Was watching the 2005 highlight video...was scared that Matthew Rice was going to come through my TV and eat my dog.
That's what this team is missing...a Matthew Rice. A guy that was intimidating, outspoken, and passionate. I don't think this program has had any sustained swagger, emotion, attitude or intimidation since that season. (Yes, I know there were 2 11-win seasons since then...)
I don't think any team in the conference (or outside the FBS) looks across the sidelines and thinks "Well, this is gonna hurt." The Florida State teams that dominated in the 1990s had many teams beat before the opening kickoff.
Lack of leadership is the #1 culprit. No MRob, AZ, Poz, Rice, DC17, Deon Butler to inspire, motivate, threaten. Uncertainty at QB is catastrophic as it prevents any identity development for a very unproven bunch of football players.
The program itself doesn't foster a step-on-the-throat mentality. Our offensive linement aren't labeled by draft gurus as having that "nasty streak" (2 linemen since the 2005 season have enjoyed prolonged NFL stints--Kareem Mackenzie and Levi Brown). Our scheme doesn't breed aggressiveness...on either side of the ball.
Elite programs don't have to suffer through prolonged adversity in order to find that chip on their shoulder...they just have it. Why should Penn State have to use 3, 4, 7-win seasons as fuel...it should never come to that. This program should exude confidence and swagger all the time.
Would be nice to see this team come out and dominate an opponent a la the Minnesota game in 2005...I just don't think it is in their makeup.
We need another Matthew Rice.