TAMPA, Fla. - Penn State coach Joe Paterno acknowledged Tuesday that he had asked defensive coordinator Tom Bradley if he needed any help from him when Bradley pursued what had been the head coaching vacancy at Temple.

Bradley interviewed for the job on Dec. 17, before the Nittany Lions left for the Outback Bowl. He was considered a finalist for the opening, but the opportunity went to Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, whose hiring was formally announced last Thursday by Temple.

"I said, 'Can I help with the Temple job?' " Paterno said. "Tommy does a good job for us. Obviously, it's easier for me if he stays. But I don't want to get to the point where I am interfering with someone who might want to run his own program.

"If he really wanted this job and didn't get it, I'd feel maybe I could have given more for him."

Paterno didn't say what Bradley's response was to his offer. Bradley was not available for comment but is scheduled to speak Wednesday at a media gathering.

Bradley, 53, has been considered the in-house favorite to succeed Paterno when and if the 84-year-old coach decides to step down. He is in his 32d season as an assistant coach at Penn State, and his 11th as defensive coordinator.

However, the fact that he expressed interest in the Pittsburgh job and interviewed for the position at Temple indicates either that he's getting restless waiting for Paterno to retire, or that he feels the university administration will go outside Happy Valley to find a new head coach.