Hold your horses, this isn't a "JoePa is old and needs to go" vs. "JoePa is old and should stay forever" argument ---- mostly because I think I'm going to puke if I read one more thread saying the same things over and over and over again.
A few comments Joe and the players made during their last press conference have really got me thinking over the past few weeks : Who are the players that are going to step up into leadership roles during Bowl preparations and even more importantly during winter workouts?
Going into next year we still have a very young team of guys one or two years out of high school who have no idea --- no matter what they believe --- about what it takes to win a National Championship or even The B10 Championship. Hell, many of them don't yet know what it takes to win the Outback bowl yet. The job of motivating and inspiring them to greatness does not fall on the coaches alone. Upperclassmen leaders need to role model what it takes to be great both on and off the field AND sometimes they need to kick a little ass in order to do so.
Remember, each of these young men has been blessed with physical abilities far greater than most of us can really understand --- and for most of their lives they have been told how great they are by everyone who surrounds them. I can imagine after being told that for so long, it would be easy to underestimate the level of work and dedication required to truly become a player of national caliber. Maybe even more importantly, as individual superstars it could be even harder to understand what it takes to become a team that is a national contender. A team that is greater than the sum of its parts.
So I submit to you, loyal BSD reader : Who do you believe has the leadership skills and the credibility to fill this needed role for our beloved team going into 2011? Who will wake up a group of freshman and sophomores at 5am on a Sunday morning in State College (Remember what Saturday nights were like there? Yeah, me neither.) in February and get their butts running a few miles? Who is going to remind them that taping pictures of your adversaries up in your locker isn't going to get it done come next September? Who is going to give the right advice that prevents these young men from making decisions that land them on the front page for the wrong reasons? Most importantly, who will not get laughed at or blown off when he tries to make this all happen?
Our team has a great group of juniors who have the experience and the talent to fill these roles : Beachum, Green, Moye, Suhey, Astorino, Crawford, Latimore, Lynn, Powell, Still, Stupar, Sukay. Several others stars exist in the Sophomore and Freshman classes -- and remember being a good leader means there are times you need to be a good follower.
Our team needs leadership that coaches cannot provide. Maybe now more than ever. Who is it going to be?