Munchak talks about Penn State, Paterno

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans coach Mike Munchak rates as an all-time great at Penn State, where he played on Joe Paterno’s offensive line from 1978-81 and got a business degree.

Munchak is the first Nittany Lion to be an NFL head coach.

Wednesday he talked at length about the scandal rocking State College, Pa., and the college football world, about the man at the center of the scandal, Jerry Sandusky, and about Joe Paterno, who announced he intends to step down after the season.

Highlights of that section of Munchak’s media session.

  • “For me this whole thing has been a horrible situation. It’s been a tragedy that something like this can happen. I can’t imagine what the victims and their families have been through.

  • “(Paterno) is probably doing what he needs to do. He knows what’s gone on here and I’m assuming he sat back and thought this is what’s best for the university and for him going forward.”

  • “It’s the shock of it all. I was there four years, Jerry (Sandusky) was there as a coordinator, and to think that he’s involved in something like this or accused of something like this, it’s very hard to take in.”

  • “I haven’t been back to Penn State that much over the years because of playing football and coaching it. I wasn’t close with Jerry by any means, but I was there with him for four years and knew a lot about him. I never spent a whole lot of time with him.”

  • “(Paterno) is ultimately responsible for anything that happens while he’s the head coach there, and so he knows he has a lot of responsibility in this.”

  • “I think I speak for everyone that’s gone there. (Paterno) was a great coach to be around. I know the players were very important to him, not just as football players but as people, he made that very clear. I thought the way he handled the team, the way he motivated the team, the stories he told us, it was more about life, not just football. He really cared, was concerned for what you did after football. The school thing was legitimate, he did want guys to graduate. All the things you heard about him were exactly true. I don’t think that’ll change for anybody… That university wouldn’t be what it is today without him. Unfortunately right now it’s not something you’re going to dwell on. People realize that… the question is, how did all this happen?”

  • “It’s heartbreaking for me. We get caught up in the football. It’s the kids and the families that went through this.”

  • “(Paterno) is like anybody else, he’s going to make some mistakes. I don’t know what kind of mistakes he made in all this, I’m not going to judge him -- at all. I don’t think it’s smart to judge anybody, especially when you don’t know exactly what went on and what he was told and all the details of this thing. I just go on my experiences with him. I’ve made a lot of mistakes myself, so, no, it won’t change how I feel about him, my relationship with him, what he’s done for me and my career as a player. Those kinds of things will always stay the same. Yeah, it’s going to be a black eye for a while for Penn State University, but the university will go on and recover from this.”

Munchak also said, isolating football from the rest, he thinks it’s OK that Paterno finish the season as coach.

Titans special teamer and linebacker Tim Shaw, who played at Penn State, said in his experience Sandusky's "Second Mile" organization was "a big, big positive spot in Central Pennsylvania."

Shaw urged people to let justice run it's course as things are sorted out.

"Let's handle it the right way because we're coming at somebody who didn't do it the right way," he said.