Can we learn from history?

Most BSD readers had their view of college football defined by Joe Paterno. The plain uniforms, the students that happened to be great athletes and teams that had a very high winning percentage. As disappointed as we all are after the game last week, I sit back and realize the principles of the team we love hasn't changed.

Many of you have posted quotes from Joe Paterno to help reflect on the game and I think many of them hit home. One less common quote is, "Success is never final. Failure is never fatal." This was one of his core beliefs, failure was not a problem as long as his students were learning and growing from it.

If we go back in history and look at some of the tough losses, it's amazing to see how the program responded. The effect is not immediate, but it's easy to see that his students learned, got better and then as upperclassmen took their game to a very high level.

1966 - 49-17, UCLA runs an onside kick while leading 42-10, Penn State is undefeated in 1968 and 1969

1976 - 24-7, Pitt give PSU its 4th loss of the year, Penn State plays for the 1978 MNC

1982 - 42-21, PSU is mistake prone in Tuscaloosa, Penn State wins 1982 MNC

1984 - 28-3, Texas almost shuts out PSU, Penn State wins 1986 MNC

1993 - 24-3, Stanford stifles PSU in a bowl game, Penn State is undefeated in 1994

2003 - 41-10, MSU has 2 runners with over 200 yards, Penn State is 12-1 in 2005

Two other quotes that resonate are:

"Besides pride, loyalty, discipline, heart, and mind, confidence is the key to all the locks."

"I'd rather play him a season too late, than a qame too early."

These relate to what I think is the source of what this team is facing. They are a very young team that has been resilient at times, but lacks the confidence to play at a high level for sustained periods. I've read stories from sportswriters talking about the lack of team speed and how tOSU had better athletes at almost every position. That is complete garbage. Braxton Miller and Noah Spence are outstanding athletes, but does anyone want to trade Glenn Carson, SOA, Mike Hull, Adam Brenneman, Jesse James, or Alan Robinson for their counterpart? The calls for a new DC after less than a season belong in the same dumpster.

This team was in a hostile environment, made a few mistakes, and a good team made them pay dearly. What happened last Saturday has happened before; opposing coaches were less than sportsmen, mistakes were made, and the Lions were humbled.

Yet some small things give me hope. Coach O'Brien has sat players for discipline and academic reasons. Does that sound familiar? At the press conference he talked about the positive mood at the team meeting and the principles at the foundation of the program. If these coaches are as good as I think they are, the next 3-4 years are going to be fun.

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