Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'm Baaaaaack!

As I have said before, the rumors of my demise have been grossly exaggerated.

The blog has been quiet for a reason, though entirely unrelated to Penn State.

I was on vacation--plans which were booked prior to the season even being played.

So I hopped off the plane in Honolulu on January 2nd to discover that Penn State lost to Houston 30-14.  I managed to read a few on-line blurbs, but quite frankly, I was on vacation at that point, Joe Paterno is no longer at the helm, and my interest level has waned.  I have no plans to watch any replay or recap the game here in this blog.  For my loyal readers who actually look forward to and read my recaps, I sincerely apologize.

We then flew to the island of Kauai and I got off the plane and made it to the hotel in time--literally-- to see the Broncos score a TD in OT to beat my Pittsburgh Steelers.  I'm serious.  I hit the power button and find the channel to see Denver scoring the touchdown.  The timing could not have been worse.  Off goes the TV.  On goes the vacation.

I did hear word that Penn State hired someone called Bill O'Brien.  I am going to be brutally honest here.  Before I googled him, I had no idea who on earth this person was.  He wasn't even on the list of names being thrown about the internet before I left.  Apparently he is the offensive coordinator for the NE Patriots who are currently pounding the Broncos 42-7 as I type this.  After what the Broncos did to Pittsburgh last week, I hope they lose by one hundred!  OK--the Pats can score some points.  Can they do that without Tom Brady?  Last I looked, we don't have ANYONE on our roster with that kind of talent.

So I did some more research.  Wikipedia, here we come.

In terms of college experience, here is the lowdown on O'Brien:
As Offensive Coordinator at Georgia Tech in 2001 and 2002 his teams averaged 31 and 21.5 points per game, respectively as the teams went 9–4 and 7–6.

In 2003, he left to coach running backs at the University of Maryland, spending two seasons there before being offered and then accepting the position of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Duke in 2005.

As offensive coordinator at Duke in 2005 and 2006, his teams averaged 16.1 and 14.9 points per game, respectively as the teams went 1–10, and 0–12.

His offenses those two years ranked 112 and 113 out of 120 teams.
Not exactly a Les Miles or Nick Saban is he?  Certainly not a Chris Petersen either.  No earthquake on the RICHT-er scale.  I must admit it . . . I am disappointed by this hire.  It would appear we have settled not for Plan A or B, but rather plan Q.  Maybe T.   The spin doctor's have been working furiously to make this sound like a home run, but if this guy fizzles out, they should be sued for malpractice.

Now this may not be Joyner and company's fault.  ESPN has more than once dubbed our program as TOXIC and I'm not even going to debate that issue in my current mood (I stepped off the plane in Pittsburgh to 14 degree weather and snow so I AM NOT happy right now!)  I may have to face the fact that this was the best that we could do right now.  Perception is everything.

One of my friends texted me and pondered whether the PSU job was just a stepping stone for O'Brien on the way to an NFL head coaching job.  Perhaps.  I really couldn't answer him since I HAVE NO FREAKING CLUE WHO THIS GUY IS.

No one knew in 1966 that Joe Paterno would go on to be the winningest Division I coach of all time, but at least he had been on the staff for 16 years and had the endorsement of Rip Engle.  Who endorsed this guy?  Apparently not Brandon Short.
"There is a tangible standard at Penn State that this poor (O'Brien) guy knows nothing about,'' Short said. "I feel badly for him (because) he is clueless and will not have the support of the majority of the Lettermen. This is a hornet's nest (for him).''

"By not hiring (defensive coordinator Tom) Bradley or a Penn Stater what they have effectively done is turn their backs on 100 years of tradition,'' Short said. "Penn State never has been about winning football games. They didn't recruit the best players — they recruited the best people. If you go to Penn State, you have a better chance of graduating.''
Short is upset that Bradley, name interim coach after Paterno was fired in November, was not given serious consideration for the job. Bradley was interviewed by Joyner, as were some other Penn State assistant coaches. Like Bradley, Joyner also played for Paterno. Short said many members are upset that they were not consulted during the hiring process and are considering a lawsuit that would prevent the Big Ten school from using their likeness or image in any marketing campaign.
"We are strongly considering a move of that nature,'' Short said. "We are not going to threaten anyone — we're going to give Dave Joyner choices.''
And I wonder if Dave Joyner plans to eschew his medical training and become a permanent Atheletic Director?  As far as I know, he still has that "interim" label attached.  Do they expect Tim Curley to return after being exonerated?  Wouldn't it have made more sense to hire an AD who would then hire the people below him?  Granted, that would have taken more time, and time is of the essence with Letter of Intent Day approaching.  Time was not a luxury that Penn State has.  Which is all the more reason, in my humble opinion, to name Bradley as "interim" head coach moving forward, until the proper pieces are put in place at the top.  Bill O'Brien has taken a job and he doesn't even really know who is boss is going to be!

