Coach can’t taint BG achievement
Does everyone realize what an incredible feat Bishop Guilfoyle has accomplished in winning three straight PIAA football championships?
Instead, too many people have dismissed this as a private school with unimaginable recruiting powers.
Even the Clairton coach made reference to this among his many other outlandish claims.
BG recruits no more than a public school. Most, save for one or two players, are homegrown talent who have played together for years.
BG’s biggest “recruit” in my eyes was Dr. Zane Gates, who to my knowledge never played football. He has become a national figure along with being a giving local physician to the disadvantaged.
In the 1970s, Altoona Area High School brought a 7-foot basketball player from Ohio to our school. His name was Ricky Tunstall. Remember him?
AAHS also lost one of the school’s greatest basketball players to a Pittsburgh area school, Danny Fortson. Numerous girls and boys high school basketball players have changed schools for one reason or another.
Clairton head coach Wayne Wade has failed miserably in my view at being a good role model for his players. His whining about all the reasons they lost that were unfair (in his mind) is sending the wrong message.
His coaching was also suspect. When faced with a big, fast team like BG, he was helpless.
No kicker means if you get down 17, you must score three touchdowns to win.
Another question: When you blow everyone out by 40-plus points and never take the time to develop a passing game, short or long?
The lesson is always have a Plan B. Too much effort, I guess, and it’s just easier to blame someone else. Wade’s message was a terrible lesson to teach young adults.
Franklin’s confidence has rubbed off
James Franklin deserves credit for what will go down as one of the top seasons in Penn State history.
Franklin lets his kids celebrate and enjoy the game like never before. He instilled confidence in his players and made them believe they could overcome any obstacle put in front of them.
He gambled at times, and we questioned why. And now, a team that fought through injuries and truly lived the “next man up” concept is on the verge of being the “Cinderella” team of the year.
Greatness defined by consistency
“All the way back” was a most fitting name for the Mirror’s publication last Sunday regarding a highly successful Penn State football season this year.
The Big Ten championship and a very attractive Rose Bowl versus USC is icing on the cake.
Merle Haggard asked in song “Are the good times really over for good?”and this year’s Penn State football team said “no.”
I’m truly happy for all of this and have bought my Big Ten championship hat.
So if we all agree that this program is all the way back, can we also agree that all of those penalties and scholarship limits will no longer be accepted as excuses going forward and allow us to evaluate James Franklin’s coaching skills on their own merit?
Kudos to Franklin for the hiring of Joe Moorhead as the offensive coordinator and promoting Brent Pry to defensive coordinator. The offense was once again exciting and fun to watch.
In my opinion, this was the main game changer for this year’s team. The defense was really good when it had to be.
The challenge going forward for the Franklin-Sandy Barbour team will be the ability to retain the coaching staff currently in place or be able to replace quality with quality when head coaching jobs arise.
I have no idea how he did it, but Joe Paterno was able to hire people who remained loyal to the program for years and years, and when a few did leave he was able to replace them with quality coaches.
I doubt they were the highest-paid assistants in college football. But I do believe that they were not only loyal to JoePa, but they were people who truly loved Happy Valley and more often than not, it was a happy place to be.
So this was a great season for the team, the coaches, led by Franklin, and the fans.
Another warm-weather bowl was a long anticipated reward.
A winning season — a great season — is a wonderful thing, but consistency is what defines a really good program and a really good, maybe great, head coach.
Let’s hope we are able to and celebrate great seasons consistently for many more years to come.
That will also define a great head coach.