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Penn State Nittany Lions Had No Choice Other Than to Let Jay Paterno Go

MADISON, WI - NOVEMBER 26:  Coach Jay Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions watches as the team takes on the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Penn State 45-7.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 11, 2012

Penn State is still very much in rebuilding mode following the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. The university fired its president, athletic director and legendary head football coach, Joe Paterno, which has led to poor play on the field, a tense locker room and a recruiting standstill.

Now Joe’s son, Jay Paterno, will also be leaving the staff. The move doesn’t come as much of a shock considering that he was the quarterbacks coach since 1998, and new head coach Bill O’Brien’s last job was coaching quarterbacks for the New England Patriots.

This is without a doubt the right move for everyone involved. From a football standpoint, it was a no-brainer because, since Darryl Clark graduated, the Nittany Lions have been absolutely terrible at quarterback. And if O’Brien plans on running an offense similar to the one he coached with the Patriots, he was going to need to completely rebuild the staff, because the offense was the fifth-worst offense in an automatic qualifying conference, averaging only 19.3 points per game.

But the biggest thing was how keeping a Paterno on the staff would look to Penn State. It is no secret that people want and expect a complete overhaul.

Interim president Rodney Erickson is 100 percent determined to make the focus of the university about academics. While he claims he isn’t de-emphasizing football or its role in the campus community, there is simply no way he can do that with the son of one of the most famous and influential people in school history still on the staff. Some people argue he won't be able to accomplish this goal at all, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

The future of Penn State football is completely in flux right now, but one of the few good moves the university made post-Jerry Sandusky was letting Jay Paterno go.

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