Forget about Pat Devlin, Penn State fans. He's gone. Moved on.
It's time for the Devlin diehards to move on, too.
In the past few days, I've read or heard Devlin's name at least 25 times in PSU football discussions. The gist of them: If Devlin hadn't transferred, he would be the quarterback this year, and the Nittany Lions wouldn't have to settle for a competition between two inexperienced, unimpressive sophomores.
Given the lackluster performances of Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin in Saturday's Blue-White Game, it's certainly understandable that people want to play the what-if game concerning Devlin.
OK, so let's play it.
If Devlin were still around, Penn State probably would be ranked in the top 10 this fall and would have a chance to go 10-2 or better. As it stands, based on what we saw Saturday, 6-6 is a distinct possibility - unless Newsome or McGloin makes huge strides.
If indeed the Lions struggle this year, Devlin's name will continue to be mentioned time and time again. His decision to transfer to Delaware after the 2008 regular season will be considered a primary reason for PSU's problems.
The blame game will begin, and that's when things will get messy.
In one camp, there are the people who believe Devlin never got a legitimate opportunity at Penn State and place all the blame on the coaching staff. It doesn't matter to these people that the Lions went 22-4 the past two years led by Daryll Clark, who emerged as one of the better quarterbacks in program history.
No, these fans are still angry about what happened against Iowa in week 10 in 2008 and consider that the ultimate gaffe by the coaches. They still believe Devlin won the game at Ohio State two weeks earlier - after Clark went down with a concussion - and that he should have been on the field against the Hawkeyes instead of the struggling Clark.
For the record, that pass Devlin threw to Derrick Williams down the seam against the Buckeyes was lousy - high and uncatchable - and Penn State got a huge break with a pass interference that set up the go-ahead touchdown.
It's quite possible Devlin made his decision to transfer immediately after not getting to play in the stunning 24-23 loss at Iowa, when PSU was ranked No. 3. A few weeks later, before the Rose Bowl, he informed Joe Paterno of that decision.
There's also a faction that's still angry at Devlin for leaving. The young man threw away a great opportunity at Penn State, the thinking goes, and turned his back on his teammates by transferring.
This, quite simply, is what really happened:
Devlin wanted a chance to start for two years, and he knew he would never get that opportunity at Penn State.
It can be debated until we're all blue in the face if Devlin ever got a fair shot from the coaches and if he would have been better than Clark.
The guess here is he did get a legitimate opportunity but simply was beaten out by a better quarterback. A better quarterback, mind you, for what Penn State needed, not necessarily NFL potential, of which Devlin does have more than Clark.
Devlin wanted playing time to put himself in the best possible situation to develop his skills for an NFL career. Considering that, no one should blame him for the decision to transfer.
Likewise, it's unfair to blame Penn State's coaches for sticking by Clark against Iowa in 2008. Sure, he was only 9-of-23 for 86 yards, but Clark did not lose the game.
The defense blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter and couldn't get off the field in crunch time. Also, a three-year starting safety, Anthony Scirrotto, committed a dumb pass interference penalty on third-and-15 from the Iowa 24 that kept alive the Hawkeyes' game-winning drive. Those two things lost the game.
One thing people seem to conveniently want to overlook is this: Even if Devlin had gotten a chance to play against Iowa, it doesn't necessarily mean he would have stuck around any longer at Penn State.
He would have known Clark still would be the prohibitive favorite to start in 2009 - JoePa benching a senior starting quarterback? Yeah right! - so he still likely would have transferred to be able to start for two seasons.
College football teams must learn to win with the players they have and forget about guys who left the program for whatever reasons. Devlin made his choice, and Penn State's coaches made theirs. Case closed.
Complaining about what happened with Devlin in the past won't change anything that happens in Penn State's future.
Cory Giger can be reached at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.