Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Say It Ain't Jay, Joe

While Penn State fans may ardently debate and be unable to agree on whether Bolden or McGloin should start, very few fans debate the obvious.  Penn State's Offense sucks.

The question is why?

I probably won't get many dissidents if I suggest one of the problems involves the coaching staff.  And namely, Joe's son, who coincidentally, became the Quarterbacks Coach in 2000 and has been calling offensive plays at least since Galen Hall joined the staff in 2004.

Here's how the Penn State Offense has performed (national rankings) since 2000:


With the exception of 2002, Larry Johnson, Jr.'s senior year, no aspect of the offense has ranked higher than 14th.  They were 10th behind a senior laden line in 2002.

Proponents of Jay Paterno point to the "successes" of Michael Robinson and Daryll Clark.  I submit to you that these two athletes succeeded in spite of the system, not because of it.  Robinson had only one year, went 11-1, but the passing offense only ranked 75th in the nation.  For the most part, he was misused in the offense before that year.

Clark led the team for two years, 2008-9, and posted back to back 11 win seasons.  But he looked worse as a QB his senior year (IMHO) and the stats bear out that the offense as a whole was worse in 2009.  In other words, he was not developed.  He may have regressed a little.

The only quarterbacks who seem to succeed (as defined by winning, since none of the passing offense ranking support success) are those that can run the ball and make things happen when the play that was called falls apart.  A lot of that is instinct and athleticism--not coaching.  In fact, I remember when they tried to force Michael Robinson not to run outside a circle during practice.  How insane is that?

If you take Clark's numbers out of the list, the average passing offense ranking is 75.1 (out of 115-120 schools.)  Not even in the top 50% of all schools.

Two quarterbacks have left the program, and their loss may have hurt us, especially now in terms of depth.

No quarterback has been drafted by the NFL purely as a quarterback.

Is it the quarterbacks coach?  Is it the play-calling system of Hall calling running plays and Jay calling pass plays?  Is it a combination of these things?

Over the years, speculation and rumors have flown regarding the idea that Joe Paterno wants Jay to succeed him as the next Penn State head coach.

Ten years or so ago, I would have scoffed at that rumor.

Now . . . I'm not so sure.

Fran Ganter went from assistant head coach to a desk job.  Galen Hall has come in, but it seems pretty clear that Hall will retire when Joe does.  Tom Bradley was encouraged by Paterno to apply for other head coaching jobs.  Why would Joe want to replace a fixture on the sideline like Tom this late in his career?  Maybe it was to get rid of an obstacle to the succession plan?

Assuming that Dick Anderson, Galen Hall and Bill Kenney are either too old or not in the succession plan, the only person on staff with more seniority than Jay is Tom.  Had Bradley taken another job, Larry Johnson would likely have taken over as defensive coordinator.  He has 16 years of experience at Penn State.  Jay has 17.  THINK ABOUT THAT.

Paterno has insisted or insinuated over the years that he wants the next coach to come from within the program--that is, when he's willing to talk about it.  How can you be 84 years old and never thought about retiring?  I'm not saying there aren't people 84 and older who are still active in their profession, but surely they have at least given the thought of retirement some consideration at some point.  Slowly but surely, the various candidates to replace Joe have fallen along the wayside, leaving Jay one Tom Bradley away from being the most likely candidate FROM WITHIN.

Keep in mind that this conspiracy theory is not predicated on whether this scenario could happen.  Rather, the whole thing is based on whether or not Joe thinks he could make it happen.

Several other things have surfaced this year which have me concerned.  One is the sudden press that the younger Paterno is receiving.

The September-October issue of the The Penn Stater has a feature article on Jay.
They don’t like his politics. They don’t like his hobbies. And they’re pretty sure he can’t coach. Jay Paterno hears the critics, but he pays them no mind. He’s got his hands full as a father, husband, writer, political activist, and, yes, football coach.

Imagine how they’d feel if he one day inherits his father’s job. This is the nightmare scenario of Penn State football conspiracy theorists, the thought of Jay Paterno someday ascending to the throne. At this, the alleged heir apparent just laughs.

"Who wouldn’t want to be head coach here? Yeah, that would be fantastic, but it’s going to be somebody else’s decision," Jay says. "The worst thing you can do to put Joe in a bad mood is say, ‘Hey, when you retire…’, so we don’t talk about it. There is no great conspiracy, there is no plan, and I’m in no hurry to see it happen."

And then the Nittany Lion Club Newsletter featured Jay Paterno as well.

Heʼs one of the most visible assistant coaches in major college football—the head coachʼs son, a Penn State alumnus and a former Penn State football letterman who has coached at three other schools and helped produce numerous standout performers during a 21-year career.

Doesn't that sound like we're padding the resumè?  The other three schools were Virginia (3yrs as graduate asst.), Connecticut (wide receivers and tight ends-1yr.) and James Madison (quarterbacks-1yr.)  He 'played' for Penn State, but I'm not sure he ever threw a pass in that capacity.  He was not a starting QB.  Numerous stand out performers?  Clark and Robinson aside (and I'm not convinced they stood out because of Jay,) who are these standouts of which they speak????

And then this past week, Joe Paterno said this about his son and the non-loss over Temple:

Fourth-down confusion: It was widely reported after Saturday's game that most of the assistant coaches wanted to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Temple 3, a decision that helped PSU win the game. JoePa remembers it differently and gave all the credit to his son, the quarterbacks coach. "Everybody wanted to kick the ball except Jay Paterno," he said. "We would have kicked that ball if it wasn't for Jay. Jay said, 'No, we'll put it in, we'll get it in.' And he said something to the quarterbacks about, 'Hey, you tell those guys they've got to get it in.' And we got it in."

So why didn't he tell them to do that earlier, instead of waiting for fourth down in the closing minutes of what would have been a devastating upset to this program?  Seriously, why did Paterno feel the need to point this out to the media?  Is there a hidden (maybe subconscious) agenda?

What do you think?

1 comment:

Carolyn Todd said...

Love the graphic. My best guess is that there will be a complete housecleaning when Joe Paterno leaves. The only thing that would prevent that from happening is if Penn State decides to be stingy and not pay the kind of salary that would attract a replacement from the outside.