When Nikita Khrushchev addressed his fellow Soviets in 1953 following his succession to leadership of the USSR, he delivered what would become known as “the Secret Speech”. Its content sought to unveil his predecessor, Josef Stalin, the mass murderer and ruthless dictator that had maintained public opinion steadily in favor of him, whether by appeal or fear. These methods were captured in the phrase “cult of personality”. Despite Stalin’s horrendous acts (many of which Khrushchev still refused to condemn, as he would need the same actions to retain power) the Russian people continued to veritably worship their leader, something which Khrushchev needed to correct both to fall in line with Party ideology and lead effectively.
Joe Paterno has forged a similar cult at State College for over sixty years. This past week, the curtain has been pulled back. The king is dead.
While Paterno did not doctor photos, order assassinations of rivals, or produce propaganda to keep his job as head coach and de facto autocrat of the small Pennsylvania town, he used his aw-shucks demeanor and commitment to worthy ideals to centralize his authority and mold the football program, in an already tight-knit community, into a fortress. Football coaches across the country have long sought the personality cult that “Joe Pa” crafted for Penn State football. The Nittany Lions were embodied in him so completely that the surreal scenes of students rioting in State College ought come as no surprise.
Jerry Sandusky’s disgusting and unconscionable tale has already been recounted many times, and I have no desire to go into that again. What remains is the fallout.
Before late Wednesday night it appeared that while the university president and athletic director would be immediately removed, the coaching legend would be allowed to retire in a relative amount of style. Before late Wednesday night, he would coach his final home game Saturday and continue leading his team in oblivion towards winning the Leaders division, to the B1G championship game, and yet another bowl. Before late Wednesday, the person ultimately morally responsible for the actions of the football program at Penn State would retain (albeit for a time) at least titular, and as I suspect, quite tangible control of the program.
The board of trustees’ choice to depose Paterno is obviously the right one, and they should be commended for it. The backlash in State College from disgruntled students and bewildered players is amplified by the thousands of PSU alums voicing their support for Paterno on the internet. And it is absolutely despicable, yet absolutely understandable.
When a person of such lauded moral high ground as Paterno fails, it shocks the world, and too often appalls little. Regardless of your metaphysical and religious views, the fact is that any human can and often will fail. It’s cases where the failure shreds the work of a lifetime into scraps of what legacy had previously been taken for granted. The risk of embodiment of a football program in one person, from Paterno to Wooden to Krzyzewski to, dare I say, Schembechler, is inherently risky. Trusting the ruler to tread flawlessly always is what we expect is impossible. Everyone does make mistakes (insert Terrelle Pryor joke here). It’s the degree and management of these mistakes that separates the legends from the ordinary.
And of those names I just dropped, one clearly does not belong with the others any more. Its time to destroy Paterno’s cult of personality. The victims cry for justice and PSU students would rather “demonstrate” outside their leader’s home, rather than look the harsh realities in the face as Khrushchev did. It’s easier that way, but it’s also wrong.
P.S. I am not a Communist nor do I think Khrushchev is by any means a stellar person. Just wanted to illustrate the most prominent reference of the term. Nor are Stalin and Paterno equivalents. Their followers have acted in a similar manner.
I saw this question asked in another thread and it was never answered and I searched the site and didn't find anything that came up.
Is there a viable counter/strategy to cut blocking? I know this seems to happen a lot to Campbell (from the Iowa game), Martin, Suh and I just don't have the football accumen to figure out what an opposing defense can do in that instance.
So any coaches/players/educated observers out there have any insights into this?
Take a week to recuperate and all hell breaks loose. Although in the buzzed reality I lived in last week, I should have seen it in some sort of shaman vision. Let us begin from the Purdue game I barely remember and will never forget.
The anticipation of attending the Mecca of football for the first time this year was excruciating. My trusted confidant from Pennsylvania and his lady friend made their presence as well. The night started in Flint when we stocked up on a variety pack of the strongest liquids that would do the most damage to even an Irish elephant. We took a pit stop at the Greektown Casino and chased around the American Dream for a bit. All I caught was a headache from the goddamned noise of slots and the cheap rum they sold. The only winner in our traveling band of miscreants was my confidant. He walked away with $38 and a smirk I wanted to wipe off his face with a scythe, bleach, and salt.
The next morning we stopped for sustenance, ice, and rolled a Panamanian cigarette. As the last ashes blew in the wind of a crisp Michigan morning on Route 14, I began feeling giddy as a valley girl winning dairy princess in Wisconsin. We parked our vehicle across the street from the stadium at the lovely golf course. Many complain about the $40 charge for parking there, but if you get there early it is in a prime location and as the chemicals settle in, every strange character rolls in you know you have to keep an eye on later.
