DALLAS — Joe Paterno's son says his father is improving while undergoing treatment for lung cancer that was diagnosed last month, several days after he was fired as Penn State's head coach.

Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno calls JoePa "a fighter" taking on cancer as another challenge. He says his father wasn't sitting around and complaining after being dismissed by university trustees Nov. 9 in the aftermath of child sex abuse charges against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Jay Paterno said he hopes eventually that critics will realize his father "conducted himself in a way that is consistent with his character," though for now he's concentrating on his health.

Penn State is in Dallas preparing for the TicketCity Bowl on Monday against Houston.