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It’s been worse for others.

Ray Perkins lasted only four seasons after he replaced Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama in 1983. Bryant retired after the 1982 season and died a month later. Frank Solich was Tom Osborne’s hand-picked successor at Nebraska in 1998. Solich made it six years and went 58-19, but the program clearly slipped during his tenure.

Bradley might not get more than four games _ Saturday’s against Nebraska, road games against Ohio State and Wisconsin and a bowl game.

Still, he had no reservations taking over after Paterno’s 46-year tenure on the sideline, even in these grim days.

Nicknamed “Scrap” for his scrappy style on special teams while a player at Penn State, Bradley is known for his animated machinations on the sideline while calling plays or moving defenders around the field.

But he showed little emotion during the half-hour news conference except when talking about Paterno, Division I’s winningest coach with 409 victories. Bradley had been JoePa’s top field lieutenant the last 11 years.

In recent years, when various health problems have relegated Paterno to watching games from the coaches’ box instead of being on the sideline, Bradley has been in charge on the sideline.

“It will be business as usual on that sideline on Saturday,” he said.

The 55-year-old Bradley said he found out he was the new coach while watching game film. He called Paterno about 11 p.m. Wednesday, but declined to say what they discussed.

“I think that’s personal in nature,” Bradley said.

Bradley encouraged Penn State students, some of whom scuffled with police Wednesday night after Paterno was fired, to act with class at Saturday’s game. He also said his team, which had met earlier in the morning, would be ready to play.

In the days since Sandusky, Paterno’s onetime heir apparent, was charged, the scandal has claimed Penn State’s storied coach, its president, its athletic director and a vice president. Sandusky has denied the charges against him through his attorney.

“We all have a responsibility to take care of our children. All of us,” Bradley said.

Bradley replaced Sandusky as defensive coordinator following the 1999 season, and testified before the grand jury that indicted Sandusky and two other university officials, who are accused of failing to notify authorities about alleged abuse. The new coach declined several times to answer any questions about his involvement or testimony, finally saying he had been advised not to by attorneys.

Bradley’s blue-and -white roots go back more than three decades. He went from special teams captain to graduate assistant in 1979, and has been in Happy Valley ever since. He took over as defensive coordinator after Sandusky resigned in 1999, and the No. 12 Nittany Lions (8-1) are third in the country in scoring defense (12.4 points per game) this year. They rank eighth in total defense (282.3 yards per game).

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