye week

After all the trouble the Penn State football program has been through this year, head coach Joe Paterno knows he has to be careful with bye weeks. The Nittany Lions have suspended six different players this year, kicking off one , Chris Bell, for brandishing a knife at a teammate. âÄúYou try to talk to the guys that are the leaders, you try to say, âÄòHey, now you guys take care of this and you guys watch this and somebody tell me if we’ve got a problem and those kind of things,âÄù Paterno said. âÄúYou try to be around them enough.âÄù With the No. 3 Nittany Lions, along with No. 12 Ohio State , off this week , Paterno said he will try not to be too overbearing on his players. âÄúI don’t want to go in there and say, âÄòYou guys better be doing this and this or that as far as football is concerned,âÄôâÄù Paterno said. âÄúThey’ve got to get away. They’ve got to just get in the classroom, go downtown. Don’t misbehave but, you know, just don’t pay attention to everybody telling you how good you are, just relax a little bit. âÄúWe’ve got a week off. We’re not going to push you, we’re not going to shove you, we’re not going to make you do certain things that we have to do during the game week,âÄù he added. âÄúAnd try to get them to understand they’ve got to be mature about those things. But they need a week off.âÄù The team took Monday off of practice, and Tuesday they practiced without pads . âÄú[Practice] is a little more focused on ourselves and what we can do as opposed to the whole time talking about what the other team is going to do and how we need to adjust to that,âÄù sophomore guard Steve Wisniewski said. âÄúIt’s a little more introspective.âÄù Just one of Penn State’s remaining games is against a currently ranked team, but convincing wins could help their national championship hopes. Currently, Texas and Alabama are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 , and most believe that Penn State wonâÄôt be able to overtake either team without one of them losing. âÄúThey need some time off mentally,âÄù Paterno said. âÄú[There’s] an awful lot of pressure when you are going through what we’re going through. And you can’t let up on them. It isn’t as if they can come out to practice and you can horse around completely. You try to horse around a little bit with them. But you’ve got to be careful because it’s just, as you know, one mistake, one slip.âÄù Painter uncertain Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter is questionable for SaturdayâÄôs game against Michigan after separating his shoulder in the BoilermakersâÄô loss to Minnesota last week . Painter separated his throwing shoulder on a hit from Willie VanDeSteeg in the first quarter of MinnesotaâÄôs 17-6 win. He returned early in the second quarter, but spent the game alternating with redshirt freshman Justin Siller . âÄúWe’re starting out by saying we assume we’re going to have (Painter), but we need to prepare as though we’re not going to have him,âÄù head coach Joe Tiller told âÄúAnd we’ll make some adjustments based on Justin Siller’s ability and what he can do.âÄù Siller finished 10-for-17 for 73 yards and an interception against the Gophers .