TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama coach Nick Saban said concern for children should be the priority in the explosive sex crime scandal at Penn State that has resulted in the arrest of former PSU defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and the resignation of legendary coach Joe Paterno.
Sandusky was arrested Saturday and charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of eight boys over a period of 15 years. Meanwhile, Paterno has come under fire after grand jury testimony indicated Paterno was informed by a graduate assistant of one such assault on the Penn State campus in 2002, but took no more action than informing Athletic Director Tim Curley.
"I've heard some about the news, but it really wouldn't be appropriate for me to make any comments, not having known a lot about it," Saban said. "I know it's a terrible, sad, series of events, especially that would lead to someone who has accomplished so much retiring. But I think the most important concern in all of this is for the kids. That would be my utmost concern relative to this circumstance."
Paterno was not charged with a crime by the grand jury. The school cancelled his Tuesday news conference and the 84-year-old coach later released a statement.
"I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case. I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief," the statement read in part. "... This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."
Paterno said Tuesday he would resign at the end of the season, shortly before Penn State's Board of Trustees was to meet to, in part, determine whether Paterno would be allowed to coach that long.
Sylve makes strides
Freshman Bradley Sylve, who has yet to play this season, made a move from wide receiver to defensive back several weeks ago. Saban said the Louisiana native would likely redshirt.
"He's got the instincts to play the position, he's got good speed and quickness," Saban said. "He's trying to learn what to do, but he's got some toughness about him. We've been pleased with the progress that he's made."
"He's got strength, he's got power, he can change direction and he's got good toughness. The way they spread you out and run the ball is really difficult to defend." - Saban on MSU running back Vick Ballard.
Did you know?
Three of the 15 national semifinalists for the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back will be on the field Saturday at Mississippi State. Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick and Mark Barron both made the most recent cut for the honor, as did the Bulldogs' Johnthan Banks. Banks has made five interceptions on the season to lead MSU.
Offensive lineman Barrett Jones and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were again in black (non-contact) jerseys Wednesday as they recover from injuries. Jones (ankle) did not participate in individual drills during the media viewing period, while Kirkpatrick (concussion) did. Saban has said the status of the two remains "day to day." ... UA linebacker Dont'a Hightower has been named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, named for former Southern Cal All-American and NFL All-Pro Ronnie Lott. The honor combines on-field criteria with off-field criteria such as service to community, academics and integrity.
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.