|After Alamo Bowl, Penn State and Texas A&M head in different directions|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 31 December 2007 02:27|
M is moving on from interim coach Gary Darnell to a new era under Mike Sherman.
In contrast, Penn State hasn't made a coaching change in 42 years - and 81-year-old Joe Paterno is already starting to think about his record 43rd season on the sideline.
With only four senior starters departing from a 9-4 team, could the Nittany Lions contend for a third national title in 2008?
``I always feel that way,'' said Paterno, relaxed and content Sunday after the Nittany Lions' third straight bowl win. ``That should be our goal, to be in the hunt.''
First, a little rest is in order after what Paterno called a ``very, very difficult season.''
The left leg he broke during a game last year is fine, though now his right leg is giving him a little trouble after he overcompensated on it this past season. Hours on the practice field have taken a toll, so he's scaling back for the next few weeks before hitting the recruiting trail again.
Off the field, a string of player run-ins with police had Paterno just as preoccupied as getting ready for big games.
Then there are the nagging questions about Paterno's future. His contract expires after next season, and Paterno repeated a phrase Sunday he's uttered for a couple of decades: ``I'm going to coach a couple more years.''
``I don't even know what's in my contract, to be honest with you,'' Paterno said.
Paterno has said in the past that he hopes a successor comes from his staff. But he stopped short of saying Sunday that he would recommend a successor for his job to athletic director Tim Curley.
``I don't want to tie his hands ... I want to do what's best for Penn State,'' he said. ``When I think it's time, I've got to sit down with Curley and some other people and say, 'Hey, if this is the way you're going to go, I got to protect my staff.'''
M, where Sherman is expected to hire a whole new staff when he takes over the program after finishing his duties as assistant head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans.
``I'm anxious to get started up there,'' Sherman said after Houston beat Jacksonville 42-28 on Sunday.
Sherman will replace Darnell, who took over Nov. 23 on an interim basis following the resignation of Dennis Franchione.
Darnell, a 37-year coaching veteran who has worked at 11 colleges, has the credentials to land somewhere else.
M center Cody Wallace said Saturday night. ``You know they tried to keep things as similar as they used to be.''
Unfortunately for the Aggies, they also lost their third straight bowl game. The stress of the season showed on the faces of a couple of Aggies who teared up during and after the up-and-down contest.
M's recruiting coordinator from 1989 to 2004.
Sherman watched some of the Alamo Bowl before going into meetings for his soon-to-be former employer.
M. ``I was disappointed they couldn't win, but we're going to go up there and get it turned around.''
AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan in Houston contributed to this report.