Why Joe Paterno Is Bad for Penn State

Nick BachContributor IJanuary 29, 2009

I was reading a post by Faimon Roberts about Joe Paterno as a head coach, and I wrote a response which I felt deserved to be its own article.

Living 40 minutes from Happy Valley, we hear a lot more discussion about the things going on at Penn State than most places in the country.

Paterno has squandered MANY chances to win a National Championship. Penn State should have won four championships in the last 10 years, but coaching failures by those who Joe has placed below him have kept a storied program from achieving greatness.

Paterno did NOT make Penn State what it is today all by himself. He inherited a great program that Bob Higgins and Rip Engle had laid the foundation for. Rip was the real catalyst.

By leading Penn State to four bowl games, he gave Penn State the powerhouse exposure that young men would die for in order to attend and play for Penn State football. When Engle was the head coach, Penn State went 104-48-4—winning almost 67 percent of the time.

The alumni and administration, as well as the fans, have forgotten this—and it shows.

The biggest problem with Penn State football is the alumni and administration keeping Paterno around as the head coach. He should have been simply a recruiting tool for the last six years—possibly longer than that.

In reality, coaches Tom Bradley and Galen Hall have been running the program for the past several years, with some constant interference from Joe's son, quarterback coach Jay Paterno and wide receiver coach Mike McQueary.

Looking at the caliber of the quarterbacks that Penn State has had since 1999, Jay Paterno and McQueary completely ruined them.

They have undermined everything that the rest of the coaching staff has tried to do at Penn State and it's a shame. Paterno is the single most important reason as to why Penn State cannot get to that next level. When he was on top of his game and ACTUALLY coached during the 70's and 80's, Penn State was AWESOME.

I'm an Ohio State fan and I remember how damn good they were. As the 90's progressed and they joined the Big 10 in 1993, you started to see Paterno delegating more power to subordinate coaches.

When his son became an assistant in 1999, it signaled the beginning of the end. From 1966 when Paterno became Penn State's head coach, until 2000, Penn State was 317-83-2—winning almost 80 percent of their games.

Yet, after Jay Paterno started coaching the offense, they went 66-44—winning only 60 percent of the time. In conference play, Penn State was 41-15 until 2000—beating 73 percent of their opponents. But after Jay Paterno, they went 39-33—barely winning 54 percent of the time. This is NOT a coincidence.

No doubt about it folks, the coaching staff at Penn State should be Bradley-head coach, Hall-offensive coordinator, Ron Vanderlinden-defensive coordinator (former Maryland Head Coach who laid the foundation for Maryland's recent success), Dick Anderson-quarterback and offensive line coach (former Rutgers head coach who beat Penn State), and Larry Johnson-special teams coach.

Remember when Paterno would kick a player off the team for good if he was caught drinking at a bar the night before a game? What about red shirting every freshman no matter what? That all faded away in 2000 when Jay became defector head coach and Paterno became a complete figure head.

All of a sudden Penn State players were getting charged with crimes and still playing for the team. Some players would leave early, some freshman and sophomores became starters, and staff who spoke up against Jay were removed—delegated to an administrative position or forced out.

Think back to Sandusky and Ganter. Remember Sandusky left because Joe actually told him flat out that Jay would be coach when he finally retired. Ganter was going to stick around but was always being undermined by Jay's ineptitude and inability to coach.

For crying out loud, Ganter was an offensive whiz with many records to his name! Now, he's an administrative pawn for Joe Paterno, because he LOVES Penn State and can't bring himself to leave.

He's the best running back in Penn State history. Poor Sandusky waited year after year after year, being led on by Joe Paterno, thinking he would become head coach at Penn State.

Joe Paterno gives a lot back to the community—which is admirable only if you disregard what he has done to those who have been most loyal to him throughout his tenure as head coach at Penn State.

Of course, I'm not a fan of Joe Paterno, being a die-hard Buckeyes' fan. But, the better Penn State is, the better the Big 10 is, and the better the Big 10 is, the more it improves which is good for everyone involved.

No matter what people think of Joe Paterno as a person, he should no longer be the coach at Penn State. And when he leaves, he should take his son with him.

The following section is in response to many comments based on simply trying to yell louder than the other person without having any real substance against the points I've made but require some attention.

Morelli was a good quarterback with horrible coaching and horrible play calling from said coaching, which all ultimately fall on the shoulders of Joe Paterno. By the end of his junior season he was third all-time for passing yards in a season. Remember when he got in trouble three times for disregarding the plays he was told to run against Tennessee in the 2007 Outback Bowl. WHICH THEY WON. 

He's the ONLY Penn State quarterback to have two seasons with over 2,000 passing yards. His problems were turnovers and reading defenses. Both came from his coaching. Look at how he was as a player before that in highschool. He was one of the most sought-after quarterbacks in America before choosing Penn State. 

"Rivals100.com ranks him the No. 2 quarterback in the country, theInsiders.com has him No. 3 and Super Prep magazine ranks him No. 6. Last season, he completed 75 of 151 passes for 1,770 yards and 20 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions. He has been a starter since his freshman season and is 172 of 406 for 3,595 yards and 41 touchdowns in his career." - Mike White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 8-21-2003

When Morelli was 10, he threw a 50-yard pass during his win in the 1995 NFL Punt, Pass, and Kick. When he graduated from Penn state, he ended up being signed by the Arizona Cardinals. He was cut after pre-season and the jury is still out as to weather or not he can make a return to the NFL.

Joe Paterno has lost his touch and his grasp with reality. Remember in 2001-2002 when JoePa went on and on week after week about how the Refs were after him?! When in reality, and you can check the games, Penn State had more off the line penalties than the opposing team (off the line means NOT holding, false start, illegal formation, etc.) 

Joe was just flat out wrong, ie Iowa - Larry Johnson getting stripped yet being called down after Iowa returned the fumble for a TD and Michigan - Tony Johnson's juggle incompletion even though he had two feet in bounds, he clearly didn't have possession. The only reason they even were able to have the incompletion to Johnson was because of the previous play where Penn state wasn't called for a BLATANT HOLD and given a completion on a pass that was more obviously an incompletion.

Penn State in 2007 couldn't even beat Michigan, who had been throttled by Appalachian State. And Morelli wasn't the one making any mistakes in that game, it was the play calling on offense (31 passing plays - 29 rushing plays), the inneffectiveness of the Penn State O-line, and Penn State D-line being unable to stop Michigan's running game.

Then in 2007 you had the incident where Joe claims to have seen a car drive through a stop sign, so he flies through it and pulls up along side and yells at them. Get this, the security camera tapes that showed what actually happened, campus security officials "ldid not save the security footage after determining that there was no criminal or traffic violation." Last I checked crossing into the left lane of a two-way double lane road is a traffic violation. Now JoePa's moved on to Road Rage. This get's lodged close to the 2005 comments he made about "black athletes."

As for special teams coaches at the college level, Gary Zauner was the first ever full time Special Teams Coach in the NCAA when named in 1979 as BYU's Special Team Coordinator. 


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