Concerns at Penn State revolve around QB Sacca to stay

starter undecided

September 22, 1993|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

What registers as controversy for Penn State's Joe Paterno is simply standard operating procedure for Rutgers' Doug Graber.

When Paterno went to a two-quarterback shuttle last week at Iowa, it sent ripples through his program, starting with John Sacca's threat to quit the team, a threat he since has retracted.

Graber says he has no such headaches at Rutgers, where he's run a quarterback shuttle with Ray Lucas and Bryan Fortay the past two seasons.

"I have no problem playing two quarterbacks," Graber said, "and around here it's no big deal. I make the decision, and nobody goes wacky."

Penn State and Rutgers will match revolving quarterbacks Saturday night in Happy Valley. Asked about his latest mini-crisis, Paterno yesterday resorted to bunker mentality. He said he hasn't decided who will start against Rutgers, but said he'd take only one Sacca question during his weekly teleconference.

"John Sacca is a fine young man," Paterno said. "He probably said a couple things he wishes he hadn't said. He's a good quarterback, with a bright future. As to who will start, we'll work that out among ourselves. . . . Enough has been said about that situation."

Sacca, who was replaced by Kerry Collins after the first quarter last week against Iowa, said in the aftermath he wasn't being treated fairly and probably would transfer. But, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sacca has been persuaded by family and friends to remain at State College.

Sacca started the first three games this season, but was only 7-for-24 for 87 yards in the past two. Paterno had picked him to start Penn State's season opener against Minnesota, ahead of Collins. He responded by throwing for four touch downs and 274 yards. After Penn State beat Iowa, Paterno suggested he might shuttle quarterbacks the rest of the season. He wants to redshirt sophomore Wally Richardson this year, but is undecided.

Paterno said his receivers and his quarterback were responsible for Penn State's ineffective passing game. "We have to catch the ball better, No. 1," he said. "And No. 2, we have to read [defenses] a little quicker and get rid of the ball quicker. All of those things are do-able."

A week ago, Paterno said Sacca has a tendency to lock in on one receiver: "He has got to realize that every play plays out a little differently and that is why you have certain reads and you have got to discipline yourself to do it and you can't anticipate things. As soon as he can get that through, he will be fine."

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