Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Who reads this crap?

I mean, other than people like me who want to get angry?


The article to which I'm referring is Gene Wojciechowski's (thank G-d for cut and paste) fluff piece on the Artist Formerly Known as Joe Paterno. Where to begin?

"This is a pivotal, decisive year for Paterno and a Penn State program that has wobbled like a dessert serving of Jell-O." Anyone want to wager that last year was described in the same way? Or 2001? Every year is a "decisive year" for Paterno to show that his program's precipitous decline isn't really a decline. At this stage, with five years of decline on the books (and arguably longer, if you look at the number of times that Penn State was blown out by Michigan or Ohio State during their first seven years in the Big Ten,) don't we have enough evidence?

"And here's what the longevity now means: bupkis ... zilch ... na-Pa. More often than ever, Paterno is now judged not by his body of work, but by two of the cruelest letters in the alphabet: W and L." Two thoughts. First, no shit, Sherlock. Penn State boosters aren't paying four- and five-figure sums to sit in luxury boxes and watch their team lose games 6-4. What coach isn't judged on wins and losses? Second, it isn't as if everyone has forgotten that Paterno was once a great coach. Every article on him mentions that fact. That said, it isn't as if everyone is judging him based on one bad year. Most people were willing to write off 2000 as a hangover year after losing so many quality players from the '99 team. As I said earlier, Paterno is being judged on a dreadful five-year stretch that wouldn't be acceptable at any major program. There's nothing unfair about judging him based on a large sample size and it doesn't mean that fans don't remember the good times, but when those good times are so far removed, they have a right to be angry at headlines like "Penn State's Paterno simply not the retiring type".

And then we have this gem of a straw man: "He's too old. Too loyal. Too uncool." Maybe the middle criticism has merit. After all, Joe does employ his son Jay as a quarterbacks coach and has retained him despite Penn State's absolutely abysmal record at developing quarterbacks. (Sound familiar, Florida State fans?) Seriously, have you ever seen a quarterback get worse over his career in a more pronounced manner than Zack Mills. Good luck, Anthony Morelli. As for the first and last ones? What does his age have to do with anything? And since when was being cool a requirement? Was Tom Osborne listening to Miles Davis and wearing ribbed shirts when Nebraska dominated the mid-90s?

Paterno's problem is that his offensive design is atrocious and he apparently interferes with anyone who tries to bring it out of the stone ages. Secondarily, his program does not do a good job of developing touted recruits (and they do get their share) into quality starters. (In their defense, they do seem to be doing a good job with their current crop of defensive players.) Those are the right criticisms of Joe Paterno. Anything else is just Jay Mariotti reactionary thinking.

3 comments:

Michael said...

Well said.

Michael Robinson is mis-used in that offense and, while I don't think he's a great thrower, he'd be a star college QB at other schools...like Virginia Tech.

Phil said...

michael said...

Well said.

Michael Robinson is mis-used in that offense and, while I don't think he's a great thrower, he'd be a star college QB at other schools...like Virginia Tech.

Interesting point
When Robinson was looking at colleges, Michael Vick told him to go to Penn State. Do you think he said that so Marcus would have less competition, not knowing that his brother had a problem with jailbait?

Phil

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