It's Wednesday. Time for another round of the Blue & White Roundtable with Run Up The Score and The Nittany Line, who is providing the questions this week. Make sure you drop by RUTS and TNL to check out their take on all things Nittany Nation.
Roundtable theme for the day - tired old message board clichés
Back when I used to peruse the message boards there were often "discussions" that kept popping up over and over and over until you wanted to puke. So I thought: let's bring them up one more time and put them to bed for good - feeling sick yet?
Oh this is going to be good. Personally I can barely stomach the message boards and their ilk. You try to start a thread to just talk football and all everyone wants to do is trash the coaches and players. It's a big reason why I started blogging.
Is Jay a good QB coach? While you are answering this, keep in mind that Michael Robinson went from a jack-of-all-trades athlete to a pretty decent quarterback in one year - one high school coach was even quoted as saying that Michael's mechanics were 100% better between his junior and senior seasons. On the flip side we have to consider Zack Mills' regression.
Wow. Start right off going for the throat. This has got to be the favorite topic of the message boards. When five star quarterback Pat Devlin committed to Penn State, it didn't take long before the message board trolls were telling him he was wasting a promising NFL career by coming to play for Jay Paterno. There are PENN STATE FANS!
Unfortunately, I think they have a point. I don't see any reason to believe Jay Paterno is a quality quarterback coach. On top of that he is an even worse play caller/offensive coordinator. There is no originality in the play calling whatsoever. Michael Robinson improved immensely when he stopped thinking so much and just started playing football. But he was never a good passing quarterback. The only thing I saw he was good at in the passing game was throwing the deep ball and letting his receivers run under it. In Zack Mills' defense, he was never the same after his shoulder injury. He lost arm strength and developed a hitch in his throw that tipped off defensive backs giving them an extra step.
Should Penn State forget about loyalty and sign a "name" coach when Paterno finally hangs it up in 20 years or should they stay the course and go with someone they trust?
Ah yes. The "Who is our next coach going to be?" thread. As if Joe has any intentions of retiring. Penn State fans have been talking about this for two decades now. It was always believed Jerry Sandusky would replace Paterno...until Sandusky retired like 10 years ago. Now Tom Bradley is widely believed to be next in line, but Bradley has been around the program for 27 years so you have to start wondering how many good years he has left (probably at least another 20 if his name were Paterno).
I would like to see them bring in someone who has been through the program but away for a while. Bring in some old players that have played in the NFL, like Steve Wisniewski or Jeff Hartings to coach the O-line. Bring in O.J. McDuffie to coach the wide receivers. Let Darrin Perry coach the defensive backs. I would like to see some young blood with recent NFL experience brought in to freshen up the program.
I have no idea about head coach. Everyone floats names like Ferentz and Schiano, but I'm not sure Ferentz is on everyone's short list anymore after the past few disappointing years he's had in Iowa. Schiano needs a little better track record than one good year at Rutgers to make my short list. Honestly, I'm in the camp of let Joe stay as long as he wants. When he retires I'll start worrying about his replacement.
Which is more important - total athletic superiority or college football superiority? In other words is it more important for Penn State to try and be world class in all the sports it competes in or should the football team keep more of the money it generates at the expense of the less popular sports?
Aka - the "Why did we join the Big Ten again?" thread. This thread is always accompanied with a statistic showing our wins and losses in football since joining the Big Ten rank us somewhere in the middle of the conference.
I'm in favor of pursuing overall athletic superiority. Joining the Big Ten has been a struggle for the football team the past few years, but every other Penn State sport (other than basketball) has thrived from the move. Penn State is now a national powerhouse in soccer, volleyball, women's basketball, fencing, field hockey, and wrestling. I think this is great for the university and the student athlete. The education of the student athlete should always be our first priority no matter if they wear track cleats, swimming cap or a football helmet. If one kid gets an education because of his/her tennis scholarship that otherwise would not have gone to school, we need to protect that at all costs. So while all these smaller sports don't generate any revenue, they must be preserved and encouraged. And if that takes revenue from football, and that revenue loss prevents us from building the biggest weight room which causes us to lose some big time football recruits, I'm prepared to live with that.
Let's assume the Lions have another sub .500 year next year - should Penn State fire Paterno or has the old man done so much for Penn State that he deserves to go out on his own?
Oh ok. The "Fire Paterno Now" thread written by some college sophomore from his dorm room in East Halls. These people have no appreciation for the history and lore of Penn State football and are willing to throw away a man's entire career and legacy because we lost to Michigan.
Joe Paterno absolutely deserves to go out whenever he damn well pleases. The man almost single handedly build Penn State University. When he came to Penn State we were little more than an advanced high school for farm kids. The football stadium sat somewhere around 40,000 people. But it's more than money.
Penn State football has become a source of pride for the alumni and fans. It's not the love of football that makes grown men cry as they stand along Porter Road watching the big blue school buses drive up the hill to Beaver Stadium on game day. It's the love for Penn State. It took decades to build that love and pride, but it would be ruined in a heartbeat if they throw a Penn State icon under the big blue bus.
My favorite - Penn State uses HIT (high intensity training) instead of Olympic or freestyle weight training because of the reduced risk of injury. HIT focuses on intense circuit style training instead of just lifting large amounts of weight and is used by other college and pro teams such as Michigan and the Steelers, but is highly criticized because of its lack of focus on building muscle mass. Should Penn State use this form of weight training or should they go with the more "traditional" style and is it one of the problems with the offensive line (these two are always linked in the message boards)?
Oh geez. I actually read this thread when it was going around a few months ago. All the gym rats come out of the woodwork for this one. Everyone knows someone who works in the gym off campus with the players who hate HIT and work out on their own. Frankly I don't give a crap. If Penn State wins a national championship everyone will start using HIT. It's the flavor of the week kind of thing.
They may have a point with the offensive line problems. It seems Penn State has some problems developing talent on the offensive line. How much of that is lack of strength and how much is coaching or lack of athletic ability is beyond me.
Lightning round (message board rumor style)
Was there a secret meeting a couple years ago between Paterno and members of the administration where Paterno's resignation was asked for?
Yes there was. That rumor came from Paterno himself in a press conference before the Orange Bowl last year. The old man reminded Spanier and Curley that he still holds the record for career interceptions at Brown University. They apologized profusely and never spoke of their meeting again.
How many times has Rick Neuheisel been spotted in State College and how long until he's hired to take over Jay's job?
Do Penn State fans really believe the University is going to hire a guy who was fired from his last job for gambling? Please. The over 70 crowd will riot outside Old Main with pitchforks and torches to tar and feather Spanier if that ever happens.
Remember when Tom Bradley was going to step down as defensive coordinator?
Oh yeah. He was pissed because his defense was holding everyone to 10 points, but the offense couldn't score 6. So screw this place! Come on.
Is Kirk Ferentz in super-secret contact with the Lions administration waiting for Paterno to announce his retirement so he can become the next head coach?
Penn State is still one of the top five jobs in the country despite the bi-polar fan base. Whoever takes the reigns from Paterno will need to have JoePa's blessing. The man built this empire and he's not going to turn it over to a Dan Quayle. Ferentz is a Pennsylvania boy and he wants the job badly. But he has no ties to Penn State and Joe is not going to turn over his program to someone who has not been through his system. That doesn't stop the message board idiots from wishing though.