I timed the rum consumption perfectly. As my enlightened feeling from the devil’s lettuce wore off the Sailor Jerry’s kicked in. It was only 930 in the morning and I was almost out of my fifth. The phone calls then began to come in. Friends from Detroit looking for me to travel to their locale kept coming in every two minutes. I kindly explained that if I attempted to traverse to their locations around campus, I would most likely end up in prison, or worst yet, East Lansing. This must have been a warning for them to keep a wide berth since no one dared came to our little spot in Ann Arbor. Only one true brave soul had courage to experience my posse this lit up, Blue Dragon. After many minutes of playing drunk Where’s Waldo in a crowd of over 110,000 of the human race we met up. As I polished off my last sip of Sailor Jerry’s, he bared his timely gift of nature’s Prozac. As we huddled into the front of a SUV to initiate peace talks and revelry, my confidant looked more scared than the Lohan family at a law enforcement conference. He spotted two older men of a good looking upbringing in the front of their vehicle along side of us. Tensions were eased when my confidant saw the men pull out a baggie of something that resembled flour. Someone forgot to inform them that making bread does not involve the step of snorting the flour. The bread doesn’t rise as well when done so.
As I tapped into one of my last beers my usually trusted confidant pulled out a fungus substance. I was immediately stricken with panic as I was already on multiple substances and about to embark on a journey to loud noise and sitting among many suspicious looking people. As I argued this would be a terrible idea, Blue Dragon proved to be a true pioneer as he gulped his down within seconds. Faced with immense peer pressure and the assurance I would be ok on a smaller dose, I reluctantly took it expecting impending doom.
Ten of noon struck and our band of heathens took our shit show to the stadium. My confidant and his lady friend had to check into gate E due to her over sized satchel. All that was left was Blue Dragon and I in a sea of drunken irritable fans looking for blood after a bye week gave all time to stew about the first loss of the season to the Fighting (literally) Dantonio’s. As Blue Dragon and I neared the entrance, he heard an angry voice call out to us that we ruined his fucking day because we supposedly cut in front of him. Half in shock of a surreal experience, and half in awe due to the lack of line to cut in, I believe I uttered… “Ok.”
Blue Dragon split way to our seats hopefully to cross paths on another trip in Ann Arbor. I arrived at our seats alone. I noticed a truck driver and his son had two of the seats I purchased. Still in a dream state, I muttered something about them moving the fuck out of the way. Finally my confidant and his lady friend arrived to a surprising 7-0 Purdue lead. Not that I can manage to remember much of the details of the game except the ill timed RAWK music, sappy 80s pop songs, and the constant hypnotic HD screens, but Fitz Toussaint ran the distance of the Intercontinental Railroad and back against the Fighting Stache’s of West Lafayette. Michigan controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides all day and dominated the game 36-10. The rain at the end of the game, I actually enjoyed. It felt good to be rained on when the score board was tilted our way. It was like a Gatorade bath for those of us that continually support Michigan through thick and thin.
The night in Ann Arbor was even more of a hazy semi-unconscious trip. After losing complete composure in a camping store and downing more alcohol at Ashley’s, I vaguely remember ending the night drinking out of a boot, getting hit on by an architect major at U of M in a Robin’s costume, and arguing with a MSU student and her Australian boyfriend about the validity on their school being eligible to be accredited in anything but underwater basket weaving.
PART II: Corn Guzzled
As I slowly came out of the daze of sampling leftovers throughout the week, I wish I would have saved them for the Iowa game. The game first resembled a MANBALL marathon as both offenses looked sluggish and the defenses bent a little at the most. MANBALL advantage tilted in the favor of Iowa as the game went on. As I paced around my house in a furor I began swearing like a man with severe Tourettes. Denard made his fame on his legs. For Spaghetti Monster’s sake, his nick name is “shoelace”, not “glove Velcro.” I understand the wish to change the system to a semi-west coast offense that Gorgeous Borges is used to and wants to implement, but Denard is not made for that purpose. If a coach cannot tune the offense to the strengths of the star player’s advantage, you are neutralizing yourself. One of Rich Rodriguez’s many accusations and partly true was that he did not try to ease into a new system with players from an old system. I believe Gorgeous Borges is doing a better job of this, but has glaring deficiencies in some of the play calling. If a lane opens during a passing play and no one is immediately open, instead of bombing to a fly route, throwing to Tacopants, or trying to squeeze in a pass between three defenders, he should…..wait for it…RUN THE DAMN BALL! Yes this increases his risk of injury, but it also gives the most electrifying player in the NCAA a chance to make something happen in his own comfortable way. Did they tell Barry Sanders not to go lateral so much in his day? Probably, but lucky for us who got to witness him, he didn’t listen. Will Gorgeous Borges adjust for the last four games? I guess you could say there is a better chance of Gorgeous Borges adjusting than growing a mullet.