I understand that O'Brien has chosen to keep Vanderlinden and Johnson on his staff.  Best news I have heard so far!  Smart guy.  But then he picks Red Ted Roof Inn as his defensive coordinator.  I NEVER HEARD OF HIM EITHER.  Let's ask Alex Trebek for Obscure Coordinators for $100.
Roof took his first job as defensive coordinator in 1997 at Western Carolina University, where he stayed one season before being lured away to join George O'Leary's staff at his alma mater. After spending the first season coaching the Yellow Jackets linebackers, Roof was promoted to defensive coordinator. He was nominated for the 2000 Broyles Award, an annual honor given to the nation's top assistant coach, when his defense finished the season ranked 12th in the nation in rushing defense and 20th in scoring defense. The following season, the Yellow Jackets were again one of the top defenses in the nation, ranking 23rd nationally in total defense and 32nd against the run.
While those rankings sound good, I suspect that most of Bradley's defenses have been ranked better and against stiffer competition.  But I am just speculating there because I am too lazy to actually look up the data.
When O'Leary left for the University of Notre Dame, Roof left Georgia Tech to become the defensive coordinator at Duke for the 2002 season. Roof's instruction brought marked improvement to the Duke Blue Devils defense, which [led?] the ACC in rushing defense after finishing ninth in the league the previous year. From 2001 to 2002, the Blue Devils moved from ninth to fifth in the ACC and from 113th to 58th nationally in total defense. They progressed in passing defense in the 2003 season, jumping to third-place in the ACC from ninth the previous year. When head coach Carl Franks was released mid-way through the 2003 season, Roof was promoted to interim head coach. The team finished the season by winning two of the last three games and Roof was subsequently hired as the 20th head coach at Duke on December 6, 2003. However, after winning only four games over the next four seasons, he was fired on November 26, 2007, having compiled a 6–45 record. Despite the dismal record of Duke teams under Roof, his aggressive defenses consistently ranked in the top-30 nationally in tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
His defenses didn't rank in the top 30--only in that one category.  Doesn't that latter stat have eerie echoes of Jay Paterno defending Penn State's offense by quoting obscure offensive stats (e.g. best third down conversion team in the Big Ten?) that completely ignored the fact that Penn State couldn't score points?

So do I have anything good to say about all this?

Despite my disappointment (instead of getting that cool new video game for Christmas, I opened up a three pack of underwear) I am going to try and keep an open mind and give O'Brien a chance here.  Maybe the underwear will fit.  Maybe it will be the best underwear I have ever worn.  Who knows?  He sounds good to the media--and we all know how important it is to please the media!  He has worked with many of these people on his new staff (chemistry is important), and the two Penn Stater's he has chosen to keep are key recruiters and are phenomenal at their positions.

I am really scared that Penn State has chosen to go down the path of schools like Notre Dame (who also hired an offensive genius from the Patriots and we all saw how that worked out for them!)  I personally would have stuck behind Bradley for awhile, showed him some love for all his time at Penn State, and given the situation time to quiet down before initiating a national search.  And if Bradley continued success at Penn State, then no further search would even be needed.

I went away for a while and came back.  The house is still there, but a new family has moved in.  Everything is the same, yet everything is different.  It will never be the same.

I'm also pissed I didn't get an interview either, despite emailing my application to Joyner multiple times.

1 comment:

Carolyn Todd said...

Welcome back! Was wondering where you were through all this change. I admit right away, I'm a Patriots fan. So O'Brien excited me right away. Also his college experience, schools with strong academics so he knows how to manage within that constraint. Willing to give him a chance. Biggest disappointment so far for me is his accent. Not a hint of Boston in it, and I was hoping he would make me feel at home.