Some guys want the job. Some guys don't.

Tom Bradley wants the job as Penn State's permanent head football coach. He's been on the Nittany Lion coaching staff for 33 years, most recently as the defensive coordinator, and has long been touted as Joe Paterno's successor. By all accounts, he's been a class act.

And yes, Bradley definitely wants the top job.

Boise State head coach Chris Petersen says he's not interested.

Paterno's son, quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, apparently wants the job, too -- he was interviewed last Friday -- but he's got about as much chance of getting the job as I do. My chances? Zero.

Harvard head coach Tim Murphy says he doesn't want the job, either.

Green Bay quarterbacks coach, Tom Clements, says he wants to be considered for the post.

Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy does not.

Green Bay Packers assistant Darren Perry, a former Penn State player, is interested. So says his agent.

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen says he has no interest at all.

Former University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer might have had some interest once upon a time, but he took the Ohio State job instead.

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, who played at Penn State, says he's staying put.

More than one person seems to think Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald would be the perfect replacement for Joe Paterno. But just as many people doubt that Fitzgerald has any interest in Penn State.

Given the history of the Penn State football program, you'd think people would be lining up for miles to throw their name into the ring. They're not.

Because no matter what else happens, one thing seems certain -- football at Penn State will never be the same again. That's probably a good thing.

The problem, however, is that no one knows at this point exactly what form the football program will take. And no football coach with any brains is going to take the top job before he knows what the ground rules are going to be.

That includes Bradley, by the way, if he's half as smart as I think he is.

Dr. David Joyner, Penn State's acting athletic director and the only former football player on the search committee, said recently there was plenty of interest for the coaching job. But he didn't say who they were.

It is known that, initially at least, Penn State officials were hoping to fill the head coaching job before the Lions played their bowl game -- that would be Jan. 2 in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas against the University of Houston.

But that won't happen. Three weeks is not enough time to set the standard -- a new focus on ethics is said to be the No. 1 consideration, according to Joyner -- and then interview all candidates and do the appropriate background investigations (because they'd better not make the wrong choice) before finally settling on one man.

No. 2 on the list, Joyner said, is "a coach that understands the importance of academics." which has been a hallmark of Paterno's years as head coach.

No. 3 is that the coach understands the value of academics for the players.

Somewhere further down the list is a coach that's able to win. But he must be able to win within the new environment, Joyner said.

It's a tricky deal.

Penn State officials want to win as much as they always did -- or more. They want someone with Joe Paterno's emphasis on academics. They want Joe Paterno, only with more ethics.

Good luck with that, is all I can say.

I'm not saying it can't be done. There are a lot of terrific human beings out there who might be the perfect choice -- ethically speaking.

But can they coach a lick? Do they care even a little bit about academics? Can they recruit top-notch players? Will those players graduate in four years? Can they win football games? And can he do all that with the Sandusky black cloud hanging over his head for God knows how long?

It's a tough row to hoe. Only time will tell if it can be done.

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch colum nist, run Thursdays. E- mail: lhicks@yorkdis