The day became late and the fate of Michigan looked grim early in the fourth quarter. Down by more than two scores it looked as if the Michigan 2010 team put up a better fight. I walked out to the backyard and contemplated whether to down two bottles of root killer but decided that if I wasted it on myself, the women of the house would dice my body into pieces and send them down the Detroit River if the water backed up into the house again. After returning to the man cave I was shocked to see Michigan’s anemic offense twisted its way back to the game with a fighting chance. Hoke must have done some serious pointing in my absence.
I am not one to pin blame on referees. Teams that effectively execute all game won’t be put in a position that comes down to a few bad calls. After that said, the referees need to be audited or whatever it’s called where they get an occupation proctology exam. Hemingway’s catch was a touchdown with a knee in and the mauling of Roundtree on the last play was so obvious that Helen Keller rose from the dead to boo the call.
Another Michigan loss to a mid-level B1G team triggers flashbacks of two previous deflating seasons. I still hold out HOKE…I mean hope that this won’t end like years past. The defense is better, adjustments after halftime (at least on defense) are apparent, and a larger chip is growing on the seniors that have experience possibly the worst years of Michigan football. In order for bloodthirsty players and fans to be happy this year, there needs to be at least two more wins. If not, next year is not going to be any easier and the offseason of Michigan infighting will seem all for naught.
PART III: Disgraced Valley at Pedophile State University
Much has been said on the Penn State/Sandusky matter. My only words are as follows. They won’t change a thing and some if not many won’t find any value in them. As a rabid college football fan and a recent citizen of the state, I must express them as I have yet to do so.
In 1998 accusations of inappropriate interactions between Sandusky and a young boy surfaced on the campus of Pennsylvania State University. In my opinion, this is what suddenly put the heir apparent of the football program into retirement. This was the first acknowledgement of wrong doing by the coaching staff and university. For four more years Sandusky was given unfettered access to the university facilities to continue his monstrous campaign of ruining the lives of future men.
Again in 2002 a graduate assistant (Mike McQueary) walked in on Sandusky naked having sexual intercourse with a ten year old boy. As the boy and Sandusky most likely turned to see the act was seen, the boy hoping that this nightmare may have been over was dashed when McQueary turned his back and rand home to his daddy. After his dad convinced McQueary to report the act to Joe Paterno and he did so, Joe Paterno then reported it to the now defunct AD. The authorities were never brought in for an investigation and no follow ups were had. An agreement between Joe Paterno, the AD, and the president of the University, Graham Spanier signed off on barring Sandusky from the campus. This would be the second acknowledgement of wrong doing. Again, no follow up and no outside investigation.
Sandusky moved his horror show to the town I then was going to college in. He became an assistant football coach for the high school team and still lured vulnerable boys in his Second Mile program. Finally getting caught again, the guillotine came down. Sandusky’s fate is sealed as I read it in the Grand Jury report. The man has a first class ticket to hell to have the offenses he exercised on youth done to him with Satan’s pitchfork.
Because his fate seems to be sealed, the attention has turned elsewhere on Joe Paterno, the school administration, and Mike McQueary. Attention deserved. For at least 13 years, Joe Paterno knew something was awry with his assistant coach. In 2002 Mike McQueary had a chance to save a ten year old child from the worst day of his young life. The administration was given notice. All chose to do nothing. If Joe Paterno is a man that holds those around him to a higher level of accountability, then a man that holds more power than the board of trustees and the president of the university should have made sure the matter was taken care of and no more young boys were hurt. Instead he either thought the matter would go away or wanted to maintain a squeaky clean image of the football program. Either way, it was wrong. Of course he did what he was technically supposed to do, but he chose a football program over the lives of children. No sport or program is worth more than an opportunity of a normal childhood. Many asked me if I would feel as strongly if this was in Michigan’s house because of my unvarnished hatred of PSU before this went down. The answer is yes. I could not continue to cheer on a program that was complicit in the molestation of young vulnerable boys.
Mike McQueary had a firsthand account to the sadistic acts Sandusky was capable of. He told Paterno and washed his hands of it. When he became a coach, he literally watched as Sandusky paraded more victims to PSU coaching functions and practices knowing damn well what that fucking swine could and would do. I believe there is a law in PA I came across in my occupation that said if any abuse to a child is witnessed or even plausibly true, it MUST be reported to state authorities. The fucking coward could have even anonymously called and told state authorities what had happened. Instead he received a coaching job and stayed mum.
The administration did more of the same. The top of the food chain chose to ignore and to minimally punish Sandusky. The “responsibility” lay with them and they did nothing. This is why the AD and VP of Finance resigned and the president who spoke ignorantly that he backed both unabashed is tonight getting axed as he well should be. All of them should be tarred and feathered and drug through broken glass and rusty nails.
