JoePa expects to be onfield for Rose Bowl

Updated: December 8, 2008, 3:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- JoePa is coming to California for the holidays and, barring a setback, intends to coach No. 8 Penn State from the sideline against No. 5 Southern California in the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi on New Year's Day.

Paterno, hobbled by a bad hip, coached the Nittany Lions' last seven games from the press box. He had hip replacement surgery Nov. 23 -- a day after Penn State completed the regular season with a 49-18 victory over Michigan State. He hasn't made a public appearance since that time.

"I'm feeling good, I'm walking around pretty good," Paterno said. "I'm not incapacitated. I walk around, I do everything. I think I'm going to be able to be on the sideline. I hope so.

"I think to miss that experience of being there in the Rose Bowl, looking across the field, seeing those Trojans, Pete, the whole bit, I may regret it, but I'm looking forward to it."

Paterno's contract expires after this season, but he said following the Michigan State game he would return for a 44th season next year.

"I'm planning on coming back, yeah," Paterno said. "I never planned otherwise. Everyone's making a big deal that I don't have a contract signed. I've never even asked to do that."

No official agreement has been announced.

USC coach Pete Carroll said it will be a great thrill to coach against Paterno.

"He's stood for college football and for football in general as a true icon in every sense of the word," Carroll said. "He's brought a tremendous energy and spirit to football and to the game, love of the game that will last forever. I see how feisty he is, how tough he is. I just marvel at all of the years and the excellence."

Paterno enters the Rose Bowl with a 383-126-3 record including a 23-10-1 bowl mark since becoming Penn State coach in 1966. Paterno's 383 wins, 34 bowl appearances and 23 bowl wins are all records.

Both Penn State and USC enter the game with 11-1 records.

"I want to meet coach Paterno," USC free safety Taylor Mays said. "I'm going to look for him to shake his hand. It's cool to play Penn State and Joe Paterno. With all of the history of both schools, it's a classic matchup."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.