I was going to title this post “Does PSU Football Have Too Much Power” and then let you know I changed my dentist and dramatize it to the fact I will have no teeth in 3 months, but I’m not Sports Illustrated, so I didn’t.
As you should have heard, it got pretty testy on the teleconference this week. Ben Jones of StateCcollege.com has linked it and it’s pure gold from start to finish. Needless to say, Evil Bill is simply fuming. Since January 2012, the Head Football Coach has been nothing but great for Penn State. After last July, that role expanded into a Public Relations role and was also handled with fire, grace and class. The season came and ended with what everyone assumed was an F Bomb. That has since been clarified that the wind caused the sound to go awry like a bad kick (I know, most kicks are bad). There has been a debate on the “fighters” comment and what was said, so in saying that, this in-“fighting” is absurd.
Penn State has just finished the 1st year of the sanctions and the program is doing well all things considered. The foundation was there and graduation rates remained strong despite the toxic culture the NCAA portrayed. Recruiting is going well and while there will could possibly be bumpy roads ahead (probably not), the football program is in very capable hands. VBR has already taken aim at this very subject, but now it’s my turn. The undermining of the football program and the Athletics Department is ridiculous, but allow me address some of the names that keep showing up in this pissing match:
Bill O’Brien – Head Football Coach: Generally referred to as the greatest coach in college football (by me and anyone with a brain). The head football coach who also moonlights as the public relations department by always being available and honest has been the face of Penn State since last January. There is also a general respect for the chain of command, a sense of accountability and honesty which is a rarity in these times. Not part of the pissing match, but a responder to it.
Dave Joyner: While I understand that there is animosity towards the former Board of Trustees (BOT) member, he’s not here for long so the attempt to take him down has only made PSU look worse, which is a common theme. If the medical change by him was a personal grudge then that’s a bad look. I have to give him some credit, as small as it may be, on the football coach hire. Did he deserve the job? No, but he got it and I am not sure who else was even a candidate.
Rod Erickson: I would someday wish to be in a high stakes poker game with Erickson because I would get that guy to fold just by staring at him. That is all I have to say about him. He’ll be gone soon enough.
Jay Paterno: Even mentioning a Paterno is risky. They’re the 1st family of State College and beloved by many. Jay consistently carries himself with class and is a great ambassador for the University. Jay constantly tweets about all PSU sports but never tweets about football and that’s part of my beef. The CBS article came off as quite dismissive and petty. Jay seemed to cite that the B1G had a down year and that was bush league. It was a bush league question from Dodd and Jay mentioned he doesn’t think its right to critique the coach, but he still got in a shot and mentioned how good Urban Meyer was, which made no sense. Maybe I am forgetting that the 2011 Temple team that was the 1985 Bears D, but 14 points? Spare me the “down year” stuff. I am not sure McGloin just signed a 3 year deal thanks to a down league. Jay also realized that message boards had accused him of being the source of the Sports Illustrated story and quickly dismissed those rumors. There is no reason not to believe him so Godspeed Jay on whatever you plan on doing.
Anthony Lubrano: It seems to me Lubrano is a on the BOT for all the wrong reasons. He claims his best interest is Penn State but publicly questioning medical practices proves that to be untrue. I understand Joe was his pal, but as a member of the board, I ask what his biggest contribution is so far other than being the most quoted BOT member in history? To publicly comment and basically support that bogus Sports Illustrated article makes me wonder what the end goal of Lubrano is? Remember, Lubrano was also upset that the football coach was consulted about the NCAA’s sanctions before they were handed down. As we can all agree, the sanctions suck, but again, he’s out of line. His role on the BOT seems more like an overzealous parent on a high school board than it does for the best interest of Penn State. I am not naïve to not know what he wants, but slowly we’re getting to the point of cutting off the nose to spite the face.
Wayne Sebastianelli: A major subject in the Sports Illustrated article has been oddly quiet since the story ran. While you cannot deny the good he has done, most notably with Adam Taliaferro, he’s still an employee of PSU. It also is a good time to remind people that jobs in Centre County don’t last forever. If football loses 9 games a year for 3 straight years (not on this watch) then I am pretty sure the office would be ordered to clean out.
John Ziegler: A lightning rod for controversy it seems within the Penn State twitterverse . There is no detail of the last 18 months or so he is not aware of, but his abrasive style has done nothing to improve the image of Penn State. His followers attack anyone who seems to disagree with him. He also did about the dumbest thing you could ever do, take some jabs at the football genius tweeting ESPN helped him get his job by some bizarre logic and complaining ESPN gave a free pass after the “fighters” comment. Regardless, this latest annoyance wasn’t his doing, but I wanted to address those cheap shots.
Other PSU coaches: Currently, Penn State may have their best set of coaches at any time in the history of the school. Wrestling is better than ever, Women’s Basketball is doing great, Men’s and Women’s Volleyball are always good, Hockey looks promising and I believe Chambers is up for the task of changing the perception of the Men’s Basketball program. They don’t need this crap either.
Since that SI article has ran, Garret Learner has spoken, Taliaferro tweeted that he supports this program, but for some unknown reason, other people within are trying to sabotage this. All that has happened is now people realize that Sports Illustrated tried to create a controversy over something that has been rebutted with statistics and additional facts. The other thing that has happened is people are realizing that people within Penn State are screwing with the football team and it’s that perception is the reality. People will blame the media for creating a new story, but it’s pretty plain to see this is no stretch. I have my theories and you can probably guess based on what I have written on who the source is to Sports Illustrated. I hope I’m wrong, but that is rarely the case.
Todd Blackledge said on twitter we can’t fully move forward until we know the truth and that is a common thought of many. If that’s your mindset, fine go right ahead, but let’s not undermine the program in doing that. Just understand that there is the reality of this that the truth they are seeking may never be known and also people with much more authority and legal backgrounds are working that out. Undercutting the football program to settle a score seems like an off track way of finding this truth. There is enough in our way and we surely don’t need this garbage.
The head football coach is a man who doesn’t suffer fools and sadly, he has plenty of fools to suffer.
Evil Bill O’Brien is not affiliated with The Pennsylvania State University or head coach Bill O’Brien