The one item that is increasingly heinous is the victimization of the three parties above. As a recent citizen of PA I experience the cultish trust and invincibility of the PSU football program. Going to college a half an hour from PSU, I experienced this on an extreme level. This football program was so tight knit that it is another reason I cannot believe JoePa and others had no idea that Sandusky’s felonies were known and were suspected to probably to continue. The blind faith many in PA have of the football program is now at a disgusting level. Instead of lashing out to get to the bottom of this disgraceful episode in their history, they lash out at those accusing Paterno and those surrounding the case for unfair targeting. This is not all alumni and fans, but most. I believe it is this cult like following that allowed for this kind of horrific act to take place. PSU football became bigger than life. These children and their families were probably PSU football fans and bigger ones once this “trusted” program chose to include them into this James Johnson hypnotic organization. Families entrusted their young to the care and support of Paterno and his football family. Now instead of talking about victims and whose ass should burn for this, many in the cult of PSU football have had their reality challenged. This is something that has never happened in the age of Paterno. The grasping at straws to defend this program’s wide cover-up of the most atrocious crimes is a desperate attempt to hold onto a reality that really never was. Sandusky was a monster predator and Paterno, McQueary, and the PSU administration were complicit in his actions. Yesterday another 20 plausible victims came forward that could have been prevented if corrective actions were taken at first notice. Instead Paterno and the administration allowed a serial child rapist full access to their facilities for four years after knowing something was not right. The headlines today said Paterno has chosen to retire at the end of the season? The president of the university is getting fired and he gets to stay?! Fuck no! No longer does he get to decide PSU football. He has already shown grave mistakes and has admitted doing so with this simple quote said today:
“This is a tragedy. It is one of the great sorrows of my life. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had done more."
This man and those around this scandal will be taking the field Saturday with the privilege of doing something they love when men and boys around PA were betrayed by that same blind and dangerous love of moving on and forgetting the past in the name of PSU football.*
Nebraska, you better fucking annihilate these cowards and mutant freaks into further humiliation and disgrace.**
*As posting this, The PSU Board of Trustees have fired Graham Spanier and Joe Paterno. What about Mike McQueary?
**Nebraska- Green light to humiliate these freaks is still a go.
During the 2008 season, when things were horrible like WHOA on offense, some people asserted that Rodriguez should be running a Carr-style under-center set until he recruited the players he needed to run his Spread & Shred. This was shot down because, as it was put over and over, "He'd have no idea how to run it", and it would make it difficult to recruit for the offense he wanted, "We'll be running the offense you like... in two years." People accepted this and were unhappy whenever the O faltered, which was often, but accepted it as necessary to bring the team into the future. It's not really the offensive stumbles which got everyone upset anyway. It was the worsening defense and uncompetitive losses. When we won, it was good, but when we lost, we REALLY lost.
When Borges was hired, people had hope because he had run spread style offenses before. He might be able to make what he's got work better than Rodriguez did. And you know what, he is. Talent deficit or no, Borges isn't trying to make Stephen Threet run. But it doesn't always work. Sometimes, in spending a while trying to integrate what he wants to do, Borges gets away from doing what the offense is best at. People get upset. "Run out of the shotgun full time! More Zone Read! MOAR BUBBLE SCREENS!"
My question is, is it merely the fact that Borges has done these things before that's earned him less understanding for WHY he is not doing these things? Has his more varied experience shortened his rope? I think it has, and I don't think that's fair.
Borges has a plan for the Michigan offense. A place he wants to get it to. Just because he has experience with the Spread doesn't mean he should be expected to run it while Denard is here. It would make recruiting worse, and it would be unfair to the fans and the players when we suddenly had to go through an offensive transition in year three rather than year one. Give Borges the same rope as you gave Rodriguez on offense in the first couple of years. When he runs plays that don't really seem to fit the offense, don't say "Why not the other play?" Not the other play because that's not where he's taking Michigan, and it would hurt us later if he did.
He has an obligation to install the BEST package for him andthe players he will recruit right away, rather tahn preserve a momentary flash in the pan. At least our losses have been competetive.
Bradley will be interim.
Long time reader, first time writer. Anyway, I've got two home games left in my undergraduate "career," and I feel like it might be about time to expand my horizons on football Saturdays as an undergrad. I joined a fraternity, so I did that whole bit for 3+ years, but what I really want to know is are there any MUST sees/dos as an undergrad either pregame or postgame? I'm hoping it's not too late to accomplish these things. Please let me know. I've got a group of friends that are game for anything Thanks and Go Blue!
PS: Hope someone got the Bob and Tom reference?