After learning of Penn State naming the heir apparent to the late and legendary Joe Paterno, I was curious of how the PSU faithful would react. Initially, the majority of fans, alum, and critics were outraged by the lack of ties Bill O'Brien has to the PSU family.
O'Brien was the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, this year's AFC champions. As the Patriots continued to advance in the playoffs, the attitude toward the O'Brien hiring rapidly changed.
Fans and media began speculating how O'Brien will alter the offensive schemes, however conservative, that were a staple of JoePa's tenure.
Those speculations are well-warranted because it didn't matter who accepted the PSU head coaching job, it is virtually impossible to take less risks now then they did before. The offense was downright stagnant, dating back to the late 1990s.
O'Brien has worked with the Patriots since the 2007 season, a unit that came 36 seconds short of completing a perfect season. He is accustomed to working for a pass-happy, explosive offense under Bill Belichick, one of the greatest head coaches in NFL history.
That should be where the speculation and comparisons abruptly stop.
For as much success that O'Brien has enjoyed in Foxborough, he's endured just as much, if not more, failure in his previous stops as a coordinator, including at Georgia Tech and Duke.
O'Brien has been marginal at best when working with quarterbacks not named Tom Brady. The Patriots were already established and boasted three Super Bowl victories within seven seasons before O'Brien ever set foot inside of Gillette Stadium.
One could even argue that O'Brien was unable to generate the points needed in the two Super Bowl appearances the Pats made since he arrived, both of which were offensive duds, according to Patriots' standards.
Now that O'Brien has finally begun his PSU duties fulltime in the wake of the recent Super Bowl loss, the PSU faithful are anticipating an offense that resembles what Brady does with the Patriots.
That is so unrealistic it's almost laughable.
Matt McGloin is not Tom Brady. Their body of work, arm strength and abilities of reading defenses are nowhere near comparable. You cannot make an offense go like New England's if you don't have a superstar quarterback. Are we honestly assuming McGloin will be able to pull out games if the defense allows 30 points a game?
That's what Brady did for an entire season. Brady doesn't have the luxury of a 6-foot wide receiver, excluding Chad Ochocinco. Once we remove the blue and white colored glasses, it is evident McGloin is a marginal QB. He isn't afraid to let some passes go downfield and take some risks that at times produce good results, but we'd be hard pressed to find an attribute that he clearly is dominant.
Bill O'Brien won't have the luxury to allow McGloin to audible plays at the line of scrimmage at will and pull out victories with mediocre offensive talent the way Brady has done for years, with the exception of his tight ends in 2011.
Tyrone lost its 'general'
Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that upon other fields on other days will bear the fruits of victory.
Those words were spoken some years ago by General Douglas MacArthur. Gen. MacArthur was extolling the innate benefits that can be found on the fields of athletics.
He was saying that the lessons learned on the athletic fields and courts in games and in the many hours of practice are lessons that will serve the athlete in other venues and for the remainder of his or her life.
An athlete learns early on the value of hard work and of teamwork. An athlete learns that even though he worked hard, sometimes luck factors in, and the victory goes to someone else.
But that's as it is in life as well. Better to learn that lesson on an athletic field when only a win hangs in the balance.
Coach John Franco realized that he wasn't only teaching his players football, that he wasn't only preparing them for the next Friday night's game.
He realized that he was also preparing them to better handle what life was going to throw at them in their coming years.
Tyrone didn't lose just a football coach.
We lost a communicator, a motivator and an educator. We lost a coach who, along with teaching his players how dedication, focus and hard work lead to victories also taught them that those same virtues also lead to success later in life.
He taught them to win but to win with honor. And another of life's lessons which Coach Franco has imparted to his players over the past 18 years was summed up by another well respected coach/educator (Joe Paterno), who once said, "Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good."
Teaching wrong lesson
I was watching a youth basketball game the other night and wondered what has become of our youth and the persons in charge of teaching them.
This was a sixth grade boys game between Penn Lincoln and Logan Elementary schools. The boys from Logan School outsized the Penn Lincoln boys easily, and the game was a rout.
Logan's size and ability far outweighed the smaller, less experienced team. It was the fourth quarter, and they had a lead of 26 or more points. The Logan coaches called a timeout with about two minutes remaining. The Logan team returned to the floor and played keep away from the smaller team until the end of the game.
Now I understand time management and its part of the game, but to be so disrespectful is a sad sign of today's youth. There was no chance we could win the game, but our kids could have gained some experience instead of being subjected to what I thought was bullying and embarrassment. And to the parents of those children, I ask:?How would you feel if it was your team on the receiving end of such behavior?
Youth sports isn't only about winning and losing. It's about teaching our children good sportsmanship, respect for their coaches and teammates.
I lost respect for the team at Logan School. I only hope the lesson learned by our boys would be to never treat another team like that, because they felt the humiliation, not of losing but of taunting.
I think our boys played a great game, and I salute them.
Another chapter in legendary career
I am nominating David Bailey for high school boys basketball coach of the year.
This Tussey Mountain mentor has been head coach of the Titans for 39 years, and his career record is legendary. This year's attainments are particularly noteworthy. With only one returning starter and just two other letterwinners, Coach Bailey faced a huge rebuilding task.
He and his players - all underclassmen - answered the call and fielded a very competitive and capable squad. One major highlight was beating Bedford for Bailey's 700th career victory.
The team won the Richland Holiday Tournament, finished the regular season with a 15-7 record, and hopes to add more wins in the District 5 and state playoffs.
Gary O. Howe
District 6 selection defies logic
I find it quite amusing that the District 6 wrestling committee decided to award its coach of the year to Cambria Heights' Mike Eckenrode.
Now I am in no way an expert on wrestling nor will I ever be. However, I recall reading an article in which Coach Eckenrode was going to bow out of the District 6 tournament so that Claysburg could get into the tourney.
His exact words, "I felt we were just trying to qualify the best teams for districts. That's the only reason we were stepping down and letting Claysburg get into the tournament."
This is coach-of-the-year material?
To let your players down by giving up any chance of their winning the district so that another team who you think can beat the big dogs can get into the tournament?
This logic is at best gutless.
At worst, it is a total lack of integrity on his part. How can a coach of the year stoop so low as to sell out his own kids and try to stamp out another team's title hopes in the process all the while trying to claim that it is in the best interest of District 6?
That is some of the worst logic that I have seen.
How anyone could have possibly voted this guy coach of the year is beyond me. I don't know what went on behind the scenes, but I can tell you that any coach would be a fool to: A) let another team in the playoffs in his place; B) The Mount Union coach would've been crazy to allow this to happen when he earned a spot against an obviously inferior opponent.
My congratulations to Eckenrode for coach of the year. I hope that he can cozy up with that so-called award that he "earned."
This just doesn't sound at all like anything that a true coach of the year would do. And shame on the voters for not voting in Corey Wertz's Mount Union 27-0 squad, which dismantled Eckenrode's team, by the way. Something's fishy here.