UNIVERSITY PARK - Who will be Penn State's next head coach?
Everyone seems to have an opinion, now more than ever since this is the final year of Joe Paterno's contract. Paterno may coach another two, three or five years, but that won't stop people from debating who will be his replacement.
So far, pretty much anyone with an opinion has had an opportunity to express it, either on TV/radio talk shows or Internet message boards.
But what about Penn State's players? Do they have an opinion on the issue? Many of them do, as was discovered Friday.
A total of 32 PSU players - roughly one-third of the team - were asked the following question during the Lift for Life event at Holuba Hall:
Who do you think will be Penn State's next head coach?
PSU player poll
The following are results of 30 Penn State football players from this year's team who were polled on who will be Joe Paterno's successor when he retires:
Tom Bradley 16
(PSU defensive coordinator)
Greg Schiano 1
(Rutgers head coach)
Larry Johnson Sr. 2
(PSU defensive line coach)
Ron Vanderlinden 2
(PSU linebackers coach)
No comment 6
Note: Two other players said Bradley, Johnson or Vanderlinden but did not single one out, so their vote is not included above.
It was made very clear the question was not seeking who they think SHOULD be the next coach; that could elicit favoritism in the responses.
The intent was to gauge players' speculation on which way the university will go when Paterno retires.
The players, promised anonymity so they would be more open to answering honestly, were given five choices:
A. Greg Schiano, Rutgers head coach
B. Tom Bradley, PSU defensive coordinator
C. Larry Johnson, PSU defensive line coach
D. Ron Vanderlinden, PSU linebackers coach
The results weren't even close.
Bradley won in a landslide, garnering 16 votes.
Johnson and Vanderlinden received two votes apiece.
Schiano, considered by many to be the leading outside candidate, got one vote.
Three players voted for ''other,'' with one noting, ''There's so many possibilities out there.''
Six of the 32 players either didn't want to participate or did not have an answer. One of them said, ''Looking at that list, I think everybody in their own right deserves it.''
Two players said it could be either Bradley, Johnson or Vanderlinden but did not narrow their choice.
A survey like this may not seem to have any relevance, but it shouldn't be dismissed so easily. One would think the PSU administration would take what the players have to say into account at least a little bit during the next coaching search.
Some of the players may have been answering with their heart, saying Bradley should get the job even though the question was who will get it. The longtime assistant is the sentimental choice for PSU loyalists, and undoubtedly many players also believe he deserves the opportunity.
Cory Giger is at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.