I have been a JoePA guy all my life. My father went to PSU and graduated in '59 and he was a fan for life, teaching me as a boy what JoePA stood for and how his values were what made PSU different from just about all other programs. Work hard, do the right thing, academics before anything else, success with honor...I heard it, assimilated it, bought into it, and believe it to this day and am trying to pass it on to my children. When all of "IT" happened I didn't want any change in the program and could (and still can) offer a well thought out, fact-based argument of why the changes to the program didn't need to happen. When it was obvious that there was no way they were going to allow Joe to stay, I was one who hoped Scrap would get his shot and be given the job. I've always admired Tom Bradley and thought that, 1. He deserved a shot and, 2. Would be great at maintaining continuity with the standards of excellence that were the hallmark of PSU football. I still believe that...Scrap would have continued many of the ways and traditions that for me made PSU football special.
I remember when we came out of the dark years; when Derek Williams and Michael Robinson and Daryl Clark & Co brought back the winning ways to PSU and I saw it, just as many did, that JoePA was able to modernize. The Spread HD seemed to indicate that we were once again on track for great things since we now had an offense that could compete on a national stage. I had faith in JoePA, but a little less in Jay and Galen, and so my misgivings about the way they ran the new offense made me realize after a short time that while it was a shiny new offense, it was only going to get us so far.
After "IT" and all of the sanctions were handed down, I struggled to come up with a new term for what was about to happen. We already had "The Dark Years" so we needed a new way to express the toilet we were about to sink into. They hired this new no-name guy from the NFL and a few key (seemingly) players opted to leave so I thought we were pretty doomed and the next four to six years would be a giant mound of suck and eventually we'd claw our way back to mediocrity once we could recruit again.
Now don't get me wrong. It ain't gonna be easy the next few years. But why I wonder if I'm a bad person is that there's a part of me that is kinda happy things have turned out the way they have (completely aside from the whole "IT" part, obviously.). I wish Scrap well, and I'll always respect him, but I think he would have more or less kept things the way they were because it is what he's known for so long. I'm happy now that he didn't get the job. Sometimes it happens that the exactly right person is in the exactly right place for the exactly right reason. If none of "IT" had ever happened, where would PSU be right now? If it all somehow got erased and JoePa was still here - maybe retired, maybe not - and most of the staff was still here, where would we be? If JoePa retired last year and they hired a new coach who would it have been? Without "It" they likely would have gotten someone completely different than BOB because the job wouldn't have seemed toxic and the only challenge would have been following a legend. Thinking about the big to medium-name coaches who were available at the time, I can't think of anyone who would have brought as much to the table as BOB has brought. Leach? Would his system work here? Al Golden? Much different from what we had? On and on.
BOB may not end up being here for 40+ years...maybe only a few. But right now he's brought an excitement and a new way of doing things that I really think will get this program through the next few years without sinking into darkness. He's kept what was good an changed what wasn't working. Maybe these years will be more "dim" than dark even if we do get a couple 6-6 seasons, because I think we can see that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. BOB has brought in a system that is what a lot of other schools are going to want to emulate. It's not gimmicky, it's not a flash in the pan, but it's effective and it doesn't seem to rely on recruiting tons of 5 star kids. BOB has shown that he's a person of substance by the way he's handled himself, he's a leader who gets buy in from the student athletes, and he's a solid football coach who didn't immediately start talking about what he'll be able to do once he recruits "his" kind of players. I'm impressed that he took what was here (not that PSU doesn't have talent) and worked with them to match the system and is getting ever increasing returns.
So, while I hate "IT", and I'll always have deep respect for JoePA and Scrap, I can see a future where PSU can be a modern force on the national stage far more than we ever would have been if "IT" never happened. And yeah, I realize that I'm basing this on 5 total wins against middling to decent competition, but sometimes you can see the end product with only a peek at the design. I think BOB is the right guy at the right time in the right place...I feel a little bad about it...but I'm glad he's here because I can SEE the potential end result through the gloom ahead. For a while I thought that the sanctions were going to be the virtual death knell of the program. Now, I kinda see what has happened over the past year as the fire that hopefully will turn the iron into steel. Am I wrong?