Joe Paterno broke’d himself the other day. And predictably, many were led to question his ability to continue on in the same capacity as he has for the 45 years at Pennstate.
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about his supposed frailty. The man can still coach. Even including last year’s disappointing (yet foreseeable) 7-6 record, the State Penn logged 58 victories over the latter half of the last decade, including two trips to BCS Bowl games.
What fascinates me is the never-ending speculation over who will/should take over for the legend once he’s done. It’s a pretty common sentiment here in W. PA that that man should be current PSU defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, a well-respected coaching mind and an ace recruiter. I think that would be a big mistake.
I’m not trying to rip on Bradley, whom I would have loved for the Pitt job, but he’s too close to the trees to see the forest (or vice versa?). Pennstate will need new blood, new thinking, much like they got when Galen Hall came aboard in 2004. It’s no surprise that his addition sparked the Spread HD offense, which has been so successful for PSU.
Had Bradley left the farm, either for Pitt or UConn or some other school, he would eventually have gained valuable experience and become an excellent candidate to succeed Paterno. Or he would have failed in which case PSU would know he’s not the right guy to man their helm. No less an authority on good coaching hires than the Steelers have eschewed the easy choice by going outside the family. I’d say Mike Tomlin has worked out quite well for Steelers Nation.
When the time comes for PSU to replace JoePa, I hope they don’t stay in-house. I don’t expect Paterno to be around in 2016 when PSU deigns to play Pitt again. But as for the new guy-to-be – no to JayPa (hah, that would be hilarious), no to Galen Hall, no to Tom Bradley. Paterno has worked hard to make PSU into a destination job. New blood should help keep it there.