When Is Paterno Going To Retire?

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007, 9:41 am

Good column by Ron Cook in today’s Post-Gazette about the Penn State-Michigan game. While there were the usual horrendous calls that always seem to go against us in Ann Arbor (the pass interference call was pathetic), you can’t blame the refs for this one. Michigan deserved to win and Penn State deserved to lose. I enjoyed ragging on Michigan for losing to a 1-AA school–now my team has lost to a team that lost to a 1-AA school. And that’s not a good feeling.

So, again, the question must be raised–when is Paterno going to hang it up? Oh, wait, I fear I’m not making myself clear–when is JAY Paterno going to hang it up? Joe struggled a bit a few years ago, but the program is back in the Top 25 again after a few horrible years. But Jay Paterno has got to go if the Lions want to establish themselves as a periennal Big 10 heavyweight. Paterno is the quarterbacks coach at Penn State, and if you look at how Penn State’s QB’s have progressed during their time in Happy Valley, something becomes painfully clear–they DON’T progress. Matt Senneca pretty much had a disasterous career. Zack Mills had a wonderful freshman season and then got worse every year after. Michael Robinson was a superlative athlete and leader who made a lot of plays with his legs and his heart, attributes that can’t exactly be transfered to the next guy in line. Robinson was so good, in fact, that he briefly camoflagued the problems with the PSU offense. He graduated, and the O went right back into the crapper. Anthony Morelli was a prized super-blue chip recruit with the best arm in the country who STILL doesn’t look like he belongs in Division 1-A. He was close-your-eyes AWFUL yesterday. Throwing off his back foot nearly every play, missing open receivers, and showing no pocket awareness whatsoever, you could certainly be excused for thinking that it was Morelli who was the true freshman making only his second start.

Did the Lion coaching staff not see the tapes of Appalachian State and Oregon spreading out the field and picking Michigan apart? For God’s sake, why didn’t Penn State do the same thing? They have five fantastic wide receievers and no go-to running back–why not spread the field and throw? The obvious explanation? That Morelli is so bad, SO BAD, that he can’t be trusted to execute a game plan that ripped apart their opponent two weeks in a row. That he’s incapble of thowing little slip-screens to Derrick Williams that might’ve given Penn State’s most explosive player a chance to DO something.

Williams was the #1 recruit in the country a few years back. Yesterday he had 3 catches for 26 yards. Morelli was our big recruit the year before, and we see how good he is. Austin Scott was supposed to be the next great Penn State running back, the heir to Curt Warner and Blair Thomas. He’s probably seen his last significant action after losing his 4th fumble in 57 carries. To put that stat in perspective, Mike Hart hasn’t lost a fumble in something like 880 carries. If he fumbled as often as Scott did, he would’ve lost the ball SIXTY-ONE times in that span. No, don’t think we’ll be seeing Austin Scott anymore.

Ultimately the decision to re-work the offense and fix that which is broken lies with Joe Paterno, and I find it highly unlikely that he’d fire his own son. If Jay Paterno was the offensive coordinator and they were stinking it up as bad as Florida State did the last few years, maybe Paterno could do as Bobby Bowden did when he removed his son Jeff from the staff. Then again, as far as I know Jay still shares play-calling duties with offensive coordinator Galen Hall–a ludicrous arrangment–so maybe Jay’s malevolent influence is more pronounced than we know. Or maybe we need an upgrade from Hall as well.

There have been vile, vile rumors over the years that Jay Paterno is going to take over as head coach when his father either retires or passes away. Personally, I think there’s nothing to those rumors. What Joe Paterno means to Penn State is impossible to measure, but there’s no way that he could successfully demand that his son succeed him. This is Happy Valley, not Haiti–things don’t work that way. Fans and alumni wouldn’t accept it. So far they’ve accepted 9-3 seasons instead of contending for Big 10 and national championships, and that’s the way it’s gonna be so long as Jay Paterno is on the staff. Unless Michael Robinson finds a way to re-enroll.

Permanent link to this post.

One Response to “When Is Paterno Going To Retire?”

  1. Gene Bromberg » Blog Archive : The Story Behind the Headlines!! Says:

    […] not everyone is blaming the poor quarterback. There are even some wondering the unthinkable: “When is Paterno Going to Retire?” Interesting note: These raving screeds were written after the Michigan game. These guys have not […]

Leave a Reply