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Does Anthony Morelli Look Like He Needs a Hug?

Since the media was shut out of the coaches clinic this past weekend, some of the players were made available for a press conference yesterday afternoon. Perhaps tipping of the hand of the soon-to-be-announced team captains, the two players addressing the press were Dan Connor and Anthony Morelli. Dan gave some interesting incite into the fight situation and it's effect on the team. But the more interesting interview was with Anthony Morelli.

Normally a second year senior starter takes spring questions along the lines of "What are your expectations this season?" or "How does the arm feel?" Today reporters seemed more concerned about Anthony Morelli's self esteem. I can't share all of the content from this article because it's premium content, but I want to share with you the questions that Morelli had to face.

How important was it to play well in the bowl game?

What is different about you this year and how have you approached this spring?

How have you changed from last spring until now?

Were the negative comments about you through the years a motivating factor?

Has the weight on your shoulders been lifted?

What was the turning point when you started to convey your newfound confidence?

Have you been having fun this spring?

I was waiting for someone to ask him if he cries himself to sleep every night. The coup de grace was this exchange.

In a teleconference Tuesday, a young reporter asked the QB how he felt about reading defenses in the spring.

"You gotta be kidding me, man," Morelli said.

As the reporter tried to respond, Morelli added, "I'll take the next question, please."

I can't say I blame Anthony one bit. This is his fourth spring in the program. You would think after the impressive performance he put on in the Outback Bowl against the "OMG THERE AWESOME!!@!" Tennessee secondary he wouldn't have to face questions about his intelligence. But still people insist there must be some truth to the rumors that have dogged him like demons since his days in high school.

There was a time I was convinced we could never win with Morelli at quarterback.

I was willing to give Anthony Morelli the benefit of the doubt for the longest time. I figured he just needed some experience to get better. But I'm not seeing any improvement. Worse than that, I'm not seeing any motivation or fire in his eyes. Now he's getting into a media war with his former high school coach? This guy is not a winner. I'll keep my mouth shut when he plays well, but from now on when he plays poorly I will be the biggest Pat Devlin fan in Nittany Nation.

After his Outback Bowl performance and weeks of glowing praise from his coaches and teammates, I issued a Mea Culpa.

Yesterday's Outback Bowl changed my perception of Anthony Morelli. He was sharp and showed good judgement completing 14-of-25 for 197 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INT. He looked poised and confident. Most of all he got the monkey off his back of not having a big win on his belt...

So maybe I was wrong. Maybe Morelli does have the right stuff. I think it's too soon to crown him the leading Heisman candidate for 2007. But I think he's answered some of the criticism that was fairly or unfairly heaped on him...For now the anti-Morelli voices, including this one, have been silenced.

They say you're only as good as your last game. If that's the case, Anthony Morelli is a pretty damn good quarterback. Until he proves otherwise, everyone needs to get off his back.