The “If You Can’t Beat ‘Er, Joyner” Memorial Search Committee plods on less than a month before letter of commitment day, with two notable interviews today: Greg Roman, offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien of the New England Patriots. Both men have solid college credentials, along with NFL accomplishments. I’m not going to make the mistake of declaring either one of these fine coaches as a “leading candidate,” as some of our press colleagues tend to do.
Bob Flounders of the Patriot-News infers that Joyner & Co. will make a serious run at Mike Munchak, now that the Titans’ season has ended. This is one that I cannot understand. Munchak has absolutely no college coaching experience — which as I’ve brought out here in other posts is quite a different animal than coaching in the NFL — and this is in my opinion a severe handicap. I’ve beaten that horse in earlier posts, so I won’t bore you with more of the same here. Yeah, the “Penn State Ties” issue keeps coming up. Munch has his four years as an offensive lineman — a damn good one — but that was 30 years ago. Certainly, Munchak is a Penn Stater through and through, but if you boil the sentimentality out of the equation, Munchak is barely adequate.
So, where are we? Same place we were yesterday, only more so.
“Soft zones don’t cut it against quality QBs and wideouts.” —Bob Flounders, Patriot-News
Flounders goes on in that same blog saying that whoever the incoming head coach might be, he faces an epic rebuilding process. And here, my good readers, is where I completely agree with Bob Flounders, something I thought was a lifelong impossibility. Unlike the typical fan who seems to think that Penn State lacks a couple of small pieces that when installed will make Penn State a consistent top ten program again, both Flounders and I feel that this team has been way off the track for a long time. Welcome to Paternoville.
Most of us now, having been beaten down by a couple of seasons of quarterback controversy and offensive line “rebuilding”, will concede that the offense would benefit by being imploded and rebuilt from scratch. But few of us have expressed similar concerns about the defense. I have harped on the defensive secondary’s inadequacy in college football’s modern world — for a long, long time. Flounders has now jumped on that train.
While I had long decried the soft zone played most of the time by Penn State as having been a Sandusky invention, Flounders believes that it was a Paterno implementation. Nevertheless, we agree on the notion that the Cover Two BBDB defense has outlived its usefulness. Hanging back ten yards off of speedy receivers is a recipe for getting consistently burned. This deficiency isn’t regularly revealed in the Big Ten with its antiquated run oriented offenses, but when a good passing team is the opponent, the purported number five pass defense in the country is exposed as a fraud. This defense is effective in stopping the run and containing the pass to an extent, but it breaks down when it is subjected to an aggressive aerial attack (e.g., Wisconsin and Houston).
The Cover Two is used with success in the NFL, but it succeeds only because of the speed of the defensive backs recruited to perform in it. Clearly, Drew Astorino is no Troy Polamalu. Instead of shooting its wad on linebackers and defensive linemen, the recruiting needs to find cream of the crop defensive backs in order to be competitive in the Twenty-first Century. I’ve been bitching about that for twenty years. Now, the situation is dire.
If anything is an argument against Bradley becoming the next head coach, this is. This defense has been played for his entire coaching career, including his most recent stint (1996-2011) as defensive coordinator. Is there any reason to believe that he would drastically change the defensive scheme.
Read Flounders’ blog and tell me whether you agree with him and me.