Some years, Joe Paterno shows up to the Big Ten meetings in Chicago fairly surly with the look of a man who would rather be around the devil than a reporter.
Then there are times like today, when he was working on his standup routine while quoting Socrates and the Bible. But his best line was his first. When the floor was opened up for questions, the 84-year-old quipped "and speak up, will ya?"
Every year about this time, questions about how long Paterno will coach arise. It's like one of these years, we're expecting him to say "This is it. I'm done after this year." Instead, he gives the same answer every year. It was the same one he gave today: "I feel great."
How long Paterno remains on the sideline remains to be seen. He is again in the final year of his contract, which always seems to spark a debate. The Nittany Lions are young and coming off a mediocre 7-6 season, but Paterno, entering his 46th year as head coach and 62nd in Happy Valley, still has no plans of retiring.
"I don't think we played very well last year. I don't think I did a very good job coaching last year, to be frank with you," he said. "I've got to do a better job. Everybody's got to do a better job. We have to set a little bit higher bar."